Sunday, July 01, 2007

Women and Hair Covering

I have been asked by someone about the sources for women's hair covering. Why do they have to cover their hair? Who has to cover her hair? When does the hair need to be covered? How much? and where does it say so in the Torah.

The truth is that there is no simple verse in the Torah to point to with all the answers. Like all the laws of Judaism, we don't learn the halachot from the verses in the Torah (there are very few verses that actually give us laws, and even those are limited or expanded (or both) by the Oral tradition. In other words, it is always an unfair question to ask 'where does it say so in the Torah' because almost all of the Torah laws (and absoutely all of the Rabbinic laws) are from the Mishna, Talmud, Tosefta, Gaonim, Rishonim or Acharonim.

There are explicit rules in the Shulchan Aruch, but for a proper overview and understanding of the laws (from the sources) the best book (by far) on the topic is: The Modest Way (Women and Mitzvot Series)

He brings all the relevant sources, without commentary, allowing you to learn for yourself the whats, whys and hows of this (and other) serious subjects.

It is also available in Hebrew under the title 'Hatznea Lechet' (which is a quote from the end of yesterday's haftorah)

Empower the people with knowledge!

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