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May 28, 2017 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Naso

This week’s Torah portion addresses the Sotah ritual in which a suspected adulteress gets to clear herself through a kind of trial by ordeal.   But that’s not what I want to talk about right now.

The Torah mentions that in the middle of the ritual a priest uncovers a woman’s hair (Numbers 5:18).  This phrase is the origin of the idea that a married woman shall cover her hair, and is why Orthodox women often wear wigs and headscarves and hats.*

The Miller Chumash cites the Zohar as follows: “If a woman covers her hair, her children will be superior, her husband will be blessed with spiritual and material blessings, wtih wealth, children and grandchildren.”

This sort of statement is why I find it hard to take mystics’ statements literally (and right-wing Orthodoxy to the extent that it does so).  Realistically, plenty of people wind up without any off these blessings no matter what they do.


*By the way, if you want a sense of how right wing/ideologically diverse an Orthodox shul is, look at hair.  In the most liberal shuls, most women don’t cover their hair at all.  In the most right-wing, everyone has a wig or a Muslim-like headscarf or other coverings.  In-between shuls have a lot of women wearing hats- which kind of implies maybe they aren’t covering outside of shul.


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