Tag Archives: sheitel

Minhag HaMakom – Modest Dress and Hair Covering

Literally “the custom of the place”. I think this is the Jewish equivalent of “when in Rome do as the Romans do”.

Can we apply this to dressing modestly and hair covering? If you are married and don’t cover your hair, and perhaps dress more modern that your chareidi (ultra religious) cousins – if you go to a chareidi  event like a barmitzvah or wedding – will you make an extra effort to blend in by dressing appropriately? If you know that 95% of the women there are wearing hats or wigs, will you cover you hair too out of respect? Do you think this is asking too much?

When I go to the boys’ yeshiva I always dress more covered up than I usually do. I make sure I have sleeves to my wrists, my skirt is way past my knees and I don’t go in bare legged. Even though I might dress differently outside, when I visit the school I am respectful of their sensibilities. Some people say this is hypocritical. I say it is common courtesy. What do you say?

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Sheitels

Those of you who wear sheitels – which do you wear? Synthetic? Custom? Human? Blend? How much is the most you have ever paid? I am wishing I could afford a custom human hair wig that looks more natural than anything I have ever worn. Ethically, I am opposed to spending so much money on a wig, but practically I know that the $1500 US wig will last for years if I take good care of it. The most I ever spent was $500 CDN on a great synthetic sheitel.

So sheitel wearers, let me know your experiences, and whether it is even worthwhile considering making such a huge purchase.

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Please tell me why?

sassywigWhile shopping today, there was a lady wearing a beautiful blond pony-tailed sheitel. It was obvious to me that she had black hair underneath as it wasn’t tucked in that well. The lady turned around. Her wig, her wig had been made with black roots showing through, much like the wig in this picture. Somebody went out and bought a blond wig with black roots showing through. What on earth could possibly be the point of that? if I wanted to go blonde (and I have been blonde on many occasions) I would rock a totally blonde wig. The beauty of a wig is to NOT have to deal with roots growing through your expensive bleach job.

Can anyone explain this to me???

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Hair Covering Revisited

I have recently (in the last few months) begun to cover my hair full time again, and have been asked by several people why I am doing so when not too long ago I was vehemently opposed. It’s a fair question and I will attempt to answer it here.


When I married I didn’t want to cover my hair, I just did it because it was asked of me. Almost every time I covered it I felt like I was putting shackles on. I never researched it, never wanted to understand the reasons why. I just went along with the flow – shalom bayit (peace in the home), y’know? At the time that I uncovered my hair, about 10 days after receiving my Get, I did so after a lot of conscious thought and reflection. It wasn’t a case of “so sad too bad”! Yes, some people around me were shocked and didn’t understand and some people went as far as to assume that it meant I threw away religion in totality. Not so. Those very close to me were not surprised. The way I looked at it then, was as follows: when a person God forbid passes away we rip our clothes, we sit shiva and observe a period of mourning, and we take physical things upon ourselves for the year to remind us of our loss – no music, men don’t shave etc. My Get happened mere weeks after we separated. I was in so much deep pain and suffering and at that time, I needed, for myself, to physically show signs of my grief (other than crying all day long wherever I was – that gets old quickly), to work through the grief and the pain and the anguish and all of that. It was never about “not married any more so who needs to cover their hair, I am doing what I want”. I needed to do it to help heal my spirit. I needed to show myself and the world that I was not the same person I was when I was married.


By the time the recent barmitzvah preparations were in full swing and Lenny asked that I wear a sheitel (wig) and not a hat, I had to do some tremendous soul searching. Of course the fact that he reminded me that I had told him this was HIS day, and was about HIM and no one else – that put more pressure. (I hate when they actually listen to what I say!) He said he would be “ok” if I wore a hat, but would prefer me to wear a sheitel.

Standing there, on the day of the barmitzvah, watching my son do his bit, my heart swelling with enormous pride and love and gratitude to G-d, I knew I had come full circle. I knew my mourning was very much over. I let go of the past, of the pain, of the anger and bitterness. That day marked Lenny’s barmitzvah but also in some ways my rebirth.


I now cover my hair on my terms, because it is what I feel is right for where I am in life. No one is forcing me to do it. I can find countless heterim (dispensations) that allow me to keep it uncovered. But the aveilut (mourning) is over. My life has been returned to me in many ways, in so many wonderful ways. Life is good. Life is BH amazing. I have 4 kids who are so wonderful and good and generous and loving, I have a new job that I love, I have friends and community around me that have literally pulled me through these last few years – we have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, I pay some bills every month, and I am still young. I have so much. G-d has blessed me with more than I could ever have dreamed about. Not too long ago I thought I was going to die from the pain. But Hashem (God) and his shlichim (messengers) didn’t let me give up – and look where they brought me to today? Such a huge gift.

I guess I am big into symbolism, and I had to do what I needed to do for me to get through the last few years. Now I am ready to get on with my life, to find myself a worthy man, one who understands my journey and accepts it, but also one religious enough that he gets the symbolism of hair covering and would expect it of his wife.

