Sunday, October 27, 2013

Some Tribute Photos As I Try New Styles

I've seen two really interesting new style videos recently.  One was Wrapunzel's criss-cross wrap.  Here are my first attempts.

I'm doing this without layering underneath, so my criss-crosses are closer together than her's, and the scarf forms a slightly different shape on my head.

The ear-covering is really necessary for this style while putting it on.  At first, I thought it was a necessity, but I've now tried popping my ears out, and everything seems to remain pretty solid, and for me, that's Much more comfortable.  The effect is barely minimized.
The second is The Daily Tichel's video on how to use a shirt as a tichel.
(The above is a short-sleeve synthetic top.  Useful, since it's hard to match turquoises, and I don't have a brown tichel.  But the short sleeves made it a little tricky- it's basically just knotted around itself in the back.)
My first thought was that this was a great thing to keep in mind for emergencies, or for the very creative.  But as I played around with different shirts, I realized that it was a really interesting way to make use of things like ruffles around the collar.

I did these without an underscarf or added volume (although I'd probably use one for all-day wear, mostly, especially since a lot of the shirts I was playing with were synthetic and a bit slippery or stretchy), since I was just experimenting.

Long sleeves provide some different options than short-sleeves do.
 (As here, there's a full wrap-around the bun.  Also, they do a good dutch-crown sort of affair, or just layered around the top.)
A lot of these wraps feel a little less secure, probably because I'm not practiced with them yet.  One of the things I enjoyed was that they made some pretty neat pony-tail arrangements.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughts About the קלתא (Kalta)

When I wrote about Ketubot 72, I simply translated a the word קלתא as basket.

A reminder: the context is: A (married) woman may go out with a קלתא on her head and fulfill at least the biblical requirements for head covering (and in semi-private situations, e.g. a courtyard, it would even be enough rabbinically).

קלתא isn't a really familiar word.  (Jastrow defines it as vase-shaped basket, or women's work-basket.  My guess is that he's basing it on the Rashi we're about to look at, since none of the other texts he cites have any particular clues as to its shape, although they do all reference it as an item specifically used by women.  If you want a look, it's on page 1383.)

On the top of Ketubot 72b, Rashi defines it as:
קלתא: סל שיש לו בית קבול להולמו בראשו ובית קבול מלמעלה לתת בו פלך ופשתן.

Kalta: a basket that has an indentation to attach closely to the head, and an indentation above to put a spindle and linen.  

קלתא is basically a hat that you can store things in.  But this does seem to be some sort of starting place for the practice of wearing a hat with one's own hair showing.  (Although I haven't looked at sources for that practice yet, so I don't know how it will actually be set up halakhically.  This does seem to be where I'd start, at least, since it is at least sufficient in semi-private space.)  

However, it's also an item that seems designed to be removed once you're setting yourself up somewhere.  At least, I'd find it easier to take my spinning out from a basket at arm level, rather than one directly above my head.  I wonder if that, more than it's incomplete coverage, might be a source of why it would be viewed as insufficient covering in public.  It feels a lot like why I don't often wear hats on their own- hats often feel like things you wear outside to stay warm or keep the sun off, and then take off when you get indoors.  It seems sort of tempting.  

If that temptation to remove it were the reason that the קלתא is deemed insufficient in public- it might well open the door to hats that don't cover all the hair...  

An irrelevant aside- I have a hard time picturing a basket that adheres closely or joins to the head.  

What do you think?  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Variations in Red: What I Wore

 I took a couple of notes from The Daily Tichel.  I used her base method (which I wrote about a while ago), pushing one end of the orange tichel underneath, which left me with a more manageable set of tails to wrap- especially since the dark red scarf is a triangle that I sewed, and the lighter red is fairly short.  It was just right to try adding a ribbon to this sort of multi-scarf wrap.

I've found that this sort of base wrap creates a very nice, balanced base, but it tends to slip just a little more than my usual, which involves a square knot, rather than just an over-under.  I had to pull this forward once or twice over the course of the day, and re-clip, in order to keep it quite where I wanted it.  Still, the method has its advantages, and practice may help me keep it more stable.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Fascination With Twisty Crowns Continues

I went to an outdoor wedding a while ago- a very good friend from college got married.  It was a picnic-style wedding.  So I was aiming for something that looked really festive, but wasn't too formal, and would put up with dancing, eating, hanging out, outside.  Most of my coverings are pretty stable, honestly, but it meant that adding sparkly things kept on only by bobby pins didn't have quite the appeal that it usually does for me.  Here's what I came up with:
It's made up of: 1 square scarf, folded into a triangle (blue with stripes) , 1 rectangular scarf (purple pattern), and 1 small square scarf (light green), roughly folded into a band.  

