Rav Avigdor Miller on Women’s Haircoverings



I’d like to know the source for a married woman having to cover her hair, and also what’s the significance of it and also what is the punishment for not covering the hair?


The source that married women should cover their hair is in the Torah. It states about the sotah—that’s the  woman who went into a private place with another man against her husband’s warning—that she goes through a certain disgraceful ordeal in the Beis Hamikdash. And it states there ופרע את ראש האשה – he uncovers the head of the woman. That’s a sign of disgrace. Which means that all other married women maintained their dignity by covering their hair.

And therefore it’s a Jewish tradition that married women, since they are out of the marriage market now, they should cover their hair. Girls who still have to advertise that they’re available, so they can display their own hair. But once they are married then it’s superfluous and therefore they cover their hair.

After all, men also cover their heads. Men cover their heads as a sign of dignity. We make a blessing every morning about that. The Gemara says that when you put something on your head in the morning you say the blessing עוטר ישראל בתפארה – He crowns Yisrael with glory. So whether you wear a black Homberg or you wear a straw hat or a turban or a beanie, whatever you wear on your head, as soon as you put it on your head in the morning, you make a blessing. Today we make the blessing in the synagogue when we pray but actually, originally it was supposed to be said when you covered your head first thing in the morning because wearing something on your head is a crown of glory. It’s a crown that demonstrates that you believe in Hashem.

And so married women wear that crown too; it’s a crown of humility. They’re standing in the presence of Hashem, and therefore they cover their hair because a woman’s hair is part of the personality of a woman. It’s part of the attractiveness of a woman. And since she has to be attractive only for her husband, since she’s married now therefore it’s humility on her part and self-respect to keep her hair covered.

Now as far as the question what punishment there is, this isn’t a din for which there is any punishment specified. It’s not a lav in the Torah where a punishment is specified. It’s a commandment that all women must keep their hair covered when they’re married. That’s all.

TAPE # 126