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Covering scalp, showing hair at neck


Rabbi David Sperling

Tammuz 10, 5777
I’ve always covered my hair and when wearing a fall or mitpachat, I leave a little showing in front. Is it permissible to do the same from the opposite side? Cover completely from the forehead towards nape with a hat, scarf...and have the same little amount showing from the bottom of my head? (I live in a diverse community in Israel where there is no one standard, most wear mitpachot or hats as described above)
Shalom, Thank you for your question. As you are probably aware there are many opinions when it come to married women's hair covering. The view you are following, which leaves a small amount of hair showing out of the wig or scarf, is a well founded view held by many Rabbis (for example Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l). They believe that up to a “tefach” (a hands-breath) of hair may be left showing. There are various ways of measuring this “tefach”, but a fringe of hair hanging down about two fingers long across the entire forehead is one standard way to measure it. (That turns out to be two fingers, half a tefach, by the width of the forehead, which is two tefachim i.e. ½ * 2 =1 tefach). There is no reason why this amount has to be at the front of the head, rather than at the back, as you propose. It could also be at the sides. The main idea is that no more than this amount be left showing. As you mention, local custom plays a part in these practices – and you are fine to rely on these guidelines as long as they remain inside the boundaries of your communities customs. Blessings.
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