Interestingly, when I posted this on Facebook women overwhelmingly agreed, while men complained. I suggest that is so because men have been feminized by the prevailing liberal culture.- Ya'akov
Shaliach Shaul urged wives to obey their husbands and husbands to love their wives. This simple exhortation neatly sums up the traditional idea of the family in ancient Hebraic thought. The man is the head of the house and the woman is the helpmate, but they were to work together for the benefit of each: the outcome is to be a partnership.
Marriage is an important step in the life of a talmid. Parents traditionally arranged the marriage with a view to finding a suitable match from the same tribe and the same or a neighboring village. There are rules that prohibit a man from marrying his sister, mother, daughter or anyone else that would mean that his wife would be tied to him in more than one way. Marriage between cousins, however, was acceptable.
The bride's family was giving a daughter to the groom's family; it seemed reasonable that the groom's family should give an appropriate gift in return so that both families could be seen as giving and receiving something of value. While the woman moved to her husband's home she still retained a kinship relationship with her birth family.
The husband is obligated to support his wife, but she could keep her own property. It is assumed, however, that a married couple is an economic partnership, and if the man is bankrupt and unable to pay his debts she will help pay those.
It is important today to examine the legitimate role of women and the rules/obligations for their conduct and respect. Women should dress very modestly, covering their bodies rather than giving in to the styles of the world. In theAssembly of Assayanimwomen dress exactly as most Muslim women do today. ( Below are examples of expected styles of dress for women.)As part of submitting ones self to her husband, modesty and a sense of shyness is one of the necessary components of faith and paramount to purity in the Yahad. Our body's adornments or physical features are a gift, which YHWH has given us, and this gift is a trust that comes with certain responsibilities. For both males and females, YHWH has made their physical features extremely attractive to each other for the purpose of culmination in physical union, so that we can "be fruitful and multiply". These physical features, by themselves, are objects of pleasure and lust. Yet, it is when they are not manifest that the individual becomes a person. Every soul that YHWH has made deserves the dignity and respect of a human being, irrespective of the nature of their physical features. In this purpose YHWH has created all human beings in a natural state that has a sense of shame, which elevates us above all other creatures; for there are no animals that possess a sense of shame. For the human being, the consequence of exposing physical features can be very serious and far reaching, both in this world and in the hereafter. A look at the society in the west today will reveal some of the consequences. There is rampant adultery, uncountable rapes, millions of illegitimate pregnancies, millions of abortions, and millions of illegitimate children without responsible fathers to care for them. Many of them will end up a 'street children', joining the gangs and adding to the ever-increasing violence in the society, which has already reached epidemic proportions. To save humanity from destroying themselves it is evident that both men and women need to cover themselves more properly. The main purpose of covering the body is to cover the shame and other physical features so that they remain out of sight of others, to avoid drawing undue attraction, and to prevent the excitement of evil desires in others. It is this path of purity and modesty, which is essential in maintaining a daily consciousness of Torah and YHWH's pleasure .
The practice of hair covering amongst Israelite women has its source in the scriptures and is further witnessed to in the Mishnah. M. Ketubot 7:6 lists going out with unbound hair as one of the ways in which a woman forfeits her divorce settlement.
The Talmud (B. Ketubot 72a-b) understood the source of this custom to be even more ancient. In the Bible (Numbers 5:18), a woman suspected of infidelity has her hair exposed as part of her punishment. This biblical passage seems to imply that as a matter of course an Israelite woman kept her hair covered.
The gemara in Ketubot 72a presents two categories of women who can be divorced without receiving the sum of money stipulated in their ketuba (marriage contract). In other words, these are cases where the women are deemed to have violated the terms under which they were married, and thus the contract is considered to be broken. The two categories are referred to as "Dat Moshe" and "Dat Yehudit." The former category includes cases when the woman causes her husband to violate Torah, while the second category seems to be more focused on issues of personal modesty. The latter category is called "Dat Yehudit" since it includes things that are not explicitly prohibited by Torah, yet have been accepted by the women of Israel as a binding custom. The first item listed among those things considered to be "Dat Yehudit" is when a woman goes out with her hair uncovered. However, as the gemara notes, this is not simply a law that was accepted over time by Israelite women. Rather, we know from the case of the sotah (a woman suspected by her husband of committing adultery) that Israelite women have to cover their hair, since part of the process of humiliating the sotah in attempts to make her confess her sin is that the kohen uncovers her hair. Obviously, if this was considered to be a potentially effective means of shaming her into confession, it must be that it was the norm for her hair to be covered (see also Bamidbar Rabba 9:16)!
