Head or hair? What do you cover?

Not all modest women cover their hair, and that’s fine. You all know my stance on judging others in this world: it’s lots of fun until you realise you’re in no position to be judging anyone.

Different people cover different ways, for different reasons. Many women just wear something on their head for services; in fact, that’s how I got started covering! In most synagogues, if you don’t bring something to cover your head in the house of the Almighty, something will be provided for you, male or female.

And boy is it flattering.

My hair spoke to me. It said, “NOT THE DOILY! ANYTHING BUT THE DOILY!” I wound up looking into more flattering ways to cover my head and why, exactly, we cover our heads in shul, and bam, here I am. Your faithful correspondent.

Here are some more attractive choices ladies choose to wear to services.

A lovely church lady in her hat. In the South many women would not dream of attending church without their hat. At least when I was coming up they wouldn’t.

Catholics praying in their mantillas.

Some women cover their head, to show respect and submission to God. This may not always entail what we might think of as thorough modesty throughout the rest of their dress, because covering their skin is not the point; covering their head is. The doily is clearly not hiding any part of a lady’s lovely locks, just as a yarmulke is not hiding a man’s hair (although it may cover his bald spot!) It is symbolic and an aid to prayer as well as a reminder of a our place before God.


Other women cover their hair. Please don’t get me wrong: this is also to show respect and submission to God! But it is eminently practical in terms of modesty, keeping something that many people find quite desirable and lovely private. It is rare that people who focus on covering their hair do not also focus on covering their bodies quite thoroughly as well.

Clearly we can be doing both, or cover our hair primarily and allow a few strands through without making a federal case out of it.

Don’t forget, of course, the Jewish women who wear wigs, thereby covering their head and their hair without appearing to. (At least if you don’t know what to look for!)

For me, I cover my head, but I prefer the bulk of my hair not to be seen. I don’t mind some of the front, but I get uncomfortable with more. What about you?




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