The Sheital and her Tichel


I was in Bnei Brak with my tutor last night. After learning the detailed laws of Kashrut in terms of mixing, kneading, and thick and thin mixtures on Shabbat. I brought up the confusion I had in terms of a woman in my Shiur (torah study group), wearing a Sheital in the form of a wig and a hat the covered past her hairline.

For my non-Jewish friends back home, a Sheital is a head covering that complies with Tzeniut, laws concerned with modesty, in both dress and behavior. There are different levels of this practice, from wearing a small headband in acknowledgement, to showing a small amount of hair, to covering all your follicles with a scarve, to wearing a wig. The more modern woman will show their elbows and their knees, dressing more business casual vs the halter top of their Secular counterparts and if theywear a Tichel, it still shows some of their hair, or they only wear it to Synagogue.

In the Haredi community, all married women cover their hair whenever non-family members are present. Some will cover their hair at all times, even when alone, even when sleeping at night. I’m studying with the more Haredi, orthodox woman although I know I fit in the more modern orthodox mentality at the moment.

My tutor emphasized the importance when I am married of wearing a head covering. I brought up the fact that the married people I have spent time with, cover their hair when they leave their house, but not %150. that there is always some natural hair showing. She looked at me and expressed her opinion that “it’s not appropriate”. Me and my tutor get along quite well, and she’s taught me a lot- we are also both accepting of one anothers view points, but I always like to disprove her theories of what is appropriate or not.

The whole concept of the sheital annoys me. It doesn’t make any sense. Not in the sense of the tradition, but in aspect that IF you are wearing a Sheital as a form a modesty, to hide your beauty only for your husband. The whole wig concept goes out the window.

From our discussion these are the points I brought up, in a fashion that she really couldn’t argue with:

  • A woman does not wear a hesslich wig. they are often beautiful and expensive. 2 points for vanity.
  • A womans hair underneath her wig is often more unhealthy than the wig itself due to age and the fact that the hair has been covered since the beginning of marriage at age 15. the luster is gone- it has gone grey etc.=1 point for vanity.
  • Going overboard with the laws of Tzeniut is wearing a wig and a massive headcovering. and in my logic, they X one another out. The hat that covers your hairline follows the laws of modesty, but when you wear the wig along with it. it brings back your vanity and therefore: plus 1 for the ugly hat and minus 1 for creating the look of natural hair underneath your ugly hat.
  • your wig emulates the look of natural hair. If you have great hair underneath, and have a great wig on top it cancels the intention of modesty out. If I wear a thong and another thong on top to cover up my original thong. it’s still a thong. no points earned on this one.
  • If you shave your head for modesty, then you aren’t as attractive to your husband. so you ugly both ways. no points earned. except for the women who look amazing with no hair and real silly with a scarf- but I have yet to encounter that breed. i’ll keep my eye out.

Conclusion: The only time you’ll see me in a wig is when I wear one with my Xmen halloween Storm costume. I’ve had a shaved head- it just makes me look different. So those two possibilities don’t exist in my book. Sheitals are out for the Ginrod. Tichel’s are in.

Love to hear other people’s opinions on the topic….

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Germapino with a Jewish Twist. Twist. Collective Thoughts of a Ginrod are the musings of a Texas born,half German, half Filipina girl who who went on a trip to Bangkok and found herself in the Holy Land , as a jew, married to an Englishman, with 3 kids and a pup named Henck.

15 Responses to “The Sheital and her Tichel”

  1. Anonymous October 24, 2006 at 11:23 #

    I agree. I think sheitels are ridiculous and defeat the object entirely. As someone who covers her hair (and wears jeans), I’d like to say for me its not about modesty. Nowadays, in non-haredi circles, I don’t think that uncovered hair is seen as immodest. For me its a sign that I’m married. Just like my husbands wedding ring. So my hair sticks out, sometimes alot. But in public, its always covered.

    However, in a long discussion with my Haredi, $1000-sheital-wearing cousin, we realised something. Covering ones hair when you get married is really hard. Its hot and annoying. If we have to do it (which I think we do, as it is a law from the Torah) then maybe its better that each woman does it in a way that makes her feel most comfortable. For me its a bandana or a baseball cap. For her its an expensive sheital. At least we are both keeping the Mitzva (commandment).

