A Tichel Miracle

 

Covering your hair.

Covering your hair? You look in the mirror and you see someone brand new. Its scary.

Not that many things are scary. Or if they are, we adjust. But covering your hair is so  personal and so potent that it literally can feel like choosing to walk on a different planet.

                                                                   

What we women are constantly uncovering, is ourselves. I mean, our selves.

Beauty.

“What a pretty little girl” may be the first thing said to us in infancy and hopefully many times afterwords. And all through adolescence and teenage hood we either revel in it or we struggle mightily to achieve it. Either way, we spend years and years with our looks making up a huge amount of our identity.

I call it The unspoken world of women. Advertisers speak of it. And maybe only the most superficial celebrities would feel comfortable talking about it; but for most of us, it just is. We look in the mirror, this way and that. We smile and check out our teeth. We wonder why that outfit looks good on her but it would look awful on me.

It’s an inner world that we work to make peace with. We literally work to uncover the layers of external identity and see past it to our selves,  our inner selves as the perfect piece of perfection G-d made us.

Ask any woman, it’s hard work.

Dressing modestly is the ultimate uncovering. We peel away the messages of unhealthy body image; we scrape off the dirt that says “he looked at me – therefore I am.” We set free the woman within that is all about innerness, grace and goodness.

The covered head is a strong head, a woman with a head on her shoulders. She’s not free with a wild mane. She’s not loose with men. She’s focused on one man. Her feminine energies are powerfully contained and channeled.

It is scary to be that powerful.

Remember, we all live in a western world. Our world doesn’t encourage holy power. It encourages the vixen, the seductress: all things fleeting and unholy – and few things that lead to a true “happily ever after.”

To my non-Jewish friends, I applaud you, you amaze and delight me with your yearning for modesty.

To my Jewish friends, both single and married, please remember to be Jewish is to be different.

Say it in the mirror. Say it with just the right amount of pride (not arrogance) and purpose. To be Jewish is to be different. You will not look like everyone else when you get married and cover your hair. You will not.

And hopefully, you won’t need to. By the time you get married, together with the love of someone who sees you for who you are, you too will love yourself for who you are; A strong and beautiful real Jewish woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

44 Comments

  1. Tova NessAiver says:

    Rivka, this is a really beautiful commentary on covering one’s hair. I am printing it out to show to people who struggle with the concept. Thank you!

  2. Yehudis says:

    I agree wtih Tova; now I would love a private class on how to do the do.

  3. Wow. Powerful and thought provoking.

  4. Carla Klein says:

    I’m getting married in 4 months… so far the idea of covering my hair is really scary. Specially because I’m a baal teshuva and my family hasn’t reacted well to me being religious. Now I see what I’m most afraid is of other will think, not what I think or my future husband (BH)…

    I will re-read this a few times… but thanks.

    • RivkaMalka says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Carla. If you want to talk more, feel free to email me privately. Just remember, you were born for this. Its your legacy.

  5. kendra says:

    Well this is the 2nd time I have posted on a website and surprise the first time was yours also, go figure. But seriously, I really like your site it is very insightful and I truly enjoy reading your blogs and watching your videos. I just want to let you know that this is a very important topic for me because I am an African American, in the military (Army), and I wear head coverings. I really don’t get embraced much because of this I have stopped being friends with someone because they did not like being around me while I wore my head coverings. I have been called a muslim, because I am a lighter complexion African American, oh and I am stationed overseas without my family who I miss dearly. I get crazy looks because people assume I am muslim and being on a military installation wearing a head covering looking “muslim” is a recipe for disaster but I don’t let it get to me because I know this what the Father wants of me and i am going to be obedient. Also, I cannot wear my head coverings while in uniform so I wear my natural hair out and when I say natural I mean no chemicals and not straightened (kinky, coiled hair) which is also controversial (maybe next time I respond to a blog on your site I will elaborate), I am a raw food vegan (which means I only eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds uncooked), and I am studying to become a Holistic Health Practitioner, so I am a poster child for controversy. I have been ridiculed, laughed at, talked about, stared at, everything you can think of, but regardless of how different I am to pretty much everyone (lol) I love who the Father created me to be and what He is doing in my life. I love Him, my husband and two boys very much and I don’t apologize for it. So for everyone who has issues wearing head coverings and dressing modestly do not worry about what people may say, what the Father says is what is important. Always remember obedience is better than sacrifice. Again I love, love, love your site so keep encouraging all of us who are seeking truth.

