October 14, 2021 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm #2016178
When did the custom start? By those that do so, does it have the status of halacha or of minhag?
Avira quoted the Beis HaLevi as writing that women shave their hair when they get married. When and why did Brisker’s stop practicing this custom?
What is the reasoning of this practice?October 14, 2021 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm #2016206
I think it started in Hungary. Hungarian women all shaved their heads, whether they were Chassidish or not.October 14, 2021 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm #2016208Yabia OmerParticipant
I heard two reasons…
1. Chatzitza for tevila
2. The goyim used to grab the Jewish women by the hair.
I could be totally wrong.October 14, 2021 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm #2016214LostsparkParticipant
I heard in particular with the Hungarian Jews it was a method to prevent women from being violated during progroms and the practice has become a minhag.
I could be totally wrong on this, I have yet to ask a SaTmarer.October 14, 2021 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm #2016264
Yabia – 100% correct! There’s also a zohar that according to many shitos advocates for it because of kabalah reasonsOctober 14, 2021 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm #2016281
Lostspark, I always assumed that to be the original reason the custom was adopted.reason.
But I could be wrong though and the original reason may be the ones I heard which that shaving is done because the hair is klippas according to sources in the Zohar and because hair could stick out of the hair covering.October 14, 2021 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm #2016302
Back to the Beis HaLevi. He lived in Lithuania. As he wrote this was the practice of married women, obviously this was much more extensive than just in Hungary.
How widely has this been practiced in the past? And how widely is it practiced today? Do any non-Chasidish women follow this currently? And how widespread is this among the Chasidish kehilos?October 14, 2021 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm #2016308🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
Joseph, go find something else to talk about that doesn’t have to do with women’s body parts, clothing, promiscuity or subservience. You are creeping us out.October 15, 2021 12:33 am at 12:33 am #2016339
Actually most of the above is false. The arizal explains according to the zohar that women are the source of Dinim- judgment. Hair on a women’s head is also dinim and it’s most appropriate according to the arizal for women to keep their hair which is dinim as Yafeh Dinim Shemitarin Minah. According to this explanation it would be best for women to not only NOT shave their head but they should never even cut their hair. The opposite is true for men- they are Rachamim and they must cut the hair in the head because the hair is Dinim.
Another spect is that as a child growing up with neighbors who was Chasidish, they would explain that shaving the head was an age old custom. However when a young kala was about to her married and her hair was shaved, both sides of the family would get together and encourage her to do so bit many times the kala would break down in tears. Often they would go into a depression ans require psychiatric help. A women is allowed to retain her hair and look appealing to her husband.
For all the reasons above I am of the opinion that this custom should not be followed and there is no source for it in the zohar whatsoever.October 15, 2021 7:14 am at 7:14 am #2016375
I made a mistake earlier; the yarmulkah explanation was the maharil diskin, not the the beis halevi – also a brisker, just not the beis halevi. Shulchan ha’ezer in 9:10 says that this was the zchus of kimchis. Divrei yisroel EH, 30 brings testimony about rav yosef chaim zonnenfeld, so far as to say that kolel shomrei hachomos would refuse support stipends to families where the wife does not shave her head.
preparation beforehand would help a lot… perhaps cutting it short at first..women today base a lot of their self image on their hair. That’s not a bad thing, just if you’re a member of such a kehila, it would be healthy not to initially get too “attached” pardon the pun.
We can’t do away with a kehilah’s minhag, endorsed by its poskim because some people have mental health issues.. We fix the mental health issues and their causes, not change a mesorah.October 15, 2021 7:25 am at 7:25 am #2016394
Avira, your citations of the Maharil Diskin, the Baal HaTurim, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, etc indicates this mesora was the minhag in Lita and elsewhere, not just places such as Hungary. Do you know how extensively this was practiced by the Litvish and others?October 15, 2021 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm #2016454ohrchadash1Participant
Dont conflate shaving the hair off and cutting it short.
Shaving hair completely off is a Hungarian custom.
The mainstream translation of the gemarah is that the walls of the house never saw the braids of kimchises hair. Clearly it wasnt shaven.
