Jtube: Oprah: Hair Covering & Modesty

Why does Judaism place such a high value on modesty?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.

Comments (25)

(15) Hinda, June 16, 2015 7:25 PM

It's not only Hassidic people who cover their hair. so do litvish and all women are supposed to . Like we cover our knees, we cover our hair. It's nor tradition!

(14) Anonymous, April 15, 2015 8:14 PM

Rebbitzen Ginsberg is a very modest woman.

(13) Anonymous, October 24, 2013 4:32 AM

those wigs in the store were very attractive if you ask me

(12) Ester, May 23, 2013 7:33 PM

wrong Message

I think this video is giving the wrong impression of the mitzvah of covering hair. If its about modesty , why is it showing all the long attracting Wigs? If you just have a few minutes to explain the message, saying its a chasidic practice and its for modesty doesnt really give the write focused message.
I myself wear wigs, and i teach there is no problem with them . There is no problem with looking attractive , but don't be attracting. Every married jewish women HAS to cover their hair , not just chassidish .

(11) Anonymous, April 3, 2013 6:25 PM

As I learned it, there is something about the hair of a married Jewish woman - a kind of spiritual "aura" if you will - that is to be kept under wraps, shared only with one's husband. The hair used in wigs (i.e., no longer attached to a living woman) does not have this quality, therefore its use is permissible. The issue of a wig's being immodest or eye-catching -- seemingly controverting the spirit of the halacha - is something else altogether.

(10) Marcia, February 6, 2013 3:15 PM

It isn't only Chasidishe women who cover their hair.

All married Jewish women are supposed to cover their hair according to Halacha.

(9) Shoshana - Jerusalem, February 6, 2013 1:33 PM

A correction

The video is very good but it gives the wrong impression that only Chassidic families observe Shabbos, hair covering and modest dress. But all Orthodox Jews keep Shabbos, etc. P.S. I want to compliment the Orthodox woman in the video, who is wearing a beautiful and modest maternity dress. So often we see expectant women who look as if they are walkilng around with a watermelon, but this lady is beautifully and respectably covered, as befititng the miracle that is takilng place within her.

(8) Anonymous, February 6, 2013 2:43 AM

Oprah only noticed her wig because she was looking for a head covering and was wondering why she didn't see one.

(7) Deborah Litwack, February 5, 2013 5:20 PM

Not due to sensousness

It's Halacha period! Once a woman is married she has a new status in life and must cover her hair in public. Wigs are gorgeous and more sensuous than most women's natural hair. That is NOT the issue in halacha, as I learned it.

Michal, February 12, 2013 7:52 PM

Headcovering is a extra level of modesty given to the married woman

I married woman (eishet Ish) was given the mitzvah of must cover her hair as a extra level of modesty. The wigs of today are made for 2 kinds of people cancer patients and Hollywood models to enhance their beauty and the orthodox woman are taking this wigs to fulfill the commandment, it is defeating the purpose, the wig does not give a extra level of modesty to the woman, a scarf would. hence why we don't want to wear a scarf because we think we don't look pretty enough. We are missing the boat. in the olden days even the non jews used to cover their hair out of modesty. read Unique Princess by Rebetzin Tehilla Abramov

Aviva, February 21, 2013 6:33 AM

What is true modesty?

I strongly believe that a woman covers her hair when she is married for 2 reasons: a sign of marriage and because it is now considered nakedness (arvah). A wig only works in regard to the hair being considered nakedness. But if one cannot tell its a wig (like Oprah) then how can men think that she is married or not? Also, I believe that Sfardi women are required not to wear wigs. Another critique for this video is that some Chassidic women actually wear a hat or second head covering over their wig. For more topics about Tznius/Modesty please visit my website at: tznius4thenextgeneration.com

Anonymous, April 10, 2013 12:24 AM

There are two separate obligations, one is covering "Erva", which is translated to mean what is considered to be "Nakedness". Under those category is shirts that cover the collar bone and elbows and skirts that cover one's knees. In addition there is a requirement to cover one's hair. When it comes to covering one's hair there is an argument as to whether a wig is considered modest or not. Everyone agrees that a wig is sufficient to cover one's hair. The argument is whether it is modest or not. For example, Rav Ovadia Yosef, a prominent Sefardic Posek calls wearing a wig pritzut, which is loosely translated as immodest.... Hope this was helpful

(6) Anonymous, February 5, 2013 5:18 PM

No wigs!

Recently, while shopping, I noticed a young woman, also shopping, accompanied by a 10 or 12 year old boy. I ONLY noticed her BECAUSE she was wearing both a scarf on her head and a black VEIL covering the lower part of her face! And she's being MODEST so NO ONE will notice her! Had she worn the scarf alone, I might not have been so startled but the two together were a give-away that she was Muslim and she stood out like a "sore thumb'! So was the fact that she had to have a male companion, the pre-teen boy, maybe a son, who was watching me study her! The point being, instead of avoiding attention, she was ATTRACTING attention by her efforts. And the same can happen to Orthodox women. Many can be wearing ill-fitting, inexpensive obvious wigs so they are more noticed than their own hair would be! Beautiful hair is so common today that Jewish women covering up their ordinary hair is pointless. It just seems like much to do about nothing! What's wrong with men just not looking at non-related women or controlling their feelings? Dressing modestly is fine; hiding a woman's hair just draws attention to it! Remember, Oprah stared at the wig!

