Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sheitel vs. Shterntichel

(Picture courtesy of

Rivka K. commenting on A Toupee As A Yarmulke:

I personally would think that a man would still need to wear a yarmulke, but I remember that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt"l once answered a question on this in Igros Moshe and very reluctantly permitted a man only to wear a toupee without an accompanying yarmulke.

If a woman wears a beautiful sheitel that causes men to look at her instead wearing of snood she is technically fulfilling the mitzva of Kisui HaRosh but not the intent (that is why I wear a snood).

The Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote in a sicha on Rosh Chodesh Elul 5714 that:

"When a Jewish woman walks in the street without a sheitel there is no (discernible) difference between her and others. However, when she wears a sheitel one can tell that here is a Jewish religious woman."

Sometimes I cannot distinguish between a good sheitel and real hair. However, I always know a snood when I see one!!

Finally, I have read that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was against women wearing kerchiefs. Yet, on page 60 of Me'ir Einei Yisrael it says that the Baal Shem Tov's wife Sarah wore a "Sherntichel" - a decorated kerchief.

How do you explain this one?? I don't think anyone would claim that the Baal Shem Tov's wife was not frum enough!

UPDATE (Related):

Mishmar: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach on (Certain) Sheitels


At November 22, 2006 at 10:17:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that the Ba'al Shem's rebbetzin wore a tichel has nothing to do with today's day and age. The Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out that snoods, while apparently more modest, have two problems:
1. It is almost impossible to cover one's hair, unless it's very short or shaved.
2. A woman who wears a tichel/snood/hat can easily take it off. That is, a sheitel provides for a more consistent, stable hair covering.

And no one can dispute the facts. Outside of chasidishe and yerushalmi circles, a woman who wears a tichel/snood/hat will perforce show a lot of here hair.

At November 22, 2006 at 10:30:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Shulchan Aruch rules that a woman must cover her hair, but where in the Chumash is this derived from? I have always wondered about this.

At November 22, 2006 at 2:52:00 PM EST, Blogger Mottel said...

There is a well written book by Rabbi Sholom Ber Volpe about he us of a sheitel .
The source for a Sheitel stems from a sotah. The torah tells us that her head should be uncovered, from which chazal learn out that normally her hair ought to be covered.

At November 22, 2006 at 8:15:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all concerned:

" is the way of kosher Jewish daughters that they are nauseated by strange men placing a covetous eye upon them." (Rav Auerbach zt’l)

Is this ever the truth.

The Baal Shem Tov’s wife and daughter, I’m sure, was a full tzenuah. Her wearing a kerchief was the way of a Bas Yisrael then and now.

This is one source: From the incident of the sotah. The Torah tells us that her head is to be uncovered [in shame], from which chazal have learned out that the Jewish married woman normally covered her hair.

There are many sources. But the fact is that this is a "natural inborn feeling of the Bas Yisrael". There is a movement in Eretz HaKodesh to awaken the natural Jewish chein buried under many a glamorous sheitel (and less then Tznius clothing) walking around Israel.

Sarah Imeinu was an immensely tzanua woman and covered her beauty with a shawl over the head and shoulders. Rivka Imeinu covered her innocence with a veil over the face. There are many instances of such modesty through our generations.

Do you realize that Jewish and non-Jewish WOMEN covered their hair up until WWI and from then until WWII it was all downhill with clothing. I know some won’t see it that way and will object strongly. But this is true.

No one is brave enough to say this. The sheitels many women wear today are better than their own hair, make them look like Paris models, Bloomies catalog models. The Jewish woman has a regal, royal neshomah. The folly of this golus’ Yetzer has grabbed on to the sensitive Jewish Bas Yisrael. It is a situation of immense sensitivity I realize, but it must be brought out in the open.

Married women need to move UP in their level of observance in the Eyes of Hashem and wear a cloth covering of whatever style they decide on (because there are varying styles), and they would then look in appearance as a married
woman, a modest woman, a Royal Jewish Bas Yisrael. Hashem created the human neshoma to be housed in our brains, and when a Jewish married woman covered her own hair (not a sheitel) with a covering, she is acknowledging the supremacy of her neshoma. Once she will take upon herself to do this, some have experienced amazing things.

This is a subject dear to my heart. I determined a while ago that wearing a sheitel was senseless (to wear a non-Jewish woman's hair); it did not make me look more Jewish or modest. I always felt strange in one. And I objected to the commercialism and profiteering of the business of providing european non-Jewish women’s hair for our own Royal Bas Yisrael. I don’t mind discussing this with anyone who wants to discuss it further.

At November 23, 2006 at 7:59:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

> The fact that the Ba'al Shem's rebbetzin wore a tichel
> has nothing to do with today's day and age.

Why not? Did today people grow more hair?

At June 22, 2009 at 11:15:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very good subject. I am new to observance and love to wear head coverings but I always wanted to know why Jewish women, especially those who considered themselves ultra-orthodox, wear wigs. I thought ultra-orthodox where like the ultra of the movement. Furthermore, wigs look just like weaves or extensions many women get to enhance their hair and beauty. While I see nothing wrong with those things, they do not make me think of jewish women, only a woman who just got her hair done. Since I am new, I do not understand, I thought covering of the hair is to make other men not really look at you and lust and also to cover hair so angels are not tempted. Women should also cover hair while praying. Wigs look like hair and what if men don't know you are married and still talk to you anyway. Men don't know that wigs mean you are married because everyone today wears them or extensions. If you see a women with a cloth covering you do think twice. But this is my observant nature of what I see. Like I said I am new and don't know the history of jews wearing wigs, only that they look like hair and I dont see the point of wearing hair if you are trying to cover it up. thanks.