Cutting hair short was definitely a widespread custom.October 15, 2021 1:03 pm at 1:03 pm #2016459
@aviradearah This may be my misnagdus coming to the surface, but I am extremely skeptical of any explanation that concludes “for kabbalah reasons”. Do you have a source on the Zohar?October 15, 2021 4:26 pm at 4:26 pm #2016485nishtdayngesheftParticipant
I would think that it is in good part because of a chashash of Chatzizah. Just as many sephardic women were makpid to shave hair as well.October 15, 2021 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #2016480
“Cutting hair short was definitely a widespread custom.”
Among those that didn’t shave completely, cutting short was the norm, standard and default. Anything more than short was certainly the exception.October 16, 2021 9:01 pm at 9:01 pm #2016624ohrchadash1Participant
Norm, standard and default in which time period?
The very first woman was Chava and it says that Hashem braided her hair before setting her before adam so she should be pleasing for him. Sara immainu also says that she had long hair. There are plenty of stories in gemara where its obvious that women had long hair. The details of the punishment of the Sota, also mean she had long hair and this was not talking about one specific woman either. The Rambam doesnt mention anything about women cutting their hair although going to great detail about other areas of tznius. Pictures of women in europe/russia a hundred years ago also show that they rarely have short hair. Are you referring to shtetl life in the 1800’s? Many women in the shtetl of the Russian empire barely covered their hair because the czar decreed against it.
Cutting hair short was for women who were makpid about chatzitza. And women who were in the life stages where they werent going to mikvah regularly didnt always keep it short either.
So maybe it was norm, standard and default for certain communities in certain time periods but not as a blanket minhag yisroel.
Shaving head completely is a relatively modern minhag. Like other people mentioned it comes from women being violated during pograms and thats why only certain communities do it- the ones that came from there.October 16, 2021 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm #2016674
Zohar 3:79a, parshas naso or pinchas, not sure which one
I think you meant “hisnagdus”, but litvishe don’t shy away from kabalistic minhagim; the gaon was among if not the principle kabalist of the past few hundred yearsOctober 17, 2021 7:25 am at 7:25 am #2016688yiddishe froiParticipant
The parsha of sotah and the story of the wife of On ben Peles show Biblical women having hairOctober 17, 2021 7:44 am at 7:44 am #2016717
@avriadearah Acharei Mos. Are you sure? There’s a chelek there that discusses the mitzvah of women covering their hair, and the big zechuyos that come with it. But I don’t see where the Ba’al HaZohar says shaving. My Aramis isn’t great, but he never uses the words “Giluach” or any of its synonyms regarding hair.October 17, 2021 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm #2016844
It’s not a Hungarian specific minhag, nor is it related to pogroms and women being violated, rachmono litzlon. Married women shaving their heads is a takana from the Vaad HaArba Aratzos from 500 or so years ago, due to concerns of chatzitza and women’s hair being completely covered, as explained in the Zohar HaKodosh Chelek Gimel, 256a, plain Zohar not Raya Meheimna that one strand of a woman’s hair being revealed is a great tragedy and brings destruction to herself and those around her, bringing connection to Lil-.
Amazing how all the experts here on minhagim and the reason why chassidish women shave their heads seem to base their entire reasoning why it was or wasn’t a thing on external violence being applied to Klal Yisroel, and photographs from well after the beginning of the Haskalah, which led to the change of countless ancient minhagim outside of very chassidish circles. Women in all lands governed by the Vaad followed this takanah, including Poland, Lita, Hungary, Bukovina, Ukraine, and Russia. I know also a Sefardi talmid chochom and mekubal whose wife shaves her head al pi Kabbalah. Though there is this Ari in Shaar HaMitzvos addressing why women should perhaps keep their hair, the Zohar in Chelek Gimel, can’t recall daf at this time, states that women must cut off the hair and fingernails that grew during the yemei niddah, which l’maaseh would be accomplished by shaving the head since hair grows from the roots and not from the ends of your hair. Maybe the oilem here should spend more time learning and doing proper research into the mekoros for our minhagim hakedoshim rather than just shmeesen in the kave shtibl.October 17, 2021 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #2016862🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
Always so impressed when people make a new account just to insult people and tell them they don’t learn enough…October 17, 2021 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #2016893
barlshwartz1, thank you for your wonderful mussar shmuez… This is a discussion where we tried getting to the root of this minhug with everyone presenting what they know and you come along with this superior attitude…I’m not impressed at all. Perhaps you are right, but likely not. You do not bring any sources to your claim and so they can be as true as anyone else’s.