Chavi, February 5, 2013 9:14 PM

Much ado about nothing?

You may think that covering one's hair is pointless, but what really matters is what Hashem our Creator, thinks. He has given us very explicit instructions about the parameters of tznius (modesty) which He expects of Jewish women, and, whether we understand it or not, we must comply with His directives. He is Omniscient, and we are very limited in our world view and understanding. He is also our Father, who loves us more than anyone on this earth, and His instructions are for our good, whether we agree or understand them or not.

Rose, February 7, 2013 2:14 AM

The halacha requires a married woman to cover her hair at all times whether or not you understand it. Perhaps you might be right that today's wigs may very well be more attractive than hair but that is a different issue altogether. Hair must be covered even if it is not pretty or attractive! If you feel that a wig is too attractive, cover with a hat or scarf. Saying that covering hair is pointless is clearly disrespectul to halacha.

(5) David, February 5, 2013 4:33 PM

modesty in speech

not only in dress. what about speech? whats a matter with being a lady?

(4) Shlomit Feder, February 5, 2013 2:18 PM

haircovering is jewish not chassidic

I was upset that you say here that haircovering is a hassidic tradition, when it is really Jewish law, a Halacha miSinai. All ortodox, religious woman cover their hair. It is a pity that you don't use this public forum for proper education, and instead spread more disinformation. To comment nr. 3: there are divers traditions concerning how to cover hair: if hats, scarfs or hair (synthetic or real). Each (married) Jewesse (together with her husband) can choose according to her choice and/or advise of her Rabbi how to cover her hair. But yes hair is like the body of a woman potentially sexual appealing to men, and therefore must be taken care of to keep covered and speciell for the own husband. S. Feder

(3) Larry, February 5, 2013 6:33 AM

I do not understand

It hair is considered sensual, why use hair?

Anonymous, February 5, 2013 1:25 PM

You are right

There are many Orthodox Jewish women and hasidic women who do not wear wigs for the reason you stated. Some only where wigs in their home where only there husbands will see them. Others where wigs simply because in the professional world it may seem unacceptable to wear a hat or scarf. The idea of modesty is not to bring attention to yourself through your appearance. What I don't understand is why a modest woman would interview on national TV about her modesty. Seems kind of immodest to me.

Anonymous, February 5, 2013 4:12 PM


Modesty practiced by "specifically Hassidic tradition"? I am a Sephardic Orthodox Jew, prefer snoods and other hair coverings, wear a sheitel only to weddings, holidays and other special occasions, don't expose my body, preferring long skirts. Live in an orthodox community with hassidic, sephardic, etc., and no one would agree that modesty is specific to the hassidic community.

Zissi, February 5, 2013 11:39 PM

All Orthodox Jewish Women cover their hair

Hair covering is not limited to Chasidim-it is halacha. All Orthodox Jewish married women cover their hair-it gives them another measure of privacy, since a married woman has a different status than a single woman. And referring to the wigs, many (as you correctly stated) do not wear wigs, but hats, scarves, snoods, etc. Most wigs are too glamorous to be modest, anyway. They look better at times than one's hair, so there are laws concerning them as well.

Madeleine, February 5, 2013 8:14 PM

seems hypocritical

Covering one's hair makes sense as a sign of modesty, What I can't understand is how covering it with a styled wig that often has even more beautiful and sensually appealing hair then the hair you grew, can be rationalized as a sign of modesty.

Laurie, February 7, 2013 3:11 AM

attractive not attracting

Those are two separate issues. A head covering shouldn't be sensually appealing at all. A woman should be sensitive in this area. As far as a sheitl looking more beautiful than ones own hair, that is not a problem. Women wear make-up, refined clothing. A woman can make herself attractive- just not attracting. There is a difference. If we are really honest with ourselves the difference is clear.

(2) Anonymous, February 4, 2013 7:25 PM

Late comer

I became a Jew (Orthodox) in my 60's after being raised a Catholic. I've been a workaholic all my life, and the thought of shutting down for 25 hours was totally foreign, and, so I thought, what would prevent me from converting. Now that I am doing it for years, I can say it's the greatest thing ever! I look forward to Shabbos on Wednesday, right after the glorious feeling from last Shabbos starts to fade. I still work full time and many hours. But it doesn't stop me from enjoying Shabbos. The concept that I can turn off the world is wonderful. And, my batteries get charged for the next week. In addition to this, I also learn 3-4 days each week, which again takes me away from work (thank G-d). And, I believe I get more done now than before.

(1) Lisa, February 4, 2013 12:33 AM

Who does her sheital?

Great video of Oprah in a frum home!! I knew us Jews were soon to be in Oprahs camera! It was a very respectful interview...I hope she'll interview a more " modern" family next time!!


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