Going Barmy with the Barmitzvah

My eldest child is soon to be barmitzvahed. I am still in denial that I hit my thirties quite a while ago, so the idea that my oldest is going to be 13 has taken me by surprise. Talk about a kick in the posterior with a pointy shoe. Many shabbatot this past year have been spent attending barmitzvot of all his friends, and taking mental notes what I want at his barmitzvah and what I don’t want. Of course, then there is what he wants, and really, as a 12 year old with no money and experience and life skills to contribute to the endeavour, all he really needs to do is read his parshah and wear his suit and allow the elderly female relatives to kiss him and pinch his cheek. Obviously his mother won’t be kissing him because that would just be too majorly embarrassing. Euw, Ima……

 

He is to become a man. Now, isn’t that interesting phraseology.  Becoming a man. From one day to the next. He goes to sleep a boy and wakes up as a man. Halachically it may be so. He becomes responsible for his mitzvot and aveirot, and his father and I no longer have to suffer the spiritual consequences if he makes a wrong move. (not that he would, for of course he is the perfect child….). I have also been informed that once he has turned 13 he no longer HAS to listen to me. Trust me kid, if you want to be fed and clothed and nurtured and taken care of, and have a peaceful family life, and have access to batteries, you will remember who it is who does everything for you and you will listen to me, even though you don’t have to, geddit?!  So this man that he becomes – do 13 year old boys grow a responsibility gene overnight? Where is the microchip implanted? Can we do a pre-emptive implant in the others so that their prepubescent years won’t be so bad?  They become teenagers not men – there is a huge difference between the two.

 

13 and they know everything – and apparently it only gets worse! He wants to feel that he has some control over the whole barmitzvah process, and we all know that in reality he doesn’t. In a previous post I talked about the whole head covering thing. My son asked that for the barmitzvah I wear a sheitel. Initially I said “why don’t I wear a hat, a huge hat, with huge feathers, that will cover my hair – it serves the purpose” – but I guess that would be immodest of me, as in our shul that would draw tremendous attention. (not that that would necessarily be a bad thing) And, that would make it about me, not about the barmy boy and it would totally have embarrassed him (so tempted). So off I trotted and plunked down an obscene amount of money for a furry thing to wear on my head because it would make my son happy. He liked my choice. It happens to look good, btw, but I feel it could be a step back onto the slippery slope of head covering. Shock horror!

 

Cue the outfit. Now for you of the male species out there, you wear a suit, a shirt and a tie and you are done. If you want to go fancy you wear French cuffs with fancy cufflinks. Big whoop! No need to think of colour schemes, of matching shoes and purses, what kind of panty hose you have to wear with that skirt so none of your “topographical pregnancy souvenirs” show up to steal attention. I am flamboyant, I like to make statements with my mode of dress, I don’t fade into the background, and I very rarely dress conservatively. When I do my friends don’t recognize me. I like who I am and I make no apologies. So there! My son is almost 13. Everything I do has the potential to embarrass him. I have to remind myself that the BM is about him not me, so flamboyance and embarrassment are not really an option here BUT I don’t want to lose who I am in making my son happy. Luckily, being a woman, there are plenty of options available in fashion that bridge the gap between what he wants and what I want, tho thankfully neither of us wanted me to wear a burka. I found an outfit that pleases both of us. It would please G-d too, if I may presume. It covers everything it is supposed to cover, hides the stuff I want hidden, isn’t black, isn’t a sinful red, is classy and elegant, AND I can wear gold shoes with it (of course it’s about the shoes!! Duh!! I am woman, see my shoes).

 

The other kids are a hoot – “do we really have to wear monkey suits?” So I told them it was a choice between a suit and a dress and seeing as they are male people, they very wisely chose suits. I talked about colour coordinating the waistcoats in jewel tones – somehow I lost them. I don’t get it!

 

Its amazing how one milestone takes over everything. Most conversations these days around the dinner table have at least ten references to the barmitzvah. My barmitzvah note book is overflowing with lists and scraps of paper. Planning this thing is like a military operation. But at least there is no opposition to fight with – not like we are planning a wedding or anything!

 

I know that as soon as this BM is over, and all the wanted guests go home (and hopefully the unwanted ones too…) I cannot sit back on my laurels and have a self congratulatory love fest. Nope. See, when you have kids close in age, there is no rest. BM #2 is 13 months after #1. But son #2 is quite happy at not being first – “You can make all the planning mistakes with my brother, so by the time it’s my barmitzvah it will all be perfect”. Cannot fault his logic, now, can you? Makes me wonder what mistakes we have actually made in son #1s lifetime that gave #2 this insight……

 

Well, I guess the upside of this all is that the kid feels the centre of the universe for a moment in time, and the memories he has will last him a lifetime. They’d better, the amount of effort that’s going into this! Now where did I put my list of lists?