The Great Jewish Wigs Scam: How We’ve All Been Fooled Into Accepting It

There was one point in Jewish history when the Samech Tet was promoted from Mashkhit to Chief Executive Mashkhit (CEM). He then began enjoying even more prestige among the Malakhei Chabalah. This came to be with the advent of the Jewish wigs scam, what some communities call Sheitel (in Yiddish) or Pe’ah (in Hebrew). This should’ve been a modern funny midrash to tell at Shabbat table, but it’s not.


It’s astonishing how, despite all our achievements as a people, we let something so demeaning (to both men and women) and so despicable become established Halacha, when it was never meant to be even considered.

Continue reading this article and we will explore the magnitude of the Jewish wigs scam.


The origins of the Jewish wigs

The Gemara (Ketuboth 72) writes that women have to cover their hair.

We know this also from the Sotah proceedings in the Beit HaMikdash where the Kohanim would tear off a woman’s hair covering. Interestingly enough, the Gemara in Sotah explains that they’d start from her chest and then move on to the hair because Halachically speaking, the hair is a more “attractive” place than the chest and we move from the most lenient to the most severe place. Kabbalistically, hair is a place where dinim are more concentrated.

Wigs were created somewhere around the 16th century in Europe. Soon after its introduction into the woman’s market, it didn’t take long to become part of everyday fashion. Rabbis were somewhat reluctant to approve it as a proper way for women to cover their hair, but many in the Ashkenazi camp gave their Haskamot. Since then it seems like it was impossible for women to give up their “sheitels” and so it was sanctioned and became part of “tradition”. Nowadays it’s become commonplace and even Sephardi women sometimes wear wigs.

Either way, except for a few places in the Gemara, we find no mention of wigs in Scripture.

Kabbalistic side of women covering their hair

The Arizal teaches us in many places that men are rooted in the Partzuf of Zeir Anpin and women are rooted in the Partzuf of Nukva. Because men’s spiritual makeup is rooted in chessed, they need to cut down their dinim in the hair. However, women are rooted in gevurot, which are the source of din itself, and therefore don’t need to cut their hair short, but only to cover it. I’d venture to say that hair is literally part of a woman’s being while the same wouldn’t apply to men (being extraneous to us) but that’s just me.

Rabbi Yehuda Ftaya writes in his commentary on the Torah, Minchat Yehuda, that female demons have no hair (they are bald), while male demons have long hair. In order not to assume their form (and attract them), men keep their hair short, while women are enjoined to cover their hair, but never cut it entirely as some Chassidic groups do. This explains why many satan-sympathizing men (like rock stars) keep their hair long and like to do the satanic hand sign of holding the 3rd and fourth finger down with the thumb.

 

Poskim and the Psak Halacha

You can see at the end of this post I bring a list of almost 100 poskim that completely reject wigs. To this day I haven’t met a single Mekubal who sanctions wigs, which means you could also add another 30-40 other Sephardic Poskim to the list based on Kabbalistic tradition (like the Ben Ish Chai).

You would think that people would accept Poskim’s authorities when it comes to such a crucial issue, but sadly this is not the case. Can a large part of the Jewish People have gotten it wrong completely?

should we allow Jewish wigs?

Are you even married?

My wife once told me she was speaking with her neighbor friend about the Jewish wigs scam. The neighbor said she once got into a discussion about whether a certain woman in the street was married or not, because she, a woman, couldn’t tell if that was real hair or a wig. My wife also had this doubt in mind when she saw another woman on the bus.

Isn’t it amazing? Women can’t tell if other women are married. I wonder if the sages would approve of this nowadays. Isn’t the whole point of covering your hair to… I don’t know… signal to other men a woman is not up for grabs? That she’s to be left alone and only spoken to in cases of absolute necessity?

Girls spend years in the Seminary, learning about the importance of modesty, keeping their hair tied back, being careful to keep their Tzniut buttons up (or else), and understand a woman’s role in life. Suddenly she gets married and she is free to look like a Barbie doll. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that your newly acquired marital status should ideally engender even greater Tzniut and a woman feels entitled to parade herself with her glistering hair flowing with the wind.

