[Avodah] sources for not covering hair

Noam Stadlan via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Sat Aug 15 22:14:40 PDT 2015

R. Micha offered the following critiques:
> Although there is long evidence of rabbis saying it's a problem, but
> not a battle they can win. So the mimetic side is dismissable. (Also,
> how does someone who advocates for more roles for women in shul make a
> mimetic argument?)

If the same rabbi's whose wives were not covering hair were the same ones
saying it is a problem, this critique makes sense. otherwise, there is no
reason to say that those whose wives were not covering their hair were
unhappy with the mitziut.  The mimetic argument here is that the shitta
existed and was followed. It doesn't mean that it is obligatory.  So I
think this is apples and oranges regarding roles of women in shul.

>: In the words of R. Yehoshua Babad: "The principle whether or not an act of
>: uncovering constitutes immodesty (*ervah*) is...

>: If the women in the general society do not cover their hair, then uncovered
>: hair is not immodest, and therefore routine hair covering is not mandated.

> But saying it's not a breach of tzeni'us doesn't say it's allowed,
> that's your addition not in the translated text you quote. RYB could
> mean what the AhS says, that it's terrible things came to this, but you
> may daven in her presence. Or, that whle it's not a tzeni'us problem,
> it's still prohibited deOraisa as per the implication in parashas sotah.

I think that you are making a moving target, one rationale knocked down
and another rationale surfaces. Obviously hair covering could be mandated
for a number of different reasons, but all of them? I am not sure it is
necessary to be yotzei l'chol hadayot and even if so, the sources who
permit, permit it regardless of the rationale against.  I also have to go
back and look at the source because I think it said more than the quote.

>: Here is a list of easily accessable sources:
>: Rabbi Marc Angel...

> He presumes hair covering is das Yehudis, which makes his a rare
> shitah. (Again, given the derivation from a pasuq.)

> But then again, R' Ovadiah Yosef firmly disagrees.

He obviously is not paskening like R. Ovadiah

> But you took on a comparatively easier task -- that the shitah exists. And
> two Sepharadi citations should be sufficient.

There are Ashkenazim among the sources as well.....I am illustrating that
not only the shitah exists, but was followed and continues to be followed
by a significant segment of the MO community.  And, were it not for
the shoah, it seems that a large segment of Lithuanian Jewry would still be
following it.

>: I emphaisize that R. Broyde states that his article is a limmud zechut, and
>: not taking the position that women do not have to cover their hair.
>: However, the sources and thread of learning speak for themselves and
>: everyone can come to their own conclusion.

> ... which is what he does, that the theory is there, but it's a shitah
> dechuyah. And noticably, he too quotes R' Yosef Masas, R' Moshe Malka
> and the Kaf haChaim  -- Sepharadi sources.

>: Rav Yosef Haim...

> So, assuming the woman doesn't eat qitniyos, may she go with her hair
> uncovered?

Again, apples and oranges, or peanuts and sesame.  It isn't just a
Sephardi shita.

> And even if she does... At what point is a shitah dechuyah?

Good question.  From my limited point of view, if it makes sense and some
Rabbonim of at least some stature (and I think Rav Messas et al quality)
hold that position, it is not dechuyah.  What is your definition?

>: Regarding the position of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, here is the testimony
>: of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg.

>: R. Yitz Greenberg reports his question to Rav Soloteitchik and the reply:
>: "How was it that Rebbetzin Tonya Soloveitchik, *zichronah livracha*, did
>: not cover her hair? ...
>: Smiling, the Rav said that immodesty (*ervah*) is contextual and that in
>: this society and time, showing hair was not immodest (*ervah*)."

>: I have not seen it personally, but R. Gil Student reports that the
>: artscroll biography of R. Dessler contains photos of rebbitzins with
>: uncovered hair.

>: Obviously, not covering hair in public for women was at least somewhat
>: common...

> And yet the rabbanim protested. This isn't even admissable as mimetic
> tradition, any more than noting how often people speak leshon hara or
> buy off-the-books or anything else rabbis have failed to curb.

I do not agree. Many in Meah Shearim protest that all women do not wear
long thick stockings but that doesn't mean that every rabbi holds that long
thick stockings are obligatory. if it is the rabbi whose wife didn't cover
her hair, you have an argument. otherwise I suggest that those who protest
do not speak for everyone.

>: uncovered hair, RYBS would have been allowing all those men who saw his
>: wife to sin.  The position seems quite untenable.

> He too, would only need to be convinced is wasn't ervah in the sense of
> "all those men" sinning. But as we see in the AhS, that doesn't mean
> it's allowed.

It  is a possible option, but not the probable one. It seems you are going
out of your way to figure out how this could occur in consonance with your
pre-selected approach, rather than accepting the most likely and
obvious rationale.

kol tuv. Noam

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