Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The Mishna had stated: And what are the Jewish customs? She goes out with her hair uncovered.

The Gemora (Kesuvos 72a) asks: Isn’t going out with her hair uncovered a Biblical prohibition?

The Gemora answers: Biblically, it would have been sufficient if she had covered her head with a head-basket (where some of her hair would have shown through the spaces; the Jewish custom would require a complete covering).

The Rambam seems to say that even if the basket covered her hair completely, Jewish practice mandated that she should also wear a shawl that would drape over her body.

The Chasam Sofer writes that the purpose of this shawl was to cover the hairs that protrude from under the head covering.

The Beis Yosef cites a Rashba, who rules that the wife’s hair, which is common to stick out from under the covering, is not regarded as an ervah to the husband if the husband is accustomed to seeing that hair and he would be permitted to recite kerias shema in such a situation.

The Chasam Sofer writes further that the shawl’s purpose is to cover even those hears which protrude from her head covering. However, the hairs that still stick out are not regarded as being an ervah to the husband.