Monday, September 10, 2007

The War of the Snoods--Part #1--some background for the combatants

Once upon a time in a land close by a wicked war was raging. The opponents on both sides were weary but neither side would consider giving in an inch. Historians would name this confrontation "The War of the Snoods." One one side were the "anti-ugliness-ists." On the other side were the "Shaitlach-are-torture-ists." Neutral but stuck in the middle of the tempest were the "it's-not-my-business-ists."

Okay, it's not much of a fairy tale, but the "war" really does rage. I was on a different blog the other day and I ran across a comment, posted by a male, about snoods that had me blinking--"snoods are responsible for the high rate of divorce. A man marries a woman with a full head of hair and then he ends up with a 'shmate head.'"

So what are the facts? Married women are supposed to wear their own hair covered. I am not getting into a halachic brangle here about how much, can any show etc. Let's just accept covered. One of the reasons for covering the hair is because a woman's hair is highly tempting to a man. So this is a tsnius issue. Married women are reserved for their husbands, ergo no uncovered hair in public. Another reason is so that a married woman can make a brocha or answer "amen" to a brocha.

Far back in recorded history we have evidence that women--and men--wore wigs. Wigs are not a new invention. But shaitlach ARE a relatively new invention. Wait a minute, you say. A shaitle is a wig. Nope, it is not. A shaitle is a fairly new option for Jewish women to use in covering their hair.

Let's jump back in time to pre-World War II Europe. (And to any men who are reading this posting and whose eyes are about to roll up in their heads, please keep in mind that you started the "war" and you need this information.) It was a time when yiddishkeit was flowering. Gazillions of frum people, so the women must have covered their hair. Yes, they did, but the majority did not wear shaitlach. My mother's recollection was that the German Jewish women first started the modern custom of shaitlach. Of course, they had absolutely no relationship to shaitlach today. They were, in most cases, made out of horse hair. A few were made out of wool. (My mother remembers seeing as a child a shaitle carved out of wood to look like hair and then stained. What did those women do? Nail the shaitle on?) They were severely styled, fit the head like a close cap, and everyone wore the same style. I know, I am priveleged to have a picture of one of my grandmothers and she is wearing this shaitle. I also have a picture of a sheva brochos and every woman present is wearing the same shaitle.

My great grandmother was not sure she wanted my grandmother as a shidduch for my grandfather as she had discovered that my grandmother intended to wear a shaitle. This was just a bit too modern. She gave in when a compromise was reached. My grandmother would wear the shaitle on Shabbos day and Yom Tov, but the rest of the time she would cover her hair the "right" way. (I cannot say for certain but it makes logical sense that the custom among chassidishe women of wearing a shaitle with a hat or turban covering it probably came about for the same reasons that my great grandmother had--the shaitle alone was too modern so it got covered as a compromise.)

So what was the "right" way? The right way was with what was called a "shtern tichel." It was a scarf that came all the way down on the forehead--the "shtern" in yiddish--and completely covered the rest of the head. I have a picture of my great grandmother wearing this shtern tichel. If you look at pictures taking during the Shoah you will see hundreds of other women wearing the same type tichel. To "fancy up" this tichel, on Shabbos some women wore a tiara type of ornament on top of the tichel. Some women also wore turbans.

It is highly likely that our Imahos wore their hair covered, and that what they covered their hair with was a "shmate." I very sincerely doubt that Sarah Imainu wore a shaitle. (And Avraham Avinu thought she was beautiful, both inside and out.) Given extant carvings of the biblical time period, the coverings were similar to long mantillas or the type of veils seen today being worn by Hindi women and Muslim women. It wasn't just Jewish women who were wearing this type of hair covering.

Cloth hair coverings have come in and out of general style for centuries. During the 1920s "flappers" wore cloches, a type of fitted hat that covered the hair. The style caught on and everyone then wore them. In England and France and the "civilized" countries of Europe, during the 16th to 18th century "matrons"--married women--wore turbans to fancy affairs, some with feathers on them, some with jeweled pins, to designate that they were married women. They also had a variety of hats and "shmates" that they wore during the day time. Even single women wore hats during the day time. Look at some of the portraits of women in America from Revolutionary times--the married ones are wearing lace caps (known as mob caps). In the 1950s and 60's hats were a valued fashion accessory for daytime wear, and were worn by both married and single women. There were also special "evening" hats. Berets have also been worn one and off for centuries. Chasidishe men might be interested to know that the shtraimlach they wear today were not just a copy of a man's fashion look in Europe--women wore hats identical to today's shtraimel. What we see is that "shmates" have been used to cover women's hair, both in Klal and out, almost since the beginning of time.

Therefore, snoods are not all that modern as a hair covering. Jewish women have been wearing tichlach of all kinds for a long time. It is shaitlach that are the modern adaptation. With what a frum woman covers her hair is not a matter of halacha--since the covering is what is halachically mandated--but a question of style and custom. And usually men do not mix into women's style issues. Why the exception when it comes to hair coverings?

So, go ahead, venture a guess, venture a few guesses as to why young men are so anti-tichel. I'm sure that a few of the reasons you will think of will be shared by all. But there are more then a few that don't get openly discussed, which of course I will raise. I'll tell you what I think in the next posting.


Deborah Shaya said...

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.

Deborah Shaya said...

In ancient times, a woman would only cover her hair upon entering the Beit Hamikdash.Similarly for the Sotah-otherwise she would not be required to cover her hair ordinarily, day to day.

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 totally against the Torah.

Nothing could be more nonsensical than for a Jewish woman to cover her hair with someone else's hair -who was not Jewish as well!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.

1.It will contain the leftover dead hair cells from another person - however much it has been treated, the tumah is still there.

2.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.

3.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. This is clearly strictly against the Torah.

There is nothing more degrading and demeaning to a woman than to make her cover her hair FOR LIFE upon marriage.It is an abhorrent practice.

Deborah Shaya said...

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.

It is extremely unhealthy and unhygienic for a woman to cover her hair constantly.The hair needs oxygen to breathe.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.Was Chava created with a wig? Of course not! Did she start wearing a wig? Of course not!

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.

Deborah Shaya said...

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.

Deborah Shaya said...

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.

Deborah Shaya said...

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?

William Dwek said...

The next things the ‘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.

blazers for women said...

Nice post love reading it

Leather jacket women

Womens Leather Biker Jacket