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I know(1) there is a practice in Chabad for married women to wear a tichel in bed (i.e., with their husbands). I would not be surprised if this is the same in other Chasidic groups, if not in other ultra-Orthodox groups as well.

My understanding is that one reason for this is the mystical idea that married women's hair attracts kelipos, or forces of impurity. (There may also be some influence from the story about Kimchit that "the rafters of her roof had never seen the plaits of her hair" [Talmud, Yoma 47a].)

My questions are:

1) How widespread is this practice? Is it universal in Chabad? Do groups other than Chabad in fact observe it?

2) What is the reason for it understood to be? (i.e., are there other reasons besides the mystical explanation?)

3) How strict is this considered? Is it known among these groups as halacha per se, or minhag, or chumra?

4) Bonus if anyone knows whether people in these groups actually follow this rule.

(I'll up-vote any answer that addresses one or more of these.)

Related: Married woman covering hair

Woman's hair covering in the home or in private

(1) From Chabad shiurim and personal conversations with Chabadniks.

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    Halacha can't be, chumrah yes – sam Aug 2 '15 at 16:20
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    If you learn the sugya,there is no issur especially in onesome bedroom rather it's a chumrah,and it was even a chumra in gemarahs time they way the describe the minhag of kimchis – sam Aug 2 '15 at 16:25
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    @alldani What in particular about that do you see as being relevant? – mevaqesh Dec 20 '16 at 5:58
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    The rafters of my house don't see my wife's hair either. Because they are covered with drywall... – Isaac Kotlicky Dec 22 '16 at 13:42
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    @SAH I haven't looked deeply into this question, but will mention two observations. In the story of Kimchit found in Yoma 47a, Rashi explains, based on Talmud Yerushalmi, that this idea that the rafters of her house never saw the "slings of her hair" is referring to 'woven gold'. But that has an implication. It appears to be referring to the modesty exhibited by an unmarried woman who has never been with a man. She braids her hair. The Mishnah Berurah 75:2:12 also mentions this practice. An unmarried woman who has been with a man is supposed to cover her hair, like a married woman. – Yaacov Deane Dec 23 '16 at 17:04
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The rebbetzin in my (Chabad) seminary said that people who are makpid on kabbalistic matters do this; others do not. One follows one's kallah teacher's instructions or else the husband's family's minhag. She did not make it sound at all like a necessary part of minhag Chabad. I don't know about the minhag by other chareidim.

She was somewhat more clear that [she thinks] it is required during niddah, at least for Chabad.

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A "chabad" rabbi seems to disagree with the custom stated above (maybe you are dealing with a small group of extremist not basing there behavior on books, or customs)
you are probably right about "(There may also be some influence from the story about Kimchit that "the rafters of her roof had never seen the plaits of her hair" [Talmud, Yoma 47a].)"

see this video
He also brings the Rebbe's letter in igros kodesh 15 page 415 where the rebbe brings a source nozir 28 A that a husband can demand his wife not to shave her hair for translation see end of this misha in perek 4 mishna 5
In the video he also says a statement that "in bed (i.e., with their husbands)" there should not be clothes (הוא בבגדו והיא בבגדה) (maybe the source of this is from this siman that i heard is learnt by Chabad regarding "in bed (i.e., with their husbands)" טהרת ישראל siman 240 sif 66

In my understanding of the sources
if they want to be strict (the rafters of her roof had never seen the plaits of her hair),
they should cover themselfs with a sheet (including the heads), unless the husband is ok with her covering hear head

  • A "chabad" rabbi seems to disagree with the custom stated above Do you mean he disagrees with the claim that there is such a practice, or disagrees with the legitimacy of the practice? – mevaqesh Dec 20 '16 at 5:43
  • @mevaqesh I guess both – hazoriz Dec 20 '16 at 5:45
  • So just to clarify exactly what it is that you are saying, he says that there is no such practice, but that were there to be such a practice it would be wrong. – mevaqesh Dec 20 '16 at 5:46
  • The video you link to by Rabbi Jacobson isn't disagreeing with this practice. He specifically states the halachic requirement to be naked when you are having relations. The OP's question is about the rest of the time. The Rebbe's letter is more involved but seems to be addressing the specific idea of when a woman's uncovered hair provides sustenance to the external forces. It isn't making a general statement. – Yaacov Deane Dec 25 '16 at 21:54
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    @YaacovDeane The OP's question is about the rest of the time I have no idea why you think that this was the intent of the OP, when she seemed to be attempting to specifically avoid that misunderstanding. in bed (i.e., with their husbands). – mevaqesh Dec 26 '16 at 2:02
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This is a excellent question and is addressed in many easily accessible books in English. A few worth looking at are, Modesty: An Adornment for Life by Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk, in particular pp.228-235, Gefen Poriah: The Laws of Niddah by Rabbi Avraham Blumenkrantz, Chapter 2, pg 20, item 21 and footnote 68 and Family Purity: A Guide to Marital Fulfillment by Rabbi Fisher Jacobs, pp. 34-35 and 49-50. Rabbi Jacobs is a Lubavitcher Posek in Israel whose area of expertise is this subject. Another good source to look at is this link to the internet magazine, Halachically Speaking on the Shema Yisroel network. It is sponsored by the Kaf-K.

