24 December 2006

On Hair Care and Peeking Rabbis...

A couple weeks ago, I was sheitel-shopping with "Dina", a friend of mine who, several months ago, completed her Orthodox conversion. We've known each other since my days in the egalitarian minyan that we have since both outgrown.

We had discussed the topic of hair-covering on several occasions. I have always relied comfortably on my "tefach" rule, even when wearing a fall, hat or tichel. She informed me that the rabbi with whom she was completing the conversion under told her that it was only a "leniency" and to not fall into our "community" standards (meaning the school that our mutual children attend as opposed to the Orthodox community as a whole). In fact, she was "not permitted" to follow that leniency. She had not completed the conversion yet and I suggested that she refer the issue to the rabbi of the congregation that they plan on joining since that will be "their community".

Back to the sheitel...she's had difficulty with the idea of covering hair with more hair. She understands hats and even scarves. They show that hair is covered. She was also put off by the high cost of this "preferred" hair covering of Rabbi N. (Hats are problematic because some hair can still show by the earlobes.) She admired the fall that I was wearing to her house on a recent Shabbat and asked where I bought it. When I admitted to skipping the sheitel machers in favor of wig stores, she was interested. I got this idea from my friend "Shoshana". She never pays than $40 for a sheitel. She figures that she can wash most synthetics in her sink and when the hair falls out, just buy a new one. [If enough would do this, it would collaspe the sheitel macher trade...]

We went to the store that I like to go to and she selected a few to try on. She found one that had an interesting coloring, in fact the "roots" matched her own hair, which showed a little bit on the other side of the hairband. She said the Rabbi N would not approve of it because 1) her hair is showing and 2) it's longer than shoulder length, by 2 inches. It was not, by any definition, a "Hot Chanie" look. She's over 40 and quite comfortable about it. [Happy note...she bought it anyway.]

I left the store very bothered. First of all, why is this rabbi spending so much time worrying about her "tefach"? Should he be paying attention to another woman's hair? I felt that he should only concern himself with his wife's tefach. CYP and I have taken to calling him "Rabbi Tapemeasure". It's creepy to think that someone would be looking at me trying to decide how much is my own hair and how much is the sheitel.

Tznuit is not the root of our problems today. However, this is not what is taught in charedi schools. A tour of the yeshivish school that has not (yet) banned TV and Internet as a "rule" two years ago showed a large display of paper-cut silouettes of girls. Inside each one, there was some snippets about being a good "bas yisroel". These "gems" included requirements about black knee socks, no pants, and long sleeves. What about good middot?

Actually, I think our problem today is worrying too much about tznuit and fearing that hair falling from the sheitel could only mean that cleavage is not so far behind.


  1. If my sheitel is going bald, then my sweater is going threadbare next?? LOL

    I wanna know which R'N you're talking about. I think I know, but I could be wrong.

  2. No, you're right! I am withholding his full identity to protect him.

  3. "Hot Chanies" LOL! Ah, the things I don't have to worry about here in the Galut of Galut. ;) I was brazen CYM... I went to a Baddie event with no hair covering and in pants. RML was more talkative to me than ever before. Hmmm... ;)

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