Minhag of Women Shaving Head

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  • #608184
    more_2
    Member

    I just heard today that there are married women who shave their hair off. Does anyone know the reason behind this custom?

    #1191865
    WIY
    Member

    U jst hrd dis now for d frst tyme?

    Popa its catchy lol but I think I need some work lol

    #1191866
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    U nEd 2 uz d Lnk http://transl8it.com/

    #1191867
    WIY
    Member

    Popa

    DIS transl8 it thingy iz so darn kewl

    #1191868
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I no

    #1191869
    squeak
    Participant

    It should be someones subtitle so the link is always on hand

    how about the link in someone’s username?

    #1191870
    oomis
    Participant

    For some, it makes less of a chatzitzah and they feel more tzniusdig. For others, it makes their wigs fit better.

    #1191871
    benignuman
    Participant

    It doesn’t have any makor in Chazal and I don’t think anyone knows how or why historically the custom arose. There are various theories out there but they are speculation.

    #1191872
    Facetious
    Member

    Many things from our Mesorah can’t be pinpointed to its exact origin.

    #1191873
    more_2
    Member

    No I meant that I just heard tht there is actually reasons behind it….

    #1191874
    R.T.
    Participant

    It is a prevalent practice in Satmar communities, and possibly other Chassidic groups.

    I am not certain what does shaving mean, whether it’s down to the scalp or say level 2 on a shaver, etc…

    I read that it’s mekor is a Takana of the Vaad Arbaa Kehilot a few hundered years ago in Eastern Europe and that the Takana is still in force today. The Sanzer Rav wrote extensively (I believe) on this subject.

    As noted by other posters, it seems to assist in Tevila since we are makpid about hair knots, chatzitzas, etc…

    The Zohar speaks about hair in general and the severity of exposing it.

    Shaving one’s hair could explain a Gemara that Kimhi merited to have 7 sons be Cohanim Gedolim in the Beis HaMikdash. The Gemara makes an observation that the walls of her house never saw her hair. That being so, there must have been instances when she would have to remove her hair covering; i.e., bathing, etc… If she did shave her hair, then naturally, the walls could not have seen her hair, even if the hair covering, was momentarily removed.

    #1191875
    squeak
    Participant

    I have a new favorite mod 🙂 🙂

    Unless it was done by my standing favorite mod, in which case I have an old favorite.

    #1191876
    WIY
    Member

    I thought it has something to do with lice. Silly me.

    #1191877
    oomis
    Participant

    Shaving one’s hair could explain a Gemara that Kimhi merited to have 7 sons be Cohanim Gedolim in the Beis HaMikdash. The Gemara makes an observation that the walls of her house never saw her hair.”

    We have had this discussion in the past. I never quite understood this story. Wasn’t it Kimchis herself who (responding to WOMEN asking her why she had such amazing/gorgeous/successful children) posited her belief that the reason for her mazel with outstanding sons was because the walls of her home never saw her hair? If that opinion originated with HER, then that was a nice opinion, but not Halacha from the Talmud to convince women to cover their hair even in the complete privacy of their own bathroom. It is laudable to be very tzniusdig, and the Torah is obviously teaching us that by this maaseh, but the degree to which she took the concept was not one that is expected as the norm, and women whose walls DO see their hair, can also be tzniusdig and worthy of having wonderful children.

    Shaving the hair does not make the woman’s hair invisible, btw. Unless her hair falls out and she is totally bald, she still has a peach fuzz of hair on her scalp and has to cover it. This brings me to another question (and I mean no disrespect by it, I genuinely am curious). If a woman suffers from alopecia and is completely bald (or had lo alainu chemo and lost her hair), does she still have a chiyuv to cover her head, as there is no hair there to cover? Is it the hair alone or also the scalp that is considered erva?

    #1191878
    RushLimbaugh
    Member

    oomis: The Gemora (Chazal) itself cite the reason for Kimchis having such meritous children due to her never letting the walls see her hair.

    #1191879
    Health
    Participant

    OOmis -“For others, it makes their wigs fit better.”

    Oh, so they shave their head for this reason? How about using screws or nails directly into the scalp? This would make more sense than shaving their head!

