Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rav Ovadia Yossef on Wigs / Sheitels (with English translation)

Peah Nochrit (wigs)
This is Absolutely Forbidden!!!

There are more than 20 poskim who say that this is completely forbidden, it is absolutely forbidden to go out of the house into the public streets wearing a peah nochrit (wig). It is just as if you are going out with a completely uncovered head. Just like it is forbidden for a married woman to go out with her hair uncovered, it is equally forbidden for a married woman to go out with a wig on.
 There was a great gaon, Rebbe Pinchas Horovitz, a world sized giant, Rebbe Pinchus Leibush Horovitz, he took his beit din with him and they took a Sefer Torah with them and they pronounced a cherem (a decree of excommunication) on any woman who would wear a peah nochrit (wig). Who can violate a cherem of a man as great as this?! He was a giant, a giant in Torah… To violate his cherem… Who would violate such a persons' cherem? This is in addition to the fact that there were many Gaonim who have written explicitly that wigs are forbidden.

Any Rav who is lenient regarding wigs will face judgement for it in the future!

The Gaon of Vilna writes in his sefer on the Mishnayot explicitly that wigs are forbidden.
The Gaon Yaabetz writes extensively in his sefer 'Mor Uktziah' and in his sefer 'Tshuvot Yaabetz' very explicitly that wigs are absolutely forbidden!
The Chatam Sofer writes, "After the Gaon Yaabetz has thusly said, it is certainly necessary to forbid wigs."
The Maharif Chiyut in his sefer 'Ish Chiyut' writes in one of his teshuvot (halachic responsas), "It has already been forbidden by the greatest of the world and there is no room for leniency in this matter. Only the apikorsim (heretics), the minim and apikorsim are the ones who are lenient in this matter. Everyone else is very cautious in this matter."
Rav Chaim MiSanz writes in his sefer 'Shu"t Divrei Chaim' as follows, "It is the actresses, wild and immodest women, they began with this practice. Many have learned from them, we have mixed with the goyim and learned from their ways."
To my great sorrow, I have heard of many good girls who would prefer to wear a cloth head covering, and the boys, those learning in the Yeshivot are making conditions not to date them unless they commit to only wearing a wig after marriage. What Yeshiva students are these? These are ignoramuses, fools, wicked people! They are defaming the name of Hashem. People who ask for things like this learn in a yeshiva?! What Torah are they learning? They will have to face judgement for this in the future.
The author of the sefer 'Atzei Arazim' in Even Haezer writes, "I am certain that any Rav who is lenient in the matter of wigs will have to face judgement in the future!"


  1. If all this is true, why is it that wigs from sheitel machers are very common in the Ashkenazic world? I realize that women in India donate their hair in front of their avodah zarot. Yet, the sheitel macher is a respected profession amongst Ashkenazim. And believe me, I know how expensive real hair can be. We are talking around $1000. I understand that Sephardim have never accepted sheitels as a proper head covering. So I would expect this ruling from Rav Ovadia. But in the Ashkenazic world?? I am amazed that this was a problem. In the US, observant women regularly wear them. sorry for my confusion on this issue. Here in Israel we have given up on the sheitel for the snood instead. My wife always hated them anyway.

    1. I've got flyers with probably 15 or more Ashkenazi Rabbis forbidding them as well. Rav Elyashiv, Rav Vosner, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Chatam Sofer, Rav Yonatan Eibshitz, and many more.
      As far as what they do in the US... We all know what the prophets say about whats coming to the lands of Edom...

  2. Wigs, clothing made from spandex and high heels all seem like a problem and immodest but many, many women who considering themselves "frum" wear these. I love them but they are calling attention to their bodies when they wear tight-fitting clothing with costly high fashion wigs and dripping with jewelry. Their husbands don't seem to be bothered by this as their daughters emulate the mothers.

  3. So true Miriah - I live smack dab in the middle of Boro Park. It saddens me greatly to see these long(and shoulder length), seductive wigs flying in the wind. I will, IY'H post these fliers on the Avenues as I did the fliers on tznius

  4. Wow. You mean there are ... rabbis who forbade wigs?! What a great revelation!

    Maybe mention, meanwhile, that there are rabbis who permitted wigs. (E.g. Rav Moshe Feinstein.)

    IIRC, even Rav Elyashiv refused to condemn all wigs categorically. (Based on an article from a while back... He pointed to a rav in Yerushalayim whose wife wore a sheitel.)

