Mandatory headcovers for women is a topic that has been debated throughout the history of Judaism. Some rabbis believe hair covering is an absolute obligation originating from Moses at Sinai, while others say it is a standard of modesty defined by the Jewish community. The Yiddish word tichel or Hebrew word mitpachat means head scarf.
While we find no direct Mitzvah/Commandment in Torah that says a woman must wear a head covering, we know that God has created a woman’s hair to be her glory and many women in seeking to be set apart for Hashem and their husbands have covered their hair for thousands of years so as to not draw unwarranted male attention from others.
In Judaism there is a code of modesty known as “tzniut”, which requires married women to cover their hair, and in ancient times appearing in public with loose hair was even included as one of the sufficient grounds for divorce according to Jewish rule in Israel as it was considered provocative in drawing unnecessary male attention to oneself.
According to the Mishnah in Ketuboth (7:6), while recognizing that hair covering is not an obligation of biblical origin, it is still highly advised as many Jewish women used to wear it, and the Bible advises it, as we see in 1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Corinthians 11:5-6, Genesis 24:64-65, Isaiah 47:2, Song of Songs 4:1.
Today, the decision to cover one’s hair is based on a combination of law and custom, personal choice as well as community identification but no matter what your reason it is a beautiful way to display modesty and Godliness! Like regular head scarves, tichel headcovers are available in styles to suit all occasions.
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Study by Rabbi Isaac. © 2021 Assembly of Called-Out Believers.
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