Fancy Side Ponytail

(Scroll down to the comments section of this post to see a very interesting discussion about hair covering and religion.)

I am very happy with the results of this wrap!  This particular style is a Regal Wrap with Hanging Tails, except instead of using the pin to secure the ends, I used the purple tails to create a side ponytail.

It was also nice to discover that I had earrings with red, purple and turquoise in them… so my nails actually matched (somewhat)!

50 thoughts on “Fancy Side Ponytail

  1. Would just like to add something to the comment about the way Muslim women cover. Orthodox Christian women are (usually) not made to cover in Church, although many do, but when we go to a monastery, we absolutely must. When we cover, it is preferred we cover with a plain scarf or pashima. Even if I had my head covered as Andrea does, at the monastery I would be (and have been) asked to untie my scarf and retie it under my chin so my neck is covered. At the monastery, you also have to cover your body completely. So, some Christian deonimations are very different than others.

  2. Very interesting discussion!

    Rebbeca, I also identify with your questions and struggle with them. This probably stems from living in Israel, where almost all religious women cover their hair. Tichels are pretty much a requirement if I want to fit into the religious society, yet there’s this feeling of “how could it be so spiritual and special when EVERYONE ELSE is wearing it?”. To me, it often seems like tichels are just one more annoying fashion accessory to worry about, compare to others and spend money on. I have always had a tomboyish streak to me, so I never got into fashion or makeup (although lately I’ve realized that people tend to be shallow and first impressions are important, so I’ve been making an effort to learn how to go around in “disguise”). I often envy the men who can just change into a white shirt and be ready for Shabbat, while the women’s side at shul looks like a peacock-fest. I hate the fact that my competitive female built-in evolutionary instincts cause my eyes to whip around each time someone comes into shul to see what she’s wearing. I think it’s interesting that it’s almost only women who notice tichels – most men don’t even pay attention to details like that. I once read a survey where men were asked what were the most important beauty tips they would give to women, and most answered – “exercise, eat well, sleep, smile and have an interesting personality”. Men look for an over-all impression of fitness.

    Funny anecdote: My husband didn’t even know that “designer tichels” (the kinds with all the ribbons and lace that cost over 100 shekels) existed until I told him that’s what everyone else had their head. (I said something along the lines of “how could you not notice? They’re everywhere! Don’t you look at women!?” and he asked to see a picture on the internet. Then he was like “THAT?! What’s so special about it?”). Isn’t my husband weird? He also thinks that yellow and pink or yellow and green go well together. Yeah. Maybe if you’re a leprechaun.

    I think it’s also interesting to note that according to the discussion in the Talmud, hair-covering seems to be a custom that women created themselves.

    My personal belief is that women started covering their hair long ago for practical reasons – to keep the sun and sand off, to keep hairs out of the bread dough, to keep little hands from pulling it (especially considering the fact that they probably had a baby in a sling on their hip or back as they went about their daily work), to keep the flour they were milling (traditionally a women’s labor) out of their hair… remember, there was no shampoo, conditioner or running water back then! Eventually, the head covering became synonymous with “married”, “homemaker”, “mistress of the house” or “woman of valor”. Hence, when a women was married, and officially became the head of her own house, the head cover was donned as a sign of her new dignified position, with all its responsibilities. It was sort of the mark of a “career woman” back then. It also symbolized crossing the threshold between girlhood (with its wild, care-free streaming locks) and womanhood. It’s kind of like being introduced into the “secret society” of women. Later on, the head cover morphed into a sign of dignity and social status (as exemplified by Rabbi Akiva giving his wife Rachel a “Jerusalem of Gold” – probably some kind of expensive tichel tiara with an engraving of Jerusalem on it). Since everyone was already going around with covered hair, and couldn’t imagine society any other way, going sans tichel would be quite inappropriate and shocking to the established social order. That’s why the Talmud says a man may divorce his wife if she goes outside with her hair uncovered – the modern equivalent would be that a man may divorce his wife if she does some shocking anarchist-type behavior that is socially unacceptable (like dying her hair pink or burning bras at a radical feminist parade). In other words, a man has a right to expect his wife to behave like all his friends’ wives.
    In a way, a tichel is both a sign of a women’s inner beauty, strength and dignity and a sign of male domination in a patriarchal society.

  3. Pingback: The Joy of Rebecca-Joy! | Wrapunzel

  4. I’m late to the discussion, but as one of the unmarried ladies who covers her hair, I wanted to jump on here and offer my two cents worth. My journey has been crazy. I’ve covered then uncovered then covered again. I have had a love-hate relationship with it (due to lack of knowledge of how to wrap beautifully) until just last Fall where now I can’t imagine myself not covering. My answer has changed many a time but I think now that I have studied tzniut (“modesty” or “privacy” – thanks lzbthcldwll for posting that Chabad article, it reiterated the privacy definition of what I learned from Rav Shimshon Pincus’ book Nefesh Chaya), I have begun to see how very, very important it is in this day and age. I also would like to add that I think tzniut could be translated as “borders” or “boundaries.” When you dress a certain way, talk a certain way, act a certain way, you tell others around you that you have boundaries, that you won’t be bearing all of yourself for the world to see and subsequently, “protection” is another definition.

    I have struggled with feeling beautiful and valued all my life; not that my parents don’t love me or that I don’t have close friends. I can’t tell you how it got started but I know that I went through a phase….a very long phase…where by the world’s standards I was frumpy, ugly etc and the other children/teens let me know it, too. I didn’t fit the cookie-cutter mold (mould? spelling? I can’t remember) of beauty and charisma nor did the fashions of the day suit my body. Ironically, growing up, I was praised for my hair. It was my one feature that I took to heart and it became my vanity. Eventually as I grew up, the genes of my family began to show and my hair has thinned to the point of embarrassment – even to the point that I still feel embarrassed by it when I look at myself in the mirror and feel embarrassed about posting this here but this is a part of my journey.

    I began covering when I entered the world of Messianic Judaism, not because it was taught that I HAD to but it just felt right. It resonated with my spirit. However, I struggled with doing it. At the time I worked for Starbucks and we had a dress code. It was ok to cover, but we couldn’t wear anything patterned and it had to be black or white. BORING! I also struggled with it in regards to where I live. I live in Minnesota. While we do have a decent metro area, we still aren’t that diverse and I live in a northern suburb where I grew up with traditional Midwestern White Americans. So, I didn’t want to be judged, as I have been judged by my appearance my entire life. While it felt right, I never could do much with my scarves. I tried a wig for about a year and half, but the maintenance was annoying. I did feel more beautiful wearing a wig, but that was due to the worldly standards that I had always compared myself to and I had chosen ones that would be funky/fashionable/even sexy.

    After the wig, I returned to not covering at all. I then had to try to find a way to make my hair look nice but cover the extremely thin areas to avoid embarrassment. This was exhausting and emotionally draining. I would say that I reached my lowest point at that time. Eventually, my spirit woke me up and I began to feel that pull to cover my head again. This time I had the thought: I bet I can find information about how to wrap my scarves online by seeking out Orthodox Jewish women. And voila! I immediately found Rivka Malka’s videos on youtube which led me to Andrea’s videos. I can tell you that these resources have made a HUGE difference in how I feel. As soon as I was successful in wrapping my scarves (which was immediate!), I felt beautiful but not that type of beautiful I was trying to meet on the worldly standard but a deeper beauty.

    I look back and see the difference. I was measuring my beauty and self-worth to the world’s standards. I acted and dressed as “beautiful” as I could in order to feel better about myself and the only way I felt better was if I was noticed for my outer beauty. I lived off the compliments and felt devastated if I never got any or if someone more “beautiful” or “charismatic” was nearby. I also did not care for the attention I received by men. Often times, I felt very dirty afterwards and disheartened that only those types of men would want me.

