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It's Official: All Natural-Hair Wigs Are Now Banned

We hope and pray to see an end of suffering in the world. In light of the recent disasters in North America and the imminent threat of global strife, we must all search our souls and look for areas that we can immediately improve in. We pray that everyone is blessed with a wonderful New Year 5778. But, with Rosh Hashanah - the Day of Judgment - a mere week away, we feel solemnly obligated to bring the following halachic ruling to the public's attention.

Five major poskim - rabbinical authorities - recently issued a statement forbidding all natural-hair sheitlach, wigs. They are: 

Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vosner, Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court, Zichron Meir

Rabbi Sariel Rosenberg, Rabbi and Chief Rabbinical Justice, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Yehuda Sillman, Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Shimon Baadani, member of the Council of Torah Sages

Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Karp, Dayan and Posek, Southern Hill, Modiin

Click on the posters below to see them enlarged and more clearly:Sheitelposter1 Sheitelposter2

Racheli adds: 

Listen, ladies, I know how hard it is to cover your hair with a scarf. To be totally honest, I'm not crazy about it. Remember, I'm a BT that spent her early 20's having fun in Miami Beach, one of the world's most exotic locations for barely dressed beautiful people. I'm not a little sheltered girl that grew up in Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. I enjoy feeling and looking beautiful, and I totally understand all of your reservations and objections.

A scarf can't compare to a gorgeous wig in beauty, nor can it compare in the way it makes you feel: feminine, complete, and confident. I had some pretty stunning wigs, but I got rid of them when I realized that they just made me look more beautiful instead of adding modesty to my look. I'm all for female empowerment and independence and all that stuff. But I realize that this isn't a power struggle between old men with ancient beliefs in a woman's role versus the strong feminists of today. 

It's simply a matter of following the Torah. Saying that a man shouldn't be involved in women's halachic issues is ridiculous. Maybe we shouldn't keep family purity too? Maybe we shouldn't separate challah or light candles? After all, Moshe Rabbeinu was a man. So was the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama. Maybe we shouldn't see male doctors, especially obstetricians just because they're men. It's reverse discrimination and it's not fair.

Anyone who really believes in our Divine Torah knows that Hashem only wants what's best for us. No one's out to get us or put us down. The fact that we don't understand what's best for us is apparent when we resist and protest the rulings of people who know much more Torah than we do. 

In my opinion, this is a matter beyond the wigs. It's a matter of if we believe in our Torah, or we don't. If we believe in it, then we must accept ALL of it, both the parts that we agree with and the parts that make us cringe. That doesn't mean that we have to be on the highest level of observance! It means that we should recognize where we're holding spiritually, and strive to raise ourselves up, level by level. 

Trading in your wig for a scarf or hat is one of the hardest decisions a Torah-observant woman will ever have to make. I understand, believe me. But I must also believe with all of my heart that there are others in this world who know more than I do, and trust that their opinion of what's best for me is the right one. I trust that my family will be benefit from my sacrifice for generations to come. I fully believe that I made the right decision. Because if I don't, what does that say about my belief in the Torah as a whole?

Ladies, I encourage you to do some serious soul searching regarding this matter. What's keeping you from making the switch? Peer pressure? Fear of looking ugly? Your husband wants you to wear a wig? Do you think it's a bunch of oppressive nonsense? 

Whatever it is, once you gain clarity, your decision will be so much easier. And, if you want some great tips for stylish hair covers, there are tons of instructional videos online of women who cover their hair with style and class. If you don't want to go online, send me an email and I'll give you a few pointers. You can contact me at 

Hashem should bless you with clarity and the strength to do what's right!

More downloadable background material:

  1. Indian Hair Report updated
  2. Hair is the sacrifice
  3. Shocking Documention of Corruption in Hair Industry
  4. Original Psak in Hebrew


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"Avodah Zarah is not boteil is a rabbinic injunction and not a Torah law, one may be lenient when it is uncertain that there is a prohibition. This is based on the halachic principle called safek derabanan lekula, that one may be lenient in regard to a doubt involving a rabbinic prohibition.

Thus, in a situation where a sheitel is manufactured from predominantly synthetic material, or predominantly European hair, yet there is a concern as to whether some prohibited hair might have been added, the halacha is that the sheitel may be worn." Rabbi Kaganoff

Sorah Berger

To the poster of the above comment- you forgot to post this part (it's amazing how info can be distorted):

"However, the concept of bitul does not apply in most cases when Avodah Zarah items became mixed into permitted items. Chazal applied different parameters to the concept of bitul as applied to Avodah Zarah because of the seriousness of the prohibition. Therefore, if a sheitel contains hair from different sources, such as hair made of European hair with some Hindu hair added, the sheitel should be treated as an Indian hair sheitel. Thus, according to Rav Elyashiv, this sheitel should be destroyed in a way that no one may end up using it. It is not necessary to burn the sheitel. It would be satisfactory to cut it up and place it in the garbage." Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff

Sorah Berger

I’m fortunate to be a student of Rebbetzin Tehilla Abramov, educator and noted author of many widely read books including The Secret of Jewish Femininity. Rebbetzin Abramov has recently written a revolutionary book on tznius, which covers the topic of kisui rosh (hair covering), titled The Unique Princess. It has the haskamah of many chashuv Rabbanim, headed by Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv whom Rebbetzin Abramov was fortunate to speak directly to about this topic.