I have heard from Satmer women who shave and they tell me it’s based on kabbalah that a married women’s hair is klippas and that’s why it needs to be shaved and also because it’s a big avaeirah for “bei hur” (hair that sticks out from the covering) to be seen. That’s what they are they are taught. Whether that is the original reason or not, I don’t know
Now, not only did many of the countries you claimed the women shaved their hair, not shave their hair, but they also didn’t wear wigs or headcoverings either in many of these countries, even women whose husbands were talmidei chachumim. I highly doubt they would go from shaving to not wearing any headcoverings.
Not only that, but Jewish who came from these countries to Israel in the in the late 19th and early 20th century do not shave either. Many Israeli Chassidishe women don’t shave at all.October 17, 2021 4:41 pm at 4:41 pm #2016933
Philosopher, in fairness to barlshwartz1, barlshwartz1’s comment does cite various sources.October 17, 2021 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #2016973
The Oilam was interested in learning the root of this minhag. I don’t feel anyone brought any real documented sources. Vaad Arba Aratzos from 500 or so years ago is not a source. Is there a sefer/posek, page you can provide.
I know for certain it’s not according to the Ari and if you follow the Ari’s teaching it’s not according to the Zohar either.
Women of old- Kimchit, Og ben Peleg wife, Sota parasha in the Torah all had hair. Woman can retain their hair they simply have to cover it which they have been doing over 3000 years without the need to shave it off.October 17, 2021 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #2016982
a good point on Sotah: for some reason, Gemora fails to discuss what would Kohen do with the woman with shaved hair. Presumably, Amoraim could not imagine that Chasidishe women will ever be affected – or that their husband would ever be suspicious.October 17, 2021 6:32 pm at 6:32 pm #2017018
Vaad ARBA Artzos – Poland, Lita, Hungary, Bukovina, Ukraine, and Russia – that would be six, not four!
It was indeed 3 or 5 sometimes, but not 6 I believe … Hungary, Bukovina, and Russia were not part of it (and Russia did not have many Jews until it got part of Poland after Vaad was already abolished by Polish Seim in 1760s). Also, Vaad was a great institution but was mostly dealing with communal issues. Did this include the hair? Maybe a citation would help.October 17, 2021 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #2017019
ujm, he did not bring any source that says that shaving was a tekanah from the Vaad HaArbeh Arotzos nor did he bring any sources specifically regarding shaving only about concerns of chatzitzah.October 17, 2021 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #2017206
I’ve heard recently that the issue of chatzitza was because the lack of cleaning products in many communities meant that long hair had a tendency to clump together and catch dirt and lice.October 18, 2021 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm #2017948Avi KParticipant
Rav Sternbuch (Teshuvot V’hanhagot 2:692) and Rav Ovadia (Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:1) say that here is no halachic source for this custom. Rav Moshe ruled (IM EH 1:59 that a husband can prevent her from doing so, as it makes her repulsive to him (see Nazir 28b and Shabbat 64b).October 18, 2021 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm #2017962
I like your response. Brief, to the point and you give clear sources. Thank youOctober 18, 2021 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #2017970
Avi – just to be clear, rav moshe isn’t saying that there’s no source for the minhag as the others you quoted. He’s saying that it’s a dovor she’beino uvaynah for which he has veto power.October 18, 2021 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm #2017973
@always_ask_questions This is the later standard. Once upon a time, that was four places. Eastern Europe’s geography changed constantly.October 18, 2021 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm #2017991
As Rav Moshe and Chacham Ovadia Yosef found it necessary to issue a teshuva on this question, and they didn’t typically get shailos from Chasidim, it demonstrates this question was relevant to the Litvish and Sefardic communities as well.October 18, 2021 2:24 pm at 2:24 pm #2017971
Vaad Arba Aratzos as source for the minhag is brought in Mishna Halochos Chelek 12, siman 95. As a historical aside the Vaad handled all communal matters, including takonos for religious standards. It was run by rabbonim, not askonim.
