Monday, April 16, 2007

To Cover or Not To Cover

by Holy Hyrax

“Do you think it’s bad if I took off my hair covering?”
This is the question that came out of nowhere last night from my wife. I really did not know what to answer her. My wife has always had a hard time covering her hair. We are both BT’s and instead of slowly taking this upon her, she covered everything immediately after the wedding. We were so influenced by people around us, especially her. She would go to all sorts of “exciting” women’s lecture about tzniut and be inspired. Eventually, all that hockey bubble-gum stuff wears off and true emotions that lurk within start to come out.

My wife has amazingly beautiful curly hair. Now, I’m not talking about regular curls, we are talking about high-quality-curly-fries curls like some Yeminite women have. My family, who are Russian, were so enamored by it that my grandmother would just start caressing them. She really stuck out in celebrations :) She really misses fixing her hair and walking down the streets feeling free. I miss seeing it fixed more often. Curtly hair like that apparently takes a long time to be fixed.

Now, let's add me to the equation. Whoever has been following my rants knows I am stuck not knowing were to go in Judaism. I’m not sure if I believe in TMS. I don’t keep most mitzvoth and that sort of atmosphere that I have created, has affected my wife obviously. She no longer does Birkat Hamazon as she used to for example. Add to all this that I would openly tell her and others that I would be happiest if my wife just left Judaism. That way, I would not be torn anymore and we can go on with our lives the way we were together before becoming frum. Now, it seems she is taking another step in the direction I so desired.

So why then am I not happy?

I thought I would be ecstatic, but I’m not. Why is this hair covering issue such a soft spot, but yet when she stopped doing Birkat Hamazon, I had no problems. I always told her that if you absolutely detest the hair covering, then she should take off. No one should do something that makes them so miserable every time they look at themselves in the mirror. So what am I going to tell her now, to keep it on because its halachah? That’s a bit hypocritical of me I think. So many thoughts came crashing into my head after she asked me that, that I ACTUALLY found myself, for some strange reason, trying to defend hair coverings. I started blabbing about it being a positive sign for our daughters. She then said that ANYTHING she does can be a positive influence on our daughters. Of course then she had to say: “Ohhhhhhh, so now all of a sudden you WANT me to cover my hair.” But is this true? Is there something unique in a woman covering her hair that I am all of a sudden forced to reevaluate?