After reading The Unique Princess I learned about the ideal level of kisui rosh - which is covering ones hair with a tichel (or hat). As it is written in The Unique Princess (pg. 105), “The posek hador, our generation’s great halachic authority, Maran Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv has clearly stated that in his opinion it is preferable for a woman to cover her hair with a kerchief rather than a wig. He constantly expresses his concern about the use of wigs that are not modest- a practice which, he says, has made inroads even into the families of pious men and roshei yeshiva.” On that same page is an incredible statement by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt’l, “When Mashiach comes, the first thing he’ll do is abolish the use of wigs (as quoted by his son-in-law, shlita).”

In another wonderful book about the mitzvah of kisui rosh "Adorned with Dignity" by Mrs. Chana Toby Friedman, well known author of many popular books such as Daughters of Dignity and Purity of Speech, it states the words of Gedolim describing those women who are able to wear the ideal level of head covering. Not only is the tichel backed by Gedolim it is praised by so many!
On page 86 there is a letter which says:
"We support and bless those women who have returned to the age-old custom of covering their head with a kerchief instead of a wig in order to fulfill the opinion of all poskim... especially in today's times when many of the contemporary wigs are not in line with the guidelines of tznius." (Letter signed by Harav Shmuel Halevi Wosner zt"l; Harav Lipkowitz; Harav R' Hager, Rebbe of Viznitz, Harav Karelitz, Harav Shmuel Auerbach (in name of his father, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l); Harav Gestetner, yb"l; Harav Elyashiv zt"l.)

And there are many more Gedolim that have praised those women who are able to achieve this high level of tznius. There is one particular story that Rebbetzin Abromav told me that I loved. There was a woman whose mother only wore scarves who came to Rav Elyashiv to ask for a heter for a sheitel. The Rav told her that he could give her a heter for a kosher wig (which meant short, stiff and wiggy) if that is what she wants, but if she wears a tichel like her mother always did, he promised her Gan Eden!!

I highly recommend a wonderful teleconference that was done recently called "The Time is Now" (with Rabbi Yirmiyohu Abramov shlita, Rabbi Avraham Chaim Feuer shlita and Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman shlita) which delves in to the mitzvah of kisui rosh- the number to hear the replay is 917-979-8200.

Bh there are many women today in many different communities that are choosing to wear a tichel/hat! As we approach the yamim noraim let us daven that we can all serve Hashem in the best way possible!


Thank you, Sorah Berger!!

Rav Kaganoff lives in my neighborhood and I was about to contact him. I cannot imagine that he would go against daas Torah! Never!!

Sorah Berger

I thought this might clarify the purpose of the very important mitzvah of kisui rosh (hair covering) for readers.

The special mitzvah of Kisui Rosh is one that I've invested many hours of time researching, reading a lot of different material and speaking to various prominent Rabbanim and Rebbetzins.

The mitzvah of kisui Rosh is unfortunately very misunderstood and many women really have no idea why they are covering their hair. I was very confused myself and this prompted me to research the purpose of my head covering. When women uncover the truth about why they are required to cover their hair they gain a much deeper understanding of this powerful mitzvah and are enabled to perform the mitzvah to the utmost of their abilities.

A major part of the confusion is that women think that as long as their hair is physically covered they are perfectly fulfilling the mitzvah of kisui Rosh. Some women know that there is a vague connection between kisui Rosh and tznius but most are not aware that modesty is the primary purpose of the mitzvah. The reason that the Torah prohibits a married woman to reveal her hair is the following:
אסור גלוי הראש אינו אלא משום פריצות דגברי (תרומת הדשן)
The prohibition of revealing one’s hair is because hair is Pritzus. Since the hair of a married woman is attractive to another man and can cause him to sin, it must be covered. All the Rishonim and Achronim have said that this is the reason that a woman must cover her hair in public. (For many sources on this Divrei Shalom is a great resource.)

Rav Falk writes in his pamphlet Mitzvos Kisui Saaros that "The Torah requires a married women to conceal her hair from the eyes of the public in order to lessen attraction to herself." (page 7)
For this reason the hair of a girl may be seen, whilst the hair of a married woman, which is naturally a major source of attraction to her, must be covered and hidden from the eye of the public. Accordingly, for a married woman to wear a head covering that easily passes as her own hair, defeats the very function of this mitzvah, since a man seeing her can think that he is seeing her own hair and be attracted by it, especially when he does not know who she is and whether she is married or not.
See Oz Vehadar Levusha, page 265 that in numerous places in the Torah hair is highlighted as a major source of attraction. Accordingly, by commanding the married woman to withhold from the public how she looks in her true hair, there is far less danger of a person being drawn to her and Kedushas Yisroel is guaranteed.

It's very clear that since hair is so attracting to men and it is therefore required to be covered after marriage, the less the head covering resembles hair the better the mitzvah of kisui Rosh is being fulfilled- with the Tichel being the ideal as it doesn't resemble hair at all. If a sheitel looks like hair it beautifies the woman wearing it and that goes against the entire purpose of the mitzvah of kisui Rosh. As it says in Rabbi Falk’s sefer Oz vehadar levusha: “Hair was given the status of ervah by Chazal because when part of a female that should be covered is uncovered it can affect a man who sees it and cause him to feel attracted to it.” (page 228)

In a powerful shiur given by Reb Kalmanovich, she explains how in a scientific study that was done on men to see what were the most attracting features of a woman, a woman’s hair and voice were the most attracting. It doesn't matter if it's your hair or someone else's hair- if it attracts other men, it's defeating the purpose of the mitzvah. While a shorter wig might appear more modest, many times it's not just the length of the wig that's problematic. It's the natural appearance of the wig that is the issue, and most of today's wigs are natural looking, closely resembling real hair.