    • RivkaMalka says:

      HI Kendra, Im so sorry that it took me so long to respond. The spammers have beenhaving a lot of fun with my site and I havnet been able to see all the real comments amidst the spam.
      thank you so much for your comment. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. That is so hard and so much sacrifice.
      when I read your somment, it struck me that you are CHOOSING Life. You love life so much that you are choosing to put good food in your body and good deeds i nyour soul. Yes, ppl mock b/c they feel defensive. But you, you, my friend are truly alive. By making real choices for yourslef and youre family you are freeing yourself.
      PS I would love to hear about the kinky hair issue

      • Audrey E. says:

        Hi Rivka,

        I am African American too and have decided to cover my head after discovering the modesty of the first century Christian church’s ties to Hebrew customs. Many think I am a Muslim or African. (P.S I’m very dark skinned so people often ask me am I a Nigerian!!!) Until I open my mouth and people hear my deep Texas twang! I feel so holy and relieved to represent the Most High God and have recieved more complements on my coverings than all the jazzy hair styles I use to wear. The church where I fellowshipped have noticed every Sunday I cover my head and I am sooo proud to share the scriptures aimed towards women and modesty. Thanks Rivka for the tips and videos!

        • RivkaMalka says:

          Thank you Audrey! welcome to the site! and thank you for being such a role model to other woman!

          • Audrey E. says:

            Hello Rivka,

            This is my first Pesach observance. What is unleavened bread and how can I make the bread for the holy-day. I plan to celebrate Passover the Orthodox way this season. The information will help tremendously. Thanks a million. I know Pesach is a different subject from head coverings, but I thought I’d ask someone who will know best.

            Audrey

          • RivkaMalka says:

            Hi Audrey, I think I saw this too lae to respond – what did you end up doing?

          • Audrey E. says:

            Shalom, Shalom Rivka,

            I found a recipe on a happypassover.net buy using the Bing Search Engine. The turnout was great! I’m having an increased and fulfilling first Pesauch ever!!! I’m sooo excited to recieved the miracles and breakthroughs Yahweh Elohim has in store for my family. Keep in me in your prayers and I’ll pray for you! Thanks for responding.

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Kendra,

      You sound just like me so thanks for posting! I’m not in the military and no one has ever made fun of my head ties, but they have made fun of my kinky/coiled hair and my organic diet.

      I just started wrapping my hair for practical and not spiritual reasons. For me the nerve racking part of it is doing it at work. I work in a conservative political environment and I always worry about people think about me. I know I will worry more when the weather warms up and everyone will see me in a business suit with my hair covered. (Right now I get away with hiding the hair wrap under my jacket hoodie. I’m hoping to feel more comfortable wearing the hair ties and learning new business appropriate styles, buts its hard when there are no examples for me to look at. My point is that I’m glad to hear that I am not the only “different” person out there doing what i think is best for me.

      • RivkaMalka says:

        Thanks Nicole for sharing your experiences! It’s so powerful to imagine other women out there doing their thing.

      • Kendra says:

        Hi Nicole,

        Trust me I understand your concern because when I would wear my head coverings to work, I was made fun of. I was told that I looked sick, well you read what I posted, but I didn’t care because it was for a reason. You have to remember why you wear them and not worry about what others say. Now I don’t wear them in uniform but when I am able to wear civilian clothes I do, and I am not going to lie when I first started wearing them, it did bother me when people started looking. I remember the first time I walked out of my door, when I was in Korea, I saw someone drive by and they stared at me until they couldn’t stare anymore and I wanted to run back into the house and never come back out but then the Father reminded me why I was wearing them and who was more important people who I might not ever see me again or Him, so I kept walking. I would like to say that now people don’t stare but they still do, and I will continue wearing them. You have to remind yourself why you are wearing them because if not you will never find a right time to wear them. And as far as wearing business appropriate styles, I believe this website has great ways of wearing your head coverings. I don’t believe there is a business appropriate way of wearing them, I believe Mrs. Malka might be able to help you with that one, but I believe you should just find the style you like and go for it just make sure your head coverings match your outfit,lol. Think of it like this, people thought wearing our kinky/coily hair was not professional but now look everywhere you turn women are opting out of putting chemicals and weaves in their hair, so just like wearing your natural hair has become more acceptable and professional, depending on how you wear it, so will wearing your head covering. It is so freeing to be different, I love it.

