Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goodbye to the Bangs?

This is me in June 2011 in Israel. I miss this scarf. Will I miss my bangs?

I've spent a long time on this blog talking about hair covering or, more accurately, head covering (kisui rosh), both before, during, and after my first marriage. Some of my most-read posts are on both the religious/halachic and historic origins of hair covering, head covering, and sheitels (wigs)

Through the years, I moved from "yes I'm covering" to "yes I'm covering with scarves and knit hats" to "maybe I'll get a sheitel" to "okay I bought a headband fall" to "I'm uncovering because I'm divorced."

And now? I'm a mere three weeks away from getting hitched (Part Deux: It's Going to Be Amazing), and I've been saying for quite some time now that I'm more than ready to get back to hair covering. A lot of observant women struggle intensely with the concepts of tzniut and kisui rosh, and there are a lot of gray areas that people cling to as they struggle with where they are in their observance.

For me?

Getting rid of my pants was a breeze. You mean I don't have to spend the rest of my life uncomfortably and angrily searching for the pair of perfect jeans? You mean I can purchase skirts that are both sexy and flattering and fit a whole lot easier than pants ever did or will? Yes, please. Fulfilling a mitzvah of walking modestly with HaShem in the process? Yes sir!

As for head covering, everyone has their up days and down days, and even I kvetched when I was covering my head with scarves. Yes, I left my bangs out according to the rule of the tefach (hand's breath allowed showing), but even now I'm struggling with whether to keep them or not. It gets hot in Israel in the summer (sweaty foreheads aren't hot), and I've done bangs before. I'm going to cover, and in Israel scarves in beautiful colors and styles are the norm, making life a lot easier than when I was schlepping a scarf-covered head through the Carolinas. Hats? No. Knit hats? Probably, but the hotter it gets, the chances of me sporting them decrease. The major kvetch I've had in the past about scarves was that I didn't have long hair to create body with my scarves, but there are all sorts of tricks that people use in Israel to create height and body, so expect some changes in the scarf department. So why am I excited to get back to head covering? Life is easier, simpler, more easily changeable when all you need is a tichel in the morning. Am I simplifying the mitzvah? Maybe, but I know the why, it's the how and when that are coming back to me now.

The one thing I'm minorly struggling with is the trip to England over Pesach, where I'll be -- for the first time in a long time -- in a place where scarves are not the norm. The question is, do I cave to cultural pressures or sport my classic Israeli-style scarves?

Now if I could just start the covering now. I grow weary of having to do my hair. I'm looking forward to growing it out, seeing what I can do with it to keep Mr. T happy, and see where the world of Israeli head coverings can take me!