    But yes, I think sheitals, especially beautiful $1000 ones made of real hair, are ridiculous!!

  2. Dot Co Dot Il October 24, 2006 at 13:33 #

    Superb post.

  3. Anonymous October 24, 2006 at 14:06 #

    i think that two years ago when the whole broohaha about indian hair in the wigs came about they should have assured the wigs.
    in the sfaradi communities- wigs are assur. they defeat the purpose for covering hair. but the ultra charedi’s that shave their heads- its b/c they dont want a separation between their bodies and the water in the mikvah. plus those wearing the wigs and scarves- its b/c in case the wigs are assur … they are also wearing scarves.

  4. channahboo October 25, 2006 at 17:38 #

    OMG!!! What are we doing this for?

  5. DolceVita October 27, 2006 at 15:56 #

    my mother wore sheitels for a couple of years when she was following in my fathers super frum ways…anyway eventually she got so sick of it that she told my father to go and stuff the sheitel where the sun dont shine and that she refused for the love of god to ever wear one again and burned them…good for her!…those things kreep me out anyway, always looks like a dead cat to me….

  6. Deborah Shaya December 31, 2007 at 22:02 #

    Hair Coverings – It is time to UnCover
    I am writing to raise a simple and very important question:
    Where is the codified Halacha that a married woman must cover all her hair, all the time, whenever she steps out of her house, whether it is summer or winter?
    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 totally misinterpreted, and in fact, relates ONLY to a married woman covering her hair when she lights the candles to welcome in Shabbat and Yom Tov – lechavod Shabbat ve Yom Tov.
    Therefore, for religious men/women to impose hair coverings on other women, whenever they step out of their houses is against the Torah. This misinterpretation of the Torah is completely ASSUR, and a twisting of the Torah.
    In ancient times, a woman would only cover her hair upon entering the Beit Hamikdash. Similarly for the Sotah – otherwise she would not cover her hair ordinarily, day to day.
    If a Rebbetzin is reading this, I bet you don’t like covering your hair, especially not in the hot sunshine.
    I could quote exactly the same arguments back to the Rabbis and Rebbetzins, and all those who blindly follow them like sheep, as to why men should cover their hair – FULLY, upon marriage – a man would look completely ‘modest’ keeping himself ‘pure’ from the looks of other single women. His wife would no longer be worried about other single women, and could breathe a sigh of relief, as her husband would be completely covered up!
    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 against the Torah.
    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. Firstly, it will contain the leftover dead hair cells from another person – however much it has been treated, the tumah is still there.
    Secondly, 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.
    Thirdly, 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 – clearly strictly against the Torah.
    Don’t the Rabbis and Rebbetzins feel ill at the realisation of what they are making other Jewish women endure? Men have degraded women in order to suit their own sexual desires and needs. Some men actually prefer to see their wives in wigs because they look more sexually attractive to them than their real hair.
    There is nothing more degrading and demeaning to a woman than to make her cover her hair upon marriage. Frankly it is an abhorrent practice. By quoting feeble arguments like ‘Tzniut’ – ‘Modesty’ not backed up by clear Halacha, the Rabbis and Rebbetzins are making a complete mockery of the Torah, and all the good values that they stand for.
    It is extremely unhealthy and unhygienic for a woman to cover her hair constantly. The hair needs oxygen to breathe.
    In addition, hair covering is a form of oppression to women by men, and doing so, can undoubtedly cause a certain type of depression in women, once their hair is covered so permanently for life.
    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.
    The Goyim also look at us in disgust when they know that Jewish women cover their hair and wear wigs. They think that we are going against all the light and the beautiful principles that we, Am Yisrael, brought into the world.
    And therefore, for a woman to start doing this nonsensical act of covering her hair, all the time, in all seasons and temperatures, is against the Torah, and is also a form of Chillul Hashem. Exactly the opposite of all the arguments put forward for this unnecessary sacrifice. For a married woman to cover her hair is a Chillul Hashem, and is in no way, a Kiddush Hashem.
    It is also against all common sense, apart from anything else, otherwise why would Hashem have created women with hair on their heads in the first place?
    Please think about all that I have said above. As there is no halachah for a married woman to constantly cover her hair once she steps out of her house, the women reading this should have the intelligence and moral strength of character to join together and remove their hair coverings.
    It is totally wrong for any married woman to be covering her hair constantly, ( e.g especially in the hot summer), when she steps out of her house. This is a misrepresentation and twisting of the Torah.
    For a woman to cover her hair with real hair is to cover herself with complete Tumah, and also against the Torah. If she 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 – clearly strictly against the Torah.
    I would be grateful to hear from other readers .
    Yours Sincerely,
    Deborah Shaya,
    London, England.
    Tel: 0208-203-0134.

