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

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Hair covering after divorce

27 October, 2008

Question:

I am doing my graduate studies on women and haircovering as a comparative study of different religions. I myself am a recently divorced orthodox woman, who had covered my hair for many years, until my husband compelled me to stop covering my hair a few years before the divorce. My question is about the halachic concern and position regarding divorced women and haircovering. This topic is not well covered in different sources I have researched. Please state the various sources for your answer.

Thank you.


Answer:

A divorced woman has a rabbinic obligation to cover her hair.  Whereas the Torah level obligation is limited to a married woman, the rabbinic obligation includes all Jewish women who have ever been married.  Please see Shulhan Arukh, Even HaEzer 21:2 and the Bet Shemuel there.

An exception may be in cases or situations where haircovering would serve as an obstacle to the woman's eventual remarriage.  For an example of such a decision, see Igrot Moshe, Even HaEzer IV 32:4.

We wish you hatzlacha with your research!


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