    #1191880
    gotbeer
    Member

    My MIL who isn’t chassidish was by a family simcha with her nieces and cousins who are chassidish. Somehow the ‘shaving the head’ topic came up. One cousin explained to her the details and told her the lengths of each of their scalps: Ladies A,B, & C are the Lightbulbs…..smooth top. Ladies D & E are the Velcro’s….short hair but a little rough like velcro. Ladies F & G are the BUMS….short hair but not so short.

    #1191881
    Nechomah
    Participant

    I believe this was something that was brought by the Chasam Sofer and is in relation to the chatzitza issue when a woman goes to mikvah. It has nothing to do with how the shaitel fits.

    #1191884
    interjection
    Participant

    “Shaving one’s hair could explain a Gemara that Kimhi merited to have 7 sons be Cohanim Gedolim in the Beis HaMikdash”

    That’s very nice but some of them must have died young if they were all Kohanim Gedolim and there can only be one at a time….

    I was told that the reason was originally instigated to protect the woman and only afterward did they come up with all the reasons stated above. According to what I was told, it was started as a result of the pogroms. In a pogrom, the gentiles would try raping the women but when they would remove a woman’s turban and discover her head was shaven, they would sometimes be turned off.

    #1191885
    Facetious
    Member

    The goyim is not the reason. And Kimchi was lavished great praise due to her behavior.

    #1191887
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I believe this was something that was brought by the Chasam Sofer and is in relation to the chatzitza issue when a woman goes to mikvah. It has nothing to do with how the shaitel fits.

    This is correct. The Chasam Sofer mentioned it in his Tzavva to his children as a “minhag Chassidus” (As told by the Skvere Dayan Rav Neishloss). From there it expanded to “Chassidim”.

    Furthermore, Rav Neishloss agreed that Kimchis has nothing to do with this and did have hair. If she didn’t then what would be so great about shaving her head every two-three days? Bezman HaGemorah women had hair, and it was considered Nivul not to have hair (Ayin Gemorah Nazir).

    #1191888
    more_2
    Member

    ‘Shaving one’s hair could explain a Gemara that Kimhi merited to have 7 sons be Cohanim Gedolim in the Beis HaMikdash. The Gemara makes an observation that the walls of her house never saw her hair.”

    No it means she always kept it covered. And when she needed to uncover it she had barriers around her to prevent the walls of her house seeing her hair.

    #1191889
    more_2
    Member

    Ok I understand why my other post was deleted. This is a sensitive topic. Maybe the thread should be deleted.

    #1191890
    benignuman
    Participant

    Oomis,

    For the most part, whether or not something is “erva” depends on the customs of the community. Any body part that is normally covered is erva if uncovered, therefore scalp is certainly erva in our communities. According the R’Moshe pshat in “saar b’isha erva” is that the Gemara is teaching a chidush that hair could have the status of erva even though it isn’t skin.

    There is a separate chiyuv for a married woman to cover her hair (not because of erva) learnt out from the posuk by Sotah stating that the Cohanim uncover the head of the Sotah. The posuk uses the the term “rosh” not “saar” so I can hear an argument that it should apply to a bald head as well.

    #1191891
    oomis
    Participant

    Thanks to all those who clarified for me, both in the Chazal (RushLimbaugh, does CHAZAL state that CHAZAL believes that to be the reason, or just reiterates that SHE said so and does not disagree with her – there is a subtle difference). I appreciate the information on the scalp issue. Very interesting. Also, now that I think of it, I recall ebing told that the shaving the head issue related to the women of Europe being attacked.

    “OOmis -“For others, it makes their wigs fit better.”

    Oh, so they shave their head for this reason? How about using screws or nails directly into the scalp? This would make more sense than shaving their head! “

    Health, that is just plain silly!!! There ARE women who keep their hair cropped VERY, VERY short for exactly that reason. Alm ost to the point of shaved heads. I know this for a fact, because I come in contact with them all the time.

    #1191892
    mdd
    Member

    The chatzizah reason is a shailah de’rabbonon (in this case). It is shvere to make a woman look disgusting in the eyes of her husband because of it. Especially, in the olden days when they did not have nice sheitels.

    #1191893
    ED IT OR
    Participant

    Testing:

    Shaving one’s hair c%d explain a Gemara dat Kimhi merited 2 hav 7 sons b Cohanim Gedolim n d Beis HaMikdash. d Gemara makes an observation dat d walls of her hows nevr saw her hair.”