Married Jewish women cover their hair with Mitpachot and that’s the way it should be. Or do you think our holy Imahot had wigs? Maybe some of the wives of Tannaim? Does anyone imagine these holy women wearing wigs? If the image you get of women back in the days is of them covering their hair with either a mitpacha or shawl, and men wearing full beards (a subject for another article), make no mistake this idea in the collective consciousness is not a mistake. It’s just the way things should be.

 

Sorry, you are not rich enough for Heaven

A second argument against Jewish wigs is that they are reserved for women of high financial means. Think about it: what percentage of women here in Israel can shell out 6.000 NIS (at least) on a wig? In the US, the cost of wigs can go up to US$ 25.000.

And all that for what? To look gorgeous, of course! You don’t want to just look nice for your husband, you also have to attract onlookers that will fantasize about you at every corner and be the center of attention.

Hashem in His Infinite Mercy gives equal opportunities for spiritual growth for everyone. One needs to make the proper effort and a person’s Tikkun has to be available for him at a reasonable price. Hashem doesn’t ask you to have a US$ 2.000 etrog or US$ 10.000 tefilin just like he never expected you to fight a Sumerian tiger barehand to bring it to the altar. If you can afford the price, then great, but this can never be the basic requirement.

And so, this obviously cannot entail spending exorbitant amounts of money to buy a wig, since “everything is in the Hands of Heaven, except the fear of Heaven”.

Imagine that: a poor woman goes to Shamayim and the judging angel tells her: “Sorry, you didn’t reach your full potential because you didn’t buy a wig!”.

How idiotic would that be?

Instead of spending 25-100 NIS for a nice mitpacha to fulfill halacha to the fullest, a woman would be required to save a huge amount of money to have ONE wig. Then, of course, you have the maintenance costs and need to buy ANOTHER one for Shabat and Yom Tov (because, you know, it’s hiddur mitzvah!), and change it to a new one every 2-4 years.

Does this make sense?

Can a woman of average financial status afford that?

Are you 70 or 17?

There’s something very depraved about the idea of trying to look like a 17-year-old girl when you are 70.

I believe there’s dignity in growing up and having gray hair and looking your age. You know, makes youngsters respect you for your wisdom and all.

But what of women who are 70 and look like they are 17? Does this make sense in a conceptual sense? Do Jewish tradition endorse this objectification of women’s beauty and idolization of youth by any means necessary?

A woman can be wearing a “Jewish wig” and look like she’s 17 from the side, only to be later revealed she’s actually much older. At this point, it’s not like we needed anything else to reject the Jewish wigs scam.

The Mafia over Jewish wigs

The simple fact is: Jewish wigs are made from Tikrovet Avodah Zarah and are biblically forbidden for any benefit whatsoever

We would be remiss to ignore the fact that the Jewish wigs market is dominated by a mafia. These mafias take care of the entire supply chain after the hair is cut from the Indians, as you can see from the following neat documentary from Rabbi Yaron Reuven:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbxtORURbhg&vl=en
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN8bqg-VntM

 

Watch it and come up with your own conclusions

Though there really isn’t much to think about.

Jewish wigs are forbidden, period. There’s no heter whatsoever for them, there’s never been any heter and there will never be any real heter because the whole thing is a scam.

And for the record, here’s a little list of Poskim that forbid wigs:

1 RABBI YONATHAN BEN UZIEL, TARGUM YESHAYAHU GIMMEL, 16
2 RABBI NATAN BAAL HAARUCH AL YERUSHALMI (1,000 YEARS AGO)
3 VILNA GAON SHENOT ELIYAHU (SHABAT PEREK 6, MISHNA 5)
4 RABBI CHIZKIYAHU MIDINI “SDE CHEMED” (ASIFAT DINIM MAARACHA DALET)
5 RAV SHLOMO ALFANDARI (SHEELOT U’TSHUVOT HATVA KADISHA)
6 HAGAON YAABETZ SHEELOT YAABETZ CHELEK ALEF, SIMAN TET
7 RAV TZVI HIRSCH ARENSHTEIN, AV BET DIN BRISK, SEFER YESHUOT YAAKOV EVEN HAEZER SIMAN 21
8 RAV CHAYYIM TZVI BAAL ATZE ARAZIM, EVEN HAEZER SIMAN 21
9 RAV CHAYIM SONENFELD PROTESTED STRONGLY AGAINST THOSE WHO PERMIT THEIR WIVES TO GO OUT WITH WIGS
10 HAGAON RAV ISRAEL SALANTER FORBADE ITS USE COMPLETELY
11 HAGAON RAV SHLOMO KLUGER, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT SHENOT CHAYYIM SIMAN 316, ALSO SEFER KINAT SOFRIM, TESHUVA 72
12 HAGAON RAV MOSHE YEHOSHUA YEHUDA  LEV DISKIN, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT MAHARIL DISKIN KUNTREA ACHARON SIMAN 203
13 MARAN HA CHIDA SEFER BIRKE YOSEF ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 303
14 HAGAON HA TZEMACH TZEDEK MI LUBAVITCH IN HIS SEFER TZEMACH TZEDEK, PEREK GIMMEL BERACHOT
15 HAADMOR MIKLOIZENBURG FORBADE ANY WOMAN WHO USES WIGS TO LIVE IN KIRYAT TZANZ
16 HA GAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT MISHPETE UZIEL
17 HAGAON RABBI YZTCHAK SHMELKIT, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT BEIT YTZCHAK SHMELKIT, ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 14-15
18 HAGAON RABBI ELAZAR FALKLASH, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT TESHUVAH MEAHAVA
19 RABBI SHLOMO YEHUDA MISIGHET SHEELOT UTSHUVOT TESHURAT SHAI, CHELEK ALEF SIMAN 570
20 HAGAON RABBBI YAAKOV WEILL , SEFER TORAT SHABBAT SIMAN 303
21 HAGAON RABBI TZVI HIRSCH CHYOT SHEELOT UTSHUVOT MAHARATZ CHYOT SHEELA 66
22 HAGAON RABBI YOSEF REZIIN AV BET DIN TELZ, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT EDUT BIHOSEF MITELZ SIMAN 29
23 HAGAON RABBI YTZCHAK ABULAFIA, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT PNE YZTCHAK ABULAFIA CHELEK VAV, EVEN HAEZER SIMAN VAV
24 HAGAON RABBI AKIVA SOFER , SEFER RABBI AKIVA VETORATO PAGE 172
25 HAGAON RABBI GERSHON ROZENBOIM SEFER MESHIV DEVARIM, CHELEK BET SIMAN 127
26 HAGAON RABBI CHAYYIM ELAZAR SHAPIRA, AV BET DIN MUNKATCH, SEFER NIMUKE ORACH CHAYYIM  SIMAN 75, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT MINCHAT ELAZAR CHELEK HE SIMAN 35
27 HAGAON RABBI ISRAEL LIPSCHITZ BAAL TIFERET ISRAEL AL HA MISHNAYOT, PEREK VAV SHABBAT
28 HAGAON RABBI YOSEF BEN EZRA BAAL AZMOT YOSEF IN THE SEFER MASA MELECH, TORAT HA MINCHAGOT CHELEK ZAIN
29 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT KOL ELIYAHU ORACH CHAYIM SIMAN 45
30 HAGAON BAAL SEFER ARAA DE ISRAEL MAARACH DALET LETTER YUD
31 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT NISHMAT KOL CHAI YORE DEAH SIMAN 45
