While many women are waiting to see what to do with their wigs, most are replacing them temporarily with snoods and berets.
It's amazing how cycles of fashion occur naturally, with most of us not realizing that thirty to forty years ago in the U.S., most chareidi women covered their hair with snoods, berets and tichels.
It's only been the last ten to fifteen years that custom human hair wigs have come into popular prominence. Many years ago, black snoods were unheard of. We had snoods and berets to match all our outfits -- pastel colors in summer and deeper shades of browns and blues for the rest of the year.
Colorful hats looking like lamp shades were also in vogue back then and were carefully chosen to coordinate colors.
My mother-in-law o.b.m., needing to use her fingers for therapy, crocheted dozens of berets for me, using thin cotton thread and also heavier yarn. She used a 10 inch plate for a pattern and when it was covered, she knew it would fit my head. I greatly appreciated my rich wardrobe of berets and snoods.
About 20 years ago, we heard about imported synthetic wigs that cost around $20 each and everyone bought several of them in a variety of shapes and colors. I remember feeling very rich then. When I moved to Jerusalem, I brought along at least six synthetic wigs.
When my supply ran out and I found out that synthetic wigs were sold here for 350 shekel, I only wore those which were easy to care for. I washed them myself, brushed them and was pleased. About four years ago, I succumbed. After all, why shouldn't I wear a human hair wig if everyone has one?
During the past two weeks, I was happy to go to my top shelf and take down two of my old favorite wigs that I couldn't throw out a few years ago, and now I am waiting anxiously for the ruling on my human hair wigs.
A Kiddush Hashem
by Raizel Foner
"Hadlakat Peiot B'shaa Shmone!" announced the boy with a speaker, riding up and down the streets on his bike.
We're used to hearing the time of Hadlakat nierot in Kiryat Sefer, but who ever heard of Hadlakat Peiot? My neighbor called it Isru Chag Lag B'Omer, and sure enough, four days after Lag B'Omer, a bonfire built from cardboard boxes and a few pieces of broken wooden furniture -- after all, there weren't many combustibles left around anymore -- was ready for the big event.
One woman brought four sheitels, another sent two, yet another brought eight, donated from neighbors. As the flames rose heavenwards, the spectators shared their thoughts.
"The picture, as I see it," one began, "is of prosecuting angels complaining to Hashem, "Why do you love Am Yisroel so much? Here, look at these thousands of women in India who grow their hair long, then cut it off for their pagan worship. That's some self-sacrifice!"
Just then, a flurry of glowing orange sparks from a bonfire appears before the Heavenly Throne. "See the sacrifice of My daughters? See how they destroy that which I detest?" Hashem replies.
The bystanders nod. "Quite so. Denouncing idolatry has the merit of keeping the entire Torah."
One woman confides, "My mother lives in a community in England where leaving the house without a sheitel was considered almost like walking outside in pajamas. Once the problem was raised, however, everyone went out in tichels."
"On the bus to Bnei Brak," someone else noted, "all the women were wearing snoods, even women who always wore wigs."
"It's a big Kiddush Hashem. In the post office, Kupat Cholim -- all the clerks are wearing snoods. All the teachers either switched to synthetics or are wearing snoods, as well. It made a tremendous impression upon the girls."
The problem has not yet been resolved, but compared to the nisyonos of other generations, like getting fired every Friday or being sent to Siberia for teaching children Torah, our sacrifice is pretty cushy. Still, it is an amazing merit to have the opportunity of divesting ourselves of idolatry. May our efforts hasten the Geula!
[May we be at the Head, may we set our standards of fashion -- and not at the tail -- neither the horse's tail...]