For this reason Rav Elyashiv ztz'l" spoke very harshly against today's sheitels.
These are the words of the Rav translated into English:
Even though there’s a dispute among the Poskim whether it’s mutar or ossur to wear a sheitel, if they walk as if their hair is revealed, the way those that are not covering their hair walk, they are violating an issur gamur, it’s mamish, it’s emes like ervah. (the term used in gemara to describe parts of the body that must be covered according to halacha)
The issur is as follows: If they walk with a sheitel like the times 100 years ago, then of course this is allowed, even a drop nicer. But, it should not be the way they walk today. All those that walk today, it looks like hair for sure and this is definitely assur, this nobody was mattir.…A woman with the hair of today the way she walks, it’s mamish ervah, it looks like hair, there is no difference, regarding this there is no heter....
HaRav Chaim Kanievsky shlita stated “If the sheitel looks like hair, it is the obvious truth that it is definitely forbidden. There is no room for dispute in the matter.” He repeated this several times in his conversation with Harav Avraham Lipshitz shlita. (Adorned with Dignity, page 102)

A Tichel is clearly the ideal head covering both halachically and hashkafically and a sheitel can only be worn if it does not resemble hair and if it does not beautify the wearer in any way. This information is vital for women to know as this mitzvah is of such importance and is performed by women every second they are outside. The yetzer horah know this and has caused great confusion regarding the mitzvah of hair covering. As Rav Falk writes: “It appears that the yetzer horah has found himself no greater target than the holy mitzvah of kisui sa'aros- hair covering, which he continuously undermines with new plots and tactics.” (Mitzvos Kisui Saaros, pages 40)

The key is education. When women take the time to learn about the mitzvah of kisui Rosh and educate themselves well about what is acceptable and not acceptable in a head covering, great change can happen. We can combat the yetzer hora, restore tznius to klal Yisroel and help merit greeting Moshiach tzidkeinu speedily in our days.


This is long overdue I think. I have never known a human hair wig to be sneiut. They are made to look alluring and glamorous and immodest. Jewish women should not be parading immodesty in the streets... tight clothes, makeup, jewelry, long human hair wigs and they call themselves religious Jewish women. They lie to themselves telling themselves it's a kiddush Hashem to look so "nice". Such a lie! It's pure yetzer hora to show themselves and their beauty to the goyim and to Jewish men who are not their husbands. Forgive me, but some of these "frum" women look more immodest than the goyim. That is a problem!

Ahava Margaretten

To Jewish Women who strive to serve Hashem sincerely,

Here is a quote from someone who knows the wig industry very well:

Interview with a shaitel macher with 18 years experience:
“I would like people to know... that myself first hand can attest to the utter misrepresentation we are handed with our shaitels. I have been a shaitel macher for almost 18 years. I have learned from some of the industry's leading members how to identify hair, physically hand tie hair into a wig, how to construct a wig from scratch, as well as cutting, coloring, and washing techniques only know to the top artist. Approximately 8 years ago I began the difficult process of starting my own line of wigs. Making contacts and having representatives in China is not an easy process. I learned quickly that there are no morals in business in China. Hair which was hand selected here from brokers coming straight from Ukraine would be sent to China only to return blended and processed with other hair which I did not send or request. The factories always offered tags for my wigs which stated "100% European hair" even if we had just negotiated using Brazilian, Mongolian, or Uzbekistan hair. They also always offered the "kashrus" label with the blessings from "the rabbi" which of course they told me didn't exist. At that point I realized that there was no way that I could create a product which I really believed in or stood by. I myself who was dealing directly with the factories would never really know if the hair which I sometimes cut from a woman here in the states would actually return unadulterated or blended with something else. The fact that the factories clearly had no scruples regarding misrepresentation to my customers meant that they would most likely swindle me too. I decided to forgo manufacturing my own line and the money that would come with it.
It's important for women to know that factories will insert any tag necessary to make a sale. Many shaitel machers have no clue that they are being duped. They are told it's European hair and that it has a hashgacha, but the reality is far from such. They simply don't know.”
-Quoted directly word for word on June 11th, 2017. Shaitel macher chose to remain anonymous in this report.

Ladies, we all want the same thing, to feel close to Hashem. Taking off a forbidden sheitel is a quick ticket to that destination. Who wants to walk around with their brain encircled by disgusting tumah from avodah zorah or hair from dead people? Todays wigs are made with both!

Here is a link to an online store selling gorgeous scarves to cover your hair with. (I am not affiliated with her, merely sharing the great find!)

Wishing everyone a kasiva v'chasima tova!!
Ahava Margaretten


I just started covering my hair and it has been a game changer. Once I put on my head covering, I truly feel more beautiful than I did before. I love my curly hair, but when I put the head covering on (usually a scarf or kerchief), I truly feel like a daughter of the King. It makes my soul smile.


"I'm not a little sheltered girl that grew up in Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. I enjoy feeling and looking beautiful...."

And they don't?

That's quite a generalization, not to mention a slight against an entire group of women based on where they live.

You're trying to be holy, but here, I regret to say that you dropped the ball.

Rachel Leah

WOW! This post is Chazak!!! For a long time I have wanted to switch to tichels but couldn't muster the strength so last year I decided to at least wear them on Rosh Hashana hoping that this would have an affect on the rest of the year. By Yom Kippur, I was back in a sheitle but still felt good that I was heading in the right direction and happy with myself for taking it at a pace that would have staying power. A few months later I began to become more adept at tying them and my husband LOVED the new look. I felt more authentic, down to earth, focused and real. B'H, I have been exclusively in tichels and without a sheitle for the past 6 months!! Knowing that I am increasing my personal tsnius feels amazing, This is something tangible that I can do for myself and for the Klal; not to mention staying away from avoda zara. Warm Blessings to All and may each of us be clear about our personal Avodas Hashem and be fully prepared for Rosh Hashana with a sweet and beautiful new year!! Rachel Leah


I personnally wear a small kerchief with my ponytail coming out of it and no make up at all and i find myself more modest than those covering their entire hair with those long wigs make up and high heels; this is absurd! I also watch my tongue and dont speak with men whereas i know women with wigs and long skirts being familiar with men
Tsnious is a global attitude and way of dressing and speaking its not just centimeters and length
Our mothers and grandmothers were far more tsnouot than us even without full hair covering they knew how to dress speak and behave!

