[Avodah] Sources for Not Covering Hair?

via Avodah 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.

Micha  Berger              

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 
extraordinary zechuyos.

--Toby Katz
t613k at aol.com


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