Shaitels: What A Goy Understands….


shaitel-pashkevil-smallLife in Israel has reported on a pashkevil posted around Yerushalayim this month which has residents somewhat amused, even if it was not be meant to be taken in that vein. “The humorous take is based on the presumption that we decide halacha based on what some non-Jew thinks,” says Rafi G. of Life in Israel.

The pashkevil relates a story of a chareidi family that traveled to a Druze village in the Galilee to daven at the grave of Yisro. The Druze guards the place very carefully, not allowing in anyone who he considers to be not dressed appropriately, including women without a head covering. A chareidi woman approaches the kever to daven and the guard refuses her entry, because her hair is not covered.

The women unsuccessfully tries to convince the guard that she is wearing a wig, but he refuses, insisting her hair is uncovered.

The guard says, “In my opinion, it is as if the hair is not covered, and I will not allow a desecration of the holiness of the site.”

The sign states, “What a goy understands…,” suggesting that it should be so obvious to us as well that wigs are not considered hair coverings…

The pashkevil, dated Erev Shavuos, does not contain any names, but references the most recent edition of the Ikvesa DeMeshicha publication.

Click here to view the pashkevil.

{Yair Israel}


  1. What I take from the story is that even a goy is capable of understanding the appropriateness of women to cover their hair. (Wig or no wig is secondary.)

  2. That’s the same kind of Goy that would reject selling Chometz, Eiruv, Eiruv Tavshilin, Heter Iska… and the list gos on.

    Totally ignorant.

  3. What’s your raya? Most halachic things goyim don’t understand. (I was once told that that’s the reason why the Gemora was written very cryptic, so that goyim shouldn’t try to understand it, and be ???? ???? while learning it.)
    True, Rav Elyashiv shlita paskened that shaitels are assur, but please don’t bring a raya from what a goy thinks.

  4. I dont find this amusing at all. As the husband of someone who wears a shaitel, I have constantly been uncomfortable with the way a sheitel makes my wife look in public.

    And even though we do rely on the FEW opinions which permit sheitels (the majority DO NOT) are these anything like the sheitels that those MATTIRIM permitted???

    SO maybe the goy did know a thing or two….

  5. Since when do care what goyim think?
    Start with Rabeinu Gershom’s ban on polygamy and there is a million more examples.

  6. Rabbi Dovid Morgenstern who is very close to Rav Elyashiv and relays R’ Eliyashiv’s piskei halacha says the Rov holds that sheitels are muttar. I imagine that the sheitels that the Rov said are assur are the very long, white-skin part that looks like they were made for Hollywood.

  7. To #6: The Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Moshe Feinstein permitted sheitels, and you insult their name by implying that they are of one of the few opinions.

  8. Many poskim have assured shaitels. That should be a reason not to wear them, not what a goy thinks. Unfortunately, too many don’t seem to care what the poskim say, so people feel the need to bring in such stories to get the point across.

  9. the sheitel is a very good example how the yetzer hora works .
    there are even some women who consider the bleaching of hair a sufficent haircovering since you can`t see their real hair .
    people trye to conform with hallacha and forget the reason why women have got to cover their hair
    you all know for sure those kosher pork and shrimp-flavors which are on the market !
    and now my question . why do they want to look goyish ?
    is there no way to clothe in an apropiate way and keep Torah-requirements without trying to skip them by putting on sheitels and so on ?

  10. Here is a quote from “Modesty – An Adornment for Life” by Rav Falk, page 248 – 5:D:4 – “A SHEITEL SO WELL MADE THAT IT IS BARELY DETECTABLE: (a) It should be immediately apparent that the hair is covered: In our day and age, it has become necessary to stress something which is of a most elementary nature. This is that it is totally incorrect and against the will of the Torah for a woman to wear a sheitel that has been manufactured to such perfection that to an onlooker (who does not know she is married) she appears to be an unmarried girl. As is well known, many custom-made sheitels are made to this level of undetectability.
    Wearing such a sheitel contravenes the commandment that a married woman must cover her hair, which the Poskim say is so that men other than her husband are not attracted to her when she is an eishes ish…It is therefore obvious that it should be immediately evident that she is wearing a sheitel, and that the chein which is apparent is due to a sheitel, not to her true hair. To circumvent and outwit this Torah obligation completely violates the spirit of the law and is forbidden.
    The following is written in Responsa Chesed L’Avraham…..loosely translated this means, ‘Since it is ossur to uncover hair because she thereby displays her beauty to people, what difference does it make whether she reveals her own hair or displays a wig which looks as if it were her own hair?'”