While there is a Halachic disagreement amongst Jewish scholars regarding the law that married women should cover their hair even inside their houses, all seem to agree that it is preferable and highly praiseworthy for a woman to cover her hair even in the privacy of her own home.
In the Talmud there is a famous story about a certain woman by the name of Kimchit who was careful that "the walls of her house should not see the hairs of her head." She was rewarded with seven sons who served as High Priests. We see from this story that a woman's covering her hair in private is highly praiseworthy. But is it a Torah mandate? Or is it simply a chumrah, a stringency? Must a woman cover her hair at home? King David says, "kol kevudah bat melech p'nimah." Which is Hebrew for "All the glory of the King's daughter is internal."
One of the expressions of this inner glory is that, in Judaism in general, married women must cover their hair. But is there a halachic difference between going out in public and being at home? In the privacy of their own homes, seemingly, they should be able to "let their hair down." By covering her hair a woman in Nazarene Judaism is expressing her exclusive devotion, love for, and unique connection to her husband and her obedience to YHWH's Torah.
In order to fully answer this question, it is important to address two issues at play here: a) why does an Israelite woman need to cover her hair at all? b) Does the Torah expect (and allow) Jewish women to act differently in the privacy of their own homes than when they are outside in public?
Once a woman is married, she enters into a completely unique relationship with her husband. This transformation is alluded to by the Hebrew name for the wedding ceremony, "Kiddushin," which means sanctification or holiness.
Through this act, the bride and groom are totally and utterly dedicated to each other in a holy coupling. This dedication manifests itself in both an internal and an external form, in many ways, and for both partners.
One of these ways is by a woman covering her hair, which is viewed in Judaism as a sensual and private part of a married woman's appearance. By covering her hair a woman is expressing her exclusive devotion, love for, and unique connection to her husband, and her fidelity to the will of YHWH.
Even if others do not realize why she is covering her hair, she has the constant awareness and consciousness that she is one half of a unique and profound relationship, sanctified by YHWH Himself.
Yet, the Torah is not content to let the Israelite woman just "act natural." Rather, it exhorts them to keep to high standards, and to maintain a high level of moral and ethical conduct, even when no other human beings are around. Even when an Israelite woman is getting dressed in a dark room, she are enjoined to do so in a modest manner.
Why is this belief prevalent in Judaism? Because of the concept that YHWH is omnipresent; and human beings are always under His scrutiny. (And in case a person does not have the constant awareness of YHWH's presence, the Shulchan Aruch prescribes meditation, in order to arouse feelings of love and awe)
However, the hair of a married woman does not have the same status as other private parts of the body that are usually covered in Judaism. As explained earlier, hair covering is primarily a symbol of marriage, a demonstration of her devotion to her spouse.
So, all that said: May a women uncover her hair in private? Halachah addresses public, semipublic, and private settings:
Now, normally, the laws of modesty are not loosened in the privacy of home. Tradition, acknowledging human nature, states that it is natural for people to act differently when they are in the privacy of their own home then when they are around a group of people.
Public: The Torah states that a woman must completely cover her hair in a public place. Some opinions state that under a tefach (a handbreadth, about three inches total) of hair may show.
Semipublic: In a semipublic place, one opinion states that even if men are not usually found there, a married woman must cover her hair.
Private: The Biur Halachah writes that although originally it was permitted for married women to uncover their hair in the privacy of their homes, in more recent times "the prevailing custom in all places is for women to cover their hair, even in the privacy of their own homes.... Since our ancestors, in all localities, have adopted this practice, it has taken on the full force of Jewish law and is obligatory...."
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein disagrees with this ruling and writes that "[covering hair when in private] is praiseworthy, but not required." Sources for these conclusions in Yuma 47a, Psalms 45:14, Beginning of Orach Chaim. With regards to other issues – such as the prohibition of a husband seeing private parts of his wife's body when she is niddah – there is disagreement between halachic authorities as to the "status" of a married woman's hair. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv (highly respected modern-day Israeli halachic authority) says that a married woman's hair is in the same category as other private parts of the body, while Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (author of the Igrot Moshe Responsa) writes that hair is not in the same category as other parts of the body that are normally covered. Sources: Halichos Bas Yisrael, by Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Fuchs. Targum Press, 1987. Beautiful Within, Modesty In Conduct and Dress As Taught By The Lubavitcher Rebbe. Sichos in English, 1995. In conclusion, from studies of Israelite tradition, the Ketuvim Netzarim and the Torah, and the opinions of Jewish scholars, a woman's hair must be covered and she must wear modest clothing that covers all of her skin.
-I've attached a file on Tznuit.
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