May 14, 2004

Rebuilding the Berlin Wall around the Torah

Israel: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are in a tizz after a Rabbi warned them that the hair to make wigs might have been used in Hindu ceremonies.

The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair.

Married Ultra-Orthodox women are not supposed to let anyone other than their husbands see their natural hair, and while some prefer to wear headscarves, a more popular choice is wigs of bright blond hair that falls softly to their shoulders. And the letter of the Law is clearly more important in this case than the spirit.

People began running around preparing lists of permitted and forbidden wig shops; others demanded that the sellers of wigs made from Indian hair be tried in a religious court. In Bnei Brak, some people even started collecting Indian wigs and throwing them to the bonfire.

So far, the only Hindu hair-cutting ceremonies the denizens of Prattle Towers have found relate to young boys and comments as to what ritual the Rabbi refers to are welcome. A hair-raising fear of idols - Haaretz, 14th May 2004.


I'm not going to be terribly helpful here. I saw this ceremony on a doco a couple of weeks back.

The woman was becoming a nun in an order — I keep thinking Buddhist, not Hindu, but they are happy to shave their heads — and her very long hair was plucked in small tufts from her head. Definitely India, further than that I can't confirm.

Did find reference to a PBS special on the tonsure ceremony of a Jain nun that sounds similar.

Here's a bit on what I believe the good rebbe's are talking about:

A Head Trip

Be well,

Dave H.

Thanks, Dave - that seems to be exactly what I was wondering about.

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This page contains a single entry by Feòrag published on May 14, 2004 3:15 PM.

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