  11. 6,
    You feeling uncomfortable is totally irrelevant! just as irrelevant as what the goy feels. Some people are uncofortable onless the whole face is covered besides the eyes…

    Let each one folow his Rav, and ???? ?? ?????. But these people have no concept of how Torah works, zero grasp in ??? ???? ???? ????? ???? –

  12. As a woman, I would gladly give up my sheitel, if everyone else does.I always admire women who can come to a chasuna without a sheitel and still look so nice and put together. I wish I could too. The problem is, I want to look like everyone else. I don’t want to stand out as being different. Other head coverings can look very elegant and are much more comfortable than a sheitel with hair in your eyes, always needing a sheitel macher etc.I think it is time for sheitel machers to look into other professions. Let’s all start covering our hair with alternatives. My husband would be thrilled if I stopped wearing my sheitel.

  13. It is unfortunate that the goy has to make us aware of our behavior. But better later then never. The MATZAV of tznios by some of us is terrible. The same people who would ask a SHAALE on other halochos and do what they were told, would use all kind of HETEIRIM when it comes to tznios. Just think a momment, if moshiach would arrive suddenly (AMEN) in the street and evrybody has to follow him right now to the YOM HADIN HAGODOL VEHANORAH, would you be commfortable with the way you look like? Is your shaitel relly O-K? Is your dress o-k? How about your socks? Etc. THINK ABOUT IT. Would your grandparents be happy if they met you on the street? Tznious is not just a matter of being better then the worst goy. Tznious is HALACHA LMOSHE MISINAI wHICH NEVER CHANGES.

  14. A shaitel is not like other halochos b/c the main question is what it looks like, not what it is. If it looked like hair to the goy, it looks like hair to many people and is therefore ossur according to most poskim. If a dress looks dirty you wouldn’t wear it, even if you know it’s clean.

  15. Yanky Weiss:

    Wow, no shades of grey in your eyes!! Strictly black and white.

    Halacha LMoshe Misinai, this is news to me.

    If a grandparent’s love is conditional, what’s it worth already??

  16. Hmm…stumbled on this site through three links — an accident. But fascinating!

    I’m an American Catholic. I lived in Israel for a year. Went to visit the Holy Sepulchre. I was wearing a nice pair of pants. The Israeli policeman guard standing outside tells me I can’t come in because I’m wearing pants! I’m thinking to myself “who is this guy to tell me what I can wear into a Christian holy place? I wear these pants to church at home. I could wear them to an audience with the Pope!” (Probably wouldn’t as too informal, also I’m not likely to get an audience with the Pope, but that’s beside the point.) Nothing doing, the guy wouldn’t budge. I went down the street, bought a skirt from a street vendor, put it on over the pants, and came back. Now I meet Jewish standards for visiting the tomb of [deleted by moderator]! 🙂

  17. Actually, I think my grandmother would love my shaitel.

    I personally think that there are problems with tznius today, but the tznius advocates are harming themselves by going overboard. Should we be harping on things like shaitels (which have solid backing), too casual, too long etc? Women and girls start to feel like it will never be good enough anyway. When we are all folowing the basics, we will be just fine.

  18. Hi there from a Jewish Mom! I haven’t been to that site but I do wonder if the standards weren’t for Muslim sensibilities as it’s they who consider it equally holy; the Jews just protect it out of respect for others, and I doubt they would be setting the modesty standards.

  19. to Catholic Mom (#19) your story cannot be true. most Israeli women unfortunately wear pants, and even at the Kotel, the holiest Jewish site, women are alowed with pants. Something about your story does not make sense.

  20. “Down with Shaitels”, why don’t you start a movement? Think how many shiduchim would be possible if girls were willing to sacrifice their shaitels.

  21. #22: The Zionists are less tzniusdik than the Christians like the Christian site that Catholic Mom went to visit.

  22. To the people who look down on sheitels:

    Many women like myself do not like the way they look in a snood or tichel. When I do wear them, I am always tempted to reveal some of my hair. So, to avoid this problem I always wear a sheitel, which will ensure that all of my hair is covered and I am not confronted with my yetzer hora.

    Also, many women in my community wear tichels and snoods in public and I am suprised at how much hair is revealed. I believe strongly that a woman should wear sheitals in public to avoid this problem.

  23. To #22 Zionist:

    Her story was not about the Kosel. (Although, assuming the stories are true – the original one, and especially Catholic Mom’s – it doesn’t speak too well of our standards. We are supposed to be Am Kadosh, and when others are more attuned to Halacha then we are…)

  24. I’ll take Rabbi Falk’s clear halachic guidelines ( he has a book on shaitels, I forgot the title, sorry), over a goy’s version of modesty anyday.