I put on the base scarf, and left the tails dangling.  Then I twisted the purple rectangle and the green square around each other, in the same manner as I do the tails for the twisty crown, (Wrapunzel has a how-to here) so that the middles of each scarf were together.  I tied that around my head, using up all the green scarf, but leaving tails on the purple one. 

I then twisted one blue triangle tail with one purple rectangle tail in the same fashion, and wrapped it over my head, behind the purple-and-green twist.  The purple reached about half-way around, the blue reached all the way.  I tucked in the blue tightly, and used it to secure the purple.  I then repeated the same thing with the other side, tucking under the first blue-and-purple combo.  I threw in a bobby pin in the middle to help keep things secure.  

I then added a small black and white headband to set off the two crowns.  

The whole thing stood up to dancing, pincnicking, hula hooping, and 3 young relatives.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Women's Headcovering in the Talmud, Part 2

Finally, returning to our friend the Talmud.  Ketubot 72a-b.  It's been a long time since I've done text here, but that only makes it high time to get back to it.

First of all, the Mishnah:
מתני': ואלו יוצאות שלא בכתובה. העוברת על דת משה ויהודית. ואיזו היא דת משה? מאכילתו שאינו מעושר, ומשמשתו נדה, ולא קוצה לה חלה, ונודרת ואינה מקיימת.
 ואיזוהי דת יהודית? יוצאה וראשה פרוע, וטווה בשוק, ומדברת עם כל אדם. אבא שאול אומר: אף המקללת יולדיו בפניו. רבי טרפון אומר: אף הקולנית. ואיזוהי קולנית? לכשהיא מדברת בתוך ביתה ושכיניה שומעין קולה.

And these are the women who leave [can be divorced] without a ketubah: One who transgresses against the law of Moses or [the law of] Yehudit/Jewish women.  And what is the law of Moses?  She feeds him [her husband] [food that] isn’t tithed, or who has sex with him while she is in Niddah, or who doesn’t take challah, or who makes a vow and doesn’t fulfill it.  And what is the law of Yehudit?  One who goes out with her head uncovered/wild, or who spins in the marketplace, or who speaks with all men.  Aba Shaul says: even one who curses his parents in his presence.  Rabbi Tarfon says: Even the Kolanit.  And what is a Kolanit?  When she speaks within her house, her neighbors hear her voice.  

I have conveniently bolded the most relevant piece of this Mishnah, and left you the rest for context.  One significant thing to consider is that where this version (following the print version) says דת יהודית, the manuscripts say דת יהודים, making it more like "the laws/ways of Jews"- the way that respectable people behave.  That's why we're not looking for who Yehudit was, and why she was significant enough to be a parallel to Moses- she isn't a person, she's the way the society behaves. 

So the Mishnah implies that cultural violations are enough to allow a divorce where the woman doesn't get her monetary settlement.  And these violations include violations of the dress code and the behavioral code.  For our interests, it leaves the requirement for a married woman to cover her head as a very strong cultural norm, which gets included in this religious law code.  So from the Mishnah, it seems to have this ambiguous social/rabbinic force.  

But stay tuned- the Gemara is about to (as usual) complicate matters.

