Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Struggles with hair covering

31 October, 2006

Question:

I have struggled over nearly twenty years of marriage with covering my hair, almost deciding twice to stop, but chickening out after a day of "freedom". Fear of being judged by others.

I am nearing a milestone in my life. I still hate covering my hair, and it does not help that I originally did so at my husband's insistence, without having any say (i.e. guts to argue). As it is, we are pretty much modern orthodox; my sheitel is about the only right-wing thing in our house. It's like a membership to a club we don't (and he would never) attend.

Frankly, I don't (nor did I ever really) intend to do this forever; there is just no set escape date. In my 40th year, it is time, as many women discover at this stage, to start doing things for myself. Work less, walk more, eat better, and feel the sun in my hair.

Can you help me figure this out?


Answer:

Many factors go into a woman's decision about covering her hair.  Some are emotional, others communal, and others halachic.  If we follow what you write, you don't feel that how you are covering your hair is consistent with your emotional orientation or with your community's practice.  What remains, however, is the important question of halachic obligation. 

From what you write, it seems that when you first married you left halachic decision-making to your husband and, later, to your community.  The question is, how do you make halachic decisions now? 

Halacha obligates married Jewish women to cover their hair.  There is, however, a range of opinions on how much hair need be covered and how.  In line with your desire to do things for yourself, we urge you to inform yourself about this halacha and the many different ways of adhering to it.  Find a teacher.  Read the book "Hide & Seek" (edited by Lynne Schreiber, available from www.urimpublications.com). Work on finding your own "right way" without abandoning this mitzvah.   


This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.