    Now that I cover, I have noticed a MAJOR difference. I am no longer trying to fit myself into someone else’s idea of beauty, I no longer get my self-worth from that standard. Not only do I feel secure internally but I feel even more secure externally. I now can be who G-d created me to be without trying to be someone I’m not. I have noticed that I receive more respect from others in how they talk to me and how they look at me, even women. People talk to ME and look at ME not my body. As I exit my home and encounter others, I leave knowing I am protected and that people will relate to me as a person.

    I also struggled, too, with the idea of being noticed. If you were to follow me on the streets of the city here you would observe a sea of hair and then a burst of color. It truly brings attention; however, not all attention is equal. I won’t reiterate what other ladies have posted, as I am in agreement with what they have said, but I will say that until I dug deeper into Jewish teachings, I had no idea of the depth involved with head coverings.

    I will encourage anyone to begin by reading Gila Manolson’s books about tzniut. I have only read two but they are excellent. She writes in a very clear, concise manner and her books are short. She also has two lectures up on http://www.simpletoremember.com/authors/a/gila-manolson/. I am still reading about tzniut and listening to lectures. If you can get your hands on it, I would also recommend the book Nefesh Chaya: The Unique Avodas Hashem of the Jewish Woman by Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus. This book is deeper as Gila’s is really geared toward teenagers (although still good for us!) and also if you like listening to lectures, Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz has a great one on beauty, called “Orah: The Power of a Woman.” You can go to this website: http://www.torahanytime.com/Rabbi/Akiva_Tatz/ and you can choose to either watch a video or listen to the mp3.

    I know I could say so much more about this, as the topic is just that deep. But in a nutshell, I cover as an unmarried woman so that people will relate to ME and so that my physical self will be diminished. In this practice, I have found my true self that by focusing on the body was unknown. By covering, I also keep the world from tainting my connection with the Almighty. I have become an advocate for tzniut and even encouraging ALL women to cover, married or other. In Judaism and even Christianity, one can find the teaching that as Israel we are married to G-d, therefore, it behooves us to act as the spouse of the HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, Blessed is He).

    Sorry about the length! May He bless you in your journey as you seek to know Him and love Him.
    Leah

  5. This is an amazing gift of ladies and their thoughts and ideas all in one place…Wouldn’t it be awesome someday all of us in the same room!!! could the roof hold the excitement??? I’m not sure! Some haircovering convention or something! LOL, Hey, it could happen right?? Love you ladies posts, it has made all the difference in the world, and when one of us is feeling a little out of place, come back and read it all again…what wondrous stories, comments and feelings…Great posts by all…Hugs! Good night!

  6. After I left the previous comment, I was driving and this song came on:

    I thought of all of you ladies, adding to the beauty…

  7. Ladies! What a beautiful discussion! I haven’t read all of the more recent posts (my one-year-old wants to go outside!), but I must say that I my heart was soaring as I read Andrea’s answers to Rebecca-Joy’s first questions. I have been on a quest to find the truth behind the Christian head covering and have had the most wonderful journey with G-d. And the wonderful thing is that so much of what Andrea says mirrors what I discovered and have written in my book! And I had never before heard of the Jewish perspective on the head covering!
    I have looked on Catholic, Christian and Mennonite blogs and I have found the same questions on each one. But the biggest question is Why? And what many (or all, most likely) want to know is – how does this affect me as a woman? G-d has created me female – with a heart that reflects Him in a way that is unique from a man. Does He value me as a woman? How does the head covering fit in with all of this?
    Anyway, my book is nearing publication, and I am excited to see how many women from all different denominations are looking for answers on this. This blog and specifically this thread of comments have encouraged my heart so much as I am so eager to have this book finished! I know that G-d is working in women’s hearts in this area. Thank you for your encouragement!

  8. Mary:
    I am indeed still reading all these comments, and loving them!
    What you said, my mouth fell open and tears came to my eyes. You explained that beautifully! All I can say to adequately describe about my feelings towards what you wrote is: WOW!

    And to everyone else out there, I just want to say, thank you. This is a time in my life of searching and trying to define who I am in G-d’s eyes and how I best can glorify Him. You don’t know how much I have been blessed through these comments, stories and encouragement. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you!

    Andrea: I owe a lot of what I’ve learned to you. Thank you for taking the time to patiently (and in detail!) explain things to me and for spreading the word so others could share their thoughts and opinions as well. Thank You!

    Rebecca-Joy

  9. I’m loving this conversation as well, but am seeking more clarification on the issue of your hair becoming “charged” (as Andrea mentioned) after you have sex with your husband? It all of a sudden just changes to something other than what it used to be? Or is it more a self-fulfilling prophecy type of influence, that women who are going to cover their hair anyway after they are married, have learned that they it becomes charged, and then they actually have this feeling that it does?

  10. I’m one of the few ‘non-religious’ women who cover. I do it for practicality (dislike hair in my face, and don’t like hats or headbands), and it gives me a sense of self i’ve never had before. I feel more REAL with the outside world. The Honest me. I bring joy to others when i wear beautiful or intricate wraps, because they are seriously interested in HOW i do it and not necessarily the whys. I have been asked though, if i were Amish or Mennonite and was able to explain that i am not AND enlighten others about how Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite women cover and believe in a more simplistic modesty by sticking with the ‘basics’ of wardrobe. I choose to be a beacon of hope and joy to the world around me.

    • Oh my goodness, I have so many questions for you, if you don’t mind :D
      1. What made you decide to cover?
      2. Do you ever get negative reactions from religious people?
      3. Do you ever get negative reactions from other non-religious people?
      4. What is your ‘justification’ or philosophy behind wearing the headscarf if you don’t believe in the bible (1st corinthians 11)? (I know you kind of spoke of it in your comment, but could you maybe give a slightly more in-depth answer)?
      5. How long have you covered? Are you friends okay with it?
      6. Have you ever felt unsafe in public?

      I really want to cover, but I am not Muslim, and I am not Christian or Jewish, so I don’t want to offend anyone. My parents also are not supportive because they think that people will treat me badly if I cover (see question 6). They’re also worried that people will treat me differently and won’t want to be friends with me…

      Regardless, I am hoping to try covering when I go to college… even if it’s just an experiment.

      I know these are a lot of questions, and you don’t have to answer them all if you don’t want to!

      (Any other ladies are free to answer if they wish)

      Thanks!!

      ~Fig

  11. Hi everyone!!! I wanted to chime in myself on this topic, i hope Rebecca-Joy is still reading this post.

    Here are my thoughts. (And i hope they make sense, because right now I am a cross between exhausted and elated after having found my kitty up a tree deep in the woods after 5 days of her being missing, LOL, another loooong story!)

    Okay, back to the subject at hand. Rebecca, you already seem very interested in this and curious, so i hope to call your attention to an aspect you may have no previously thought of.

    I want you to think of all of the different types of flowers that you’re seeing open up outside in this wonderful beginning stage of springtime. There are flowers out there at I can’t even begin to describe, let alone know the names of. The same goes for birds. For the life of me, i can’t begin to imagine all of the amazing reasons behind why God created them. But he did, and in every color, size, shape imaginable, and each with they’re own unique song. None of these flowers or birds, are simple, or modest, or monotone. They are each, creative, outlandishly colorful, bright, fancy, even over the top, with no seeming reason for their brightness or colors, other than one simple fact………..they each, every single one, call back to their creator, and to the beauty and creativity of the One that made them.

    How much more amazing are we, humans, in our own details? Our eyes only perceive color because God made them to, and created the colors of the rainbow in the first place to even be able to be detected by our eyes. Scientists, in all of their amazing discoveries, have yet to even be able to wrap their minds around the human eye.