Esther H.

Wow Rabbi Brody,
This topic has become viral. And it truly solidifies something I knew deeply for a long time. Could you possibly address the growing problem of molestation in the Charedi community? Hoping for true movement towards Torah and away from physical and spiritual evil.
Thank you.

POP 2017

Blah, Blah, Blah.... this will never end! I myself do not wear wigs on a regular basis. Maybe I have worn them 10 times. But I dont judge. I dont have the face for scarves but many woman do and look very pretty in it so its easy for them to say dont wear a shaitel. How do we know what the old age custom was.....if the women of the bible covered their hair in scarves its because nothing else was available! They didnt have choices! How do we know what they would have chosen. ...

And as for male doctors...there is absoulutely no reason you can not find a competent woman or an ob...there is no need to go to men!


Add to that list. Rav Elyashiv Zt"l Rav Chaim Kaniyevsky, Rav Ovadia Yosef Zt"l Rav Amnon Yitzchak and many more.


I am sorry to say this, and I certainly am no gadol, but attacking something that Gedolim in America, in Europe, and even here, have said is mutar seems to me to be meyutar. There are so many other issues of more import - Gilui Arayos - there are people in the supposedly religious community abusing children (including their own) for their own taava, destroying lives and psyches! There are so many spouses having extra-marital affairs, yes, in the religious communities!!!
Shfichut damim - is not guarding ones' life and health not part of shfichut damim? Smoking is not neged halacha??? To my knowledge not one posek here or anywhere in the world would say smoking is not an issur - probably deoreita - and we are talking about sheitels, which we can find ways to matir at least!!!
Avoda Zara - believing that if we do this mitzva, this segula, then Hashem will give us nachas - is that not avoda zara??? Hashem doesn't promise to do our bidding for doing what He tells us. He just promises He will do good - as HE WHO IS PERFECT SEES IT! Doing mitzvos and segulos in order for Him to do my bidding isn't avodah Zara???? Please - it is EXACTLY Avoda Zara!!! And so is worshipping money - finding heterim of how to circumvent government rules and taxes to have more money.... hmmm - we see what MAJOR CHILUL HASHEM came from that!
Why focus on doing a hidur - or a safek, or whatever - when there are MAJOR DEOREISA which is not a stretch happening daily, hourly, constantly???
The Bayis Shaini didn't fall due to a lack of being religious - we were all very religious. We lacked the basic Kavod for other people. We hated for no good reason. This ruling feels mysogynistic in nature - in that there really are many other things ALL of the Jews need to work on - and instead we focus on a relatively small number of women who wear sheitels as their being the cause of all the suffering in the world. SERIOUSLY????


There are very great Rabbonim, poskim and Gedolim who are off the stance that the ideal if kisui Rosh is wearing a Sheitel. You need to bring both sides. The Lubavitcher Rebbe's had this stand.


So is it better to not cover your hair at all? And what about a divorced frum woman what category does she come under? Seems to me she should be allowed to uncover her hair if that is what is attractive and can help her remarry. Covering your hair is a most challenging mitzvah to keep in todays world work place and life. Women should be able to feel like women and keep the mitzvah as best as they can without all of this. A wig is a wig and it might look like your hair but certainly doesn't feel like your hair. I have a real problem with this and don't think this is what Hazkafosh Baruch Hu had in mind.


I'll tell you the reason why I do not make the switch: the haskama from the Holy Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Holy Rav Moshe Feinstein, zichronen livracha. Calling out women who properly cover their hair with wigs promotes sinas chinam, mainly in the litvishe and yeshivishe communities. Moshiach is coming. This is not the time to cause more tzores on K"Y.

I am shocked that Rabbi Brody supports this.


Is there any way to get this vital information to the Moetzes Gedolei Torah in America, to the OU, to the American kashrus organizations so that it can be disseminated to the women in America? It would be a shame if women in America thought that this message was just an "Israeli charedi thing"
Women really want to do the correct thing, and now , as we approach Rosh Hashanah, there is a true eis ratzon to come close to Hashem and make Him proud. I remember a Bnos Melachim Tznius event after the "sheitals made with Indian hair" crisis a few years ago.
A speaker mentioned that when the nashim tzidkanios took off their sheitals and wore tichlach because they were not sure if their sheitlach were kosher or not, that week, the Cornell Hospital Burn Unit, which normally rachmana li'tzlan has a large percentage of Yiddishe children, was totally emptied of its Jewish patients. Clearly proving that tznius keep Hashem presence and protection in our midst.


OK. I will be politically correct for this site, since my previous comment was not published. I am an a Shomer Shabbos Shomer Torah and Mitzvos woman. All my children were raised with Ahavas Hashem and Ahavas Torah. I have a son in the MIr and a son in Novomink Yeshiva. My daughter is in a far right seminary in the states. I cover my hair with a pretty sheital that I wear to honor Shabbos. I also have a weekly sheitel ( not so nice). There are many sheitel wearing women who love Torah and Love Hashem. And guess what, Hashem loves us also. We have who to rely on such as Haskama from the Lubavither Rebbe and Rav Moshe Feinstein. Stop the sinas chinam and love every Jew. We are in Elul. Stop judging fellow Jews and concentrate on doing teshuva and doing acts of kindness. As someone very holy once told me: you can find things that divide or find things that unite us. Women, please take heed and do the latter. Remember YK is soon. Love all yidden.