  7. MrsCNLee December 22, 2008 at 10:06 #

    wow! small world. im a tulsa-living, head covering, married to an asian man, Christian. yes we’re not twins or anything but frighteningly similar!
    im not a fan of sheitels, either. i chose to wear mainly wide headbands, as long as they are wide enough to cover my crown, bandanas or scarves. but i do believe it’s the intent that counts the most.
    shalom!

  8. Deborah Shaya December 13, 2009 at 21:16 #

    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. When the Halachah refers to "Covering hair," it does not mean "Cover your hair with hair!" and "constantly for life." The Halachah is that:

    A married woman is required to cover her hair when:

    (1) she lights the candles to welcome in Shabbat and Yom Tov – lechavod Shabbat ve Yom Tov, and

    (2) when she goes to the Synagogue, because that is the place of Kedusha.

    The Halacha does not require anything more from married women. This is the true interpretation of the Halacha.

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

  9. Deborah Shaya December 13, 2009 at 21:19 #

    1. To all the women who are wondering about the sources:

    We have all been created, "Betselem Elokim" – "in the image of Elokim."

    This means that we have been given something called "intelligence." The source is the very first Parsha, Bereishit – 1:27. It is time that people use the spark of intelligence and Kedusha with which Hashem has blessed them.

    If your rabbi will tell you to go and jump into the depths of a glacier, presumably you would do that too – and give me a source for it?

    “According to the Zohar”, I should also be covering my hair with a wig when I have a bath. “According to the Zohar and the Gemara” and all the sources that have misinterpreted the Halachah, and MIStranslated the Zohar, I should also have been born with a WIG on my head.

    These sources and translations are incorrect, as they have deviated very far from the true and correct interpretation, of the Halachah.

    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 stockings, 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 -"la perruque"- were merely a fashion item in the time of Louis XIV-they are not for the Jewish woman!

    Rabbi Menachem Schneeersohn tz”l, 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.

  10. Deborah Shaya December 13, 2009 at 21:22 #

    2.Remember that the Jewish women are very, very holy. They are much more holy than the men. Look at the exemplary behaviour of the women at Har Sinai.

    The women never sinned at the Eigel, and so are greatly elevated. Many of the men, unfortunately, ran after a calf made out of a lump of gold – after they had just been given the Torah, and seen the greatest of all Revelations. The women refused to give their gold for the avodah zarah of the men.

    The women were greatly elevated after such a wonderful display of Emunah, and they are regarded very highly in Shamayim.

    That is why women are not even required to pray. They can pray at home on their own. Nor do women have to make up a minyan. That is how holy the Jewish women are. Men have to pray 3 times a day to remind them of their Creator.

    The men are telling the women to put the hair of a non-Jewish woman who may have eaten things like snakes and sharks and alligators, and has worshipped in churches, Buddist temples or Hindu temples : on their own Heads. They had better wake up.

    If the men don’t want to wake up to the truth, and the true interpretation of the Halacha, the women will wake them up – whether they like it or not.

    3. Many righteous women influenced their husbands for the good at the Chet Haeigel and at the time of Korach.

    It was these righteous women who succeeded in bringing their husbands back to their senses.

