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Monday, May 24, 2004

Sheitelheit 451

Over the past two weeks or so, a contraversy has arisen over whether sheitels (wigs) from India are made out of hair cut in an idol worshipping ceremony. Many Orthodox Jewish married women, for reasons of modesty, cover their hair with a hat, a snood, or a wig. This has led many women to stop wearing their wigs, or based on the recommendations of some rabbis, to burn them (just when you thought that Lag B'Omer was over). I heard of a case here in Toronto where a woman got rid of five sheitels. Considering that they were worth around $1500 Can. that is not a insignificant amount. My wife recently found out that her sheitel is on one of the "banned lists". We have opted to put it away until this sorts itself out. It is not entirely clear that the ceremony the hair is cut in is what would be halachicly (according to Jewish law) a donation for idol worship. Also, some have pointed out that the overwhelming majority of hair from India used to make wigs is not from these ceremonies. Whether that makes it permissible or not, I do not know. I will leave that to those who are experts in this regard.


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