The Gemara in Ketubot 72a outlines the issue of married woman covering her hair. This issue has been discussed already on this forum. Rav Yehuda Herzl-Henkin has wonderful and thorough treatment of the subject in Bnei Banim, also available in English here. Obviously the topic is very broad, I merely bring these points up as a preface to my question.

The question being, it seems that much of the issues of uncovered hair are centered on Ervah, or at least on the notion of hair being meant to be covered. So if a woman doesn't have hair, it would seem that there is no need for her to cover her scalp. Is there any requirement for a bald woman to wear a kerchief on her head, or perhaps does having a bald head itself fulfill the requirement? (In the verse from which we learn the concept of hair-covering, it uses the word ראש/her head, rather than שער/her hair -- perhaps this is pertinent to the answer.)

An adjunct to this question would be: if indeed a scalp-cover is not required, why do the many Chasidic women who shave their heads continue to wear a head cover? Is there a Halachic opinion that requires this, or is that a separate issue? Please bring any sources that support your answer.

  • Maybe chasidos cover their heads because of the five-o'clock shadow. More complete baldness is effected by some drugs, most famously many chemotherapeutic drugs. – msh210 Jan 10 '16 at 16:20
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    "it seems that all the issues of uncovered hair are centered on Ervah" I disagree with this entirely. Many sources talk about the issue of Ervah from Brachot 24. And many talk about the issue of covering the head from Ketubot 72. Many talk about both because most practical questions are affected by both issues. Hair is only Ervah bc it's usually covered. If there's no hair, then the scalp is usually covered, and it too is then Ervah, like any other part of the body which is usually covered. – Double AA Jan 10 '16 at 17:24
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    @DoubleAA Although I agree with you that it doesn't all come down to Ervah - that was an oversimplification - however, the Gemara in Ketubot is certainly talking about covering hair, not heads. And do you have a source to say that if there's no hair, then the scalp is usually covered? Obviously the scalp is usually covered by hair, by default. But what source is there that without hair, the scalp is usually covered? - Nonetheless, I have edited my oversimplification to be more inclusive. – Chaim Jan 10 '16 at 17:29
  • Halichos Yisroel page 268:footnote 6 may be relevant (haven't checked it inside) – Double AA Dec 27 '16 at 19:26

Halachafortodaycom.blogspot.com says that there is two reasons why a married woman covers her hair. Although a bald woman may not have the problem of Erva, she still is required to cover her hair as a sign that she is married.

Q: If a married woman is bald, does she still have to wear a headcovering, or is she permitted to reveal her scalp? A: Besides for the reason that hair is considered “Erva” and must be covered, there is also a reason quoted by the Poskim that a married woman covers her hair as a “sign” that she is married, and this would apply to bald women as well. Also, even women that are bald are usually not 100% bald, and some hair is there.

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    "that a married woman covers her hair as a 'sign' that she is married, and this would apply to bald women as well." I don't understand? Covering her scalp is not the sign that she's married. This quote is self-contradictory. – Double AA Jan 11 '16 at 18:13
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    Lovely conjecture. Any source brought, or just "the Poskim"? – Chaim Jan 11 '16 at 18:40
  • Upon further looking, I see you didn't even quote the full response on that website. The paragraph ends with a a final sentence: "For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a rav must be consulted." Telling us that whoever the author is doesn't consider this to be Psak or authoritative. – Chaim Jan 11 '16 at 19:33

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