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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Hair covering sources

26 January, 2007

Question:

I am baal teshuva and I just got married three months ago. My husband wanted me to cover my hair, and so I did…without any knowledge of it or understanding of it. I am starting not to like it very much because I am feeling like it takes away from my self esteem. Please tell me exactly where I can find it in the Torah. Thank you.


Answer:

The basis for married women's hair covering in the Torah is that the kohen uncovers the sotah's hair (Bemidbar 5:18), from which we may deduce that married Jewish women kept their hair covered.  This law is further discussed in the Mishna and Talmud. 

Although halacha obligates married Jewish women to cover their hair, there is a range of opinions on how much hair needs be covered and in what manner.  We urge you to inform yourself about this halacha and the many different ways of adhering to it.  Being informed can help you find a way to observe this mitzvah that is consonant with your sense of self.

To this end, we recommend the book called Hide and Seek published by Urim Publications. It is a collection of essays, primarily by women, on hair covering, with a halachic summary in the introduction.

For an English-language discussion of the relevant sources, we recommend the first chapter of Understanding Tzniut, by our rabbinic supervisor Rav Yehuda Henkin (published by Urim).  Also of interest by Rav Henkin is Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women's Issues (published by Ktav), chapters 16-17. 


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.