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

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Covering hair for bracha

19 January, 2007

Question:

When I go to the mikveh, the mikveh lady always gives me this little washcloth to cover my head when I make the bracha.

My questions are:
Are (married) women required to have their hair covered in order to make a brocha? Even when completely alone?
If so, then what is the logic of putting a washcloth on my head in the mikveh when it does not cover the majority of my hair?
And if not, then why use the washcloth at all?


Answer:

There may be some preference for a married woman to cover her hair when making a bracha, even when alone, in a show of humility comparable to that of a man wearing a kippah. However, this is not an absolute requirement and is not subject to the usual halachot of hair covering.

Covering the woman's hair during the bracha over immersion is customary – but not a requirement – in some communities. In other communities, women do not cover their hair at all for this brachah. 

If the towel bothers you, you could request that the mikveh attendant not offer it.  If it doesn't affect you, it might promote a more peaceful relationship with the attendant to let her do it.

There is a source for this custom in Ben Ish Chai, year 2, Parshat Shmini 19.


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