    "What Yeshiva students are these? These are ignoramuses, fools, wicked people!"
    Those yeshiva students are likely following their rabbeim and poskim. Which is just how halacha is *supposed* to operate. Beis Hillel did not condemn Beis Shammai as fools or sinners who would burn in heck.

    kol tuv,

  5. Here we go again! Another article bashing Sheitel-wearers. I choose not to respond to Rav Ovadia Yosef's p'sak on wigs, only that I do not hold by him, and I say this with no disrespect. I do hold by the leaders of previous generations that did permit wigs such as:

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe
    Rav Moshe Feinstein
    The Rema
    the Pri Megadim
    the Chofetz Chaim, etc.

    So I do have whom to hold by.

    I suggest you leave us sheitel-wearers alone and focus on real issues concerning breach of tznius such as women wearing tight-fitting outfits, skirts that are too short and have slits, and blouses that expose their elbows and their collarbone.

    So, please chill out.

    1. Wigs and tight clothing are all just as bad, the Chafetz Chaim wrote a whole book against wigs, Geder Olam read

  6. Are you aware that many women go out to work, and in many places [outside of Israel] wearing a snood or tichel would not be acceptable in the workplace?
    also for many young girls, if they didn't have the option of wearing an attractive-looking wig they wouldn't cover their hair at all.
    Everyone has an opinion, but it's not fair to blanketly criticize without taking all facts into consideration.
    A wig is not a woman's own hair, her hair remains hidden, and therefore she is still fulfilling the mitzvah of hair covering. No-one said she has to look unappealing, she just has to hide her own hair. Please see A Zone of Privacy in the Sheitel

    1. It's not ideal for women to go out to work, that is the husbands job. It's written in the ketuba. And do you know how many inappropriate things go on in the workplace...
      By the way, who's criticizing? i'm just translating the words of Rav Ovadia.

  7. Y. Goldstein....you're losing me...going ...going.....gone.
    Be well. I wish you only the best, yet I can no longer log on here.....It's seriously turning me off......With you...no woman does anything right, unless it's your standard they follow.....

    1. I'm just translating the words of Rav Ovadia.
      And anyways, what's the big deal, is it so hard to stop wearing wigs and tight and stretchy clothing? Is it really necessary for everyone on the street to see the shape of your body?
      And if this is too much to handle, you might want to do some serious soul searching, because Am Yisrael and the Geula is all about kedusha!

    2. I wear a sheitel and no, my clothes are not clingy or tight. My sheitel is not long and it is not teased and bleached and colored brightly etc....My skirts are below the knee and I cover up the neck line and my arms are coverd weel below the elbow and oh, and minhag hamakom is no pantyhose, yet I wear them and people want to know why.....so, your next judgement on my soul is????????? uh.......nu?

  8. Mr. Goldstein,

    I am a sheitel-wearing woman. I choose to wear one in public, because it ensures all my hair is covered unlike snoods and tichels. If you choose to bash a whole segment of Jewish women then you are displaying mamesh sinas chinam.

    BTW, I asked my rav regarding attractive wigs and this was his response:

    In brief: The Rebbe insisted on shaitels because you can not take it off at will as one can do with a kerchief. The fact that they can be attractive has no effect on the Biblical notion (chok) that a women's hair is 'ervah' and must be covered.

  9. In the Gemora the head covering is referred to as 'mitpachat', which is translated as cloth. What kind is up to the wearer. A woman could be very creative with these type of coverings. In Israel there are many ways to cover the hair w/o looking frumpy. The type of sheitel some Rabbis permitted is synthetic, short, and not very attractive at all. And yes, some groups like their wives to be non-descript. As in many other areas, proper personal boundaries have been loosened inordinately. It may actually be (in pure halacha and with das yehudis also) that 100% covered is not the ikkar, purpose of the cover is to denote she is married and not single.

    1. Thank you, I agree. Very well explained.

    2. Even synthetic wigs, all of them have around 3% real hair. And guess where that comes from? India.. so really no wigs are allowed .

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  11. 1)Ladies, I hear you load and clear!
    2)Ladies and Gentlemen, who of you agrees that ones hould ask a "sheilas chochom"/inquire from their local learned Rav, and follow his rulings?
    3)All that is written in the name of HoRav Ovadia Yosef is Torat Emet - holy-of-holies...
    I tremble when I read his rulings above.
    Having said that, I understand that the majority of Rabbanim who permit the wearing of Sheitles do so with the sagely knowledge that:
    "One does not impose a thing on the Tzibbur/Community where the majority are unable to abide by it".

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