        • Audrey E. says:

          Hi Kendra and Rivka,

          I too am Afircan American. I am very dark skinned! Immediately, people asumme I’m Muslim or African until they hear my deep Texas twang. I started covering my head after I began to fellowship with a Hebrew Christian congregation. I am very excited about this year’s Passover and look forward to celebrating other biblical feasts. I feel very blessed to have discovered the true Jewishness of my Christian upbringing. Thanks Rivka for sharing your head covering tips. At first, my supervisor informed me head scarves were against company policy. I explained to her my head covering was due to my religious convictions based on the scripture in 1 Corinthians concerning godly women covering their heads and not with hair only. I have recieved an unmeasurable amount of respect and compliments since my recent “awakening”. Now, members of my church home where I grew up are telling me women in the “holiness” church use to wear scarves or hats as coverings. What happened? I desire to live holy and seperate. I have learned to follow the Levitical Law on clean and unclean foods. my weight is dropping, my skin is clearing up and now I feel in line with The Most High Yahweh. Stay encouraged and keep the faith.

  6. Hannah says:

    I’m an unmarried Jewish woman and I wear a tichel, should I not? I feel it’s liberating and helps me focus on inner beauty that G-d has blessed me with, instead of spending hours fixing my hair and buying product. It also makes me feel closer to what G-d has asked me to be; modest. Although, after reading scripture and asking local women, I wonder should a SINGLE woman wear a tichel? Am I being selfish and only sharing my lovely hair with G-d, not a man? Oh, the troubles I think myself into. Advice, please!

    • RivkaMalka says:

      Dear Hannah – go in peace, my friend, enjoy your tichel. Wearing a lovely scarf on your head is in no way a bad or troubling thing. (Although ppl may think youre married and not introduce you to men as much.)
      One thing to be cognizant of though, is this. When we get very excited about a particular mitzvah thats not commanded of us, we need to look at why. Are we doing it for ourselves or for G-d? We’ll know that we are oding it for Him, if we also keep Shabbos and kosher and all the things He told us explicitly He wants. If we have that covered, I think certainly we have room to express our spirituality in a way that we feel brings us even closer.
      It doesnt sound at all like you are being selfish. It sounds like you’re a delightful, spiritual woman.

  7. Nicole says:

    Hi,

    Do you have any suggestions for where i can find tichels made of real silk (from an actual silk worm) instead of cotton or synthetic fabrics like rayon/polyester/acrylic? I have dry brittle hair, so silk would be the best for my hair type.

    • RivkaMalka says:

      If you buy them, they will be quiet expensive – it would just be buying a silk scarf. But a while back my neighbor made stunning tichels by dying silk – and by buying it in white – they were just a a few dollars each. She bought 12 at a time and dyed them in multiple colors, like tie dying – they were amazing. good luck!

      • Cassie says:

        Dharma trading has some actually. We were given some years ago when my kids were smaller as play silks. They have various sizes (the play silks are going to be like thin scarves or squares) and fabric options. A quick look at their site they have 3 sections you might what you are looking for: clothing and dyables, fabric, and scarves. The ones we have were kool aid dyed and have been washed many times over the last 6 years and the color has held. They are only now starting to get holes in them (my youngest is rough on them lol ). They are really nice quality for very little cost.

        • Nicole says:

          Hi Cassie, “Play silks” are probably not silk as silk is considered a luxury for most or in my case, a necessity since 1) cotton is damaging to my hair and 2) I avoid synthesized products for health and eco reasons. I think I may have found some silk hijabs. When I receive them, I’ll send an update.

          Ms. Malka (or Rivka?), I have purchased a couple different silk scarves and they do not tie easily. Either I am not good at wrapping my hair, or the silk is too thick. As i was telling Cassie, I found some silk hijabs and will be happy to give update after I receive and test them out.

          • Cassie says:

            Play silks were just the phrase given to them by Waldorf education people (the Waldorf education model uses natural materials…silk, wool, cotton, beeswax etc.). They are silk but usually dyed pastel colors or tie dye. I doubt you want tie dye on your head though! You can get them blank and dye them yourself though.

