Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to the Rug

Getting married again to your ex-spouse poses lots of interesting halachic situations. For example, there are lots of leniencies in place in terms of when you get married, how you can get married, etc. We are jumping through lots of halachic hoops together with our wonderful out-of-town Rav, who researches, explains and discusses everything to us. Basically, most anything that is simply custom and not halacha, if it interferes with getting married, is set aside.

So after we told our Rav that we were engaged, he threw me an halachic curve ball. Here's the story: when we got divorced, I asked my Rav for a heter to uncover my hair. I said it would be hard to date again wearing a sheitel, and that, as natural as my sheitels looked, it would put some people off. The issue with uncovering your hair when you get divorced is that once you start doing a mitzvah, you need to keep doing it. If you stop it, you need a good reason. So my Rav gave me my heter, based on a teshuvah from Rav Moshe. My hair has been uncovered since the day I received my get.

Apparently, that heter has expired. Since the reason for the heter has gone away (I'm not dating anymore) I need to start covering my hair again. Even before I get married.

Gulp.

I was not happy with this at all. Very unhappy. In my book, married women cover their hair. Unmarried women do not. Even though I am engaged, my halachic status has not changed at all. Why do I need to cover it now, before the wedding?

I guess this is where we separate the men from the boys, so to speak. There comes a point in every frum person's life, I think, when you need to follow a halacha that feels wrong but is right. What my Rav said about the heter being rescinded makes perfect legal sense, but emotionally, I feel very strange about it.

But I'm doing it. Because this is Orthodox Judaism. That's why they call halacha Jewish Law. If it were all about the way we felt, they'd call it Feel-Good-Ritual-Meaningful-Stuff. I'm doing it, but I'm not liking it. But I understand it. And even if I hate the idea, I'm committed to the system that's behind it.

Sometimes doing the right thing sucks.

6 comments:

frum single female said...

wow! i wasnt aware of this one.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Oy. You already know my feelings on hair covering in general, and why I think it's unnecessary even for married women. But if it makes you feel good to feel put-upon, go right ahead. Still happy for ya, though!

WebGirl said...

Well, that's sorta what my fiancé said. He said as far as he was concerned, I didn't have to cover my hair at all, but if I was going to consider it a chiyuv, then this made sense, no matter how I felt.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful example and explanation of how halacha is a chiyuv (obligation) and how we only demonstrate that when it tells us to do something that we don't want to do.

Thank you for the inspiration.

RY said...

That is a really interesting! I understand your hesitation in putting on a wig prior to getting married...

MK said...

You are a inspiration.