In this podcast we will look at the Talmudic statement that “the hair of a woman is nakedness” in order to understand it’s implications for the ongoing halakhic conversation around hair covering. We will see how the ideas developed in the previous podcast around Dat Moshe and Dat Yehudit become synthesized with the idea of nakedness in some of the halakhic discourse while in others, remain separately addressed. In the end, we will see how women come to cover or uncover their hair in many different ways.
The series Uncovered looks at three major topics that often restrict women’s presence in traditional Jewish communities: Dress, Hair and Voice. The famous Talmudic statements that “the leg of a woman is nakedness”, “the voice of a woman is nakedness” and “the hair of a woman is nakedness” are often presented at face value but in fact, as the series will uncover, the Talmudic conversation is centered around the laws of saying Shema and do not reverberate outward into a greater conversation anywhere else in the Talmud with one fairly minor exception. However, those statements became the platform for modern halakhic and religious discourse on women, modesty and sexuality and can be perceived as empowering or suffocating depending on where and how the conversation is unpacked. Suffice to say, it is never a neutral conversation. In this series we will try to understand the larger picture before beginning to look at the rabbinic sources that structure the conversation.