Yid With a Lid: Reflections on Hair Covering One Month Later

My initial blog post on hair covering got a lot of traffic and comments, at least by this blog’s modest standards (no pun intended).  Halacha and Jewish tradition indicates that it takes 30 days for a habit to sink in (for instance, if it’s within the first 30 days of saying V’ten tal umatar in the Amidah and you’re not sure if you forgot, you should assume that you did).  So, now that it’s 30 days since the wedding, I can more thoughtfully reflect, from a bit of experience, about hair covering.

First of all, it hasn’t been that big of a deal.  I went through a phase as a child where I wore baseball hats all the time.  And if it were socially acceptable for little girls to do so, I probably would have continued.  I even slept with the darn thing on.  Now that I live in Jerusalem, I have worn hats to protect my head from the sun and from the cold and all the while felt self-conscious about it (someone might think I’m married!)  Well, I can now wear my headgear freely.  I’m even having fun with it.

hair covering ileneWhile it is generally accepted by most Achronim (post-medieval halachic authorities) that the Torah prohibits married women from showing their hair and that therefore it is binding in all times and places, this paper (pdf) points out that earlier authorities, the Rishonim, found the prohibition to be Rabbanic and also subjective to change based on community norms.

Halachically, it seems to me that in Jerusalem, it’s clearly dat Yehudit for a married woman to cover her hair.  When I walk through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods like Geula I find the dress of some of the men in particular to be quite comical, some with white socks or stockings and long frocks.  But what are they doing?  They’re mirroring the dress of some great rebbe.  In a sense, my choosing to cover my hair because the women whose Jewish practice I most admire and wish to emulate do so, is doing the same thing.


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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