The other day I received this email from Chaviva.
So, my mom has been emailing me … about you. She had questions about whether you’re observant (the wig confused her) and now she’s asking how it’s okay to wear a wig when you can easily look hotter than you might without it. I’m not sure how to answer her, as I’ve never really looked into the halakos of sheitels because up until recently I’d always been in the camp where I sort of get where she is coming from.
Thus, I thought I’d ask you, my yiddishe mama, for a good response to my mom on the whole being frum and sheitels and it being okay. In the process, it’ll be a learning experience for me, for my mom, and probably blog fodder for you 🙂
Chavi – I hope you direct your mom over here – I am going to try to explain…although this is an age old discussion….
This is an excellent question and raises an important discussion topic. I have often felt that some of the wigs worn nowadays (yes, mine included) defeat the whole purpose of tzniut (modesty) and kisui rosh (hair covering). I have, in the past, criticized those who wore awesome looking human hair wigs that totally looked unwiglike.
Then I bought myself one of them as I was so sick and tired of wearing synthetics that gave me constant headaches. Suddenly, covering my hair was a pleasure instead of a chore. Suddenly I wanted to cover my hair with my wig because I felt good in it.
In the community where I lived it was more common and accepted for married women to wear wigs. When I first joined that community, upon my first marriage, in order to fit in, I purchased my first wig. No one in my family had ever covered their hair before, let alone wore wigs. I desperately wanted to fit in to my new community. But I hated wearing it. I kept it for special occasions.
Over the years, whenever I got dressed up, I would wear a wig. I never felt, personally, that my outfit was complete if I was wearing just a hat or a headscarf. Now, when I hang out in my denim skirts and tees, I wear a bandanna or a mitpachat, or my braided tichels.
After my divorce, I uncovered my hair. It was something I did for myself. Read more about that here. I had many long talks with my Rebbetzin about hair covering and the whys and wherefores. She explained to me one time, that part of covering our hair when we are married is to remind US that we are married, not just to show everyone else that we are taken. When we have a hair covering on our head it makes us think twice before we do something we shouldn’t do.
The wigs that are worn these days by many of us, yes, they do kind of defeat the purpose. But nowhere does it say that we have to look ugly or less attractive just because we are married. I like to know I look pretty – not just for my husband, but for ME, for my own feelings of self worth. But I don’t know of one husband who wants to run his hands through his wife’s wig because it is so gorgeous. The real hair wins every time on that score. (My KoD says I look hotter without the sheitel, just FYI).
So to answer Mom’s question – is it ok? I don’t know. Is it done? Absolutely. Does that make it right? Hmmm.
If anyone else wants to chime in, go right ahead.