To Miriam, Michal and the other sheitel defenders, I comment with sisterhood and ahavas Yisroel - you are very indignant saying that this article attacks sheitel wearers,. That is not only a distortion but an outright lie based on emotions, since you don't have a halachic leg to stand on. Rabbi Brody attacked no one. He only brought the most recent psak of five Gedolim that was based on extensive research that is all documented, in case you bother to read the additional material at the end of the post. As far as the Lubavitcher Rebbe zatza'l goes, if you think he would have permitted a natural-hair below-shoulder length sheitel, you don't know Chabad. Both the Rebbe's holy mother - Rebbetzen Chana, and his own holy Rebbetzen Chaya Moshka alehen hashalom wore synthetic sheitlach that barely reached their necks with hats on top of that! Why do the women of today conveniently forget that? What's more, to accuse Rabbi Brody of sinas chinam is the biggest sinas chinam and hotzaas shem ra there is. Like you say, it's Elul. And look what Racheli added as a woman - her words are full of compassion and understanding. Sorry, I must stick up for them - there is no sinas chinam here, only truthful documented facts and psak. If you want to argue, then disprove them with your own solid and documented facts and research. Enough of this sinas-chinam name calling, for this is true loshon hara.

Ahava Margaretten

Dear Sisters,

We have to remember who the 3 most recent Poskim HaDor are: Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt"l, and now Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky shlita.

Their Psak is the overriding authority for all the Ashkenazim. And ALL three Rabbonim have ruled that almost all of today's sheitels are forbidden on the grounds of looking too natural. (Permitted ones must be short, stiff, and look obviously fake).

Also, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt"l ruled that Indian Hair is forbidden in sheitels due to Avodah Zora.

Which current Rabbi out there can claim they have more Torah knowledge and more Halachic Authority than these three Gedolim HaDor?? No one.

Just something to think about when making your decision...Please remember that the Heavenly Court's judgments are determined by what our Poskim HaDor decide here on earth.

Sorah Berger

Hadassah- thank you for your wonderful comment!
It's clear that women get very defensive about this topic because it's not easy to hear that there might be something wrong with what they are wearing- especially in our superficial society where we are so focused on our externals. And because changing ourselves in the area of dress and head coverings is so difficult we tend to try to justify what we are wearing so we don't feel guilty not making these necessary changes.

The emes is not always what we want to hear, as the expression goes "the truth hurts". Wearing a tichel is not easy (Bh it has gotten easier not that more women are doing it and there are much prettier styles out there to wear), but that's why there's so much schar involved. It is the ultimate sacrifice to Hashem to down play ones beauty outside where other men see us. Wearing a tichel and being modest is definitely the biggest sacrifice for a woman. Our yetzer hora is to look beautiful. And we should! But only at home for our husbands. Not in the streets where other men can see us and we could be michshal them.

Being modest and wearing a tichel protects our marriage and other marriages. Wearing a natural pretty wig outside is very likely going to turn men's heads. (As I explained in my previous post hair is extremely attracting to men that's why the Torah commands us to cover it after marriage) Doing that destroys other women's marriages and causes much jealousy and sinas chinam. A holy Rebbetzin told me that the biggest chessed we can do is to dress modestly and cover our hair properly. We are doing a tremendous chesed for the other half of the population, the men, who are struggling valiantly to guard their eyes. Don't we want to help them? Why would we want to dress in a way that causes them to stumble? Would you want your husband seeing immodest women in the street?
The Peleh Yoetz says that 90 percent of a women's reward and punishment in the world to come is based on her modesty. Tznius is our most important mitzvah. When Hashem created Chava he declared over every limb "she should be a modest woman". Hashem didn't say "she should make challah" or "she should give tzedakah". While those mitzvos are incredibly important as are all the mitzvos, modesty is our main tikun in life. The Vilna Gaon says that modesty for a woman is equivalent to Torah learning for a man.

Today's wigs seem to have many problems, both in modesty and now it looks like avoda Zora too. The world is in such turmoil, Hashem so obviously wants more from us. The Indian women have no problem sacrificing their beautiful hair for their G-ds, and than we go take their sacrifices Hair and turn it in to wigs that we wear for "modesty"! Imagine if we all sacrificed a part of ourselves for Hashem and put on tichels and hats this Rosh Hashana! Imagine the tremendous light it would bring down!

Chava Penina

This unhealthy, pathetic obsession with women's appearance/dress/everything really has to end. I'll just reproduce a comment I saw on Facebook:
in the light of recent natural disasters, all of which show the sorry state of the world's respect for the feminine, including our Mother Earth, we have decided to take our disrespect to the next level and continue to objectify, vilify and blame women and their bodies for the damage we've already done to the most important feminine body of all, Mother Earth and the Shechinah, which cries every day. we know this because we are men. the end.


I'm shocked you posted this in the name of Rabbi Brody and Rabbi Shalom Arush. I'm sure they are very understanding of the halacha and would not want to sadden women by blaming them for suffering of all Jews.
I'm sad to read this -- it does no good to anyone and promotes sinat chinam .


Racheli and Rabbi Brody,
It takes enormous guts to tackle this issue, kol hakavod.

Found so many of the comments so enlightening and so true!
Thank you very much especially to Soroh Bergman for all her compelling and enlightening comments.
Also, agree very much with Deanna's comment and really appreciate Ahava Margaretten's comment, among others.