    So i say all of that to say this. We serve an over the top Creator. He didn’t make you to stay unnoticed in this life, any more than he made the birds and flowers and other parts of creation to be unnoticed by us. He is a show off, if you will permit me to say such a thing. I tell him that every Autumn when the leaves start turning colors that amaze me. And I say that because he’s showing off for US! He’s showing off his beauty and his LOVE toward us. Half of the things in creation are completely unnecessary for our survival. Color is unnecessary. Birds singing their songs is unnecessary. Gold, silver, the precious jewels that he placed deep in the earth for us to uncover and discover, are unnecessary. But he did it for US. As a gift.

    My hope for you, is that you will see the ability to cover your hair in the same way that Andrea, and countless others such as myself, do on a regular basis, as a gift to yourself. That you will go out, and buy yourself every scarf that tickles your fancy, every pin, accessory that thrills your sense of style, and that you will make for yourself, crowns of dignity and honor. Because that’s what covering is all about. It’s honestly, in my book, not so much about “modesty” as it is about dignity. You are placing yourself on a level of deservedness, if that’s even such a word. You deserve this, not because of something that you’ve DONE to deserve it, but because you are a daughter of the King. And a precious one at that. God has hidden the gold and silver, and precious jewels of the earth, under a covering of earth that is beautiful, colorful, bright, and UNmodest (i.e. monotone and basic). Your hair is your glory, if you choose to cover it, do it in the same manner that God chose to cover the things that we call precious, do it with beauty, color, and brightness.

    Because in doing so, you are reflecting the nature of our Father in heaven, who is an over the top designer, of as the song says, “all things bright and beautiful all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, for our God made them all”.

    Be bold, be daring, reflect HIM! :)

    Much love!!
    Mary

  12. I live just a few hours from DC, and believe it or not, it is very common for Muslim women to wear their scarves Jewish style there. Their modesty standards are often much more relaxed. I don’t go there often, and I’ve never asked one why.

    • It does not surprise me that Muslim women here are more conservative. Even the liberal folks here are more conservative than liberal people in the rest of America! LOL

      Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever seen a Muslim woman on her own…

  13. I wanted to chime in that when i was becoming religious, I really struggled with this mitzvah (commandment) of covering hair when married.
    I wore simple scarves, which seemed too informal. I wore wigs, but felt they were uncomfortable, “boring” (always the same color and style), and the good ones are always so expensive. I also never felt like I was looking at myself when I wore it.
    I find that I can have a whole collection of scarves for less money than 1 wig. Also the possibilities for creativity are endless. Now, I tie scarves, with the help of wrapunzel :-), differently every day and enjoy doing this mitzvah in my own, unique way. I feel more confident and like I’m a signpost for everyone around me. People of different backgrounds come up to me and ask me about it and why I do it. Some people only wear scarves, some hats, some only wigs, and others nothing at all. Everybody has to choose their own path. This is mine.

  14. OK I’m back – I am going to grab a bit here and respond out of turn :)

    You asked how wearing beautiful scarves can bring people closer to G-d. Well, when Bach wrote music for the church he wrote the most beautiful music he could to edify G-d and in doing so helped bring many closer to G-d. When the Catholics built beautiful cathedrals they did so to glorify G-d and in doing so they inspired people to worship. When I wear scarves in a way that show my countenance and allow my spirit to show – then I pray that it will bring others closer to G-d too. I KNOW that Andrea, through her work, has helped many women express their own personal worship through head coverings. If the fact that we find them artistic and pleasing has helped to do that then may we all carry that example to some degree!

    As to Muslim vs Jewish style, you will notice that Muslim women who cover almost always cover their neck and bust with their scarves. This is a definition of modesty found in the Qur’an.

    As for me, I have always been drawn to head coverings, from the Mennonites of my childhood, my first experience in a synagogue as a girl, the Russian babushkas and Muslims.

    There came a time when I knew I had to start covering as an act of worship. Contrary to most I did it only in private, then began opting for caps when going out. Finally I jumped in with both feet and began covering. My husband said I looked glamorous, people in public treated me differently – in a good way. I felt beautiful, I stood taller and became aware that I was now a walking billboard. I had to check my words and actions to make sure they matched the commitment I showed with my head.

    I walk around all day now feeling as if my head is in G-d’s hands. I can feel nearness and a constant state of worship. If you are considering covering your hair I suggest you give it a whirl. If you decide to keep it up I think the how will become apparent when you know what is right for you in your heart. Will you cover only outside the home? Only with one scarf? Only with a wig? I can only say that I believe if you are honest in your intentions you will honestly know when you are where you need to be and when you are doing what you need to do.

    As for the sleeping covered thing? Some do – some don’t. As a rule I don’t but I am going away for a weekend retreat and I had actually considered it. If I do you can bet it will be a single, cotton scarf. LOL

  15. Hello again! I think there are still distinctions between some religions as to ‘why’ they cover.

    Through the years I too have studied various religious groups for various reasons. I have come across many peoples of differing backgrounds and become close friends. I am friends with Amish and Mennonite women and have even lived with the Amish for a period of time. Amish, Mennonite, German Baptist, Brethren and Hutterite all come from the Anabaptist movement and the women cover their hair. However, their head covering is different than it is in Judaism and Islam.

    Anabaptist cover as an expression that they are under the authority of G_d, respect for G_d, based upon the verses in Corinthians of the New Testament writings. Yes, there is some modesty associated with it, but not like in Judaism. Women do not have to be married to cover their hair. Most start to cover their hair around their tween years when they can better understand the meanings behind it. Obviously there is more to this than what I have mentioned.

    One thing to also consider is that women around the world covered their hair in various ways and to some extent for the most part regardless of religious beliefs when they became married up until the last 100-150 years. Feminism came in and took that practice away.

  16. Shalom,
    I am going to tackle the camel question. I am married to a Rabbi, this is very helpful when you want to know something!
    So Rivkah had been selected at the well by Eliezer and she was on her way to meet Yitzchak (Isaac) she knew she was on her way to marry him. This is one of the reasons she had a veil with her.
    Nice comments. I cover with everything, wig, scarf, multiple scarves and hats.
    Cheers,

  17. Hello all,

    Wow! All these wonderful answers to my questions! I feel so special! It’s really nice to be able to read about all your different backgrounds, stories and opinions. Thank you for sharing and being so open. You have all definitely helped me gain a deeper and better understanding of the head covering concept (and much more besides!). THANK YOU!

    I’m beginning to understand just how complicated and diverse this subject (i.e. head coverings) can be, but what I get out of what each and every one of you is saying, is that it all boils down to what’s between you and G-d. Everyone is different; G-d hasn’t called us all to walk the same path. It’s about being honest with yourself and G-d. Am I right in saying so?

    (Andrea) I found it interesting when you said that Jews usually have 10 opinions on every word that is written in the Torah. Christianity is no better I’m afraid. It is estimated that there are 41,000 different Christian denominations worldwide! I just can’t fathom it! We all have the same Bible with the same words in it, but we end up with 41,000 different interpretations of it! It’s crazy! In light of that, I can totally understand how your answers are all based on what is agreed upon within Judaism.

    Thank you for your explanation concerning unmarried women covering their hair. However, I find it interesting that in the book of Bereshit (Genesis), Rebekah, when she was still unmarried had and wore a veil. I’m not familiar with the Torah but in my Bible the reference is Genesis 24:62-65. This particular passage says that Rebekah, when she learned that is was Isaac coming towards them (her caravan, I guess you could say), she took her veil and covered herself. My question is, why would she have a veil if she didn’t obviously wear it sometimes?
    Could it be that the Jewish women in ancient times covered their hair for different reasons than what you do today? Has the head covering concept sort of evolved over the years and changed with the changing times? Just wondering if that’s a possible explanation.

