Monday, 15 August 2011

Hair Covering, R MJ Broyde and Dialogue

Originally published 8/15/11, 7:06 pm.

Is This Really Dialogue? | Hirhurim – Torah Musings

My utterly simplistic take is

1) that HEAD covering is Dat Moshe [because it says "ufara et ROSHAH"]

But that

2) Covering other Hair is dat Yehudit, and how much hair may be exposed or must be covered would be subjective



micha said...

Das Moshe, "ufarah es roshah", is satisfied by a bun or french braids. Even head covering might be das Yehudis.

Rabbi Richard Wolpoe said...

Yes ufara es roshash might be a zeicher l'davar, and not a true d'oraisso, but a kind of asmachta.

That said, it remains my simplistic model! :-)

micha said...

What I was thinking of was that the Toldois Aren (Toledos Aharon) chassidim worry about the possibility that single girls are included in "sei'ar be'ishah ervah". However, they don't go so far as to require headcovering. Rather, their daughters never go out in public with unbraided hair.

I was wondering if Das Moshe and Das Yehudis are orthogonal to deOraisa vs derabbanan. Das Yehudis is sociological norm -- not to dress more revealingly than observant women of your milieu do. It might be assur deOraisa to violate those norms, even though the specific norms shift over time. Similarly Das Moshe are absolute standards of dress. Could not the rabbis legislate an absolute standard and impose it regardless of what would otherwise be the fashion in the observant community?

I am sharing this speculation because I am thinking that perhaps total hair covering is a rabbinic Das Moshe.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

My understanding is that it is not that the Toldois Aron chassidim do not maintain a distinction between married and unmarried women in "sei'ar be'ishah ervah" but rather that they take the words of the Shulchan Aruch in Even HaEzer which state "echat hapeniyah v'echat eiseht ish", regarding a woman not being pore'ah rosha b'shuk, literally. Their behaviour is actually used to show a distinction between the two concepts and that the obligation to not be porei'ah roaha has nothing to with the concept of sei'ar ervah.

The fact is that this recognition actually throws a whole monkey wrench into the analysis. There are miforshim who wonder why the concept of se'ir ervah should only apply to married women. There is nothing in the gemara that would seem to imply this; in fact the gemara's parrallel with shuk and kol would seem to imply otherwise. (See, most interestingly, Rashi's parrallel.) Arguments are thus presented on how this distinction developed.

The practice of Toldos Aron now introduces the argument that this other law regarding head covering should also not be different for married and unmarried women. Given the general minhag of distinguishing we are now left with the need to explain how this also developed, i.e. a distinction between married and unmarried within these laws. The bottom line is that we have a genrally accepted distinction between unmarried and married women within these laws and, it would seem that at least according to some views, there was a change in these laws regarding unmarried women, we have a most dynamic area of law. The question is not only why these rules changed for the unmarried but why did they not also change for married. Then the further question becomes whether this distinction should still be applicable today.

I happen to like Micha's distinction. I am not sure, though, that it fits into the gemara but, on the other hand, it does offer possible ways of answering other problems I had with this gemara. The further problem, though, is this further issue of whether there originally was a distinction between married and unmarried and, if so, how did it change over time.