To Cover or Not to Cover: In Response

Library - 1779The crazy thing about a blog is you kind of don’t really expect people to read it. The other thing is, just like life — it’s always a work in progress.

My last post on hair covering got enormous response. To say the least — I did not expect it.  It made me think about everything even more than I had before, and opened up conversation to many others. I didn’t include Torah sources for a reason. This is everyone’s own individual journey.

The post showed me that so many people were struggling with similar issues. It brought us together, we finally gained the support we needed. We shared our experiences.

I looked around and realized more of the beauty that comes with head covering, and the reasonings behind it. I feel it’s so strongly encouraged is that it unifies and uniforms the community, so when you look around you can identify others who cover their hair too. But what if you can’t even tell? Another aspect, is that it’s a reminder to the wearer that you are married and should remember your duties as a Jewish wife and representative of Am Yisroel.

A question that was brought up amongst my peers, is why does it have to be so set in stone: you cover or you don’t? We try not to “pick and choose,” but Judaism is not all or nothing. So why are people labeled– “she covers her hair with a sheitel, that means ____” or …”she doesn’t cover at all, that means she_____”, etc.

Isn’t it a mitvzah when you do, but not an avayra (sin) when you don’t?

I met someone who wore headbands to cover their hair. Not think 4-inch cloth headbands that fall off, but regular head bands. Maybe that is a good compromise. The wearer feels it, the public sees it. Nonetheless, it doesn’t say “I cover” — and it’s definitely not the norm. It still may cause a headache.

The question I have is, what if covering your hair in the manner we are “supposed” to, hurts your self-esteem? What if it hurts your marriage? Your relationship with your husband? Isn’t shalom bayit important? If we are to wear our natural hair for our husbands, isn’t our natural hair supposed to look nice? Why does our own self identity have to suffer? And like so many, what if we are caused pain, irritation and major distraction? Some people shared that they often hid to take off their hair covering for a few moments of comfort. If we are supposed to be modest about our hair, what happens when our hair is ruined along with our self identity beneath the hat or sheitel?

Do men wear their kippas to work? If so — why or why not? Or shaking hands in the workplace with the opposite sex: Do we just ask a Rabbi? Do we do research? Do we make up our minds without any insight? The power of the internet and social media is we get to hear perspectives from all over and perhaps use the internet as a forum to help us shape our attitudes and decisions.

Is there a way to open this conversation to our generation where we can create a community of acceptance and celebration of how each person interprets their love of Torah in their own way?

I am not giving up. We as humans never give up. We are always trying to figure ourselves out.

These are questions that must be discussed.

To question, is to grow.

In response to this post


About inmyroots

Aspiring Success.
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5 Responses to To Cover or Not to Cover: In Response

  1. Lily says:

    Once again, well said!

    I had a negative response to MY reply to your post, actually. A “friend” saying that, because I didn’t mention Hashem in my comment, clearly I lack spirituality in my life and it says a lot about me. I was so angry and upset, I could barely formulate a reply.

    It is just SO shallow that something like covering your hair is the barometer by which we judge ALL married Jewish women in their yiddishkeit. This is the sole, single indicator (well, maybe add in wearing skirts and long sleeves, naturally) of how ‘frum’ you are, how kosher your kitchen is, and whether or not you are a good Jew. Honestly, if others think I am giving up by not covering my hair, they can think whatever they want. I know where I stand, and I am comfortable with my observance. I do not follow halacha or perform mitzvot to make others happy or to make others comfortable with my observance.

    The questions you pose about self-esteem are quite interesting. I feel a little too public and vulnerable to really answer personally here, especially after being attacked privately for my previous response. I believe that we often hear that it’s a “good thing” to struggle with a mitzvah, and even if it IS damaging, we should do it anyway, because it’s “What God wants”. I disagree. What happens when ritual observance gets to a point of being stifling and painful and too much? What happens when someone feels so suffocated that they leave Judaism, or at least Orthodox Judaism, as an escape? We often see new BTs who are “not quite there” in their observance and treat them with kindness and enthusiasm. Why is it then that someone who is “fully frum” is treated with such disgust and hatred when they find something challenging, find some mitzvah or observance they struggle with and feel “not quite there” anymore? Why is it suddenly that they may as well do NO mitzvos, simply because they struggle with one?

    Let’s just love one another no matter where we are, and quit judging people based on arbitrary outward appearances!

    I feel quite fortunate to have a rabbi who IS open to these discussions and creating an open dialog about Judaism. I sincerely hope we give up the “this is just how it’s done” shtetl attitude and open ourselves up to the present, rather than the past.

    • inmyroots says:

      Lily, YOU are an inspiration and said a lot of really important things that I am so happy are attached to this post. ‘”Let’s just love one another no matter where we are, and quit judging people based on arbitrary outward appearances!” Thank you.

      And on so many more levels, I agree. I am sorry that you got attacked by your “friend,” and I think that your friends should show you support in your decisions even if they may not “agree.” I am beyond happy at the depth you added to this discussion, and I value your own honesty. Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts! It’s everyone’s own journey.

  2. inmyroots says:

    You didn’t say that specifically, someone else on your reddit did, so I apologize. I only want this to be a discussion, not throwing things at each other, and I appreciated your feedback greatly. All the best, and thank you for reading and sharing! I will follow up once I hear from my Rabbi and if I gather more insight to the matter at hand. I can assure you I wont be giving up, and I am glad that we cleared that matter up. Again, thank you.

  3. Pingback: The Jewish Hair Covering Dilemma | In My Roots

  4. Pingback: Honesty: The Jewish Hair Covering Dilemma III | In My Roots

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