    We hav had DIS discussion n d past. I nevr quite undRstD DIS story. Wasn’t it Kimchis herself hu (responding 2 WOMEN asking her Y she had such amazing/gorgeous/successful children) posited her belief dat d rEsN 4 her mazel w outstanding sons wz cuz d walls of her om nevr saw her hair? f dat opinion originated w HER, thN dat wz a nIs opinion, bt not Halacha frm d Talmud 2 convince women 2 cover thR hair evN n d complEt privacy of thR own BR. It iz laudable 2 b v tzniusdig, & d Torah iz obviously teaching us dat by DIS maaseh, bt d Dgre 2 whch she t%k d concept wz not 1 dat iz expected az d norm, & women whuz walls DO c thR hair, cn also b tzniusdig & worthy of havN 1dRfL chldrn.

    Shaving d hair duz not mAk d woman’s hair invisible, btw. unLS her hair falls out & she iz totally bald, she stil hz a peach fuzz of hair on her scalp & hz 2 cover it. DIS brings me 2 NothA :-Q (and I mean n disrespect by it, I genuinely M curious). f a woman suffers frm alopecia & iz completely (:-) (or had lo alainu chemo & 404 her hair), duz she stil hav a chiyuv 2 cover her head, az ther iz n hair ther 2 cover? iz it d hair aloN o also d scalp dat iz considRD erva?

    No, ill stick to QWERTY + Spell Check!!!

    #1191894
    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    People- you’re forgetting that in all likelihood Kimches did not bath at home but in a bathhouse. Her hair was probably uncovered there.

    #1191895
    Mammele
    Participant

    This topic was already discussed on another thread. And I’ll repeat, it’s an “Ungarischer” minhag, not davka Chasidish.

    This distinction is important, as there are many so called “heimish” girls that are conveniently dropping their family minhag when they get married. Regardless of ones opinion, it is not something to be done lightly. There needs to be more awareness.

    #1191896
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Not just Chassidim. Yerushalmi women also shave their heads.

    #1191897
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    crazybrit:

    Please stahp. Please stahp naow.

    #1191898
    Health
    Participant

    Nechomah -“I believe this was something that was brought by the Chasam Sofer and is in relation to the chatzitza issue when a woman goes to mikvah. It has nothing to do with how the shaitel fits.”

    And how do you know OOmis is wrong? She claims she knows such women!

    #1191899
    Health
    Participant

    OOmis -“Health, that is just plain silly!!! There ARE women who keep their hair cropped VERY, VERY short for exactly that reason. Alm ost to the point of shaved heads. I know this for a fact, because I come in contact with them all the time.”

    IMHO – Not as silly as those who make themselves bald or almost bald -so the wig should fit!

    #1191900
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    That’s very nice but some of them must have died young if they were all Kohanim Gedolim and there can only be one at a time….

    Your premise is incorrect. While there is generally only one *active* Kohen Gadol at a time, there can be multiple people at the same time who have the status of Kohen Gadol.

    Example: Anyone who served as a substitute KG, still has the status of KG, even after the regular KG resumes his duties.

    In addition, it’s entirely plausible that they all lived long lives, but most had short tenures as KG. (i.e. the eldest brother was KG, died at 80 and his younger brother took up the role at age 78. He had it for three years until he died and then his younger brother took it…)

    The Wolf

    #1191902
    old man
    Participant

    R.T wrote:

    I read that it’s mekor is a Takana of the Vaad Arbaa Kehilot a few hundered years ago in Eastern Europe and that the Takana is still in force today.

    I have this book,”Pinkas Va’ad Arba Ha’aratzot 5341-5525 (1581-1765)” (not kehilot) by Yisroel Halperin, edited by Yisrael Bar Tal and published by Mosad Bialik. Please document your claim, otherwise I will consider it manipulatively false. I have read this book cover to cover and nowhere is this alleged takana mentioned. Prove me wrong and I will retract.

    #1191903
    R.T.
    Participant

    old man — You are correct about Ha’aratzot and not Kehillot. (Thank you)

    From the book “The Rebbe Speaks” by R. David Meisels, c. 2012 (concerning the Satmar Rebbe, R’ Yoel, zt”l), page 72:

    “…the Vaad cited the Gemara (Yuma 47a) that relates how Kimchis merited seven sons who were Kohanim Gedolim due to the fact… The Vaad concluded that if vigilance in this area brings so much blessing, … Around the year 5430 (1670), the Vaad issued a takanah that women should shave their hair to avoid any exposure.”