  8. Mirka K. says:

    “But covering your hair is so personal and so potent that it literally can feel like choosing to walk on a different planet.”

    This is true in my country and especially in my town where I seem to be the only non-muslim covering my hair. The decision to cover my hair has never been an issue for me, it came sort of naturally. I haven’t felt that it was a big change or anything. What was _the_ hard part was to be the only one doing so. I had to do it step by step, get enough courage before I was fully comfortable even though I had wanted it truly.

    Because of my culture, no-one really directly asks why but I stick out, I know it, wearing a scarf, skirt and elbow-length sleeves. The good thing is that I haven’t heard negative comments, either. My family and friends support my decision and my husband likes the way I wear scarves. Although, when I started to add some volume in my tyings, my mother grabbed my head and squeezed because she wanted to know what was inside my scarf. Well…my hair and scarf ends tucked inside :D

    After a few years studies at the university I had a big turnaround in my life, a calling maybe, and I decided to become a paramedic. And I am so glad that lecturers don’t seem to mind at all that I cover my hair. Even employers offer scarves as a part of their official nursing uniform and support my want to cover my hair :)

    I don’t usually think about what others ponder of me but sometimes I feel too self-conscious and yes, lonely. But, this is what I have chosen and what I want to do and it gives me strength. And thank you for being a virtual tutor. Your and wrapunzel’s blog posts have helped me to define my style and self comfort.

  9. chaviva says:

    MIRKA: Thank you for those inspiring words!

    I am always blessed to read Rivka’s posts by those on this page.

    shalom to you all. :D

  10. Rina says:

    This reminds me of when I was first trying out the idea of covering my hair. We were living in Dallas, land of the big hair! I went out wearing a teichel and came home telling my husband quite insecurely, I look so different! He said, you ARE different than those ladies, you believe differently than them , you think differently than them, you SHOULD look different!! So I realized that my outside could match my inside and should be as bold as my spiritual beliefs and opinions. I’m very thankful for his support and perspective on this, it made this mitzvah a million times easier!

  11. Zuzana says:

    Dear Rvika,
    I would like to thank you for your encouragement, kindness and love that springs out of you and the web. I live in Europe in Slovakia and spending 6 years in a Jewish community we with my husband are thinking of conversion. About 6 years ago I had a strong inner feeling to start covering my hair and did not know how to do it, so I just put a scarf as a ribbon on my hair but now seeing how beautiful a tichel can look I am definitely going to give it a try. Thanks again. Zuzana

    • RivkaMalka says:

      Thank you! that’s so encouraging! I’m happy to know you are out there. Is it a difficult place to live as a Jew?

      • Zuzana says:

        Shalom Rivka,
        thanks for the answer and yes, it is incredibly difficult as during the WWII all Jews were forced to leave or were killed and during communist regime the rest that survived were forced to either leave or not to practice any religion. I find it very hard to find someone to discuss practical things concerning Sabbath (thanks for your video about making Challah :) ) and as well it is very sad to see it all. But despite all these things my husband and I feel strong about our decision. By the way I bought a very nice tichel today, red with beautiful flowers and as I was trying it in the shop I got all the attention. When having time I will take a photo and send it over. I wish you all the best. With all my love, Zuzana

  12. Cassie says:

    Watching your Seder video made me think of a question that probably fits this post more than that one. :) First, LOVE the tichels you are wearing in it. The colors are lovely. As I was watching the video and looking at all the colors and just loving it all around it hit me that your hair is probably really long (which isn’t hard to have imo since my hair only goes to my shoulders…most people in comparison have long hair lol). Do you get it cut or stick to trims? If you do, do you do it at home yourself or are there Jewish hairdressers that you can/do go to? I know from Jew in the City and sheitals that there are places you can go where your hair can be uncovered (in that instance it’s obvious why lol) but I assumed it was because of the task at hand. Not so sure a haircut is something that fits in that category.

    And on a more….shallow? vain? tangent of that (assuming you (general you) do get haircuts that is), do Orthodox women get trendy hair cuts? Is that a silly question? lol I just have this image in my head of a gorgeous tichel being whipped off one night and seeing this current trendy hair cut and it’s making me think of all the possibilities. Can/do observant women ever dye their hair as well?