  25. Michali, nobody looks down on shaitels. This is not a matter of respect or disrespect, likes or dislikes. We’re discussing halacha here. If you chose the lesser of two evils, call it what it is: the lesser of two evils.

  26. If you wear a shaitel, at least have the common sense, decency, and ethical imperative to not wear one that is real-like. Aside from maris ayin, you are oiver…

  27. #15- Then just do it! Stop caring what other people think. Go ahead, do what you think is right, and may H’ reward you for your sacrifice.

    #25- I wear tichels and snoods only, and I manage not to show a hair. It can be done. The argument that sheitels do a better job of that is simply untrue.

    #27- Rabbi Falk happens not to be so into sheitels (at least according to Oz Vehadar Levusha). Especially not the ones that are hard to tell. He prefers snood or covered sheitel.

  28. Sorry if something about my story sounds not right but it is 100% true. I will say this — the Holy Sepulchre is not actually in the hands of the Catholic Church (big shock for me to discover that most of the Christian holy sites in Israel are not actually in the hands of the Catholics!) but mostly under the control of the Greek Orthodox. I later thought that it might be that the Greek Orthodox don’t want women with pants coming in but it was just funny to me that an Israeli policeman seemed to be calling the shots as what was and wasn’t appropriate. Also, this was 20 years ago, so who knows. Maybe they let people in now. I’ve seen some amazing get ups in American churches these days, but the whole culture is kind of going down the tubes dress-wise. When I was a kid women were required to cover their hair in church. That stopped after Vatican II. Now they’re happy if they can just get women to cover

  29. Until all the rabaniman assur fancy wigs every woman has every right wearing any sheitel. If you want to follow Rabbi Falk or Chacham Ovadia Yosef good for you. However, its everyones right not to.

    As far as the mares ayin – its in the igros moshe. I hope you don’t shave Reb Moshe asks the shoel that question 😉

  30. The goal of covering hair is TZNIUS. The fact is that today most women look more beautiful in appearance with a modern sheitel than if she were to wear uncovered, undyed natural hair with streaks of grey hairs, curls, and flyaway hairs. I remember learning that the Gadolim were mutar sheitels because in years past they never looked authentic and were clearly “head coverings” due to the poor design, fit and finish. Today, sheitels are beautiful and add to the appearance of a woman.

  31. Of course there are poskim that mattir sheitels, but they are following rishonim who mattir, who are THE OVERWHELMING minority of rishonim.

    Regardless, if you look at many of the teshuvos which MATTIR sheitels, they often write explicitly that it should be visibly a wig – which many of todays ARENT!

  32. #31- yes, actually. But that was not the point of my bringing it up. I was responding to someone bringing up his view on sheitals. That happens to be what he says in the book. Regardless of whether you follow all, part, or none of his book, that’s what’s written there.

  33. This problem that sheitals look real is pretty old: Rav Shwadron said 25 years ago that he disapproved sheitels because they look real. He passed away in 1997. He make this comment in the early 70s when sheitels were not appealing and very short.

    Regarding maris ayin, I found a translation of Rav Moshe Feinstien’s tshuva by Josh Waxman. This is just an excerpt but you can read the whole tshuva here: “The truth, in my humble opinion, is that even if there is one who is concerned to forbid a wig because of marit ayin, see in Amrat Zekenim, Orach Chaim siman 75, even so, the majority of our Rabbis {rabboteinu} and also of those upon whom we rely fundamentally for ruling, permit. And they are the Rema there {in siman 75} and in siman 303 in Darkei Moshe, and the Magen Avraham and the Pri Megadim. And so is also mashma from the Gra, who holds like this, that they did not forbid in this because of marit ayin.”

    To Tichel Mom: Unless the sheitel is a fall, it is true. We have to be inetellectually honest here. Only sheitels guarantee that hair is totally covered. I see very frum women who wear snoods or tichels with hair sticking out. I see it every day. It happens to me when I wear snoods. I constantly have to readjust them.

  34. its very easy to assur everything. people need to learn how to take everything in moderation. there are many rebbitzens who wear pretty sheitals that add to their appearance that are perfectly tznius. so buy a tznius sheital. They definitely exist!

  35. Today’s shaitel’s (i.e. real human hair, real looking, etc.) Are NOT the same thing some poskim mattired (even though it was also “called” a shaitel, it was fake hair, far from real looking, etc.)