Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hair Covering

I've been thinking a lot lately about hair covering. I personally do it and i cover all of it with a scarf or kerchief. some of my friends cover, some don't, some wear sheitels, some wear hats some wear scarves and some are all over the place. really this post is not about my own feelings, but rather your feelings. where do people stand with head covering? i sit a struggle? a joy? do you cover your hair? why or why not? I do it because my mother does, my MIL does and both my sisters in law do. My sisters are not married but will most likely cover their hair when they do. For some reason this topic seems to be one that come up a lot and has become a status symbol. "I wear a sheitel so I'm frummer than you" or "I cover all my hair so I'm frummer than you". So really i want to know what people (especially my women friends) think about head/hair covering. Why is it important (or not) to you? Why do you or don't you? For me hair covering was never a question or a struggle, I do it because it is something I feel I should do for myself, because it helps me to define who I am. As many people know, i rarely do things because OTHER people tell me to do them or because EVERYBODY does it. As long as I can remember i have defied the norm and done things my own way. I cover my hair and wear pants (ok, not so much since my second daughter was born because they don't fit and I'm too lazy to go shopping :) ) I keep a kosher home (which for me is much harder than head covering) because I want everyone to feel comfortable in my house and my kids to be able to have all their friends over. I keep Shabbos because I think it is a beautiful mitzvah and I love the concept of no technology for 25 hours. These are all things I have struggled with as a teen and young adult, but ultimately decided I want to live a certain way and in a certain type of community.
So if you would like to comment on the subject of head covering (or any religious struggles you have), I would totally love to hear about them. i find that talking to others about these struggles is a great way to get through them and be inspired. So please comment away!


  1. I only cover my hair on Shabbat. When I first got married, I tried covering my hair, but it didn't feel like me. My mother didn't cover her hair.

    When I went to Israel two years ago, I covered my hair a lot more, but that was partly because I don't like hats, but I do like Israeli kerchiefs.

  2. My mom does NOT cover her hair but my wife does. I think its something important and my wife does more than I think is necessary but I respect what she wants to do. Its hard NOT to look at hair covering and extrapolate religiosity but I try not to make a big deal about it since this not what is really about what people are - ultimately its extraneous...

  3. i used to but i stopped because it didn't feel right for who i am.

  4. "I cover all my hair so I'm frummer than you"

    I don't like the "I'm frummer that thou" attitude in general, but this one is not as far off base as other areas (for example, people who don't wear denim skirts and therefore feel that they are frummer than those who do). "Frumkeit" is a level of religiosity, which may find expression, for example, in observance of mitzvot (of which avoiding denim below the waist is not one). As covering hair is a mitzvah for married women, a woman who covers all of her hair is indeed observing the mitzvah at a higher level than one who doesn't (i.e., relying on fewer non-universally accepted leniencies). The fact that some people may cop an attitude about how "frum" they think they are does not take away from this.

    That said, as hair-covering is far from the only piece of the halachik puzzle, it's not the only indicator of frumkeit. While it may be fair to say that if two married women are identical in every other way except that one covers all of her hair while the other does not, the one who covers all of her hair is probably "frummer". However, I don't think that anyone can ever tell if they are identical to someone else, and if they think they can, they are deluding themselves. A more accurate statement may be, "I cover all my hair so I'm fulfilling this mitzvah in a more complete way than you."

  5. I cover my hair, but I'm rather particular in what I use to cover my hair and when - no sheitls for me, because I don't believe that it appropriately fulfills the halacha.

    I don't cover my hair in my house, or my parents or parents-in-laws houses, because that is how my rebbetzin taught me. It's a matter of private/public spaces, and since they are family, their spaces are private.

    Neither my mother or mother-in-law cover their hair all the time, but it's something I feel is right, and I wear hats, or tichels. It's become a part of who I am now, so I don't mind doing it.

  6. When I was a little girl, I thought that rebbetzins covered their hair with shaytls because that's what I saw. I did notice that my teacher would come in to school with shoulder-length, layered, dark brown hair, but she would show up to shul with long, straight, gray hair in a beehive, and I wasn't always sure if it was the same person.

    Then, when I was 12, my cousin got married, and she covers her hair with hats (she is still the best hat-wearer I know). Then, a local girl got married and covered her hair with hats, but I would see her in shul "bare-headed" and it left me a bit confused.

    Finally, when I was 16, I went to a shiur and learned about the whole subject. The rabbi took the position that hair covering is a minhag from Dat Yehudit, not halachically required, and I decided that I wouldn't bother with it.

    However, only a short time later, I began thinking of it differently, as a sign of being married, and I liked the idea. Except that I didn't like the idea of wearing a shaytl. But then I spent a year studying in Eretz Yisrael, where I saw women at weddings wearing lovely non-wig coverings, and I decided that I too could cover my hair without a shaytl.

    Strangely enough, even though it felt a little weird the first day, it wasn't long before I got used to the coverings. I found that berets were more comfortable than hats, so I stuck with berets. Then, my husband and I went to Yerushalayim for a family simcha, and I noticed the women wearing mitpachot (tichels) tied beautifully. One of the women at the bar-mitzvah showed me how to do it, and now I wear both berets and mitpachot. They're both very comfortable.

    I do have naturally curly hair, and the berets and mitpachot have given me hat hair, which I don't like. But other than that, my berets and mitpachot have become a part of my style, and I love that. My husband likes them too, and he doesn't like shaytls any more than I do, so it works. I'm comfortable, and I feel that what I'm doing is right for me.

  7. I did cover my hair when I was first married for about two years and now I don't, other than to shul or (certain) smachot. I have a real undefined and somewhat anxious relationship with this mitzvah in general. Ultimately, I don't cover because it more accurately represents where I'm at hashkafically and socially. Mostly, I'm good with it, but there are times when I want to go back to covering.

  8. I have been married for 5 years. I started out wearing tichels afraid to even show a bit of my hair from the sides. Slowly I eased my way into beautiful wigs. I got married so young- at 19, and now I am 24. Today I struggle with it so much. I did not grow up Orthodox, my parents hate the fact that I cover my hair. My husband supports me either way. I feel as though I need to stop for my own happiness however I feel that I will draw so much attention to myself within the Orthodox community I live in. I know I should not care what people think, I just dont feel like explaining myself to so many people however I feel that the head covering just needs to stop. Ahh!