In traditional Judaism, women typically cover their hair once they are married. This is often attributed to the Sotah ritual described in Numbers (5:18). There are many sources on this online, which go into a lot more depth. In this post, I am just going to talk about my own personal reason, beyond the common tradition, for covering my hair.
When I first started to cover my hair, it was kind of fun. It was different and instantly I noticed a change in how people interacted with me. Suddenly I felt that people were looking at me like I was more than just appearances. I noticed that my conversations with men weren’t as friendly and seemingly flirtatious as they had sometimes seemed before.
Then as time went on, I got bored and started to panic a little. I LOVE my hair. It’s one of my best features. Every single morning I would get up, get ready for work, put my makeup on, and think, “wow I look great”. Then it would always hit me that I cover my hair. And I would get a little depressed and the rebel in me would think, what if I just didn’t cover it today?! (At this time, and even now, I could not afford a good wig (called a sheitel in Judaism) and I figured that scarfs are comfier anyway).
I’ve been learning more and more about the meaning and reason of why we cover our hair. I do want to continually learn more about it because I want to make sure this is really a thing that has solid reasoning and meaning to me and to my children. I’m not one to conform to anything. In fact, I’ve been known to be a little rebellious. Which brings me to my next point.
While I was struggling with it, I never did leave the house without my hair covered. I believe this is mostly to the fact that to me my scarf is, in concept, like a uniform. It subconsciously shows any casual observer how I want to be perceived. Which is a lot deeper and meaningful than just appearances.
I cover my hair mostly with a scarf (or what we call a tichel in Judaism). I like that people see me and instantly know that I am different than the rest of the world. It has brought up conversations with people I would never have talked to. And these people appreciate the fact that I want something different than what this world has to offer. Previously, I wanted to uncover my hair because I was scared I was conforming to something that I wasn’t sure of. Now I want to cover my hair because I don’t want to conform to the rest of the world. I’m a rebel in a headscarf.
Beauty can be found all around us, but the best thing is that it is more than what meets the eye. My beauty is my neshama (soul). As much as I love my body as well and will do what I can to take care of it, my neshama is what will continue for eternity. I want it to be what shines through. And I do not want my physical beauty to be my main definition of how I see myself.