web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Torah Source For Covering One’s Hair

Reiss-062912-Sheitels

We recently layned Parshas Naso which contains the Biblical source for the obligation of a married woman to cover her hair. An eesha sotah is a woman whose husband suspects her of having acted immorally. The Torah commands the Kohein to take various steps to demonstrate that the sotah has deviated from the modest and loyal path of most married Jewish women (Rashi 5:15-27). Among the procedures, the pasuk clearly states: “ufora es rosh haisha…” and he shall uncover the hair of the head of the woman (5:18). One can only uncover something that has previously been covered; in this case the Torah is referring to the married woman’s hair! There are those who translate ufora as to undo which in this case simply adds a detail. Rashi clearly explains (ibid) that married women would braid their hair under the covering that they wore.

The Kohein needed to uncover and undo this braid. Why? “Soser es klias searah” he (the Kohein) undoes the braiding of her hair, “mekan liBnos Yisrael shegiluy harosh genay hu lahen,” from here we learn that for married Jewish women uncovered hair is a disgrace for them!’ There exists an assumed suspicion that the sotah has sinned grievously. She has, at the very least, secluded herself with another man for a long enough period of time to act inappropriately, after having been warned by her husband not to do so. Whether or not she has actually sinned will be determined by what happens after she drinks the special waters prepared by Kohein.

From the date given at the onset of parshas Bamidbar, we infer that the events in parshas Naso took place in the second year of Bnei Yisrael’s stay in the Midbar. It is safe to assume that all married women covered their hair. It is also possible that they may have been covering their hair for generations. Remember, they dressed differently then we do today.

There is a hint to this in parshas Korach in the way the wife of Ohn ben Peles prevents him from joining Korach’s rebellion against Moshe. At the beginning of the parsha, the Torah lists the members of Korach’s group and Ohn ben Peles is mentioned. As many women know, the night before the rebellion, Ohn confided in his wife his regret for having agreed to join the group. How could he get out of this commitment? Ohn’s wife knew that as rebellious as this group was, they were all talmeidei chachomim and kept the mitzvos. The next morning, eishes Ohn sat herself right at the opening of her tent – on the inside, with her hair uncovered. Each member of Korah’s group who would come to pick up her husband would be faced with a moral dilemma. And that is what happened, the moment they saw Ohn’s wife sitting with her hair uncovered, they instinctively turned and walked away. Chazal praise Ohn’s wife whose actions saved his life.

Recently, someone asked me why women are not obligated to wear tefillin. The questioner seemed hurt by this exclusion. She was surprised to learn that in actuality women do wear a form of tefillin and they wear it way longer then men do. I was referring to this mitzvah – the obligation of married women to cover their hair. This idea is found in Rabbi Falk’s sefer Oz Vehadar Levusha. In it he says: “The head covering enables a woman to fulfill the mitzvah of kisuy sa’aros (covering her hair) minute by minute throughout the day thereby enabling her to earn great rewards both in this world and in the World to Come… While a man adorns his head with tefillin for about an hour day, a woman has the merit to adorn her head with an article of mitzvah throughout the length of the day”. Rabbi Falk adds that “Hagaon Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l, once said that women are not obligated in the mitzvah of tefillin because they wear “their tefillin” throughout all hours of the day. They therefore do not require the added sanctification of tefillin as in the case of men” (Oz Vehadar p.243).

Indeed, the Chofetz Chaim in Mishnah Berurah states that kisuy sa’aros of a married woman is a catalyst to give additional yiras Shamayim to her children.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The Torah Source For Covering One’s Hair”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    Rabbi Michael Broyde wrote a superb article a few years ago that listed essentially all the sources on haircovering. It is available online at http://traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=105511.

  2. Bracha Bennett-Garland says:

    It is important to note the difference between what is actual halacha and what is das Yehudis (the traditions according to a specific community). The honorable R Falk's sefer is written for the das Yehudis of his community in Gateshead and Manchester. It does not distinguish between what is the halacha and his community's stringencies. There are other interpretation of the halacha, and other forms of das Yehudis which are completely kosher.
    The original translation of "ufara" was 'unbound', not uncover.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rosalind Jordan, Washington, D.C. reporter for Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera Reporter: ‘Bibi Said ISIL and Iran Working Together’
Latest Judaism Stories
Daf-Yomi-logo

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

More Articles from Breindy Reiss
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

Reiss-041913

The servant was ecstatic. He was racing to the King’s treasure house to retrieve two precious goblets to place on the King’s very table. Why had he been chosen to be the one to bring these royal treasures? Well, he was the one who had suggested the idea.

Having said several kapitlach of Tehillim, I decided it was time to check out my surroundings. Here I was sitting in a posh heimishe dental office in Williamsburg, serenaded by soft music, and surrounded by proper reading material. Thanking Hashem one more time that it was my friend in the dental chair and not myself (such a loyal friend that I am), I decided to indulge in some reading. The first periodical that I picked up had an article that caught my eye and heart. It was entitled Orphans No More. I could not put it down!

We recently layned Parshas Naso which contains the Biblical source for the obligation of a married woman to cover her hair. An eesha sotah is a woman whose husband suspects her of having acted immorally. The Torah commands the Kohein to take various steps to demonstrate that the sotah has deviated from the modest and loyal path of most married Jewish women (Rashi 5:15-27). Among the procedures, the pasuk clearly states: “ufora es rosh haisha…” and he shall uncover the hair of the head of the woman (5:18).

Expressing gratitude to Hashem for all the bounty He provides us is a Biblical mitzvah that is incumbent upon men and women when they finish a meal. We call this “bentching,” most commonly known as “Grace after Meals.” Unfortunately, for many of us it has turned into the “Race after Meals.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/judaism-101/the-torah-source-for-covering-ones-hair/2012/06/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: