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

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Struggles with hair covering

31 October, 2006


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?


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 Work on finding your own "right way" without abandoning this mitzvah.   

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