Hair Covering for Single Women: A New Reading of Mizraḥi Halakhic Rulings
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 23, Spring-Fall 5772-3/2012
- pp. 35-59
- Additional Information
A central feature in the lives of observant Jewish women is hair covering. Head covering is part of the prescribed religious garb of observant Jews, both male and female, but it has been contextualized in different ways on the basis of gender. For women, the usual justification for hair covering has to do with modesty, and it is also taken as a sign that the woman is married. This article deals with a different justification found in a number of responsa, particularly by Mizraḥi rabbis, that is not gender-based: yir’at shamayim (fear of God). In this context, I suggest the use of hair covering as a tool for empowerment.