Source in Zohar to shave after yemei niddah is Parshas Achrei Mos, (chelek Gimel) daf 79a. It is very clearly mashma that this refers to shaving the head to bald. How the Ari says in Shaar HaMitzvos seems to be a stirah with this part of the Zohar, but if you look inside it’s very clear.October 18, 2021 2:42 pm at 2:42 pm #2018011Reb EliezerParticipant
We don’t want to make her look ugly on her husband by having to wear a wig in front of him.October 18, 2021 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #2018017
Avrohom Avinu never looked at Sara Imainu.October 18, 2021 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #2018022
I looked up the Zohar Daf 79A, it does not say your claim that she should shave her head bald. It says she should cut the hair that grew during the time she was Nida. This does not mean to shave the head at all. Also it doesn’t say specifically which hair on the body needs to be cut. Simply it could mean other hair on the body but excluding the head. Also it could mean all the hair the entire body which no one does- at least who shave their head if they truly followed this zohar they would shave the entire body from head to toe.
Bottom line, there is no source in the zohar for a women to shave a head.October 18, 2021 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #2018057
@barlshwartz1 I have never seen anything in the Zohar that is “very clear” and that is true for this chelek in Achrei Mos. It talks about cutting hair and doesn’t use any words that mean “shaving off” like the Gemara uses when talking about a Nazir or a Metzorah.October 18, 2021 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #2018139
Update on Zohar
I spoke to my Rav in Yerushalaim who explained that Sefardic Rabbis have explained this zohar to refer to cutting Ervah hair and not the hair of the head which is consistent with the Arizal that women should not cut the hair on their head.
ThanksOctober 18, 2021 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #2018223
> Eastern Europe’s geography changed constantly.
yes, but to a limit: Hungary/Russia/Bukovina did not join Vaad at any time of it’s existence as far as I recall. Seems that Vaad would occasionally get involved into issues in other communities – when invited, and when Polish Jews were involved, and often reluctant to be involved.October 18, 2021 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #2018229
> As a historical aside the Vaad handled all communal matters, including takonos for religious standards. It was run by rabbonim, not askonim.
Vaad did address a variety of issues indeed. It included both Rabonim and not. At some point, Lita was sending 2 non-Rabbis and one Rabbi for each large community. Others did not reserve places to Rabbis and had some sort of elections. Later on, there were 2 boards – Rabbis and general, and ten they merged, etc.
Do we know any Rabbis who were involved in the Vaad?October 18, 2021 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #2018230
> Avrohom Avinu never looked at Sara Imainu
(until he was going to mitzraim). And mitzrim considered her beautiful. Either she had hair or Mitzri fashions were similar to Hungarian.October 19, 2021 7:47 am at 7:47 am #2018325Avi KParticipant
isaacmalul. you’re welcome.
Avira, read my post again. I wrote that Rav Sternbuch and Rav Ovadia wrote that. I did not write that Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote it.
ujm, none of us, including you, is on Avraham Avinu’s level. Besides, that is aggadata, and aggadata is not to be taken literally. I pity your wife.
Regarding the Zohar, the Gra says that there is only one machloket between it and the Gemara (regarding whether it is permissible to walk behind a person who is davening). All other supposed machlokot are misinterpretations. For example, the Zohar says very harsh things about a man who pulls off even one strand of his beard. Rav Chaim Volozhiner explains that it is referring to someonewho shaves with a razor.October 19, 2021 1:22 pm at 1:22 pm #2018500mesivta bachurParticipant
> Avrohom Avinu never looked at Sara Imainu
We can’t use the actions of an adam gadol to learn out halacha lemaisah. In addition very little shaychus to this discussion, the question isn’t weather you can look at your wife (if you have one), it’s why some shave their heads if there’s a link here that I’m missing please let me know.October 19, 2021 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm #2018581
Mesivta Bachor: The link is that if someone is on that madreiga (and no one is saying that this nekuda applies to most people) then, as he won’t be looking at his wife anyways, there’s no concern about how he’ll react to her baldness.October 19, 2021 3:30 pm at 3:30 pm #2018597mesivta bachurParticipant
Still besides for the Jewish Taliban in Guatemala men look at their wives so how does this prove anything?October 19, 2021 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm #2018606
> if someone is on that madreiga
Even if you are on that madreiga, but your wife is not and wants you to look at her – you will have to look. This is presuming you are at least listening to her.October 19, 2021 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #2018688
AAQ: Of course. That goes without saying. Both the husband and wife would need to be on that madreiga.
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