Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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14 Kislev 5769 - December 11, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Eliashiv: "Those Who Wear Immodest Shaitels Transgress Das Yehudis"

By Yechiel Sever

Rabbenu HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv shlita recently related his opinion and pain regarding the inadequate degree of modesty many of today's shaitels afford, saying ladies who wear such wigs fall below the obligation referred to by Chazal as "Das Yehudis." He also noted that many of today's shaitels do not look like wigs at all, in which case they are certainly forbidden to wear.

Jewish communities around the world have been buttressing the walls of kedushoh and tznius, both in terms of clothing and wigs in response to appeals by gedolei Yisroel shlita reiterating the obligation to improve the current state of affairs in these areas and to guard against breaches, particularly in light of the terrible tragedies that have been visited on Am Yisroel both in Eretz Hakodesh and in the Diaspora.

Many inquiries have been directed recently to the Mishmar HaTorah Beis Din, which runs a special hotline for questions regarding modesty and shaitels, and heightened interest in tznius is also apparent in the high demand for more chizuk gatherings for women with programs that include gedolei Yisroel, rabbonim and prominent educators. To reach the beis din call 057-3144535 or write to, fax 02- 5856376 or, PO Box 57768, Jerusalem.

In his regular gemora class, which recently touched on a sugyo in maseches Shabbos related to shaitels, Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita expressed his opinion and pain over the serious decline in the standards of today's shaitels. He said today many shaitels show no indication they are a head covering rather than the woman's actual hair. Maran noted that although many leading poskim permit shaitels (see Pri Megadim, O.C. 75, Eshel Avrohom 5 and Mishnah Berurah 15) clearly they never intended to permit shaitels that cannot be discerned to be wigs.

In response to inquiries Maran said to clarify the details of what is permitted and what is not a tznius beis din has been set up and anyone with doubts should consult the beis din to receive a reliable halachic response.

Forty years ago gedolei Yisroel zt"l vylct"a issued a notice on the issue of shaitels: "Since as a result of our many sins there has been a breach of late, leading married women to wear wigs that resemble actual hair of different types that our forefathers never imagined could look so much like uncovered hair chas vesholom, we hereby feel obligated to make known the position of our holy Torah is that this is absolutely prohibited, for even in regions where it was customary to permit wigs, such wigs were never even under consideration. One aveiroh leads to another, and there is no permission to wear such wigs."

In Tammuz 5750 (1990) a notice was published, reading, "A plea to Jewish women to restore the garland of splendor to the head of the bas melech and to make sure to wear modest wigs."

HaRav Eliashiv's remarks have had a widespread impact as apparent in the many inquiries brought before Mishmar HaTorah as well as requests to organize chizuk gatherings.


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