Message to the Shaitel Police: Mind Your Own Business!

I am dismayed at some of the comments by rabbis that feel the need to disparage women for trying to look their best. ‘God forbid’ that a Jewish woman should look too attractive.

‘What?!’ …you may ask. ‘No one says that Jewish women should not look their best!’

Well… sorry! They do. There have been several articles of late that have taken to task those women who choose to cover their hair with beautiful long haired Shaitels (wigs). In fact I am more than dismayed. I am disgusted by such criticism.

In response to a wonderful article by Alexandra (Alex) Fleksher (which was dealt with here recently) (Rabbi?) Dovid Kornreich takes issue with what he calls the  great lengths to defend and justify an immodest trend.

He then lashes into a near tirade and asks people to:

…call out this particular sheitel trend for what it is: an immodest fashion that should never be adopted by those for whom the highest standards of modesty are their highest priority.


Why insist that THERE CAN BE NO standards of modesty imposed on frum sheitel styles without Hollywood’s consent? Why make the flimsy argument that if really frum women are wearing them, they must be kosher? Why make the desperate, “we’ve now hit rock-bottom” argument that any hair-covering is better than no hair-covering? (That’s like saying the frum community should be tolerant of skin-tight leggings because if we insist on skirts, the very Modern Orthodox might wear shorts instead.)


The truth is that, as is the case with every other article of women’s clothing, an Orthodox woman’s own community is quite capable of setting standards for what sheitel styles are acceptable.


But by taking the hyper-non-judgmental, defeatist route of Alexandra Fleksher, we condemn our own community — and those whose look up to us from the outside– to follow the ever-eroding standards of Hollywood.

First, to compare a beautiful wig to skin tight leggings is absurd. A wig is no more immodest when it is beautiful than when her own hair is beautiful. Single women are not required to cover their hair. They can grow their hair to any length they wish and style it any way they wish. I have not read a single article asking single women to have short haircuts. Also, a Shaitel alone is not enough to make a woman beautiful. If it helps any people who might otherwise have self image problems to wear a beautiful Shiatel, it ought to be encouraged. Not discouraged by claiming there is some sort of lack of modesty in it.

And then there is Rabbi Shmuel Lemon’s response to Rabbi Kornreich. I wish he would have defended Alex. Instead he doubles down on the claim that beautiful Shaitels are immodest. He just suggests the reason women choose to wear them. Which I find even more appalling then Rabbi Korneich’s article:

There must be something deep down really bothering these women with the highest standard of modesty that causes them to act in such a manner.


These women are exhibiting something is lacking in their marriage. They are expressing that some need of theirs is not being met. Lacking an open and honest relationship with their spouse to discuss and tackle the issue(s), they are indirectly screaming at their husbands. “Take a real interest in me” “Stop just loving yourself”


Of course this is not an excuse for their actions but at least we can now empathise with their desperate feelings of despair that causes them to make the desperate, “we’ve now hit rock-bottom” argument that any hair-covering is better than no hair-covering? These desperate feelings don’t come from nowhere.

This is breathtaking in its Chutzpah.  Who is he to presume that women that wear beautiful Shaitels do so because of problems in their marriage? Maybe they do that because they simply want to look their best in public while following base Halacha?

Long beautiful Shaitels are immodest?! Really? Why? There is no internal logic to the Halacha requiring  married women to cover their hair.

Yes. It is Halacha and must be followed. Just like any other Halacha. But clearly immodesty in the sense they mean it is clearly not the reason for covering hair. Because if it were, single women would have to do it too.

My advice to all the modesty police that insist on focusing on women’s appearances is to mind your own business!

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.
Related Topics
Related Posts