    And because of these great women, the lives of their husbands were saved. Those men therefore turned away from the madness of avodah zarah, and the rebellion of Korach against Hashem's choice of Aharon, as Cohen HaGadol.

  11. Deborah Shaya December 13, 2009 at 21:24 #

    4. Look at the Jewish women in history, and remember how holy they are.

    (a) Yaakov, who was the greatest of the Avot, came to marry the 2 daughters of Lavan, Rachel and Leah. Lavan was not exactly a tzaddik. Yaakov went to Lavan, of all people, to marry his 2 daughters – not 1 daughter, but his 2 daughters. Nothing could be greater than that.

    (b) Rut, who came from Moav, became the ancestor of David Hamelech.

    (c ) Batya, the daughter of Paroh, was given eternal life because she rescued Moshe from the river. No one could have been more evil than Paroh.

    (d) Devorah, was a Neviah, and also a Judge.

    Women who came from such adverse backgrounds, were able to become builders of Am Yisrael. That is how holy the women are, and how much more elevated they are than the men.

    This was never the case with men. It never happened the other way round.

    Don't tell me it is holy for me to wear a WIG! Hair over my own hair? This is ridiculous!

    Similarly, don’t tell me it is holy for me to plonk a permanent head covering on my head for the rest of my life. This is equally vile.

    Please Wake Up.

    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.

    5. Remember: 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.

    Whether you wish to accept the correction – which is true – is up to you. Are you going to live by the truth? Are you going to use the spark of intelligence that Hashem gave to you and all women? Or are you going to follow rabbis and dayanim who tell you to wear a wig in a Heat Wave – and you thank them for it as well?

  12. William Dwek December 21, 2009 at 20:34 #

    The next things the bloody rabbis" will come up with is to tell the woman to wear a CARPET on her head. Not a sheitel AND a hat, but a Carpet. Or you could go for 5 shaitels on your heads and a rug.

    And do you know what the Jewish woman will say to her husband?
    "Yes, husband! I am now wearing a carpet on my head!"

    You women must either be extremely thick, or petrified.

  13. tekoafiddler August 18, 2010 at 14:18 #

    The case for sheitals:
    The Lubavitcher Rebbe stressed that the wearing of a sheital insures parnassah (income) for your husband and that your children will be Torah scholars. The Rebbe writes that a Jewish woman wearing a sheital is immediately identified as G-d fearing. Her hair is completely covered, unlike a tichel(scarf) which can be easily removed and often slips back exposing her hair. Covering the hair has Kabbalistic significance and can affect one's sholom bayis. The mitzvah of covering hair is a very holy mitzvah and brings blessings to the home. This is the reason to do it! Wearing a tichel in the home is ok, but the Rebbe stresses that one should wear a sheital when appearing in public. As emissaries of our people, we should should look well-put- together, such as a princess would when appearing in public. A sheital serves a dual purpose of modest appearance while covering all strands of hair.

  14. tekoafiddler August 18, 2010 at 14:19 #

    The case for sheitals:
    The Lubavitcher Rebbe stressed that the wearing of a sheital insures parnassah (income) for your husband and that your children will be Torah scholars. The Rebbe writes that a Jewish woman wearing a sheital is immediately identified as G-d fearing. Her hair is completely covered, unlike a tichel(scarf) which can be easily removed and often slips back exposing her hair. Covering the hair has Kabbalistic significance and can affect one's sholom bayis. The mitzvah of covering hair is a very holy mitzvah and brings blessings to the home. This is the reason to do it! Wearing a tichel in the home is ok, but the Rebbe stresses that one should wear a sheital when appearing in public. As emissaries of our people, we should should look well-put- together, such as a princess would when appearing in public. A sheital serves a dual purpose of modest appearance while covering all strands of hair.

  15. The Ginrod August 18, 2010 at 14:31 #

    Dear Tekoa Fiddler,

    Please explain:

    What you mean by "Kabbalistic significance and can affect one's sholom bayis."

    why is it a holy mitzvah?

    & Do you only believe a woman looks well put together if she wears a wig?
    (trust me, women with sheitals do not look like princesses, and should not look like a princess if she is preserving her hair for her husband)

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