  13. JoJo says:

    I can’t wait to get married so I can buy all the awesome hats and scarves I keep finding. Also so I can cut my getting ready time in half in the morning. But really, I have a style all picked out, so find me a guy! :-)

    • RivkaMalka says:

      I love seeing you on this site Joan! Calling Mr. Right!!!

      • Audrey E. says:

        Shalom, Shalom to you. I have successfully concluded my first Pesauch holiday. My Seder meal was not perfect as I wanted, however, I had a wonderful time. My son drew a picture with me and my head covering having a feast at our dinner table. Sooo cute. I have been increased and highly favored beyond measure because of my devotion to God and covering my head. My patients think my tichels are beautiful and modest. I was very amazed how so many patients knew my values and information concerning Biblical Passover and the Seder meal. My journey has been great and what really suprises me is the support I recieve even though I live in a very Southern Baptist and Methodist community.

  14. A.Kizim says:

    I was so inspired by your post. I am of no religion currently but think modesty is greatly lacking in this age and I wish to be a great example of modesty to my children. I think a head covering is great and I support the idea. I want to do this but Im worried I may run into criticism because I am not Jewish. Any thoughts?

  15. Jocheved says:

    shalom Rivka,

    Thank you for your site. I am just becoming Jewish and I am going to become part of the Reform movement. However I identify with covering your hair for modesty. I am a married woman, my husband is Catholic. As a non Orthodox Jew, can I wear a tichel?

    Thanks.

  16. Zoe says:

    Hi Rivka!
    My name is Zoe. I am an unmarried Catholic woman who has been doing some independent reading of scripture and thinking about Jesus’ teaching on obeying the Law of the OT. I know Torah does not require an unmarried woman to where a head covering, but I feel called to do so out of reverence for G-d. I just want to make sure that in doing so I am respectful of the Orthodox community. I would also love any advice from someone with experience on how to keep kosher and other Torah Law as a beginner.

    G-d Bless and Shalom!

  17. Ellen Hope Center says:

    Rifka Malka this is a question for you. Does the volumizer come in sizes? I have a 24″ head and I used a scarf wig grip and volumizer to cover yesterday. I had a low grade headache for several hours. The only way I felt better was to put on a pre tied. Is there a solution for me? Thanks, Ellen Hope

    • RivkaMalka says:

      Yes! amazing news! The volumizer isn’t elatic. It comes with strings you tie in the back. I still prefer to wear it with a headband. I”m not sure how to help with the headaches in terms of that.. But I can say that it stretches.

  18. Carmen says:

    Hi Rivka! I’m not Jewish but I have been observing Shabbat for almost 18 years and I’m more inclined to Judaism when people ask me what religion I follow, though I tell them it’s not a religion but a personal experience. I’m learning many things I did not see before in the Torah/Tanach and I’m so excited! A few weeks ago my husband was searching the internet for some information on Jewish customs and I saw youtube video tutorials on how to do tichels.. I was so excited as I have been wanting to cover my head for quite some time but for some reason they would fall off or give me the most awful earache because I tied them too tight so it would not fall off that I almost gave up. after seeing the tutorials with you and Andrea Grinberg I feel so confident. for the past 2 1/2 weeks I have been covering my head. For the first time I truly feel beautiful and I look so different. At work I receive many compliments especially from parents (I work at a school) I feel so blessed having come across your websites (actually thanks to my husband) I feel and look like a different person altogether and my husband is enjoying every minute of it. Thank you for all your advice, you have much wisdom. I’m going to be 51 in 2014 so I’m no spring chicken :) but trust me when I say…I feel prettier now than when I was 25. Also, because I follow the Torah I make it my priority to honor HaShem with all my heart. You help make that easy as I follow you as well as Andrea. Your Inner, outer beauty and modesty is quite the inspiration. I don’t feel alone any longer. I’m learning Hebrew so…..Toda, toda, toda raba. Continue the work as there are some of us that will grow so much from it.

    • RivkaMalka says:

      Dear Carmen, I’m so sorry it took me so long to answer your beautiful email. Thank you for sharing your story. I”m so happy for youC! Did you see our new site? wrapunzel.com? You’ll love it!

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