    So essentially, with you statement: “Judaism is very against materialism, but this does not mean that we can’t own and appreciate beautiful things if they help bring us closer to our creator,” you mean that wearing beautiful head coverings and accessories also helps brings you closer to our creator as well? May I ask how so? I thought it served to help bring you closer to your husband. Was I wrong in thinking that or is that another aspect of it as well?

    I agree. If G-d so graciously gives us the livelihood that we enjoy, then we need to use it to help make the world a better place. But not only that. We need to use it to bring glory and honor to Him as well. There are of course a lot of non-believers out there who make the world a better place through their livelihood, but not for the same reasons. The important thing to remember is why we are using our livelihood to make the word a better place. Ultimately, it’s to honor G-d. Would you agree?

    I’ve discovered over time that if I have to rationalize or justify something to myself, then it’s a pretty good indicator that I shouldn’t do it. I’m not saying in all cases this applies, but generally I have found it a good standard to judge by.

    Okay, so what exactly is mitzvah? Lots of you have made reference to it, and I just assumed it was some sort of gathering or get together that Jewish people have. I looked it up, and Wikipedia said that mitzvah refers to the commandments and precepts that were commanded by G-d. Is that correct? So much for my “gathering” or “get together” idea! I just want to be sure we’re all going by the same meanings here, so as to avoid confusion!

    Ah! I had no idea before that Jewish head covering and Muslim was different. I actually only was aware that Muslim women covered, but I had no idea why. I think it’s safe to surmise that I’ve probably seen a Jewish woman with a head covering before, but just assumed it was a Muslim woman! It’s too bad that we aren’t taught that sort of thing, even at church. It would be nice to know… But I know now, so no worries.

    I can completely relate to Annmarie. I’ve done extensive research on not only the Amish, but also the Mennonites and Brethren as well. And I too, was confused. Who’s right?! But through this wonderful discussion I’ve grown to an understanding that I didn’t have before. Like Annmarie, I see now that it’s up to each individual how they want to bring “their” light in the world…how they want their words, actions and dress to represent their faith in G-d. However, I also want to point out that it’s not left entirely up to us. G-d does play a part in showing us what we should be doing. We shouldn’t only rely on our own feelings or conceptions of what’s right for us. Ultimately, we should follow G-d’s leading in our life.

    Well said LeeAnn. I totally agree with you! A person can present themselves in many ways, but true modesty is also about attitude and how you present yourself, not only what you wear.
    It’s not only the clothes that make a person modest, but also the person inside the clothes. I could wear extremely modest clothing, but if my actions or attitude was the complete opposite I would be a walking contradiction! Again, this doesn’t mean I can dress in a “sexy” way and then behave in a modest, decent manner. Once again, I’d be a walking contradiction.
    One of the main things I’ve learned through this discussion is that the core thing to remember is, ultimately it’s between me and G-d and that only I can decide what is the best way to go in regards to covering my hair.

    Rebecca-Joy

    • Rebecca-Joy, Look at the wonderful discussion you have started! Amazing! Thank YOU.

      Most of your newer questions have been answered by the women here, so I won’t add even more to that! In terms of asking if hair covering brings me closer to my creator or closer to my husband, the answer is both. It has been mentioned here that dressing and presenting oneself beautifully is making oneself into a constant billboard of praise for our creator that created the world with so much beauty. It is my way of saying “Thank you” to Gd… for my marriage, my abilities, my hair, the colours of the world, etc.! And of course, it connects me to my husband at all time. I feel him with me, always. It is like both Gd and my husband are hugging my head!

      I am so happy that all of our input has helped you in terms of your decision about hair covering. I’m sure that I speak for many of us here in saying that I wish I had seen such a discussion before I got married! I hope that women continue to share their experiences and questions here.

  18. Hi all,

    this discussion is very interesting and all the insights written are beautiful

    Dear Rebecca, on what you said about dressing modestly i can relate and share a thought with you. For a very long time I believed that dressing modestly in Judaism meant being dressed with loosy (loosely ?) clothes not really by wearing clothes that look like you are wearing a garbage bag but not that far. So you can imagine how I dressed. I was wearing long skirts that were too big for me and didn’t feet me well and so on. I wasn’t really noticing it since I thought it was how I should dress being dressed modestly but some friends had some (not always nice) comments and were kinda surprised I wasn’t making me a favor by dressing so loosely.
    By reading books and with the insights of Andrea (thank you SO MUCH !) I understood I was wrong and should start again from the “beginning” (is there a beginning on dressing modestly ?). It’s still a work on progress since I took some steps back to know how to dress nicely and modestly or modestly AND nicely at the same time but I’m happy I understand dressing modestly doesn’t mean turning off your inner light and enlightment.

    Thank you for this interesting discussion !

    PS : Andrea, you spelled Louis Vuitton correctly. I understand your dilemma about the scarf that is very nice. I guess if you want to wear it you could with one or two other scarves that will “hide” it a little :).

  19. HI! I will chime in more later with my personal journey, but I wanted to reference a few things from a Chabad article that really helped me understand modesty in the Jewish way.

    ___________________________________________________________

    One of the first mentions of tzniuts is in Midrash Tanchuma on Parshat Ki Sisah, which discusses the giving of the first Tablets (two stones on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments) to the Jewish people. This took place with elaborate fanfare, which the whole world knew about. The end result was the golden calf and a broken set of tablets. Our Creator then decided to give us the second tablets in a more private manner—a small, quiet event, between G‑d and the Jewish people. That was when G‑d said: “There is nothing more beautiful than tzniut,” a word which would more accurately be translated as privacy.

    When something is secret, it’s special. Privacy. Not quite as annoying a word as “modesty.” After all, who doesn’t value privacy? Children throughout the world enjoy secret clubhouses or private codes. And adults cherish private letters that they stash away at the back of their drawer, or call their spouses and children nicknames that only family members know the true meaning of. When something is secret, it’s special.

    When something is private, it shows that we admire and appreciate it. Disclosing it to the public would degrade it and take away some of the exclusivity of whatever it is that we want to keep private.

    More important than what we are covering is what we are exposing. The most prominent parts of the body that are allowed to be seen are the face and the hands. These two body parts express the inner self. The face reveals who we are: the smile, the eyes (which are windows to the soul), facial expressions, etc. Our hands represent what we do, our endeavors in life. Here we have it: the face and the hands, people’s inner content and their accomplishments. In other words, the part of ourselves that we may share with others is the spiritual self.

    _______________________________________

    You can read the full article here:
    http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/958266/jewish/Uncovering-the-Mystery-of-Modesty.htm

    There was another article that I cannot seem to find right now, which compared a woman’s modesty to the covering of the Torah, tucked away in the Ark, In a Synagogue… It is taken out for its holy purpose and then put away again. The idea being that we don’t leave special things lying about, maybe someone else has that link?

    Sadly my lunch is over – can’t wait to check back in a few hours!