Then, the relevant pieces of Gemara: 
ואיזוהי דת יהודית? יוצאה וראשה פרוע:
ראשה פרוע דאורייתא היא, דכתיב (במדבר ה, יח) ופרע את ראש האשה. ותנא דבי רבי ישמעאל: אזהרה לבנות ישראל שלא יצאו בפרוע ראש. דאורייתא- קלתה שפיר דמי, דת יהודית- אפילו קלתה נמי אסור. אמר רבי אסי אמר ר' יוחנן: קלתה אין בה משום פרוע ראש הוי בה רבי זירא. היכא? אילימא בשוק- דת יהודית היא, ואלא בחצר אם כן, לא הנחת בת לאברהם אבינו שיושבת תחת בעלה. אמר אביי, ואיתימא רב כהנא- מחצר לחצר ודרך מבוי:
And what is the law of Yehudit?  One who goes out with her head uncovered/undone.  An uncovered/wild head is a Biblical prohibition! As it says (Numbers 5:18): and he uncovers/musses the woman’s head.  And the house of Rabbi Yishmael teaches: [this pasuk is] a warning to the daughters of Israel, that they should not go out with their head uncovered/wild.  Biblically, a basket is also permissible [as a head covering], according to the law of Yehudit, a basket is also forbidden.  Rabbi Asi says in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: wearing a basket is not considered to be an uncovered head.  Rabbi Zeira spoke about this statement [of Rabbi Yochanan].  Where [is he talking about]?  If you say in the marketplace- this is a matter of the law of Yehudit! Rather, would you say in the courtyard?!  If so, you haven’t left a single daughter of Abraham our father who can remain married!  Abaye said, and some people say Rav Kahana said, [the situation is] from one courtyard to another, by way of an alley.  

This Gemara takes on the Mishnah's assertion that head covering is only a rabbinic or social requirement, and points out that since it's mentioned in the Tanakh, it must be a biblical requirement.  Having established that, it begins to establish two levels of requirement.  The first suggestion is that the difference has to do with how much territory is covered: a biblical requirement that is satisfied with a very basic head covering- the level that an indented basket would cover- that is biblical, and a rabbinic requirement for a larger covering. 

The other option establishes that location/public access is relevant (as to whether or not the basket is a sufficient covering).  It points out that women aren't accustomed to covering extensively in the courtyard- meaning at home.  So if extensive covering can't be needed at home- if so, no marriage would be left intact.  A classic example of halakha following communal practice.  The end is a compromise position, to harmonize, leaving alleys as the smallest place where full covering is necessary.  

How does this sound to you?  What are your reactions?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

So You May Have Noticed Some Changes

The blog was starting to refuse to show me comments again, and I couldn't fix it (last time I just ignored it for a while, and one day they were back and functioning again), so I've gone to a different layout, which so far, seems to have fixed the problem.  

If you prefer the old format, tell me, and I'll make an effort there, but otherwise, I think this variation may be here to stay for a while.  

As for real content..
I was thinking about a question one of my readers sent me quite a while ago, that my life over the summer prevented me from writing about- "How did you make the decision to go from kippah to tichel?".  I went back through what I've written here, and found this post about my transition, written around my  first anniversary.

Another year (and a few months) later, I'm feeling reflective about how that change felt.  The decision making was very much the organic process that I wrote about there.  

What I didn't write about is that I'd already made a decision that I wanted to cover more territory once I got married than I did as a single woman, so as to have some "space" to communicate (to myself, mostly) that I was covering for multiple purposes now.  

I wasn't expecting to want to cover all my hair- I had been thinking about leaving my hair down under a scarf or hat, as my presumptive place to start experimenting from.  I'd seen women do that, and it looked appealing- frum but not too frum, not so different from my unmarried practice, but different enough.  Then I got married, and I found that covering more thoroughly really called to me.  I'm still figuring that one out.

The other aspect of the question is a little more vague- I was rarely a "kippah all the time" person.  I covered my head all the time- but I had some scarves that I wore, headband style (I know this isn't news to longer time readers), in place of kippot a lot of the time.  So it was more a matter of unfolding those scarves and wrapping them in different ways some of the time.  Maybe that's what made tichels so appealing to me- they were already comfortable pieces of my wardrobe and of my religious life.  

What about you- I'm curious about other people's experiences in developing their current head covering practices.  Did you make a transition in your covering when you got married?  At some other point?  I'd love to feature some of your stories here.  Please leave comments, or talk to me by comment or email about writing or expanding something for the blog.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hat Attack October

I'm job hunting, these days.  So here's what I wore for a day at home- at least, on my head.  After this, I'm off to the library.  More informative and reflective posts coming fairly soon.

But first, it's time to participate in October's Hat Attack, organized by the Style Crone.  I wonder who else will participate this month.  It would be awesome to have more scarf-wrappers and innovative head coverers involved...  So you might head over, check it out, and maybe participate yourself.
It's done with two scarves.
 But it's less fuss than wrapping all the tails up and over- that takes some fuss to make them all fit.  This is quicker and easier.  I'm also enjoying the chance to do more styles with hanging ends, which never felt quite right for work at the hospital.  Who knows what will be right for my next job?