Last updated
Knotted tichel Tichel headcovering.jpg
Knotted tichel

Mitpaḥat (Hebrew: מִטפַּחַתmiṭpaḥat), also called a tichel (Yiddish : טיכלtikhl), is the headscarf worn by many married Orthodox Jewish women in compliance with the code of modesty known as ṣniut , which requires married women to cover their hair. [1] Mitpaḥot can range from a plain scarf of any material worn over the hair to elaborate head coverings using multiple fabrics and tying techniques.



The word Mitpaḥat is a Hebrew word from the Torah which literally means a covering or mantle, though is also used to mean many other things such as towel, apron, bandage, or wrap. Its current meaning is taken from post-biblical Hebrew, and is most likely derived from the Hebrew word טִפַּח (tipaḥ) meaning spread out or extended. [2]

In the times of Ibn Ezra (1089-1167), Mitpahat was referred to as Pe'ar, or Pe'arim in the plural, as in Isaiah 3:20. This word directly means "head-dress, ornament, or turban". Ibn Ezra states in his commentary on Numbers that the custom of covering was the same between both Jewish women and Muslim women.

The Yiddish word tichel is the diminutive of tuch ("cloth"). Compare German Tuch ("cloth"), and the corresponding Bavarian diminutive Tiachal, Tücherl ("small piece of cloth").


After the wedding ceremony, Orthodox Jews believe that a woman should only show her hair to her husband. [3] According to the Mishnah in Ketuboth (7:6), hair covering is not an obligation of biblical origin, but is highly advised as we see in Genesis 24:64-65, Isaiah 47:2, and Song of Songs 4:1. It discusses behaviors that are grounds for divorce such as, "appearing in public with loose hair, weaving in the marketplace, and talking to any man", and calls these violations of Dat Yehudit, which means Jewish rule, as opposed to Dat Moshe, Mosaic rule. However, the Talmud on this Mishna explains that if the hair is completely uncovered in public, this would indeed be a violation of "Dat Moshe", and the Mishna is referring to one who cover her hair with a netlike covering where hair is visible through the holes, as in this case the Biblical requirement is met, but not the "Dat Yehudit". [4] This categorization suggests that hair covering is not an absolute obligation originating from Moses at Sinai, but, rather, is a standard of modesty that was defined by the Jewish community. In Berakhot 24a), the rabbis define hair as sexually erotic (ervah), and prohibit men from praying in sight of a woman's hair. The rabbis base this estimation on a biblical verse: "Your hair is like a flock of goats" (Song of Songs 4:1), suggesting that this praise reflects the sensual nature of hair.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Halakha is the collective body of Jewish religious laws which is derived from the written and Oral Torah. Halakha is based on biblical commandments (mitzvot), subsequent Talmudic and rabbinic laws, and the customs and traditions which were compiled in the many books such as the Shulchan Aruch. Halakha is often translated as "Jewish law", although a more literal translation of it might be "the way to behave" or "the way of walking". The word is derived from the root which means "to behave". Halakha not only guides religious practices and beliefs, it also guides numerous aspects of day-to-day life.

Jewish prayer Prayer in Judaism

Jewish prayer is the prayer recitation that forms part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the Siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book.

Hebrew Bible Canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures

The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passages in Biblical Aramaic.

Rabbinic literature Collective term for Classic Jewish literature, written by, or attributed to the rabbis who lived prior to the 6th century

Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Chazal. This more specific sense of "Rabbinic literature"—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts.

Abraham ibn Ezra Sephardic rabbi and astrologer

Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was one of the most distinguished Jewish biblical commentators and philosophers of the Middle Ages. He was born in Tudela in northern Spain.

Tallit Ritual prayer shawl in Judaism

A tallit is a fringed garment, traditionally worn as a prayer shawl by religious Jews. The tallit has special twined and knotted fringes known as tzitzit attached to its four corners. The cloth part is known as the "beged" and is usually made from wool or cotton, although silk is sometimes used for a tallit gadol.

Tzniut describes both the character trait of modesty and discretion, as well as a group of Jewish laws pertaining to conduct. The concept is most important within Orthodox Judaism.

Mikveh Jewish ritual bath

Mikveh or mikvah is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism to achieve ritual purity.

Rishonim were the leading rabbis and poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch and following the Geonim. Rabbinic scholars subsequent to the Shulkhan Arukh are generally known as acharonim.

David Zvi Hoffmann German rabbi and scholar (1843–1921)

David Zvi Hoffmann, was an Orthodox Rabbi and Torah Scholar. He headed the Yeshiva in Berlin, and published research on the Pentateuch and Mishna, both in reaction to erstwhile Biblical criticism. He is referred to as רד"צ הופמן - Radatz Hoffmann - in later Rabbinic writing. He was an expert in Midrash halakha and the foremost halakhic authority in Germany in his generation. He is well known for his strident literary opposition to the Graf-Wellhausen theories of Biblical origin, while on the other hand, he quotes prominent Wissenschaft figures in his researches on Mishnah and Talmud.


A headscarf is a scarf covering most or all of the top of a person's, usually women's, hair and head, leaving the face uncovered. A headscarf is formed of a triangular cloth or a square cloth folded into a triangle, with which the head is covered.

Jewish views on astrology

Astrology has been a topic of debate among Jews for over 2000 years. While not a Jewish practice or teaching as such, astrology made its way into Jewish thought, as can be seen in the many references to it in the Talmud. Astrological statements became accepted and worthy of debate and discussion by Torah scholars. Opinions varied: some rabbis rejected the validity of astrology; others accepted its validity but forbid practicing it; still others thought its practice to be meaningful and permitted. In modern times, as science has rejected the validity of astrology, many Jewish thinkers have similarly rejected it; though some continue to defend the pro-astrology views that were common among pre-modern Jews.

Sheitel Wig or half-wig worn by some married Orthodox Jewish women

Sheitel is a wig or half-wig worn by some married Orthodox Jewish women in order to obey with the requirement of Jewish law to cover their hair. Some Hasidic groups encourage sheitels, while others avoid them.

Shpitzel head covering worn by some hasidic women

A shpitzel is a head covering worn by some married Hasidic women. It is a partial wig that only has hair in the front, the rest typically covered by a small pillbox hat or a headscarf. The hairpiece may actually be silk or lace, or else made of synthetic fibers, to avoid too closely resembling real hair.

Gender and Judaism is a radical, emerging subfield at the intersection of gender studies and Jewish studies. Gender studies centers on interdisciplinary research on the phenomenon of gender. It focuses on cultural representations of gender and people's lived experience. Jewish studies is a field that looks at Jews and Judaism, through such disciplines as history, anthropology, literary studies, linguistics, and sociology.

Religious clothing is clothing which is worn in accordance with religious practice, tradition or significance to a faith group. It includes clerical clothing such as cassocks, and religious habit, robes, and other vestments. Accessories include hats, wedding rings, crucifixes, etc.

Moses, Moishe, Moshe, or Movses is a male given name, after the biblical figure Moses.

Jewish religious clothing Religious clothing of Jews

Jewish religious clothing is apparel worn by Jews in connection with the practice of the Jewish religion. Jewish religious clothing has changed over time while maintaining the influences of biblical commandments and Jewish religious law regarding clothing and modesty (tzniut). Contemporary styles in the wider culture also have a bearing on Jewish religious clothing, although this extent is limited.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Judaism:


  1. Encyclopedia of Judaism: Tichel
  2. Klein, Ernest (1987). A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary Of The Hebrew Language. Jerusalem: Carta Jerusalem. ISBN   965220093X.
  3. All about Orthodox Jewish women
  4. Kesubot 72a-72b