I switched from shaitels to regular hair-coverings (scarves, berets, bandanas, tichels, snoods, etc) years ago and felt much better, much truer to myself and to Torah.
(And my shaitels were not 100% human hair or displayed a white part, and definitely looked like shaitels.)

Hair-coverings make an irrefutable statement to others (especially men) about your values, whether you mean them to or not.

In Eretz Yisrael, non-religious Jews and Arabs are more likely to check you out when you're wearing a shaitel and even directly start up with you because you because they assume there is a reason why you want to look like you're NOT married. Of course, they can also do this when you're in a scarf; some men are just pigs like that. But in shaitels, it happens more because the message of a shaitel is different in their eyes. Disturbing, but true. No one ever mentions it, so I decided to.

The only problem hair-coverings bring is when people don't realize that it's not enough to just put them on your head, you have to actually cover all your hair, which is the Lubavitcher reason for preferring shaitels. Having said that, there is no way that a holy tzaddik like the Lubavitcher Rebbe would approve of the shaitels that have become common today. No way.
See here:

Personally, if there was no avodah zarah issue, I could see a reason for leniency for TRULY tsnius shaitels outside of Eretz Yisrael.

However, many Ashkenazi rabbanim have permitted shaitels only under duress, so to speak. They feel that women will not listen to them if they speak their true feelings on the issue, so they permit shaitels so as not to be machti the masses, so to speak.

Here is clarification on one of the most misquoted rabbonim of our generation, Rav Moshe Feinstein:

Also this in general:

Finally, it goes without saying that even those of us who avoid shaitels still have other areas of tsnius in which we need to improve. May we all do complete teshuvah from love!

Thanks again!

Old story - and false facts.

Dr. Alan Morinis ... wrote his Ph.D. on pilgrimage in Hinduism. So, he was the person Gedolim turned to in 2008, to explain the reality of this issue.

His answer: The theory as taught by the temple priests is "It is a ritual about vanity, but about abandoning it, not encouraging it."

It's not about donating hair, it's about the effects of being bald on one's appearance -- and learning to base one's self-image on more important things.

He did say it's quite possible that the masses from the backwaters of India don't quite bother with such subtleties. But they're not the ones collecting and selling the hair.

IOW: No connection to Avoda Zara.

Yaakov Saportas

Regrading the comment by "anonymous": 1st of all Mrs Sorah Berger kol hakavod on your astute comment.
To "anonymous" & all who read this post & feed; It is known through the ages that the yeisser hara knows how to play the role of lawyer to twist things around to "permit" practically anything, including bread during Pesahh. You (ab)use the excuse of "Mostly European hair wigs" despite the well known & here above recounted FACT that even the wigs are labeled as "European" are Indian or mostly Indian hair. Therefore your excuse has zero legs to stand on, & is totally dumped.
Then there is the point that Mrs Berger so well & truthfully made that in matters of Avodah Zarah there is no bitul. It is asur/forbidden bekol shehu, even in the least amount.
We are ordered by SHULHHAN ARUKH to distance ourselves 4 amot (about 2 meters) from something/anything that is of the ways of "Akum" those who do avoda zara. ways of the goyim. Kal vehhomer not to put it one's head.

I've been in the home of the Rabi Yosef Karo zassa"l & saw the floor tiles. Even though he wrote that anything that resembles a sign of Avoda zara, e.g. a cross, but was not made for that in mind is permissible - BUT NOTE THIS - he had the floor tiles installed in an offset pattern so that even by accident, even without any purpose in mind that there should be nothing in his home that resembles a cross. "Permissible" but not good for those in its presence.
I recall several years ago Rav Shalom Cohen who is now president of Mo'esset Hatorah in place of the late great Rav Ovadia Yosef za"l gave his psak not to buy hats by Borsalino because it was discovered that in the hat band they were hiding crosses (in what appeared to be fleur deli) & hints to the xtian trinity by their emlem of 3 crowns. He ordered that whoever already has such a hat should use a sharp knife to scratch out those signs & say that he is doing the Torah Missvah of wiping out Avoda Zara from the world.

Yaakov Saportas

MIchal 1st of all Rav Brody did NOT attack anyone & no-one here who wrote against the wigs did either & neither was there any sin'ah. That is a false accusation for which by Shulhhan Arukh there is no forgiveness till the grave.
Now to brass tacks: You claim "We have who to rely on such as Haskama from the Lubavither Rebbe and Rav Moshe Feinstein."
You have a serious problem there because neither of those 2 gedolei Yisrael ever approved of the long good looking wigs. NEVER NEVER NEVER. They only approved of the short, jaw length stiff obviously artificial ones !!!! To say or even hint otherwise is a distortion of their words which is strictly forbidden to do.
Their opinion to permit such wigs is based on the original psak of the Hhatam Sofer zassa"l who ordered the wearing of such wigs for a limited time, in a limited area for a special reason. The goyim in his region, by instigation of anti-religious Jewish movement in their region, outlawed the wearing of headscarves to cover a woman's hair. So in order to protect the holy daughters of Israel there in that time he ordered the women of the area to shave their heads and wear wigs which he stipulated be only jaw length hair that looked like goat hair & to wear a hat on top of that.
My late mother za"l said about those fancy wigs "Pretty as a shiksa".
YES Rosh Hashanah THE day of judgement, is only a week away or so away; Yom Kippur is soon after, so stick with the truth please, & don't let your yeisser hara bribe you into twisting your judgment of things.