  20. This is indeed a very very interesting subject! I love it! All that have commented have excellent points. I would say to Rebecca-Joy, that I too, am not Jewish, in the sense of the “american version” of it.(Although I keep Shabbat, keep Torah commandments, and keep the Biblical holidays(known as Jewish holidays), and keep dietary law. But because Jesus was one, and He is the “Rabbi” that I follow, along with God the Fathers teachings of Torah and the Prophets, that makes me grafted in not as “physical Israel”, but spiritually. I have been a convert, of Judaism and a Christian, long story too :), but I will say that “I left my heart in Jerusalem”. I feel so much of my strides as Jewish ones, to complete mitzvot with great joy and expression..(btw, you mentioned ” that’s what it says in my Bible” , the Torah is also in Christian Bibles. The first five books, Gen – Deut, is considered the Torah.. Just something for you to know…Most Christians are taught that it is Old, Testament, so there for done away with, but as I have been researching the Hebrew Roots of Jesus (Y’shua), that I have discovered much has been lost in translation, through the years and centuries, sadly! ,And G-ds laws of instruch There is a teacher of Hebrew Roots, that is named Paul Nison, The Healthwatchman, on You tube, he does some good teachings on headcovering and modesty. I don’t agree with all of his thoughts on it, but it brings some things to light to help I believe. Once you start knowing more you won’t want to quit. Headcovering is so part of that , I think. Its funny, how when I cover, I feel more alive, more spiritually connected, like God is literally on my head( I don’t mean that blasphemously). But to say that I feel so beautiful inside, and a “light” through the ‘cracked pot”. When you mentioned modesty and plainness, and being “not ” all done up and stuff, I thought of the pot. When it is whole, and complete, it can be beautiful…but not until it is broken , set on a hill when the light shines through the cracks, can it be in its “wholeness” , and complete. I find that with covering..when I don’t I am just me, long greying hair, parted on the side, modestly dressed, (but bright colors) I mean have you looked outside at a bird or flower??? They were made by G-d right? and He say they had to be plain or dowdy, We don’t have to either…the difference is, that birds and flowers can’t use it for “bad”. We can, and that is where the line has to be… But it is an inside line, I believe, not an outside one. If we wrap and do and use make up even or whatever, as long as our heart is in the right place, and we are doing it for us to feel whole and for our hubby, then it is ok…But if we are constantly , when out, looking in the mirror, and windows, and wondering, I wonder if any one noticed what cover Im wearing today…that is the bad part. We have the free will to choose..use it for Him(light) and good or use it for bad and the “darkness ‘. Attraction and attractiveness are two different things I think. To be attractive to your spouse is one thing, to be attractive to others is another…this is why I used to be overly friendly to everyone…and always got hit upon, for dates, and others in room didn’t know when their “jokes” or comments were inappropriate, they didnt have that “line”..Now with covering, I am still really friendly, but there is a line that I draw. I will only speak to a man, if there isn’t a woman available for asking something at the store or wherever…I make my points with men, other than hubby and family , short and professional, or just the facts, nothing over that…I did notice something the other day that struck me as odd…I was at the supermarket. and I had been wearing scarves similar to Andrea’s styles…but that day I wore my ball cap.. hair up in a bun, and covered mostly…but for some reason, there was a guy in line, and he was overly friendly to me…I tried to be nice not stuck up, but still aloof..He had to get something else past me, and so he “put his hand on my back” to go past me! not only once but twice!!! I was like, whoa!!! that was creepy..and I know he didn’t think that way, and I know that I’m not being attractive that way, but still creeped me out…I don’t beleive that would have happened had I have been scarfed!(LOL). Just interesting how people respond to you.
    Also, I saw you commented to Andrea, “about being asked if you are Muslim? ” I have never been asked, although I would love the opportunity to share about modesty and marriage and staying true etc with others, so I’m waiting for that time. But my hubby thinks someone may mistake me for that.. I am frustrated by that , to be totally honest.. As I have told him, this is part of my growth process, and to honor him at this time, I wear hats and scarves (not as covered) as I would normally out with out him, but when with him, to honor his requests..My Mother in Law says I look Jewish, I’m good with that, I don’t really care what others think, what G-d thinks, that is of utmost important to me..

    There are many thoughts on this topic in Christian circles…As I have studied the Christian main thought on this, of 1 Cor 11~ if womens, hair is the “covering”, then men would have to be bald to pray. You know? That doesn’t make sense to me…and if you study the greek of that text, there are two different words used for hair/covering and cloth covering…it states our hair should be long (goes along with Torah stating not to look like a man, and that mens hair should be short, not to be like a woman), Since I started covering full time, mostly, in 2009. I have really gone studying everything I can find on hair, and covering from all aspects of Judaism and Christianity..Even studying Kabbalah and Talmudic statutes on it, and what that means….and Biblical texts, Hebrew, Greek, and English..although, as you mentioned to be in the world and not of it, I don’t respect many of the translations of Bible texts, as they are english with not much respect of the original thought and history. But I digress..Anyway, I hope you find more information on covering…I did pray about it, and asked G-d that if it wasn’t from HIM, to take away my “craving” for it. Its like in my core…that is for another post! LOL..but alas its still there…so be covered, be not ashamed, be free and fun and love and colorful just as the lovely world that our Creator put here for us to enjoy. (Maybe the creatures like it when we are colorful as they are) I don’t know…Blessings and Shalom! you can reach me at quirkycashew613@gmail.com if you wish to take this up by email…I have some interesting thoughts and prospectives on it from a christian standpoint, and I can share some teachings that I have on the subject..(anyone may inquire) but since you are christian, then you can respond that way if you wish. I also have facebook, Shoshana Sprinzl. there are many covering sites, and places to get covers too…..

  21. Rebecca-Joy,

    One thing that I remember that has always made sense to me and I understand totally where you are coming from as money is tight in my household and I am very aware of who has what.

    When Christ was eating at a home and Mary came in to the home and washed his feet with the expensive perfume and the guests in the home chastised her for so doing, Christ admonished them and said that there would always be poor with us.

    I am not being disrespectful here or downplaying Christ’s words, but even though we all try not to be wasteful, we can not take the leftovers from our tables and mail them to the starving in Africa or even here in the states. We must always do what we can to help others but I don’t believe that means we should also go without.

    Once again it is being mindful and modest within reason.

  22. What an amazing discussion! If it is okay I would like to place another perspective on this discussion.

    I would like to address the question of why not just -one scarf. When I read this question I immediately went to a comment that Rivka Malka said at one time on her website, and I am totally paraphrasing here as I will not be able to quote it word for word, that G_d has given us a world filled with beauty. There are numerous flowers, birds, trees, etc. that show the love of color that our Creator has, along with creativity.

    And I totally agree with her! The majority of humanity doesn’t wear just one style of clothing or color every day or only one hair style the rest of our lives. We don’t all have the same car, house, dishes or shoes. I think when dressing in a modest but pleasing manor it is not just out of respect for ourselves, but for G_d and for our spouse. Even though my hair may be covered I still wish to look nice for my husband. Even though I dress modestly, I still am representing myself as G_d’s child. That doesn’t mean that I should dress in such a way that is offensive, depressing or extravagant.

    It is like what was stated before, buying a car that is well made and serviceable, versus a car with gold hubcaps and a Rolls Royce. Do we only have one necklace? One set of earrings? No jewelry at all? A person can present themselves in many ways…modesty is about attitude and how you present yourself, not just what you wear.

    I like to think that when I am covering my hair what I cover with complements my outfit, just like my shoes or jewelry. I do believe that in everything we do, we can overindulge. Do we eat just one piece of dessert or two, three? Just because it tastes good?

    Only you can decide what is the best way to go regarding covering your hair. Pray and ask G_d what is the right thing for you to do. I personally feel that having a few scarves that I mix and match and use over and over, and then recycle when I get tired of them or my wardrobe changes due to worn clothing, etc., if what I use doesn’t go to waste, then it isn’t bad to have more than one.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding? Is the question just wearing more than one scarf at a time? Or having more than one scarf that you wear in your wardrobe? I am not sure, but I hope that what we have written here can answer both questions.

    Just as you may layer your clothes for a particular effect or warmth, we can layer scarves. I don’t have scarves with real gold or silver or real jewels in them. I don’t have expensive scarves that cost hundreds of dollars due to being from a famous designer (although finding one at the thrift store for a few dollars would be awesome!). But I do feel that looking pleasing and behaving in a modest manner is not just a good example of respect for yourself, your spouse and your Creator but also an example to your children and others.

