Question & Answer With Rebbetzin Yehudis Golshevsky - The Next Mitzva
Below is an excerpt from an e-mail that I received from a reader named Deborah who asked me to help her find someone to answer a question about starting to wear a sheitel.
I have been married now for 16 years and my husband and are only now starting to become more observant. I have been toying with the idea of wearing a sheitel even though we are not yet completely Shomer Shabbos. Would it be okay if I start off wearing a sheitel part of the time as a way to transition myself to wear it full time (as I have done with wearing tznius clothing)? Do you have any advice for me as I slowly wade into the deeper waters in observing the law of covering my hair?
Rebbetzin Yehudis Golshevsky answers:
First of all, I want to wish you continued growth and pleasure in your adventure of expanding your Torah observance. May Hashem bless all your efforts.
You ask if it's okay to gradually work into the observance of the mitzvah of covering your hair, and as far as I can tell, there isn't any difference between the need to take your commitments one step at a time in this mitzvah and any other. In general, spiritual growth (like all real growth) is a gradual process and as you continue to make further commitments, they become easier to maintain. Of course, one must take internal inventory to watch out for complacence (which is another word for stagnation), but barring that pitfall, slow and steady is the way to go.
Be very happy with every bit of good, every moment that you do manage to observe the law to its fullest, and that will give you strength to continue on your journey. This is the path we learned from Rebbe Nachman: focus on the power of good points, and you'll grow into more of them.
I just want to share a story from Rav Godlevsky of Bnei Brak on this subject, because I really love it.
He had a student who was a budding baal teshuvah at the earlier stages of growth. The young man was starting to observe Shabbos, but was still a little shaky. One Shabbos, a group of friends came over and really worked on him to convince him to go to the beach with them. After a lot of pressure, he conceded.
He got into the car with his friends and headed to the beach, where they proceeded to hang out, and eventually they went to go and buy some soft drinks. After buying his cola, the budding baal teshuvah stopped and made a very clear and thoughtful blessing before taking a drink.
His friends couldn't help themselves, and started to rib him mercilessly.
"Oh, what a tzaddik!' "Nice berachah--on the soda you paid for on Shabbos, at the beach, which you got to by car!" And so on.
He answered, "What do I care? I fell and came with you after you pressured me. It was hard for me. But making this berachah is easy--so why shouldn't I do it?" This is what he learned from Rav Godlevsky, who is a real Breslover. No act of sin cancels out a mitzvah, and no mitzvah compensates for a sin. Hashem is not a tyrant--you are responsible for what you don't do, but never let a negative act impinge on your willingness to "chap arein" (take advantage) of an opportunity to do a mitzvah if you can.
This young man kept on his path and grew into a ben Torah.
And I'm sure that you and your husband will also grow into all that you can be if you will follow the same advice.