32 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT YEHUDA YAALE KUM YORE DEAH 23
33 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT SHAARE EZRA ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 24
34 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT MEAT MAYIM SIMAN 17
35 HAGAON RABBI PINCHAS HALEVI HOROWITZ AV BET DIN FRANKFURT, BAAL HA HAFLAA WHO TOGETHER WITH HIS BET DIN CAME OT WITH A CHEREM AGAINST THOSE USING WIGS
36 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT SHEVUT YAAKOV  CHELEK ALEF SIMAN 103
37 HAGAON RABBI ARIE HALEVI HOROWITZ AV BET DIN STARI SHEELOT UTSHUVOT HARE BESAMIM SIMAN 36
38 HAGAON RAV RAFAEL MILDOLA FROM AMSTERDAM SHEELOT UTSHUVOT MAIM RABBIM EVEN HAEZER SIMAN 30
39 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT LACHME TODAH DAF 4, DAF 19
40 HAGAON RABBI YEKUTIEL YEHUDA TEITELBAUM, AV BET DIN SIGHET, SEFER YITAV PANIM MAAMAR DORESH TOV  LETTER 4, 12, 23
41 HAGAON YSSACHAR BAAR ELENBERG SHEELOT U TSHUVOT BEER SHEVA SIMAN 18
42 HAGAON RABBI YEHUDA ASSAD (STUDENT OF THE GAON RABBI MORDECHAI BENNET) SHEELOT UTSHUVOT YEHUDA YAALE YORE DEAH SIMAN 366
43 HAGAON RAV YTZCHAK DOV HALEVY BOMBERGER, AV BET DIN VIRTZBURG, SHEELOTUTSHUVOT YAD HALEVI YORE DEAH SIMAN 124
44 HAGAON HARAV MESHULAM ZALMAN HACOHEN SEFER NAHALT DAVID 19B
45 HAGAON RABBI WOLF HAMBURG SEFER SHAAR ZEKENIM DAF 42
46 HAGAON RABBI AVRAHAM TEOMIM AV BET DIN BOTSHICH, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT CHESED LEAVRAHAM, CHELEK EVEN EZER SIMAN 87
47 HAGAON RABBI HILLEL LICHTENSTEIN, AV BET DIN KOLOMAY, SEFER SHIRE MASKIL KLAL ZAIN PRAT TET, SEFER ET LAASOT
48 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT NAHALT DAVI SIMAN 30
49 HAGAON BAAL CHAVOT YAIR SIMAN 196
50 HAGAON MAHARI KOLON SHORESH 88
51 HAGAON BAAL LEVUSHE MORDECHAI YORE DEAH
52 HAGAON RABBI AHARON KRISPIN, SEFER BET AHARON, EVEN HA EZER SIMAN 80
53 HAGAON RABBI YOSEF BORLA, AV BET DIN YERUSHALAIM, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT VAYESHEV YOSEF YORE DEAH SIMAN BET
54 HAGAON RABBI ISRAELABUCHATZIRA, HABABAB SALI, SEFER SIDNA BABA SALI AMUD 70
55 HAGAON RABBI AVRAHAM PALLAGI SEFER BERACH ET AVRAHAM PARASHAT BECHUKOTAI
56 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT HER’AM SIMAN 16
57 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT AHOLE YAAKOV SIMAN SIMAN VAV
58 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT CHAKEKE LEV, YORE DEAH SIMAN 39
59  HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT NOVA”K YORE DEAH SIMAN 54
60 HAGAON BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT SHAAR ASHER YORE DEAH SIMAN 11
61 HAGAON RABBI OVADYA HODAYA SHEELOT UTSHUVOT YASKIL AVDI CHELEK ZAIN, EVEN HAEZER SIMAN 16
62 HAGAON RABBI CHAYYIM SOFER BAAL HA CHATAM SOFER CALLED THE WOMEN WEARING WIGS EVIL WOMEN AND SEE COMMENTS TO SHULCHAN ARUCH ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 75 ON MAGEN AVRAHAM
