[Avodah] Sources for Not Covering Hair?
avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Mon Jul 27 11:42:47 PDT 2015
From: Micha Berger via Avodah <avodah at lists.aishdas.org>
: ... I would hope that the practice of these women, including the
: wife of R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik would be respected, and not regarded
: as ignorance...[--Dr. Noam Stadlan]
To do that would be to disagree with her husband.
....There are other such quotes that make it clear that RYBS disagreed with
his wife's practice, but either didn't fight the issue or didn't win.
A similar quote (third hand): Someone told me he once asked RYBS if a
married woman is obligated to cover her hair, and RYBS replied in a somewhat
sideways fashion, "You are not obligated to divorce her if she does not do
You have to understand that it was an era in which most American Jews were
throwing away the Torah with both hands. It was hard enough to find a wife
who was frum; demanding that she cover her hair was almost impossible in
many cases. RYBS was not the only Torah scholar whose wife failed to cover
her hair. I have to assume that this was simply one nisayon that was too
difficult, given those times. After the post-war influx of chassidim
arrived in America, kisui rosh, like so many other neglected mitzvos, became much
more acceptable and common.
R' Michael Brody in his article on the subject says that the Chofetz Chaim
railed against the practice of women in Vilna, even those married to big
talmidei chachamim, to go about with their hair uncovered. Although the CC
is completely, vehemently, opposed to this practice, R' Brody deduces (I am
paraphrasing) that "This proves that many talmidei chachamim did not demand
that their wives cover their hair, from which we may deduce that they held
kisui rosh was not required, and we may rely on them."
This line of reasoning is reminiscent of the joke, "How do we know that
Yakov wore a yarmulka? Answer: It says 'Vayetzei Yakov' -- would Yakov have
gone out without a yarmulka?!" But at any rate it does indicate that this
was a largely neglected mitzva even in Vilna, in the early 20th century --
though neglect of a mitzva does not make the obligation go away.
I for one do not hold it against RYBS. What he would have preferred and
what was actually obtainable, in that time and place, were not the same.
For that time and place, for a woman to be Torah observant was already a
madreiga. To have been the wife of such a man -- his rebetzen must have had
t613k at aol.com
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