Yaakov Saportas

Rachelli Kol Hakavod on your comment & the great avoda assmit you did to wear scarves.
Just to tell you & other women too, colorful scarves & all the more when 2 are used together can really look beautiful while covering all the hair. They do nothing to "defeminize" or "unbeauty" a woman. For a man whose head is in the right place it is an elegant crown on the woman's head.

Baruch Gershom

The background scene, while beautiful, makes it hard to read the comments.

Elena Kuchik

well...the only thing i could add is "Hashem is with pursued and not with pursuers"

daniele sullivan


"Imagine if we all sacrificed a part of ourselves for Hashem and put on tichels and hats this Rosh Hashana! Imagine the tremendous light it would bring down!"

We are not permitted to use mitzvot as segulot. That is avoda zara.

As for "sacrificing a part of ourselves for Hashem" -- that went out with Avraham and Yitzhak. Yirmiyahu ha-Navi was very clear regarding God's view of such things. Also, see Hazal's views on what happened to Yiftah after he sacrificed his daughter.

Rachel Avrahami

I highly suggest everyone also read the section (if not the entire book!) of Modesty: An Adornment for Life by Rabbi Falk. Rabbi Faulk brings the exact heterim for sheitals and explains in serious terms how most of the sheitels worn by the community (including myself, formerly) are completely ussur because there is NO heter for wearing a wig that cannot be clearly identified as such, including all of the reasoning behind the issur.

Essentially the idea that physically covering the hair is enough is false. The woman is supposed to be concealing her beauty for her husband, not putting herself on display and making herself attractive to outsiders and other men using someone else's hair instead of her own.

Whether or not you want to debate this psak (which in my humble is undebatable anyway) there is still the issue that all the real-hair wigs on the market are ussur anyway. The intent of the women buying these sheitels is to hide that they are covering their hair (probably without realizing it as such, that was me) and that intent is ussur - it's ussur to look like you are committing a sin. And there is still much more to the psak that the majority of sheitels today are ussur - again I suggest reading the book.

True tznius is being beautiful in an unassuming, non-attracting way, especially outside of the home. That is Dat Yehudis and the halacha follows from it. I personally received advice from a posek hador to donate my wig to Ezer Mizion who gave it to a young cancer patient and thus made a tikkun for the wig in its own way. I have never been happier looking presentable in public, but saving my beauty for my husband.

I also suggest reading Women's Wisdom by Rabbi Arush shlita - in it he explains how a woman dressing in an alluring way becomes a "machtia harabim" - causing other's to sin - by the thousands every time she steps out of the house Hashem yishmor. Rabbi Arush explains that for a man to be a machti harabim is actually quite difficult, and that's good, because it is one of the worst crimes in the Torah. But for a woman, it is exceedingly easy! A woman must want and pray and dress and act in a way that guarantees as much as possible that NO MAN SHOULD LOOK AT HER OR THINK ABOUT HER. We don't want attention! We don't want to look beautiful for anyone besides our husbands! And sheitels stand in direct opposition to this.

From personal experience, it took years of prayer and asking Hashem to separate me from "the falsehood of beauty" (sheker hachein) and that what is tznius should be beautiful in my eyes, and what is pritzut should look to me for what it truly us - gross ugly indecency. It is a complete shift in thinking, because women, BT or FFB or whoever, are taught to look beautiful for others to look at us, that beautiful outside is what is called "presentable." It takes a lot of work, prayer and reading the sources.

Even the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l - said a wig is preferable why? Because the wearer is less likely to take it off in public among her friends! Go look up the letter yourself! If that statement doesn't apply to you then the heter doesn't either. And for those who say that he said it is preferable since it is less likely to slip back and show hair, I again refer to the fact that his heter was only for the wigs they had back then which were clearly wigs and were frankly so awful looking that no one today would want to wear one anyway! A beautiful tichel is far more b'cheint than that!


I have to say that I'm impressed by the respondents here. Everyone is struggling in one way or another to strengthen her kiddushah. May it bring Moshiach in a peaceful way!

One aspect that hasn't been mentioned is the critical role that the husband plays in the sheital issue. To switch to scarves/berets/hats can be deeply unsettling and, for some women, almost a trauma. It takes a lot of inner courage to make the switch. Husbands need to really understand that and give encouragement, respect, and affirmation. It would be great to also explain to the kids what "Ima's new look" is about and why it's important.

Dave Sabatene

This whole subject is being sadly relegated to an entire mindset of stringencies. In the first place we know from Rashi in Avoda Zara 7b that non-Jews do not really practice avoda zara because they are not expert ("baki") in all of this, which removes the concern for yayin nesach, whereby they poured out wine for avoda zara. If this is so, and it is also discussed by the Rema, (Yoreh Deah 123) then certainly we can be totally lenient about the hair of anonymous women in India.
Secondly, the issue of hair covering is not so simple either, even regardless of wigs. The Aruch Hashulchan (based on the Divrei Chamudos of Tosafos Yomtov) explains that that social customs determine the extents of "covering up," and in modern Europe where neither Jewish nor gentile women cover their hair, uncovered hair is not considered erva for saying Shma, etc. Of course it is logical to infer more beyond that as well.


Yaakov, thank you so much!! I'm getting the hang of it, B"H. The secret is in the balance between looking beautiful without attracting lustful attention from other men. It's a narrow bridge for sure! lol


Yaakov, what a powerfully stated point! It's amazing that so many people still rely on the Lubavitcher Rebbe's and Rav Moshe Feinstein's heter as if they gave it today. They were pure and holy men! Just imagine their reaction if they saw today's wigs and saw people using their names in defense of them. OMG! How can anyone use that defense decades later? And why would anyone think their opinion of today's gorgeous wigs be different than that of our current gelodim??


