I am aware of many poseqim who hold that in order to get and hold a job, it is permissible for men to remove their kippoth during the interview and their workday.

Can a woman who badly needs employment do the same thing and uncover her hair? Why or why not?

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    I highly doubt it. Hair covering is an arguably d'oraita requirement. Wearing a kippa is a minhag.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 14:53
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    It should be noted that in most western countries AFAIK it is illegal to refuse to hire a person because he wears a kippa or she cover her hair for religious reasons, so this question is probably moot.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 15:03
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    Almost no one holds that kisui rosh le-nashim is de-oraitha. Most hold it is an asmakhta be-alma. And as far as it being illegal, not sure if you live in Western world, but people are turned down for employment all the time due to a myriad of religous observances. They are also fired and threatened with their jobs for them. I have had both happen to me. This is real, same as the kippah question for men.
    – user3342
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 15:08
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    @Daniel, as this is one of the most difficult forms of discrimination to prove, the question is certainly not moot.
    – Seth J
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:43
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    Just note that wigs exist which look almost exactly like natural hair. Many a working woman covers her hair without her employer’s knowledge.
    – LN6595
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


If you are asking this question in terms of actual practice, then you should direct your question to your local, qualified Rav. The specifics of your situation would determine your practice.

If you are asking is it possible for a woman to be permitted, the short answer is yes. The details of the reasoning behind the decision are found in Igrot Moshe, Volume 3, Even HaEzer, section 1, Siman 57. In keeping with the wishes of the author, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, not to translate his responsa, you will need to look at the actual letter for details.

It's worth pointing out that this ruling by Rabbi Feinstein is considered very lenient in many circles. Details can be found in English in Halichos Bas Yisrael, volume 1, chapter 5, halacha 5 on page 86, note 9.

Another point worth noting is that according to many, the concept of a woman covering her hair is likely not restricted to married women. It may also apply to unmarried women who have had sexual relations outside of marriage. This is discussed in the responsa of Tzitz Eliezer, volume 15, Siman 55.

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    Actually, this teshuvah of Rav Feinstein z"l is concerning a widow who needs to uncover her hair in the face of pressing financial loss due to employment issues. It appears that Rav Feinstein makes a distinction between married women and widows in the obligation to cover their hair, the former being "de-oraytha" (which either indicates that specific case to which the pasuq refers, or most likely the extension of the [mistaken, respectfully] understanding of the Tosafoth and their reading of this term in the gemara). Only at the end does he mention as another ssad lehaqel that...
    – user3342
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 23:24
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    You can only say that it would likewise apply to married women if you are either: [a] Rav Feinstein himself, or [b] a poseq in your own right who is making his own determination. Rav Feinstein makes his distinction regarding widows by specifically mentioning that married women (in his view) do not have the same latitude. You cannot simply draw lines with a crayon like a matching game. If he wasn't asked the she'elah specifically, then his teshuvah cannot be used as a basis for it at all. Perhaps as an opening for thinking in that direction, but not through direct "application". Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 2:01
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    @Maimonist: Did you see the first paragraph in my answer? Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 2:41
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    Yes, I saw it, but you then went on to make the determination yourself. Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 2:53
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    As pointed out in the comment, your second paragraph is misleading. Although you refer the reader to read the responsum itself, it is very clear he is restricting his ruling to someone who is no longer married; not someone presently married. Your last paragraph also seems irrelevant to the question at hand.
    – robev
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 19:45

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