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Is there any Shut sefer or other that permits a women not covering her hair NOT the Aruch Hashulchan saying it is not Ervah but allowing a women to go out in modern times with their Hair uncovered?

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1 Answer 1

See this excellent post from בין דין לדין blog.

To summarize, Rabbi Yosef Messas (pronounced "Mashash") (born about 100 years ago in Morocco, served as rabbi in Northen Africa and then later in Haifa) allows it in a responsum, Mayim Chaim II OC 110:

הראת לדעת שהדבר תלוי במנהג, ואם כן בזמן הזה שכל נשי העולם בטלו מנהג הקודם וחזרו למנהג פשוט לגלות את ראשן ואין להם בזה שום חסרון צניעות

Thus it is stated that the matter depends entirely on practice, thus today when all the women of the world have negated the previous practice, it is simply allowable to uncover their heads, this reflects no lack of modesty.

Though some claim he was only referring to specific communities, where if he didn't allow it, they would stop keeping Torah, etc.

This is one of the many, many sources cited by Rabbi Michael Broyde in a recent article in Tradition, in which he argues as a limud zechut -- to judge favorably on the many noble women who sacrificed (and still do today) tremendously to keep Torah, shabbos, kashrus, taharas hamishpacha, etc., but did not cover their hair.

Rabbi Broyde argues that the requirement for any hair covering for married women is culturally relative; he has a few acharonim such as the above, plus some readings of Rishonim on various Gemaras to support that view. He then goes further to suggest the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (whose wording on the subject follows the stream-of-consciousness style of the Gemara, not the clear reorganization that Rambam uses) could be read that way as well; on this point, many disagree.

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So what would R' Mashash say today? It is hard to say that "all the women" (I assume he is referring to Jews) go with uncovered hair. Would the practice still be negated until "all the women" returned to covering the hair? –  YDK Mar 2 '11 at 17:09
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@YDK, I really don't know. Take a look at the full context of his responsum in the link (I only took a snippet). I know Rabbi Broyde said his definition was based on what non-Jewish modest women considered appropriate. I have heard (yutorah, I think Rabbi Blau) raise the question that when R' Moshe applied the Aruch HaShulchan to say that a married woman with uncovered hair doesn't pose a problem in shul vis-a-vis erva, that was decades ago when far fewer Orthodox-affiliated women covered their hair. –  Shalom Mar 2 '11 at 18:07
    
I don't agree with this logic whatsoever because it goes against the philosophy of the Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Balak, Hakdama Shana Bet) who says that we only know the peshat reasoning of the Takana but not the Sod and therefore we shouldn't remove it. Also, Rav Amnon Yitzhak proved that covering the hair is from the Torah. As Robert Frost said "Don't take down a fence before you know why it was put up." –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 5 '12 at 3:32
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@HachamGabriel, See here for more on Ben Ish Hai's view, actually. I believe Rabbi Broyde says the Biblical verse is an asmachta for a Rabbinic commandment, and the related Talmudic phrase azhara l'bnot yisrael often means a derbanan. Regardless: the view of Rabbis Messas and Broyde has already been debated aplenty; this question simply asked "does anyone hold this?", and I answered it. This isn't the place to debate it unless I'm misquoting R' Messas or Broyde. –  Shalom Jan 5 '12 at 6:04
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@HachamGabriel, I'm afraid this debate isn't getting us anywhere. The question was "who allows", which I answered without personally evaluating the merit of their arguments. You're quoting those who prohibit. Ben Ish Chai's writings in Hebrew say that uncovered hair doesn't prevent kriyas shema (just like Aruch HaShulchan and Igros Moshe); Sasoon's recent retranslation of one Arabic work seems to go further than that and allow uncovering. Rav Mutzafi just says "oh it doesn't mean that." –  Shalom Jan 25 '12 at 1:21

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