“What to Wear on My Hair?” Orthodox Women And Hair Covering, Episode 1

In honor of our 15 year anniversary, we are featuring our most popular content on the home page every week for the next 15 weeks. One of the perennially popular topics on JITC is hair covering – and this is the video that started it all!

Why do Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair? This poignant story from my early days of marriage has shown countless people why hair is private for married Jewish women.

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  • Avatar photo Yisroel says on July 2, 2008

    While this is probably a bad Idea, I’m going to post a comment any way.
    While I think your message was a good one ( all though a bit creepy ) in showing the idea of making something kodesh, you provided a reason for the mitzva that isn’t quite accurate ( in my ignorant opinion ) .
    You said something like “We are saving our hair for our husbands,” while that may sound nice to someone approaching from the outside of yiddishkite, it can’t be the real reason. Why not ? Because there are thousands of jewish women who even their husbands never see their hair (because they shave it off).
    (in this weeks parasha)The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, explains that “Ze Chukas HaTorah, This is the statute of the Torah,” teaches us that we should preform all the mitzvos because they are statutes, not because we understand the reasons, Like the Para Aduma. We should do the mitzvos because HaKodesh Brauch Hu decreed it, and thats it. Yes, we do give tamim for the mitzvos, but they are there to give tam, a nice flavor, if we were to take away the nice tam we would still have to ( and should want to ) do them.
    Also in this weeks parsha we see how Moshe Rabainu was punished for not making a kidush hashem, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them.” There are those who explain that H’ wanted to do a big nes (talk to the rock to bring out water), and moshe thought that Am Yisroel wasn’t on a high enough spiritual level for a big nes, so he made a smaller nes ( hitting a rock to bring out water) . Maybe you could say that Moshe Rabainu’s chet, was that he wanted to bring down the message of H’ to the level of the people instead of bringing it across as is. A real kiddush H’ is not to filter H’ to match the level of the people, he fits to every jew as is.
    I think that what was missing from your explanation, was that you never mentioned that you cover your hair because the Torah says so. ( in parashas sotah). That is the basic, fundamental reason, any thing else is just to give a good taste.
    That being said, I think that your message can give a lot of women chizuk in this mitzva. Yasher Koach.
    (I hope that your family has distanced your selves from that neighbor that you mentioned )

    • Avatar photo Anonymous says on June 9, 2014

      Ok I reckon it’s a bit too late (6 years) to be replying to this message but I figure that it will still be helpful for other readers.
      There is no Halachik basis for women shaving their hair. It is based on some kabbalistic verse (we do not rule on Halacha based on kabbala), but it in now way is required of any Jewish women. It is a minority group who does this, certainly NOT thousands of women.
      As for the idea that we should do the mitzvot because Hashem said so and not because we understand why, that is true, but that does not mean we can’t search for reasons in order to heighten our appreciation for the mitzvot. Understanding why we do Mitzvot is a way of enhancing our observance.
      Hope this helps!

  • Avatar photo Carol says on February 17, 2009

    I’m new to your site and have been catching up on the content. The guy who wanted to see your hair? EEEWWWWWWW! Cree-py! I love your videos and I’m learning a lot. Thanks!

  • Avatar photo YS says on May 3, 2012

    Being in a monogamous marriage, there are plenty of things that are set aside only for my spouse and I. As such, using this as the reason for hair covering seems a bit weak and optional. How about I decide to keep my toes always covered? Would that work if Judaism wants me to “add something”?

    • Avatar photo Allison says on May 3, 2012

      Thanks for your comment, YS. Look – ultimately we cover our hair (as well as perform every other mitzvah) because the Torah tells us too. However, when we can – it’s nice to give meaning and reasons behind the commandments in order to making performing to them more enjoyable. Reasons for mitzvos are called “ta’amei mitzvos” which literally means “mitzvah flavors.” Why is the word flavor/spice used here? Because when we eat food – say a potato – it’s the potato itself that our body needs to function (just like our soul needs the mitzvah to function). But swallowing a plain potato is kind of hard – sprinkling on a little bit of salt makes it go down much more easily – similar to why we look for reasons behind the mitzvos. I do think that hair has a certain kind of sensuality to it – you can read more about that here http://www.jewinthecity.com/2009/07/isnt-wearing-a-wig-over-hair-kind-of-pointless/


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