When I was a gullible little girl, my older friends played
`heads and tails' with me with pennies. They once tried this
one on me: "Heads I win, tails you lose." It didn't take long
for me to figure that one out.
I sort-of feel at the confused juncture of `Heads I win.' Is
that where we're standing now? Is it really true? Is this
decision the best for everyone?
A very long letter came through my FAX machine. I cannot
possibly give it full justice, and to be honest, I am not
certain that I wish to or feel obligated to.
The writer proposes a full switchover from the sheitel
to a cloth headcovering.
The dust from India has settled. The starlight of our sudden
self-sacrifice has dimmed and many of us are again those
Jewesses who have `synthesized' the sudden awakening and
arousal. Sure, they sacrificed their expensive human hair
wigs on the altar, but they have settled for the kosher
I imagine that among YATED readers, there is a relatively
high percentage of women who have made the full switch.
Perhaps with a bli nedder, as in my own case. Perhaps
pending the weddings and bar mitzvas of all their children,
as with our religious pace-setter Bayla Gimmel [see Parshas
Korach]. But I cannot in all honesty and respect to my dear
sisters, prescribe for everyone to make the switchover. It
has to be a well thought-out decision that takes many factors
into account. Nor would we want to look down our noses upon
our dear friends and neighbors who do not opt for that
For me, it was a relatively easy decision, although to tell
the truth, I think that halachically speaking, my
sheitel rarely had to be pulled down to hide escaping
hairs. I think one of the reasons for my switch was that,
being involved with the clothing centers, I was often being
referred to and looked up to as `rebbetzin', and felt
personally uncomfortable with that. I don't feel up to that
title; I lack the patience and so many other worthy
attributes of a rebbetzin, even though I may qualify by
virtue of being married to a great rabbincial figure. (Do you
know any rebbetzins who read a 500-page novel in two
So when this opportunity, this choice, came round, I
instinctively thought, "Well, now I can at least look the
role." And I revelled in the compliments that I subsequently
received and still get. I did not interpret them as being
esthetically complimentary, but as befitting. It's like a pat
on the back/head. So be[fit] it.
My personal feeling at the switchover perhaps simulates the
feeling of a boy turned three who is now metzuve
v'oseh and wears his kipa on a shorn head proudly
and with miniature dignity. My `new' headcovering is my
yarmulke, so to speak, my yorei m'Eloka, which
is the source of that word. I feel my hat on my head, am
aware of it, feel a stronger Shivisi Hashem lenegdi
somid, which is how it is meant to be. Indeed, it just
struck me: Shvisi -- my shvis, my headkerchief -
- is before my mind's eye...
In contrast, I look at the women who are still in
sheitels, and I cannot help feeling a wee bit sorry
for many of them. I see the hairstyles of part- in-the-middle
and the hair that keeps falling into the face (on purpose, it
is styled to do exactly that and somehow draw attention to
the wearer!), only to be brushed away every few minutes or
jerked back with an unnatural motion of the head. All these
hand and neck motions seem so involuntarily vain. Study a few
women at your next opportunity and see how much energy is
wasted just flicking away those stray fake locks. A wig
should be an accessory like an appendix is an organ. On your
head, and forgotten about.
Okay, so those are my gut sentiments. Here, then, are
excerpts from the article I received from a Mrs. Fisher: Take
it -- by all means -- or leave it -- but upgrade something
about your head fashion.
May the Shechina Rest on Your Head
excerpted from an article by Mrs. Fisher
What belongs on our head? That which will bring the Shechina
If we could delve into the negative counter-productive
consequences of placing anything connected with idol worship
on our head, G-d forbid, we would shudder. It could hamper
our level of kedusha and make it more difficult for
our prayers to be accepted. Such candid reflection would
result in a rejection of anything even faintly resembling
such a transgression, for which we are required to give our
Fortunately, Hashem compensates us for our good deeds on a
much greater level than for the opposite. Thus, it is awesome
to consider what a powerful catalyst we can become, bringing
a flow of blessing and many salvations upon ourselves, our
families... All we need to do is simply wear halachically
irrefutable head coverings.
Hashem has sent us a loud and clear message: "NOW is the time
to upgrade our level of tznius!" The unfathomable has
transpired. The far-fetched possibility of our having any
connection with avoda zora happened! It elicits a
similar shock to that of the collapse of the Twin Towers. Who
would have dreamed of such a thing? It is a message which
Hashem, in His infinite kindness, is relaying to us.
We know about Kimchis who merited exceptional children
because she excelled in tznius. Does it make sense to
use a head covering that might look like real hair? It also
certainly does not make sense to wear a head covering that
might resemble something related to avoda zora. We
must distance ourselves from maris ayin. [Ed. And no
one can deny that people from the secular world suddenly
realized how many religious women were actually wearing wigs,
when they had to replace them!]
Hashem has granted us the gift of recent events which have
served to function similarly to the ring that Achashverosh
gave to Haman, which brought us back to proper Torah
observance. This could be one of the best things that ever
happened to you in your life. With Hashem's help, you will
see much blessing in it.
Should your husband object, you could: 1) leave around
some literature on the topic, 2) consult with a Rov on a way
to influence him, 3) go shopping with him for a suitable head
covering, 4) bring home a selection for him to choose
[We cannot ignore the fact that] a major cause of the Churbon
was that Jewish women conducted themselves haughtily and with
a lack of modesty, as Hanovi Yeshaya notes.
Oh, how truly uplifted and beautiful these Jewish faces look
with a new, refined `frame'. May they all merit to be granted
beautiful families. You can literally see the Shechina
resting on them. What a merit. What a pleasure to behold.
May we all merit to perceive the true intent of the
mitzva of head covering. May we all merit the inherent
blessings that come when the Shechina is present. May this
tznius improvement result in the arrival of Moshiach,
speedily in our day. Amen.