Women’s Head Coverings: What is a Tichel?

Women’s head coverings, also known as tichels meaning in Yiddish "cloth", have always been under debate in Jewish communities. It was always a question of whether it is an obligation, to which extent and in what style.
When speaking of the women’s modesty and religious obligatory customs, there are various beliefs and expectations. Between Dat Yehudit, Jewish rule, and Dat Moshe, Mosaic rule and Talmud explanations, it is confusing to understand whether a Jewish woman is obliged to cover her hair and head, in which cases and in which manner.  So, let’s shed some light on women’s head coverings.

Custom's Origin

The head covering was first mentioned in the bible, rooted in Sotah ritual, when the head covering of an adultery woman was removed as act of exposing and condemning her. Thus, it is suggested that in biblical times and under biblical laws, a married Jewish woman was to cover her head as sign of Tzniut, modesty.

In Talmudic times, a pious woman was to cover her head at all times as a sign of her chastity and viewed it as a biblical obligation. Later on in modern times, a compromise position appears: Minimal hair covering is a biblical obligation, while further standards of how and when to cover one’s hair are determined by the community.
It is left unclear whether the obligation of women to cover their hair and style of covering originates from Torah law or Jewish law. However, the common opinion is that Jewish married women are to cover their hair upon marriage.

Wearing Head Coverings Today

The act of covering the hair, has gained a psychological aspect for the married Jewish woman. It is her way of making a statement to the beholders: "I am not available. You can see me but, I am not open to the public. Even my hair, the most obvious and visible part of me, is not for your eyes."

Her beauty becomes visible but, unnoticeable; she is attractive but unavailable.

Today, in most Conservative and Reform communities, women do not cover their hair on a daily basis, but do cover their hair on special occasions, at prayer and synagogue attendance. In addition, many women will cover their hair outside of the house, in a partial manner or entirely.
 In many Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox communities the custom is for women to wear an additional covering over their wig, to ensure that no one mistakes it for natural hair.

Wish to accessorize your outfit with a modern head cover for every day or special occasion? We have selected 5 of the most beautiful head covers:
Everyday Tichels

Whether you are running errands, working in the office or around and about with the kids, and wish to demonstrate your elegant style, light tone head cover will be perfect for you and will match any outfit
For example, this beaded golden head cover

For the energetic and young spirited Woman

If you like adding a bit of color and feeling adventurous with your style, colorful head coverings will be great for you!
This aquamarine and floral tichel has a young and exuberating feel and it will be great for summer days or brighten up your look during winter

Special Occasions Tichels

Invited to a wedding, Bar Mitzvah or bris and looking for something more elegant and sophisticated? Black colored tichels are a great option
This polyester and lycra head cover is beautified with white pearls and will make for an excellent addition to your dress on any special occasion

Tichels for the artistic woman

Staying true and strong in faith, doesn’t mean you cannot express yourself in a unique way. Patterned tichels are extremely popular today and if you are a creative soul and wish to express your unique sense of fashion, the next tichel is ideal for you, patterned in lycra with pink pompons finish it will lend you the special touch you need

Tichels for the Fashionable Woman

Letting your inner beauty and grace shine through the artificial appearance is the purpose of the head covering. A great way to do so is picking a great print tichel that will reflect your fun side and great sense of fashion while you stay modest and unreachable.
This black & yellow head cover is absolutely fabulous and intriguing, perfect for the fashionable Jewish woman

staying fashionable and trendy does not clash with staying modest and Jewish faith, on the contrary, fashion, jewelry and accessories more than often contribute to one’s Jewish pride and accentuate it, letting it shine through from the heart.

Don’t hesitate and show your inner beauty and style with colorful, elegant and wonderful head coverings!
 Wearing a tichel in the synagogue is obligatory, so we hope this guide will help you choose the perfect tichel for Shabbat synagogue attendance. If you are about to get ready for Shabbat, you have to read our article about 4 amazing tips for Shabbat preparation.
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