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I'm not sure how widespread the following practice is, since, as a man - and even since I was a young boy - I have always taken little notice of other women and girls outside my immediate family as I (usually hurriedly) leave my home and go to Shul on Friday afternoons and 'Erev Yom Tov. But I have observed, here and there, women who don't constantly cover their hair, as well as unmarried women and young girls, who specifically wear some sort of head covering when they light candles.

How widespread is this practice, and is it required (at least by some)?

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  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/29438/5
    – Seth J
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 15:51
  • 1
    Similarly, related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/29441/2091
    – Lee
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 16:46
  • I might guess it's a simple inconsistency (many if not most opinions say they should cover their hair inside their own homes), much like some men cover their head with a Yarmulke when they go to Synagogue even though they're supposed to wear one at all times.
    – A L
    Commented Jun 29, 2013 at 0:06
  • If you like an answer, consider marking it as correct.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 22:07

1 Answer 1

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The issue would seem to be covering one's head during prayer or blessings (in this case the blessing on the candles).

Rabbi Adir Hakohen of Yeshivat Kisse Rahamim quotes Rav Ovadiah z"l (Yabia Omer vol. 6 ch. 15) here as holding that the custom today is for unmarried girls to not cover their heads during blessings, and they have halachic backing for this, but they should at least cover their heads during Shemoneh Esreh and Birkat Hamazon:

שאף שהמנהג כיום שהבנות הרווקות אינם מכסות שערות ראשן בשעת הלימוד או שמברכות ויש להן על מה שיסמוכו, מ"מ לכל הפחות שישימו כיסוי על ראשן בתפלת שמונה עשרה ובברכת המזון.

(Note that the questioner there was asking specifically about girls above the age of 12.)

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  • Do the OP's women cover their heads for Shemone Esrei as well?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 5:04
  • @DoubleAA Even if they do not, the OP's question is answered, for rather than engaging in mysterious activity, they are merely selectively following a halacha.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 5:10
  • That's still a pretty mysterious thing to do, no? I question your assertion that this is actually the halachic basis. It's a logical possibility, but a dubious one given how inconsistent people's practice is with its principles.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 5:12
  • @mevaqesh Where in the Tanakh, is there support for a female covering her head or her hair when praying or reciting the name of HaShem?
    – ninamag
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 5:53

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