Dassie, first of all, where you been?! I've missed your comments! Second, BRAVO on this one! Who can possibly argue with it, except for the ones that will stop at nothing to justify their position? Please keep in touch! Shana Tova!


Yael, first of all, Rav Brody posted this and I added my comment at the bottom. Second, who said anyone's blaming wigs for all the world's problems? His intro was very general and not meant at all to blame the wearing of wigs on natural disasters, etc. Surely there are many other serious sins that people are doing to create the chaos that we see in the world. I don't know why you understood it this way.


Chava, the guy that wrote this is an idiot. That, or he's being completely sarcastic. The bottom line is un-arguable: these wigs are made from hair that has been used in Indian worship. The entire industry is corrupt and full of lies. Whether or not the hair is modest or not is not the bottom line. That is an argument regarding modesty and listening to the words of our gedolim. But regarding documented proof that the hair is from avoda zara, how can anyone refute this? Let's see someone disprove all of the evidence.


WOW, Hadassah!! I have no words!! Your argument was PERFECT!! Thank you so much for your voice and encouragement! I hope you continue to be a voice of solid Jewish values and will continue to strengthen your family and community. What a gem you are!!


Michal, exactly what was judgmental in this post? I think people misunderstood Rav Brody's intro to mean that he blames all of the world's disasters solely on immodest wigs. Seriously?? Are people that foolish?? Come on. Maybe the intro wasn't great, but no one can dispute the evidence that Ahuva gave. Unless someone can completely disprove all of the documentation that the hair comes from India and is used in Avoda Zara sacrifices, how can anyone at this point justify wearing that kind of spiritually contaminated hair? If you want to wear a wig, why not wear a synthetic one? There's nothing wrong with that, unless it's bleached blonde and down to your waist. lol


Adorned with Dignity-Long Sheitels

Ahava Margaretten

I think it's important to think about what a woman gains if she decides to replace a forbidden sheitel with a scarf or other permitted covering: Closeness to Hashem!! Who out there doesn't want that? It's the biggest blessing that includes all other blessings in it.

According to the Holy Baal Shem Tov, Hashem copies how we act towards Him. If we take a big leap of faith and stop wearing something that has been ruled "assur", forbidden, how do you think Hashem will respond?

From personal experience, I can tell you that from the time I replaced the sheitel with a pretty scarf, my level of happiness and serenity skyrocketed! That was three years ago and it's one of the best decisions I ever made. This blissful feeling is something not obtainable through gashmius (materialism).


Racheli wrote: "Unless someone can completely disprove all of the documentation that the hair comes from India and is used in Avoda Zara sacrifices, how can anyone at this point justify wearing that kind of spiritually contaminated hair?"

Well, for your information, it has in fact been completely disproven.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach investigated this decades ago, by consulting with experts in Indian religious practice, as did other Rabbonim more recently, when the Indian Hair being Avodah Zarah claim was made to Rav Elyashiv.

Rabbonim who spoke to experts so as to understand Hindu belief and practice concluded that there was no concern -- NONE -- that hair collected from Tirupati was prohibited. They concluded that those who prohibited Indian Hair had been misled as to Hindu belief and specifically as to beliefs among the Tirupati pilgrims who donate their hair.

I was personally involved and can state this for a fact.

I welcome reading any evidence that Tirupati Temple's Hindu practice or belief has changed in the past 20 years


All the ills of the world- natural disasters, kids with cancer, tzadikim dying young, kids OTD- are because women are untzniyusdik. Not because men are talking about and obsessed with women's tzniyus.

Let's see rabbonim refuse Aliyos for dishonest businessmen.
Let's see an outcry of anger and disgust towards the people who are not keeping some of the Aseret Hadibrots


It seems to me a good idea to not conflate two distinct issues:
1) Do natural hair -- or any other -- shaitels satisfy the halachic requirement to cover one's hair?
2)Even if they do, is there a separate issue of Indian hair having the status of something derived from Avodah Zarah?

Topic # 1 is a serious question that has divided great poskim and Rabbonim over the years. You are welcome to make whatever appeals you wish as to whether or not these shaitels meet your personal standards. However, as you wrote, when it comes to actual halacha, we must listen to great Rabbonim. And many great Rabbonim permit them. It is not up to you or anyone else to tell people they may not rely upon those opinions, but must rely upon yours or those of the Rabbonim you personally follow.

If the topic is #2 and not #1, this is a matter of applying halacha to a certain metsius, specifically the beliefs and practices of the Hindu Temple of Tirupati.

For an informed discussion of the metsius, see the following:

For Rav Belsky's understanding:

And for an article by an expert, see "Hindu Hair and Jewish Halakha" by Benjamin J. Fleming.


Regarding the comment by Ahava Margaretten, that the Heavenly Court will hold accountable those who follow the psak of anyone other than the three Rabbonim she mentions :

I cannot speak for the Heavenly Court, but I can speak for the Halacha -- there is no such concept! Each of us should follow the Rav of our choice, not the Rav of someone else's choice. And if the Rav of our choice humbly chooses to disagree with any or all of the above Rabbonim, he is certainly entitled to -- and we are absolutely entitled to accept his psak. There is no reason for ANYONE to feel intimidated or bullied into not following the psak of their personal Rabbi and practice of their own community.

I'm sure you are a very well-meaning person, but please don't get carried away by making halachic and spiritual assumptions that are beyond your level of learning and which have no basis in gemara or halacha.

In fact, neither Rav Shlomo Zalman nor Rav Moshe Feinstein, for instance, never, ever thought that ANYONE -- other than the questioner -- was compelled to follow ANYTHING they said!
(See Rav Moshe's introduction to Igros Moshe>)

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