At July 7, 2009 at 4:51:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Deborah Shaya said...

I am writing to inform you that there is No codified Halacha that a married woman must cover her hair totally and constantly whenever she steps out of her house.

The Halachah has been MISinterpreted.The true interpretation of the Halachah is as follows:

A married woman is required to cover her hair when she lights the candles to welcome in Shabbat and Yom Tov – lechavod Shabbat ve Yom Tov - and when she goes to the Synagogue, because that is the place of Kedusha.

The Halacha does not require anything more from married women.

This misinterpretation of the Torah is completely Assur, and a TWISTING of the Torah.The Torah must remain straight.

In ancient times, a woman would only cover her hair upon entering the Beit Hamikdash.Similarly for the Sotah-otherwise she would not be required to cover her hair ordinarily, day to day.
It is very important for people to know and realise that when a married woman covers her hair with 'Real Hair' the woman is covering herself with 100% Tumah. This is totally against the Torah.

Nothing could be more nonsensical than for a Jewish woman to cover her hair with someone else's hair -who was not Jewish as well!She can never fully be sure that this 'hair' has not come from meitim-despite any guarantee by the seller.This 'real hair' is doubly and in some circumstances, triply Tumah.
1.It will contain the leftover dead hair cells from another person - however much it has been treated, the tumah is still there.
2.This other person (likely to be a non-Jew who most likely was involved in some kind of Avodah Zarah) may have eaten bacon, ham, lobster etc, all of which are totally forbidden as unclean and non-kosher foods in Halacha.
3.If the woman happens to be the wife of a COHEN, then she is bringing her husband into close contact and proximity with meitim and Tumah Every day, and throughout their married life. This is clearly strictly against the Torah.
There is nothing more degrading and demeaning to a woman than to make her cover her hair FOR LIFE upon marriage.Frankly it is an abhorrent practice.

Any man who makes such a ridiculous demand on his wife, or wife-to-be, should similarly also be required by his wife to wear: long white socks, even in the summer; a fur streimel; grow a long beard; wear a black hat and coat constantly, and cover his face when he speaks to his wife.Wigs were merely a fashion item in the time of Louis XIV-they are not for the Jewish woman!

Rabbi Menachem Schneeersohn tz”l, was unfortunately wrong in this instance.He gave the directive that a married woman must cover her head with a “sheitel.”This needs to be corrected.Rabbi Schneersohn a"h, was a Tzaddik, – but on this – he was, unfortunately not correct.

It is extremely unhealthy and unhygienic for a woman to cover her hair constantly.The hair needs oxygen to breathe.A woman's hair will lose its natural beauty and shine, she may have scalp problems, some of her hair may fall out, she may get headaches, and she may end up cutting it short like a man, when she always wore it long, in order not to have too much discomfort from her hair covering.

Do you think that HaKadosh Baruch Hu commanded this of women? I can assure you that He did not.

The commmandments are not meant to cause so much repression and oppression in women.Was Chava created with a wig? Of course not! Did she start wearing a wig? Of course not!

Not a single “dayan” or “rabbi” has the slightest bit of interest in correcting the situation for the women. Therefore, the women will have to correct the situation for themselves.
Most of the "dayanim" and "rabbis" of today are not the “holy wise men and sages” they would like you to believe they are.Most of them could not be further from the Torah. Some of the "well-known mekubalim" are actually frauds and are after only one thing:MONEY. That is the only God they adhere to.

Please Wake Up.

And use the spark of intelligence that Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave to you and blessed you with.

And give your wig back to your husband if you wear one.

At September 21, 2009 at 12:42:00 PM EDT, Blogger Rivka Olenick said...

It seems to me that there's unfortunately alot of judging going on here regarding head coverings, sheitels in particular...I believe that one should wear what is right for oneself and "DO NOT JUDGE ANOTHER". Whatever you wear on your head is your choice as you are still covering it. The other important mitzvah is to serve God with simcha and give others the benefit of the doubt... Please do not project your emotions onto another person with regard to hair covering, instead be involved in your own growth and perfection...

At March 11, 2012 at 6:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous ploni said...

The obligation to cover a married woman's hair in public comes from Chumash, Bamidbar 5:18, in Parshas Naso, episode of the Sotah, when the Kohen removes the hair covering of the sotah in the Bais HaMikdash.

The reason the Lubavitcher Rebbe promoted sheitels is because during his time, the married Jewish women did not want to cover their hair, period. They felt embarrassed with a kerchief. So, the Rebbe provided an alternative -- wear a sheitel -- that way, you won't be embarassed in public. However, the sheitels of today look much better than the hair of the wearer and makes the women look more attracting. Many of the sheitels today are not modest.

Our imahos, Sarah, Rivka, Leah, Rachel, Ruth, etc. never wore sheitels. Sheitels were worn by the Egyptians. Our imahos wore cloth coverings, probably more like a hijab. You can look at Artscroll's illustrations of the Book of Ruth for children -- Naomi, Ruth were illustrated as wearing hijabs.


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