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Head Covering For Married Orthodox Women: Wig Or Scarf?

Orthodox Jewish Women wearing Tichels (Headscarves)

Copyright: Peter van der Sluijs

Why Wearing A Scarf Is The Only Way To Observe Halachah

Editor’s note: Ana is a young Portuguese woman who feels that God has been calling her to Judaism and she is currently undergoing an orthodox conversion. She is what we call “gerat tzedek“, a righteous convert and we are commanded to listen to those like her as they may be more righteous than the most righteous among us. Below is her perspective on the issue of modesty as expressed through the choice of head coverings for married women in Judaism. I hope you will learn something from her passion for the subject. Ana’s column is below. Enjoy!

Everyone knows that one of the most intimate and personal decisions in the life of a Jewish woman is when she marries and decides to take upon herself new Tzniut (modesty) aspects in her life, namely covering her hair, reserving it for her Husband.

This is one of the most controversial and emotional decisions for many women, many will protest this and a many others will find non-conventional approaches to head covering. Why is this issue so controversial? We know observing men cover their heads pretty much since they were children and yet when it comes to female head covering it’s impossible to talk about it without Gender Politics coming into play.


Why is it important to cover your hair as a married woman? It’s important to be modest and keep certain things for your partner exclusively. Also, a Jewish woman’s actions reflect on the health and sanctity of her household. It is important to note that according to the Halacha when you are in the presence of your husband, should your head be uncovered, he cannot pray in front of you. There’s also a far more spiritual reason for covering your hair. It is said by many Rabbis/ Rebbetzins (rabbis’ wives) that it preserves your female energy and directs it to good use.

Yet many liberal women will claim it is oppressive, when in fact it protects you from the Male Gaze in many instances and reduces lust in society overall. It is also a way to honor your family…. why am I mentioning this? Because many Orthodox Jewish women decided to wear a Sheitel (wig) instead of a Tichel (kerchief, headscarf). Why is this relevant? Because wearing a Sheitel can actually be worse than wearing nothing at all. I’ll explain.

Sheitels are not modest, they do not fulfil the Halachic requirements for head covering and modesty… some can even look better than your natural hair, thus defeating the purpose of covering it altogether…. furthermore, and this is the main issue at hand,  IT IS NOT KOSHER no matter however much the retailer tries to tell you that it is. It’s a scam. They’re scamming you for thousands and thousands of dollars, selling you a product that not only doesn’t help you keeping your mitzvoth (commandments), it actually makes you break many Laws in the Torah.

Tichels are more breathable and natural to wear so I don’t get why anyone would want to wear a wig made of someone else’s hair in the first place.

Now here comes the trickiest and worst part of all in this Sheitel Vs Tichel Debate… by using / buying a Sheitel you’re committing Avoda Zara (idol worship). That’s right, your wig, your hair is Avoda Zara.  So not only are you not meeting modesty requirements, you’re making your situation worse by using byproducts of Idolatry.

How do I know that? The sources of your wig’s hair are very shady, even when they have those “Kosher” Certificates.

Where those Sheitel hair come from?


-Sheitel Hair comes from Dead people ( in many countries where people are poor they will harvest dead body’s hair)–Not Kosher– Far worse if you are married with someone from a Kohen (priesthood) lineage (Cohanim are forbidden contact with dead bodies or body parts for purity reasons)


-Sheitel Hair Comes from abusive “poacher-like” dealers, who will target people, cut their hair against their will to sell


-Sheitel Hair comes from Sacrifices to Pagan Idols, specially in the case of Hindus, with some of it sold directly by their worship temples and others harvested from sewers, rivers, etc.


-By Buying/Using Sheitels you are committing Avoda Zara, so you should burn all your wigs no matter how expensive they were.


 To Sum up Why It’s not Ok To wear a Sheitel:


– It doesn’t meet modesty requirements

– It may come from dead people


-It comes from human traffic

– It’s Avoda Zara
– Your choice impacts your nation as a whole, especially young Jewish women, and your own children.

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