63 HAGAON RABBI OVADYA YOSSEF SHEELOT UTSHUVOT YABIA OMER CHELEK HE EVEN HA EZER SIMAN HE
64 HAGAON RABBI YAAKOV BEN SHMUEL AV BET DIN ZITMIR SEFER BEIT YAAKOV SIMAN 152
65 HAGAON RABBI YTZCHAK LAMPRONTI SEFER PACHAD YTZCHAK OTT 80
66 HAGAON RABBI YAAKOV ISRAEL ALGAZI IN THE SEFER KEHILLAT YAAKOV, KUNTRES MAANE LASHON SIMAN 140, DAF 147
67 HAGAON RABBI YOSEF BAAL HA PERI MEGADIM IN HIS SEFER EM LABINA
68 HAGAON RABBI SHMUEL YEHUDA KATZENELEBOGEN, SHEELOT UTSHUVOT BEER SHEVA
69 HAGAON MAHARI MINTZ, DERASHOT MAHARI MINTZ SOF DERUSH RISHON, ALSO SEFER ATERET ZEKENIM ORACH CHAYIM 75
70 HAGAON RABBI CHAYYIM BENBENISTE SEFER KENESET HA GEDOLA  EVEN HA EZER SIMAN 21, ALSO SHEIRE KENESET HA GEDOLA ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 188
71 HAGAON RABBI DAVID CORINLADO, SEFER BET DAVID AL HAMISHNA  SHABAT PEREK VAV MISHNA BET
72 HAGAON RABBI YAAKOV BEN HA GAON RABBI DAVID PARDO SEFER APE ZUTRE EVEN HA EZER SIMAN 21
73 HAGAON RABBI ELAZAR BAAL SHEMEN ROKEACH, ON THE SEFER BEN SHEMUA AL HA TORAH
74 HAGAON RABBI BARUCH YITLASH MIPRAG BAAL TAAM HA MELECH BROUGHT IN TESHUVA ME AHAVA 
75 HAGAON RABBI YAAKOV ORENSHTEIN AV BET DIN LEMBERG SEFER YESHUOY YAAKOV ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 75
76 HAGAON RABBI MEIR EISH BAAL IMRE ESH IN THE SEFER LEV HAIVRI, CHELEK ALEF DAF 81
77 HAGAON RABBI YOSEF SHAUL NATANSON BAAL SHOEL UMESHIV IN THE SEFER MAGEN GIBBORIM ORACH CHAYYIM 75
78 HAGAON RABBI MORDECHAI ZEEV ETINGER, BAAL SEFER MAAMAR MORDECHAI IN THE SHILTE HAGIBBORIM
79 HAGAON RABBI YECHEZKEL SHRAGA HALBERSTAM AV BET DIN SHINAWA SEFER DIVRE YECHEZKEL AL HA TORAH DERUSH SHAVUOT
80 HAGAON RABBI TZVI HIRSCH SHAPPIRA AV BET DIN MUNKATCH SEFER TIFERET BANIM SHEELOT UTSHUVOT SIMAN BET, ALSO IN SEFER DARCHE TESHUVA SIMAN 178
81 HAGAON YECHIEL MICHAEL HEBNER SEFER MISHKENOT HA ROIM, KUNTRES ET SHALOM DAF YUD BET
82 HAGAON RAV SHALOM MORDECHAI HACOHEN AV BET DIN BARSHIN, SEFER DAAT TORAH ORACH CHAYYIM SIMAN 75
83 HAGAON RABBI MOSHE BEN AMRAM GREEN WALD AV BET DIN CHOST, TZAAVATO HACHANA DE RABBA LETTER 18
84 HAGAON RABBI AKIVA YOSEF SHLEZINGER IN HIS SEFER LEV HA IVRI CHELEK ALEF DAF 81
85 HAGAON RABBI YTZCHAK AIZEK MISPINKA, SEFER IMRE YOSEF BAMIDBAR KUNTRES BEN PORAT YOSEF
86 HAGAON RABBI DAVID DIDOWSKI SEFER MACHANECHA KODESH SIMAN 7
87 HA GAON RABBI YTZCHAK LEBOBITCH SEFER SHULCHAN HA EZER CHELEK BET SIMAN TET
88 HA GAON RABBI CHAYIM MITZANTZ BAAL SHEELOT UTSHUVOT DIVRE CHAYYIM YORE DEAH SIMAN 30
89 HAGAON RABBI YOEL TEITELBAUM THE SATMAR REBBE ZTK’L IN VAYOEL MOSHE
90 CHEMDA GENUZA, NECHED HAGAON HATZADDIK MI TZANTZ
91 HAGAON BAAL SHEVILE DAVID
92 HARAV CHAIM KANIEVSKY
93 HARAV AHARON LEIB SHTEINMAN
   

 

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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