Mitpaḥat

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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.

Contents

Etymology

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").

Background

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

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References

  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