Why Do Jewish Women Wear Wigs?

The world is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. Each community has its unique customs that they adhere to, and these customs are passed down from generation to generation. One such tradition that has sparked curiosity and interest is the wearing of wigs by Jewish women.

The idea of a woman wearing a wig in public might seem peculiar, but it holds deep cultural significance within the Jewish community. In this article, we delve deep into the reasons why Jewish women wear wigs and uncover the history and significance of this practice.

The Jewish traditions

In Jewish tradition, modesty is a core value that is upheld in various ways, including how one dresses. Jewish women are expected to dress modestly, which means covering their hair, among other things.

The origins of hair covering are biblical, with references in both the Old and New Testaments. However, the exact interpretation of hair covering varies among different Jewish sects.

What you must know

For Orthodox Jewish women, the requirement to cover their hair is a vital aspect of religious practice. They believe that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory and should be reserved for her husband’s eyes only.

As a result, it is customary for married women to cover their hair in public. For some, this means wearing a hat or a scarf, but for others, it involves wearing a wig. This is because wigs provide a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution that allows women to maintain their modesty without drawing undue attention to themselves.

Why do Jewish women wear wigs?

In Jewish tradition, it is customary for women to cover their heads after marriage as a sign of modesty. This is a core value within Jewish culture, which emphasizes the importance of modesty in dress and behavior.

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Additionally, Jewish tradition teaches that the more holy and special something is, the more it should be carefully and lovingly wrapped and concealed. This is why the practice of covering one’s head is considered to be an essential aspect of religious practice for Jewish women.

The practice of wearing wigs, or “sheitels” in Yiddish, is a relatively modern development. It is believed to have originated in Europe in the 16th century when women began to shave their heads due to lice infestations.

To avoid the stigma associated with being bald, they began wearing wigs. The practice then spread to Jewish communities, where it became a cultural tradition.

There are several reasons why Jewish women opt for wigs over other forms of head coverings.

  1. Firstly, it is customary for them to cover their heads after marriage as a sign of modesty. So, wig is one way of covering their hair.
  2. Secondly, wigs are considered to be the most aesthetically pleasing option, as they closely resemble natural hair.
  3. Also, they are more comfortable to wear, especially during hot weather.
  4. Lastly, wigs offer the most discretion and allow women to maintain their modesty without drawing undue attention to themselves.

In recent years, there has been some controversy over the use of synthetic wigs, as they are often made from non-kosher materials. To address this issue, some Orthodox Jewish women have started to wear only wigs made from natural hair, which are considered to be more in line with kosher laws.

Must Jewish wigs be Kosher-certified?

While there is no definitive answer to whether a wig must be Kosher certified for a Jewish woman to wear it, the issue of hair sourcing has been a concern in the past. According to Torah law, a Jew cannot benefit from anything that was used in service to idolatry.

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In the past, a large percentage of the hair used for wigs was sourced from India, where hair-cutting rituals were performed as part of an idolatrous practice. This led some women to stop wearing human hair wigs altogether, while others sought out wigs with Kosher certification to ensure that they were not sourced from this specific practice.

However, in recent years, the issue of hair sourcing has become less of a concern within the Orthodox community. This may be due to stricter monitoring of hair sourcing practices or a shift towards sourcing human hair from other regions.

As a result, within the Orthodox community, there generally aren’t Kosher certifications on wigs. Nonetheless, individual Jewish women may choose to seek out Kosher certified wigs based on their personal beliefs and values.

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In conclusion, the practice of Jewish women wearing wigs has a long and fascinating history that spans several centuries. While it might seem unusual to outsiders, it holds deep cultural significance within the Jewish community.

For Orthodox Jewish women, covering their hair is a vital aspect of religious practice, and wigs offer a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution. The tradition of wearing wigs has evolved over time, with women now opting for natural hair wigs to adhere to kosher laws.

Regardless of the type of wig worn, the practice serves as a reminder of the importance of modesty and upholding cultural traditions.

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