In answer to your first question, the practice is halacha, not minhag. It relates to two different areas. The first is a woman's obligations in regard to modesty. That applies whether she is a niddah or not. Some Poskim hold that women are obligated to cover their hair even in the total privacy of her home unless she has a specific need, like to shower. This is the preferred behavior according to Mishnah Berurah, Biur Halacha 75:2.

The story from Yoma 47a about Kimchit is in this context. That the rewards for modesty are great, both in Heaven and on earth.

The second consideration relates to Ervah, nakedness. A married woman's hair, when uncovered, is considered nakedness Mi'd'Rabannan. That also applies to her boys over the age of Bar Mitzvah and to her husband and the prohibition of making blessings or saying any kind of holy words, I.e. Kriat Shema, zemirot, saying a D'var Torah, etc.

These things apply to all Jews, not just Lubavitchers.

The second part of your question sounds like it is asking the deeper idea behind these laws. That is addressed in Sefer Ma'avar Yabok, Siftei Tzedek, chapter 15 which quotes the Zohar, parshat Naso at the beginning of pg 125b. These laws parallel a wife's monogamy and devotion to her husband with her monogamy and devotion to HaShem. It relates the covering of her hair to the concepts of not serving other gods and not following after the practices of the nations.

As to your third question about how strict this is, it states in Ma'avar Yabok that a woman not being meticulous in this area causes poverty to her husband and death for her children and that this is the decided law (דין). Poverty and death can mean many different things. They don't have to be literal. But none of them are pleasant. That sounds like pretty strict concepts.

Your comment about a woman's hair attracting kelippot is more relevant to a single woman, in particular a woman who is no longer married. That is a much more involved discussion, but should be understandable if one considers the differences between a woman who has never been married to one who is a widow or divorcee.

Your fourth question is more difficult to answer. In this day, the failure of someone to practice something is usually the result of a lack of knowledge, not because of rejection of the Torah. And that also applies whether a person is a Lubavitcher or from any other stream of practice and tradition.

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    A married woman's hair, when uncovered, is considered nakedness Mi'd'Rabannan. source? | That also applies to her boys over the age of Bar Mitzvah and to her husband Source? | and the prohibition of making blessings or saying any kind of holy words, I.e. Kriat Shema, zemirot, saying a D'var Torah, etc. Are you unaware of the Arukh Hashulhan, or deliberately concealing his opinion from the readers? In answer to your first question, the practice is halacha, not minhag Unless you provide some definition for these terms, it is a largely meaningless statement. – mevaqesh Dec 25 '16 at 21:30
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    it says that a woman not being meticulous in this area causes poverty to her husband and death for her children. Do you mean in the general area of modesty, or about covering hair in bed. Consider clarifying. | Your comment about a woman's hair attracting kelippot is more relevant to a single woman, in particular a woman who is no longer married. Source? – mevaqesh Dec 25 '16 at 21:33
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    @Yaacov R Falk uses heavy footnoting to conceal the weak footing his positions often have, as well as to hide the opinions he'd prefer not exist or at least not be known. I suggest you don't try reading his work. – Double AA Dec 26 '16 at 1:08
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    @YaacovDeane I think that one who is presenting such a strong and ostensibly marginal position has a chiyuv to list his sources rigorously, especially--especially, especially--when his claims are accompanied by a literal or non-literal mention of (ch"v) "death of children" – SAH Dec 26 '16 at 22:45
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    @SAH This poster just lied about a publicly available text. You should double check anything and everything he claims. I'm not planning on continuing discussing this with him. It's not interesting if I don't have an honest counterpart. – Double AA Dec 27 '16 at 1:26

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