Monday, July 05, 2010

If I Were To Wear A Wig...

As a married woman who lives a Torah Jewish life, I cover my hair.  Over the years I've gone from scarves to hats-large and small- and back to scarves tied and wrapped in countless ways.  For various reasons, including a "pledge" to follow the promise my great-grandmother (whom I'm named after) made to her father, I don't wear wigs, OK except on Purim to follow the custom of "nahaphochu," doing the opposite.

L'havdil, for a totally different reason, a friend's diagnosis of cancer, I mulled with her the choice of wigs she might make if she would need chemo and if her hair was to fall out.  Suddenly it hit me!  Just like I believe that my hair-covering for the mitzvah should be fun, so should wig wearing even for medical reasons. 

Forget the conservative faux boring wigs and wear something really wild and easy to care for. 

Women's hair-covering should be the most fun of all mitzvot, because it can be so creative.  Hairdos like these can easily weather storms, right?

From what I was taught, the point of the hair-covering for a married woman is to show that she's married.  That's why some rabbis oppose the wig.  They can't tell that it's fake.  So, maybe the halachic (according to Jewish Law) solution is a fabulously, blatantly fake wig... and if you need one for medical reasons, G-d forbid, make it fun!


Lady-Light said...

I know the halachic reason for wearing a head covering-wig or otherwise-is to show a woman is married, and not to expose her hair to 'tempt' men other than her husband.
I cover my hair for the same reason a man does: yir'at shamayim, to remind myself that G-d is above me (figuratively).

Here, I wear wigs, so as to blend in to goyish society (it also makes me look 10 years younger).

In Israel, I threw my sheitels in a drawer and wore kefiyehs instead, wrapped around and tied.

The older I get, the worse I look in them, and also in hats. I just might continue wearing pe'ot.

Or maybe, just break away and stop covering my hair altogether, unless I'm in shul.

(threw that in as a shocker)

Batya said...

My darling L-L, for "yir'at shamayim, to remind myself that G-d is above me (figuratively)" you obey G-d's commandment to cover your hair, since you're a married lady.

And I do truly love that mitzvah. It's so much fun. Maybe you need something wild as a hair-covering.

Lady-Light said...

Where do you get that it's G-d's commandment? Not necessarily: the parameters are Rabbinic in origin, not d'Oreitah.

It is inferred from the passage about the Sotah. In the Torah it mentions the Kohen uncovering hair of a woman suspected of adultery (Bamidbar, 5:18)to humiliate her.

The Talmud (Ketubot 72) concludes that "under normal circumstances" hair covering is a Biblical requirement.

The Mishnah, on the other hand (Ketubot 7:6) says that it is a standard of modesty defined by the Jewish community.

Read about it here.

Batya said...

Most of our day to day observance are so derived. Women's hair covering, and men's for their reasons have always been among the first Jewish observances to be dropped, generally because people felt too conspicuous.

Now you apparently are in a place where covering your hair makes you stand out, but if you dream of living in the Holy Land, wouldn't it be good for your neshama to make every effort to already dress as if you were here?

Minnesota Mamaleh said...

i love this for many reasons! but mostly because as different as the reasons (religion versus health) might be-- FUN is a good idea! and fun wigs? all the better!

on a side note, a good friend of mine is going through chemo right now and she either goes a'naturale (bald) or a totally funky covering because it brightens her day. i say more power to her!

thanks for such an interesting post!

Debbie said...

That spiky purple wig is a real winner. Interesting post.

Batya said...

minne ma, debbie, I'm glad you found the post interesting.

Living in a religious commuity in Israel, and Israel in general, things like married women's hair-covering is much more joyful.

Cancer is more "out of the closet" than before, so fun head coverings and women going "flat" are more common.

Earl Flournoy said...

I agree! If you're going to wear wigs, why not make it fun? Get creative! You know, my wife really enjoys styling her wigs every day. Aside from me, it's something that gets the stress out of her system. It's also her outlet for her creative juices. As long as she's getting fun out of it, I'm gonna let her do what she wants.

Batya said...

good to hear, she's lucky. There are too many women tyranized by husbands who demand only "certain" hair coverings, instead of anything halachikly acceptable and fun, too.