    • LOVE these thoughts LeeAnn. Thank you. And totally agree about Hashem creating a world of beauty for us to be a part of!
      Funny, I actually found a genuine, italian silk, Louis Vuitton (is that how you spell it?) scarf in a thrift store for under $1. I’m actually very hesitant to wear it because I don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention and look extravagant. I honestly don’t know what to do with it. (Here is a photo – http://www.buy-top-bags.biz/uploadfile/product/Louis-Vuitton-Silk-Scarf-orange-LV090310-3.jpg)

      • Andrea, very pretty scarf. I do understand your dilemma, we are to be part of the world but not worldly. We are to be an example not lead others astray, not be a stumbling block. I think we can only call upon Hashem and ask guidance from Him, but is it wrong to own something when we find it for a small price and would like to wear it as we like it? Does it cause you harm? Does it cause someone else harm? Is the fact that someone else may judge you our fault or their fault as they are the one’s who look with evil in their heart to do the judging to begin with, but we gave them something to judge? Who are we to know the workings of another’s mind and heart or where they are in their walk with Hashem?

  23. Rebecca-Joy,
    As a Catholic Christian who has recently started full time covering again (long story!) I just wanted to share how this site has helped me. I knew next to nothing about Judaism before I found this site, even thought when I went through the conversion process into my church, I was taught it was necessary to learn the historical connection and encouraged to become familiar with teaching and traditions because Judaism was the parent religion of our own faith. I have always found the dictionary definition of modesty somehow lacking some essential element, it just seemed one dimensional, if that makes sense? As I watched Andrea’s videos and heard her explanation about Jewish teaching about modesty and this particular mitzvah it resounded so deeply in my heart, it was like hearing my innermost feelings VOICED!!!… about my marriage and how I cherish it, my husband and how I want to honor him, and how as an (adopted) daughter of the King, I am to set myself apart…to live in society but not be OF society, to be that “light unto the world”… these are just a few examples .Not to delve to deeply into denominational differences I just want to share my experience, I even went to my priest to discuss these ideas, and my heart was overjoyed to find confirmation that YES, G-d might be calling me to commit myself to this particular devotion, just like others are called to a life of intensive prayer, for example the daily praying of the full 15 decade Rosary! and others are called to fasting sometimes in very different ways. Catholic tradition teaches that things that are holy or sacred should be veiled (covered), the tabernacles in our churches are covered as we believe inside is contained the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity our of Lord, women are also vessels for new life, there for that is sacred! Scripture also talks about the “temple” being veiled, just some quick examples. I believe G-d reaches out to each of us in an individual way, because through our life experiences and weaknesses with sin we are all so different. I can say from recent experiences with covering in these more “elaborate” styles that it seems to open something up in my face, people look me in the eye, smile more readily, ask very open questions (none rude yet) and seem genuinely curious about my motivation to cover and what covering means to me… I find a change in MYSELF , more importantly! I am MUCH more aware of my speech, behavior and even my thoughts…my coverings are like the ultimate “string around the finger” trick but instead of some mundane chore or tidbit to remember I am remembering my Creator, ALL THE TIME! I am wearing a badge that represents the love I feel for my husband ALL THE TIME! I am also learning that I can help society re-learn the true definition of beauty by covering this way….true beauty , even of the physical variety should be DIGNIFIED, not animalistic. I have had several people tell me how my face is glowing, they just see a peace radiating from me since I have started covering this way…
    I hope my story helps shed some insight into your question and concerns and I hope it helps to add a viewpoint from a different faith. I found your questions very refreshing and it was an enjoyable task to put my feelings/thoughts about this into words.

    • Hi Andrea,

      I just wanted to add that Muslim wrap their scarfs very differently to it is really hard to mistake a Muslim for a Jew especially here in Israel.

      Also regarding Rachel Joy’s questions, how we cover our hair is personal decision and based on where we hold in our religiousity and in our commnity. There are some women who only cover their hair with black or dark color hats/ snoods and other like Andrea who wear colorful wraps. There is a beauty in each way. Also I read recently the reason some of them wear black hats/ snoods in remembrance of the destruction of the Holy Temple.

      Bracha Leah

      • Great point, Bracha Leah. In Israel I would never get mistaken as a Muslim, but here in Chicago the woman who asked didn’t cover herself, and had a Muslim friend that did and had never met anyone else that did it too!

      • Bracha Leah,

        I also have heard from my rabbi is that the darker wardrobe (not just headcovers) is in mourning the destruction of the temple.

    • I have been enjoying this blog for a while. I am not Jewish but am fully aware that Judaism is the father of my Christian religion. I became extremely interested in the Jewish Faith after I read a book pertaining to the hasidic sect. I began to research and discovered your site as well as Rivka Malka’s. I look forward to reading your blogs everyday. I read all the comments above and I think I understand where Rebecca- joy is coming from because before I started to research judiaism I use to read extensively about the Amish culture. Amish culture is very similar because they keep the Sabbath, dress modestly and cover their hair. However, their dress very plain(they are known as the Plain people). They stress no attention beong drawn to them, they avoid prideful thoughts etc. I was confused as well, which one was what we were supposed to do. I thank you for all your explanations because I now know it is up to each individual how they want to bring “their” light in the world…how they want their words, actions and dress to represent their Faith in the infinite. For myself, I try to combine both Amish and Jewish ways…not at the head covering yet although, I feel this constant pulling to cover in some form. I will leave it in Gds hands and wait for his guidance. THANKS for being a reservoir of information!

      • Sorry for the typos..but my 4 year old is asking to eat and I need to finish before all the other kids arrive home from school..Have a great day!

  24. Wow, this is such an interesting conversation. I wanted to say a little more on the concept of beautifying a mitzvah, which is a very praiseworthy thing. Doing a mitzvah in an especially beautiful way shows our love for Torah and mitzvos, that we want to go above and beyond the basic observance of them and make them into a thing of beauty. For instance, a person could light a simple menorah on Chanukah and fulfill their obligation according to Jewish law. But if a person does that same mitzvah with an especially beautiful menorah and with olive oil instead of candles, that is considered “beautifying” the mitzvah. With hair covering, a woman could cover her hair with a simple black scarf and still be doing the mitzvah, but she could also choose to cover her hair in a beautiful way that shows her love for the mitzvah. I hope I explained that well.

    On the ears in/ears out question, I prefer to cover my ears when wearing a scarf because I feel like it covers more of my hair, but I do also leave my ears out sometimes with certain scarves because I feel like they are on more securely (and without pain) when they are behind my ears.

  25. Hi Andrea (and Kai),

    I never for one minute thought that the Hebrew meaning of the word “modest” might be different from the English one! Thank you for clarifying that. It definitely helps me understand better.

    I think I understand what you mean by saying “we are nothing, yet we are everything.” We are nothing without G-d, but we are everything to Him. Is that sort of what it would mean? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’m not a Jew, but I am taught (and believe) the same things as you, in regards to being a light to the world, walking humbly before G-d and that nothing in this world is truly ours. I would agree with you on all these points.

    I feel so ignorant when it comes to all this! I’ll be honest. Up to a few day’s ago, I really knew nothing about Judaism. You see, I’m a Christian and it was not until I started to research the head covering that I began to understand that Jews cover their hair for religious reasons too. Some Christians do, but not all. In fact, I wasn’t brought up to wear a head covering. There is a lot of controversy over the head covering issue, and it was never talked about. However, when I began to study the scriptures in more depth I discovered that even Christian women should cover their hair because the woman is the glory of the man and therefore should have a symbol on her head that she is under authority. I don’t know if that is in the Torah, but it is in my Bible. Anyway, when I discovered that Jewish women cover their hair as well, I was kind of surprised. I began to research Jewish beliefs and practices and I’ve learned so much!
    Anyway, I’m afraid I’ve deviated from the original topic, and I apologize.

