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Is it permissible for a married woman to wear a wig if the hair was sacrificed to an idol or foreign deity? There is a temple in India, dubbed the "Richest temple in the World" where pilgrims shave their heads as offerings to their god. This temple supplies the top wig and hair extension manufacturers. If it is not kosher to eat food sacrificed to an idol, is it permissible or not to wear hair sacrificed to an idol since you're not ingesting it?

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  • Sounds like two questions: can you use hair offered to Avoda Zara as a wig? and: Is hair shaved at this specific temple considered an offering to Avoda Zara? – Double AA Dec 8 '12 at 23:30
  • @DoubleAA many questions can be split up that way but need not be, IMO this included. – msh210 Dec 9 '12 at 1:24
  • The shiur in the links below will hopefully answer this question. The Rebbe on wigs Wigs vs Tichel – 123456789 May 2 at 18:47
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This was a very hot topic several years ago when some it became known that many wigs from India have hair that comes from idol worship. For a comprehensive treatment of the subject see Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff's article "Can a Sheitel be Prohibited Because of Avodah Zarah?".

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No it is not permissible.

“Those ladies who wear wigs they think its allowed. They say 'no one said its prohibited.' But we do tell them its assur. Thats what the sages said they banned wigs. The great sages, the vilna gaon, the yaabets, the chatam sofer, maharatz chajes and other gedolim as well the all said its assur. So they say, ‘no so how come this Rabbi is quiet about it? He sees his daughter going out like that and doesn’t say anything. How come that Rabbi is silent, his wife wears a sheitel’ They fool themselves. They do it lechatchila they think its allowed. And if someone doesn’t wear a sheitel they actually make fun of them. If so their sin is double and triple as great! Where is the Yirat Shamayim? What about a person having to listen to the words of the sages. Who wrote this in their sefarim? Am I making this up? I brought this all down from the poskim! All of them one after another, they all wrote it’s prohibited. I didn’t just make this up they all say its assur. Why should we transgress their words? For what? Just to look a little ‘prettier’? Is there any prettiness lacking in fancy hats and tichels? Silk, embroidered. Just wear one of those. Its also better in terms of tzniut. This is the way of the Torah.” - Rabbi Ovadia Yosef zt’l.

"All this madness of wigs (sheitels) for women, Hashem have mercy. The sephardim have never had such a thing. I looked into this issue and found out that virtually ALL of the hair being used for wigs/sheitesl is sourced from Idolatry (Avodah Zarah)" - Chief Rabbi Rav Yitzchak Yosef Shlita

Unfortunately, wigs have become a very popular trend in modern day orthodoxy. Most B’not Yisrael (Jewish women) that use sheitels have no idea where these beautiful “hair coverings” really come from. The truth is that over 98% of all wigs in the market today come from places of Avodah Zarah (i.e. the idol worshipping temples of India). Yes, this is the case despite having a Kosher certification saying that they were “Made in Europe/Brazil or other countries”. This is the only part of the Jewish industry that has a single entity certifying Kashrut, as everyone knows there is no way to kosher Avodah Zarah without lying. Over 25 million men and women in India sacrifice their hair (tonsure) to their deities in idolatrous temples each year, creating an unlimited market supply of top quality hair. The temples then take this hair they received for free and sell it to European, Brazilian, American, etc. companies, which thereby use it to make the very same sheitels carried by your local sheitel machers. Remember that the Torah strictly forbids ever benefitting from Avodah Zarah, and that there is no way to make is Kosher. A hair that was tonsured and sacrificed is then absolutely forbidden by the Torah, since it’s considered as a benefit of an act of Avodah Zarah. This literally means that even if a wig has only a single strand of hair from these idol worshipping temples in India, the wig is now considered a benefit of Avodah Zarah. As a secondary note, we all know that even in the absence of idolatry, the wigs being marketed today are completely immodest and forbidden even by the Poskim that permitted wigs (before the discovery of their Avodah Zarah roots). Please watch all of the videos on our playlist and see the many educational shiurim made by our own Rabbis about this topic, as well as short clips by the G’doley HaDor that discussed it, such as Rav Ovadia Yosef zt’l, Rav Shalom Elyashiv zt’l, Rav Shalom Shwadron zt’l, Rav Shmuel Wosner zt’l, Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, and more. *This information is from this site: https://www.beezrathashem.org/wigs-sheitels

I highly recommend watching all these videos to get a much better understanding.

Full Video Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: https://youtu.be/m5WRdWWDG3g

Full Video Rav Yitzchak Yosef: https://youtu.be/Y04FJ28C0cY

Full Video Rabbi Yaron Reuven: https://youtu.be/IaxW2g-byMk

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  • This answer could be a great deal more useful if you edit in a summary of the pertinent arguments from the videos you've linked. Please see judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3403 for more on this. – Isaac Moses May 3 at 15:52
  • Ok, thank u for the advice – dassiwithani May 4 at 15:26
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    The quote you brought doesn't discuss idolatrous hair at all. Are there any pertinent arguments in the links to quote? – Double AA May 4 at 16:39
  • This "answer" has nothing to to with the question of the OP, which is, "Is it permissible for a married woman to wear a wig if the hair was sacrificed to an idol or foreign deity?" The rabbis you cite, oppose wig wearing in public, across the board, even if the source of the hair was from a "kosher" source. – IsraelReader May 4 at 16:44
  • Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer IV, EH:3) rules with reference to widows or divorcees, that one may be lenient, and that they are permitted to wear a wig. – IsraelReader May 4 at 16:45

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