Sheitels: A Guide to Orthodox Jewish Hair Coverings
In the world of Orthodox Jews, particularly married Orthodox Jewish women, sheitels hold a significant role as a form of hair covering, representing modesty and privacy.
These shaitels, or wigs, come in various types and styles, with each one reflecting the personality and preferences of the wearer. This blog post will explore everything you need to know about sheitels, from their purpose and significance to the controversy surrounding lace front sheitels.
What is a Sheitel and Its Significance?
A sheitel is a wig worn by married Orthodox Jewish women to comply with Jewish law, which requires them to cover their hair after marriage. This practice demonstrates dignity, respect for themselves and their husbands, and their commitment to maintaining a higher level of modesty and privacy.
The wearing of sheitels is observed by modern Orthodox women as a symbol of their commitment to Dat Moshe, the law of Moses. They wear wigs as a means of maintaining modesty and preserving the sanctity of natural hair according to Jewish law.
The Role of a Sheitel Macher
A sheitel macher is a key figure in the world of sheitels. She is responsible for making, cutting, washing, and styling these wigs. Additionally, sheitel machers often provide emotional support and advice to their clients, creating a unique bond during the hair-styling process.
10 Sheitel Companies You Should Know
The market for sheitels is diverse, offering various types of wigs, such as European hair, Brazilian hair, lace top, silk top, and more. Here are ten popular sheitel companies that cater to different preferences:
Vivi Platinum Wigs
A Rabbi-certified Jewish wigs manufacturer with professional American designers and strict quality control. They offer a wide range of colors, lengths and styles for kosher wigs, band falls and kippah falls. Check out their website.
A leading brand of premium wigs that uses 100% natural human hair from Europe and Brazil. They have over 30 years of experience in wig design and craftsmanship. They also offer wig accessories, such as hats, scarves, bands and clips. Here is their website.
A family-owned business that specializes in European hair wigs with natural-looking colors and textures. They have been in the industry for over 50 years and have a loyal customer base. They also provide custom-made wigs and wig services, such as repairs, washes and cuts. Explore their website here.
A company that produces high-quality human hair wigs with a variety of cap constructions, such as lace front, skin top, hand-tied and machine-made. They use only virgin hair that has not been processed or dyed. They also offer a selection of synthetic wigs for those who prefer them. Website.
A company that offers fashionable and affordable wigs made from European and Brazilian hair. They have a range of styles, from classic to trendy, and a variety of colors, from natural to vibrant. They also have a line of children’s wigs for those who need them. Visit their website here.
A company that creates luxurious wigs with fine European hair that is hand-selected and hand-crafted. They have a team of stylists who can customize the wigs to suit the client’s preferences and needs. They also have a collection of ready-to-wear wigs for those who want them. Here us their website.
- Shevy Wigs
A luxury wig store in Brooklyn that serves women globally. It offers high-quality wigs made from 100% European human hair that are handcrafted and customized to suit the client’s preferences and needs. It has a variety of styles, from classic to trendy, and a range of colors, from natural to vibrant. They also provide in-person and virtual consultations, as well as wig accessories. Here is their website.
- Chavie Russell Wigs
a trusted brand for high-end human hair wig pieces. Chavie is an expert colorist and stylist and a wig wearer herself. Her goal is to make sure every customer walks away looking and feeling better than they ever expected. She offers custom wigs for hair loss, Covid, alopecia, cancer, as well as vanity wigs. She also provides free personalized consultations and wig services. Visit the home page.
- Yaffa Wigs
A company that has been making wigs for over 40 years with high-quality European hair that is hand-tied and hand-knotted. They have a large inventory of wigs in different lengths, colors and textures. They also offer wig maintenance services, such as washing, styling and coloring. Check out their website here.
- Gali Wigs
A company that produces custom-made wigs with fine European hair that is carefully selected and processed. They have an online store where they showcase their latest designs and collections. They also have a salon where they can fit the wigs and make adjustments if needed. Follow her on Instagram.
The Significance of Hair Covering in Jewish Tradition
Jewish women cover their hair for multiple reasons, including showing reverence before God, identifying with the religious Jewish community, and symbolizing their marital status and unavailability to other men. This practice has deep-rooted traditions and religious significance.
What is a Lace Front Sheitel and Why is it Controversial?
One of the most debated aspects of sheitels is the lace front sheitel. This wig features a thin, transparent lace fabric at the front, creating a natural-looking hairline that blends with the skin. However, its use raises halachic and ethical concerns within the Orthodox Jewish community.
Arguments Against Lace Front Sheitels
Some rabbinical authorities argue against the use of lace front sheitels, citing concerns about modesty, privacy, and the potential to deceive or tempt others. They emphasize the importance of adhering to the traditional spirit of hair covering.
Arguments For Lace Front Sheitels
On the other hand, some rabbinical authorities permit the use of lace front sheitels, highlighting that they fulfill the requirement of hair covering and offer comfort and convenience to the wearer. They assert that the appearance of the wig is less critical than the hair being covered.
Arguments For Conditional Permission of Lace Front Sheitels
Certain rabbinical authorities allow lace front sheitels in specific circumstances, while forbidding them in others. This approach aims to strike a balance between individual needs and communal norms.
Sheitels are more than just wigs; they symbolize tradition, modesty, and adherence to Jewish law for many Orthodox Jewish women. Each sheitel represents the personality and preferences of the wearer, making it a deeply personal choice.
While the use of lace front sheitels remains controversial within the Orthodox Jewish community, the final decision ultimately depends on an individual's rabbi, community, and personal beliefs. The key is to strike a balance between upholding tradition and respecting the individual needs and circumstances of each woman.