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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Covering Hair

I have huge issues with the idea of covering my hair after I marry. I sometimes think it is part of the reason that I am not yet married, because I know I am going to have such a hard time with it. I have studied the rules surrounding it, and there doesn't really seem to be a way out of it, while still abiding by halacha. I have had numerous debates with different people, male and female, about the reasoning surrounding hair covering. I have heard the claim that hair really is extremely attractive to men, and that the covering truly distinguishes between someone who is married and someone who isn't. I have argued that if hair is so attractive and alluring, then single women should have to cover their hair as a matter of tznius. In fact, Muslim law required hair covering for all women above the age of puberty - so why doesn't Judaism? I was talking to a friend the other day and the subject came up again, and she said something that absolutely stopped me and made me realize the logic. She said that the reason that I have such issues with covering my hair is the same reason that I need to cover it when I get married. I thought about that statement for a minute. I have nice hair, and I really like it. I know it makes me more attractive, and that is the reason that I take care of it and fix it and buy all kinds of cute things to put in it. I know that when I feel flirty I toss my hair around or twist it around a finger. All of these things make me feel attractive and feminine and, honestly, a bit alluring. Recently, a guy told me he liked my hair, and I definitely basked a bit in the compliment. And that is exactly why, when I am married, I should cover my hair. Because when I am married, I don't need to be alluring to other men, it will be about my husband. Such a simple statement really put things into perspective for me. It doesn't mean that I will find it easy to cover my hair; I still fully expect to despise it. But now I feel like I will understand better why I am doing it, and I will accept the fact that I need to. I guess it just takes a little perspective and a sharp way of stating it to make it sink in.

4 Comments:

  • Hi,
    Most of us, at some point wonder why we are covering our hair, or have to cover our hair. I am muslim, and wear hijab. I just thought I thoughtI'd share with you that it was a jewish co-worker (unmarried, at that time) who kept me from taking it off. She didn't know I wanted to, but I was asking her how she felt about having to cover her hair later (which was beautiful). I don't remember what she told me exactly, but It was her firmness of faith, conviction to do so that impressed me--- and I respected that. It helped!!! I still have hot days where I get tempted but the plusses for wearing it outweigh taking it off.
    Aischa

    By Anonymous Aischa, at 9/6/06, 5:04 PM  

  • Actually, there is a strict minority halachic opinion-- and it may actually be the Mechaber (Shulchan Aruch, R. Yosef Caro)-- that holds that hair covering is even required for a besulah, or unmarried girl. Obviously, we don't abide by such a strict view.

    I, too, was raised with the hair covering ideal. And the concept that a womean should cover her hair because she is reserving her attractiveness solely for her husband is quite romantic. It's nice to think that someone is reserving a part of themselves just for you and you alone.

    The crux of the basis for hair covering, as I'm sure you know, stems from a single word in the parsha of Sotah, "U'phara'ah", referring to what was done with the accused's hair. The strict orthodox interpretation of the word is "to uncover", implying that a married woman's hair was and should be covered. The other interpretation is "to make wild", implying that the hair was not necessarily covered, but neatly done up.

    There are many variations in hair covering among the orthodox today... from complete wigs to snoods to falls to caps to doilies. Personally, I don't see how a fall or wig that facsimilates one's natural hair (how closely is another matter!) serves the purpose of signaling that one is married. If hair covering is a "siman nisuin", or an indicator of being married, then the type and extent of covering shouldn't matter, as long as it is somewhat covered, be it a hat, cap, whatever. I'm talking about those who hold that hair needs to be covered at all, based on the "Uphra'ah" = covered opinion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/25/06, 10:58 AM  

  • "Actually, there is a strict minority halachic opinion-- and it may actually be the Mechaber (Shulchan Aruch, R. Yosef Caro)-- that holds that hair covering is even required for a besulah, or unmarried girl. Obviously, we don't abide by such a strict view."

    Its actually not the Mechaber but the Ramabam. Which concerning that
    the commentators expain; that the ramabam was speaking of a woman who was divorced, not a woman who was never married!!

    By Anonymous Just a comment, at 1/12/07, 1:33 AM  

  • Well i have a better question:
    today wigs are lots of times more beauty. then natural hair. so by wairing a beautyful humane haired wig, you might defeating the whole purpose of the wig to begin with???
    Till your married there is a limit to the amount you can do with your hair but after with the wig you can have 2 styles in 1 day!!!

    so why do we have the wig???

    By Anonymous David, at 1/12/07, 1:41 AM  

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