    I find it interesting that you believe being humble and modest does not mean denying yourself good food, beautiful clothes, or a nice house. I always though that to some degree, it did. Not that I thought one should live in rags and become destitute, but I always thought that one should not be indulging too much in those things, especially when some people have nothing. This issue also confuses me. I can however, understand where you are coming from and it sounds very logical.

    I don’t think G-d wants us to deny or forbid ourselves pleasures, otherwise why would He have created them? But I certainly think that we should be wise and moderate in our use of certain pleasures. Not all “pleasures” are necessarily good, and even the ones that are can be abused. Wouldn’t you agree?

    I love how you said that “drawing the line” boils down to being honest with ones self and that it’s between us and G-d. It makes perfect sense, and I agree! Thank you for taking the time to clearly explain these things and answer my numerous questions!

    So now that I have those questions all answered, I have a couple more. I hope this isn’t annoying, but it’s nice to get the answers straight from the source instead of using a search engine and getting a different answer at almost every site I visit!

    Are unmarried girls allowed to wear head coverings? Is it forbidden or just not done? If they want to, can they? I completely understand why married women do it, and I think it’s a wonderful thing, keeping something for just between the husband and wife. However, could not unmarried girls cover for the same reason? I mean, if an unmarried girl makes the decision to cover even before she’s married, then she’s keeping something in advance for just her future husband and herself. Is that acceptable?

    I have also wondered if the ears are supposed to be covered. I notice in your photos that your wraps generally cover at least part of your ear. Is there a reason for this?

    Well, I think that’s all for now. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to both of you for your replies. You don’t know how much this has blessed me!

    Rebecca-Joy

    PS. I checked out the link you provided Kai, and found it very interesting and educational! Like I said before, I really didn’t know that much about Judaism before the head covering research and such. It’s been wonderful learning about the Jewish faith. I’m discovering so many things I never knew before. It’s truly a unique and touching experience for me!

    • Rebecca-Joy,

      I am very happy that you are writing and we are having this discussion. Thank you for your questions and introspection. I hope that others see what we have written here because it is very interesting for me and can benefit others as well!

      Thank you for the clarification on your background. It’s always easier to discuss these issues when I know where the questions are coming from. There are quite a few Christians on this site so you are not alone in seeking it out! I will try my best to answer your questions and thoughts in the order that you wrote. Please keep in mind that while I have learned quite a lot about this subject, I am not an authority on Jewish teachings. Us Jews usually have 10 opinions on every word that is written in the Torah (actually, 10 is a gross underestimation!) We all agree on the bottom line ideals and general practices, but many of the details differ vastly between sects. As much as I try to be inclusive in that which I say on this blog, there are many out there that have differing (and just as valid) opinions. However, most of your questions are not about surface details, so what I write is generally premises that are agreed upon within Judaism.

      In terms of “we are nothing yet we are everything” – you understood correctly. We are nothing without Gd, yet in this world, we are partners with Gd and the responsibility is ours to bring light and goodness into it. In Judaism, we believe that it is our responsibility to repair the world. Therefore, to Gd, we are everything, and he truly does love each and every one of us. This does not mean that we think everyone has to be Jewish; It means that every human being has a personal responsibility to bring his/her unique goodness into this world in order to make it whole.

      I will be doing a video about this soon, but in Judaism, a married woman covers her hair because her hair changes once she ‘knows’ her husband. This is also the answer to your question about unmarried women covering their hair. Yes, an unmarried Jewish woman CAN cover her hair… but the question is, why would she? When a woman gets married and spends the night with her husband, her hair becomes spiritually ‘charged’ (this is the simplest way I can explain it). It is no longer just dead cells growing out of her head. Her hair becomes something private and between her and her husband. The covering that she wears is sort of a ‘crown’ to her marriage, and the hair underneath it is reserved for those private moments with her soul mate. In Judaism, we certainly don’t encourage unmarried women to be ‘sexy’ with their hair, but we also don’t ask her to cover it. Many unmarried women keep their hair in a braid or off the face somehow… but since it has not been ‘charged’, there is no reason to cover it. Of course, on bad hair days or when it’s super cold or hot, most women will wear a hat regardless of marital status, but I have never heard of someone doing it regularly.

      (There are unmarried women on this site that cover their hair for other religious, fashion and health reasons, so of course, the above reasoning doesn’t apply to you!)

      In terms of enjoying good food, clothes, houses, etc., you are right. We should not overly indulge in such things. These things should ONLY be used if they bring someone closer to his/her creator. We have to feed the delicious food to others, we need to donate our clothes to those who need, and open our houses to guests and those that can benefit from the space. If the infinite is so kind as to bestow us with parnassah (livelihood), then it is our responsibility to use it to make the world a better place. This means giving it to those that desperately need, but also using it to better one’s community and bring joy to one’s family. Judaism is very against materialism, but this does not mean that we can’t own and appreciate beautiful things if they help bring us closer to our creator. I suppose we could relate this to why Christians build such beautiful churches; in Judaism we are taught that our homes are our temples. Everything we buy, and every action that we do in our homes should be an act of love towards our creator and each other. For example, one would be encouraged in Judaism to buy a high quality, reliable, safe car, if that person is planning on using it to give rides to others and use it to perform mitzvot (bringing food to the sick, visiting the elderly, helping someone move, etc.) Of course, as you said, it’s a difficult balance, and I have to ask myself these questions every time that I buy something. You are very right about moderation of pleasures and not overindulging. It’s so easy to rationalize our motivations, and we have to be very careful!

      In terms of covering ears, some women cover all their ears, and some leave them out completely. In the summer, I usually leave them out and in the winter I usually cover the top half so I can hear. Some women complain of their ears hurting when their scarves are tied too tightly so really, it’s up to you!

      Looking forward to your response. Thank you for your questions!
      Andrea

  26. I hope no one minds my butting in to this conversation. I find it very interesting.

    Rebecca-Joy, it’s very interesting to see that you looked up “modesty” in the dictionary. Your question is a common one, and it is hard to draw a line for oneself. Jewish law may be best understood in the Hebrew. Many people will question Jewish customs based on English definitions, but there’s nearly always something lost in the translation.

    Jewish modesty is not just about being simple and understated. Women have a certain natural beauty and a desire to appear beautiful. This desire is actually considered healthy within Judaism. There is a custom for a man to buy his wife a new outfit or piece of jewelry before big holidays because it will help the wife enjoy the holiday more. There is also a concept of dressing nicely because man was created in the image of G-d. We have to respect that likeness, and part of that is dressing nicely and acting properly.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing just one scarf, and many women do just that. But there is nothing wrong with wearing multiple scarves with added jewelry. Wearing something a little more beautiful has a very positive impact on many women and allows them to fulfill a commandment with happiness. This is the case for me. I should probably mention that back when I wore single scarves only, I got some comments to the effect of, “why don’t you just show your hair? you look like a peasant from the village!” (run the mental soundtrack with “Anatevka” now…) The same person compliments me on my more complicated wraps.

    I’m going to look for links to photos of Jewish hair coverings throughout the ages. I have seen some pieces in museums that are incredibly ornate and expensive. They were not considered immodest by Jewish standards. If I find any good photos, I’ll post the links here (if that’s ok with you, Andrea?).

  27. Hello Andrea,

    Thank you for answering my questions in such a straight forward, friendly way! You have definitely answered most of my questions, but I can’t say I agree with your definition of modesty. I mean, I looked it up in the dictionary and this is what it says:

    1. Having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.

    2. Free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.

    3. Having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.

    4. Limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.: a modest increase in salary.

    Wouldn’t wearing all those wraps and accessories be considered “showy extravagance?” I certainly don’t think modesty would require one to wear a paper bag or never go out, but where do you draw the line? At what point do you say, by wearing this, now not only am I attractive, but also attracting?
    I just don’t know what to think! So many people say so many different things. Who is right?!

