We are continuing in siman 5, discussing the halachos of covering hair. Today, we will discuss shaitels.
We have learned that there is a concept of certain women covering their hair, but we have not discussed what that covering should be. We know that the covering must cover the hair in a way that it is not visible, and we discussed whether this chiyuv is deoraysa or derabanan *see more in shiur 1548).
The Mishnah in Shabbos, daf 64b, discusses the halachos of hotzaah on shabbos, and goes through a list of different adornments and whether one may wear them on shabbos. The Mishnah lists certain items which Chazal were concerned a woman would either take off to show her friends, or would take off in embarrassment because people will think it does not look nice. The Mishnah says a woman can wear a peah nochris, whether of her own hair or from the hair of someone else.
The Shiltei Giborim, a commentary on the Rif, derives from the mishnah that a woman wearing a hair covering made of her own hair is a valid way to cover her hair. The Shiltei Giborim understands that the mishnah calls this covering a peah nochris because it is a covering which is estranged from the body in that it is no longer attached.
The Magen Avraham, in siman 76:sk 5, quotes the Shiltei Giborim and paskens like him. However, he also quotes the Be’er Sheva, one of the earlier achronim, who disagrees and holds that a woman is not allowed to wear a peah nochris because it is not obvious that it is not her own hair. He brings multiple proofs from other Gemaras that it is not a valid covering. He understands that the Mishnah in Shabbos refers to a woman wearing a peah nochris with another covering on top of it. He points out that this understanding fits well with the fact that the peah nochris is listed in that mishnah due to the concern that she may take it off and show it to others. If we understand that she has an additional covering on her hair, it makes sense that she would take it off, but if she does not have an additional covering, it is hard to understand how she could take it off, as her hair would not be covered.
The Magen Avraham writes that the Shiltei Giborim is the accepted opinion, and that the issues raised by the Be’er Sheva have already been discussed and dismissed.
The Mishnah Berurah discusses this question in siman 75:sk 15. He brings that the Magen Avraham holds it is muttar, and that some disagree. Then then brings from the Pri Megadim that in places where women generally wear a shaitel, it is muttar, but if it is a place where women generally do not wear shaitels, it is assur, because it is maris ayin that people will not realize it is a shaitel.
Thus, we have two concerns regarding shaitels. The first is whether the shaitel is a valid covering, and whether it minimizes the beauty and attraction of hair which is an ervah. The Mishnah Berurah brings both opinions but ultimately paskens with the Shiltei Giborim that it is muttar. There is a second question of maris ayin, to which the Mishnah Berurah paskens that the shaitel is not acceptable if it will be mistaken as not being covered.
The second point lends itself to the question of whether there is a maris ayin issue when it is not obvious that a woman is covering her hair. Rab Moshe discusses a situation in which men cannot tell that something is a hair covering but women can. Reb Moshe holds it is not a problem of maris ayin, because the women who can tell the difference will explain it to their husbands.
Reb Moshe seems to indicate that if the hair covering is such that even a woman would not be able to recognize that the hair is covered, it would be problematic.
Arguably, new types of shaitels which are so efficient at covering hair it can be hard for anyone to tell whether it is a shaitel or not would be an issue of maris ayin. Regarding the first issue, of the whether it is a valid covering, it is not clear whether the hair is still considered covered, or whether the maris ayin issue reflects back to the covering, and we would say that once there is a maris ayin issue, it may not be considered covered at all.
There are two concerns regarding shaitels. The first is whether the shaitel is a valid covering, and whether it minimizes the beauty and attraction of hair which is an ervah. The accepted psak is that it is a valid covering.
The second question is regarding maris ayin. We pasken that the shaitel is not acceptable if it will be mistaken as not being covered by the majority of people who see it. However, if it is clear to enough people who see it that it is covered, it is a valid covering.