    The above book regrettably has no footnotes/Mareh Mekomot.

    As noted in my original posting, I (simply) read, but did not have a chance to research further.

    #1191904
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Please document your claim, otherwise I will consider it manipulatively false.

    Even if untrue (I have no idea), why does it have to be “manipulatively false”? Why can’t it be an honest mistake?

    #1191905
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The Vaad Arbaa Kehilot would not have applied to the Satmar , because the Vaad Arbaa Kehilot is Polish, Ukraine, Belaraus (Galacia) areas.

    Satmar are from Hungary

    #1191906
    golfer
    Participant

    Is it possible somebody is confusing Arba Kehillos with Sheva Kehillos? Sheva Kehillos were 7 communities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One of these was Mattesdorf, where the Chasam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer) had his Yeshiva. This would fit in with the discussion.

    #1191907
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Is it possible somebody is confusing Arba Kehillos with Sheva Kehillos? Sheva Kehillos were 7 communities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One of these was Mattesdorf, where the Chasam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer) had his Yeshiva. This would fit in with the discussion.

    Could be since the council of the 4 lands predates the Chasam Sofer as well. It was disbanded in 1764 and the Chasam Sofer was born in 1762

    #1191908
    oomis
    Participant

    And how do you know OOmis is wrong? She claims she knows such women! “

    I don’t CLAIM anything. I know many such women. They feel their wigs fit better and more sleekly with their hair cropped very short. Personally I find their hair to be very mannish, but that is none of my business. No need to get excited about it. I don’t disagree with you. You have no idea how many women are more concerned with the appearance of their shaitel than the appearance of their own hair (and I am not getting into a discussion of how tzniusdig that may or may not be). I never said they were doing it for halachic reasons. but the OP was why some married women shave their hair off. This is one reason that I know to be fact, based on what the women themselves have told me, though their hair is not completely shaved, but rather very closely-cut.

    #1191909
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Golfer, also, I’ve always heard it called Vaad Arba Haaratzos, not Kehillos.

    Has anybody seen it or heard of it as Vaad Arba Kehillos?

    #1191910
    Health
    Participant

    OOmis -“I know many such women. They feel their wigs fit better and more sleekly with their hair cropped very short. Personally I find their hair to be very mannish, but that is none of my business.”

    Why don’t you ask these women if they would put screws in their head to secure their wigs? They need these screws anyways because they are missing a few.

    #1191911
    hudi
    Participant

    “I was told that the reason was originally instigated to protect the woman and only afterward did they come up with all the reasons stated above. According to what I was told, it was started as a result of the pogroms. In a pogrom, the gentiles would try raping the women but when they would remove a woman’s turban and discover her head was shaven, they would sometimes be turned off.”

    Interjection – I heard a similar idea but from the time period of the Greeks around the time Chanukah took place when engaged women had to be defiled by the Greek general the night before their wedding. I was told they shaved their heads to look unattractive.

    #1191912
    mdd
    Member

    Da’as Yochid, because if the claim is not true (and I suspect it is not true), it would be propagated to force the compliance with this extreme chumrah.

    #1191913
    Mammele
    Participant

    Health: aren’t you being a bit harsh? Your preference for longer hair doesn’t have to be universal. And short hair IS NOT the same as shaving.

    And gotbeer your story is funny but not quite accurate. Even one that shaves at zero will not be “light bulb bald” the whole month. And many women shave less often than monthly when conditions are different without being bummy.

    #1191914
    interjection
    Participant

    How’d kimchis comb her hair for the mikva if it was always covered?

    #1191915
    more_2
    Member

    She combed it in the bath house. Not her own house.

    #1191916
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Mdd, I’m not sure how the source makes a difference. A member of a community which keeps this minhag is compelled to keep it either way (it’s not a minhag b’taos), and if this is not your minhag, you don’t need to keep it, since it’s not halachah p’sukah. The source of the minhag would seem to be academic.

    Even if it weren’t, it could still be a completely honest error.

    #1191917
    yitzchokm
    Participant

    Health,

    im surprised at your tone of “voice”. why so bitter?

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