    In regards to vanity, I would most definitely agree that being obsessed and consumed with ones own physical beauty is not true beauty at all. But doesn’t wearing those wraps and accessories make you feel a sense of pride in your appearance? Because well, I’ll be the first to admit it, your wraps are beautiful and you look lovely. I’m not saying we can’t have a little pride in our appearance, because then we’re back to the paper bag and stay at home thing again. But where do you draw the line between a healthy pride in ones appearance and an unhealthy, excessive pride in ones appearance? Do you find you have more pride in your appearance since you started wearing head scarves?
    I guess the main thing I’m struggling with in regards to this issue is that why not just have one headscarf? Why all the different headscarf’s and accessories?

    Oh, and I was also wondering, do you sleep in your head wraps? I think that would be really uncomfortable, and I’, guessing not, but I just thought I’d ask…

    Once again, thank you so much Andrea. I look forward to your answers! Hopefully it will give me a little more insight and wisdom regarding this subject.

    Rebecca-Joy

    PS. I had my whole comment written out, and worded perfectly but I accidentally deleted it! So, it’s not worded in exactly the same way and it’s shorter because now I’m pressed for time. Opps!

    • Hi Rebecca-Joy,

      We agree on the English definition of modesty, however the Hebrew definition is a more difficult to quantify, and this is what we need to examine. I’ll do my best; We, as Jews, are told to be a “light unto the world” and shine with holiness while making the world a better place. We are also told to walk humbly (modestly) before Gd, knowing that nothing in this world is truly “ours”. Here is where the paradox lies; we are told that we are nothing, yet we are everything, and we must live with this knowledge at every moment. We are to make ourselves into a vessel for the light of the infinite to be brought into this world. This involves negation as well as action.

      So, modesty in Judaism is knowing that nothing comes from you and everything comes from Gd. Yet we have the responsibility to help bring that “everything” into this world. Being humble and modest does not mean denying yourself good food, beautiful clothes, or a nice house. The issue lies in how one uses these things. Gd created the world with these beautiful objects/vessels in order for us to elevate and use them for holy purposes. If you are using the food, clothes and house to do mitzvot and connect to others, then it is actually highly encouraged that you do so as often as possible, if you have the financial means. (This concept is called beautifying a mitzvah.) You asked a few times where to draw the line. Judaism gives us some very valuable guidelines, and there are (of course) a myriad of opinions, but really, the bottom line is that we must be honest with ourselves. We know that two women who look very similar can wear the exact same dress and one can be sexy and the other modest. We also know that someone could rationalize buying a massive house ‘because I will use it to do mitzvot’ when really this is not the case. These decisions are between you and Gd and we must be careful not to compare ourselves to others.

      Hair wrapping is not about a piece (or two or three) of cloth on your head. I sometimes wish it was that simple! Yes, when I wear my elaborate head wraps, I do get questions and comments and certainly get noticed. However, for me, this is part of being a unique light and spreading love, joy, and being a kiddush Hashem. It gives me a chance to talk about Jewish values, hair covering, and marriage with others. Many Jewish women wear wigs to cover their hair but I personally don’t, because hair makes me feel somehow more available and ‘not married looking’. As I said before, the scarves create a very physical barrier for me. Once again, I want to make clear that this decision is personal. You need to have a good talk with Gd and ask yourself these questions every time you dress yourself.

      A Jewish husband is encouraged to give his wife gifts of beautiful clothes, jewellery, etc. The point of this is not to compete with other people and ‘show off’… the point is to let his wife know that she is his queen, and let her know that she is loved and valued. Some might say that we should be beyond these physical acts, but we live in a physical world, and therefore Jewish people do not abstain from physical pleasures and beauty. We instead use them as a means to achieve holiness. This is where Judaism differs for other faiths. We do not deny or forbid pleasure… we elevate.

      In terms of how you personally cover your hair, you need to take a moment (or a few) and really ask yourself about what the best way is for you to fulfill this mitzvah and bring your own unique light into this world. I have found my answer, and my hope is to help other women do the same. My dream is not to have all women covering their hair in the same way, but to give others the opportunity to really explore new options, find out what works for them, and figure out the best way to shine their unique light and make the world a better, more beautiful place.

      Looking forward to your response,
      Andrea

  28. Hi Rebecca-Joy,

    These are great questions! I will do my best to answer them briefly, and I’m sure that women on this site will also have a lot to say in response.

    1. (and 4) These head covering wraps are not limited to Jews only. Yes, the styles that I wear are mostly attributed to Judaism, but if you examine other cultures you will see that hair covering is done in some form in most places in the world. There are many women on this site that cover their hair for various reasons (hair loss, fashion, general modesty, other religions) and no one Jewish will be offended if you do it as well. I have had people try to guess what country I’m from (usually wrong, but then gives me a chance to talk about where I’m from and why I cover my hair). Once someone asked if I’m a Muslim to which I said “Nope, I’m Jewish!” and then gave her my site address for her to pass on to her Muslim friend that also covers.

    2. Judaism does not tell women to not be beautiful. On the contrary, we are told that as women we should treat ourselves (and others) with the respect and dignity that one would treat royalty. This also applies to our dress. The idea is to be attractive but not attracting (this is more about our actions than what we wear, though what we wear is important). In terms of modesty, there is a huge misconception that modesty means being meek and never drawing attention to oneself. Jewish modesty, on the contrary, means knowing who you are and bringing your unique light into this world. One must of course surpress the ego, but it does not mean that you shouldn’t speak or be noticed. The question is, why do I wrap my hair in this way? I do it because it creates a barrier between myself and other men and also shows that I am not available. Why not a simple neutral scarf? I cover my hair beautifully with scarves because I am proud of my marriage, my constant connection to my husband, and my devotion to Gd. Being a noticeably married, Jewish woman gives me an extra added responsibility to be a kiddush Hashem.

    3. Again, it depends what you are referring to by “vanity”. Judaism does not teach that one should not be beautiful. However, what is beauty? To be obsessed and consumed by your physical self is not real beauty. Beauty is dressing and acting in a manner that allows your inner self to shine out through your face and your actions. Covering my hair in this way (as opposed to a simple black scarf or a wig) allows me to do that in a much greater way. Everyone has to ask themselves these questions and everyone’s answer will be unique.

    In conclusion:
    My body is the vessel for a beautiful, infinite spark of of the divine. I try to act and clothe myself in a way that reflects this.

    I hope this answers some of your questions! Looking forward to your response.
    Andrea

  29. Hello,

    I have a couple of questions.

    First, because you are Jewish, are these head covering wraps limited to Jews only? I wouldn’t want to do something wrong by wearing my head scarfs like this and possibly offending someone because I am not Jewish.

    Second, is having all those accessories on your head scarves still considered modest? Are you not drawing attention to yourself by having them on? And what about all the bright colors and interesting wraps. Is that not drawing attention to yourself as well? I don’t mean to sound rude or judgemental. I honestly want to know!

    Third, would you consider it “vanity” to have so many head scarves and accessories? Why not just have one simple head scarf and be done with it?

    Forth, do people ever mistake you for a Muslim? If so, how do you respond to this?

    I’m looking into different head covering styles, and I must say the ones I have seen on your site are by far my favorite! I love how creative and beautiful your head scarf wraps are! But the above questions are what I am most concerned about getting answered before I get into it.

    Thank you so much, and forgive me if I came over in a rude way. I honestly don’t mean to offend anyone.

    Rebecca-Joy

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