Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Devotional/Men's Head Covering Source: Pesachim 111b

Thanks for the translation in this post go to Sarah Mulhern, rabbinical student and a friend of mine.  Commentary (and any blame) is, of course, mine.

ההוא בר קשא דמתא דאזיל וקאי גבי זרדתא דהוה סמיך למתא, עלו ביה שיתין שידי ואיסתכן. אתא לההוא מרבנן דלא ידע דזרדתא דשיתין שידי היא, כתב לה קמיע לחדא שידא. שמע דתלו חינגא בגויה, וקא משרו הכי: סודריה דמר כי צורבא מרבנן, בדיקנא ביה במר דלא ידע ברוך אתא 

A certain town-officer went and stood by a bush near a town, whereupon he was set upon by sixty demons and his life was in danger. He then went to a scholar who did not know that the bush was haunted by sixty demons, and so he wrote a one-demon amulet for it. After, he heard how the demons suspended a harp on the tree and [mocked him] singing: ‘The man's turban is like a scholar's, yet we have examined him and found that he does not know "Baruch Atah".’

This source is very much aggadah: story, rather than halakha.  Obviously, the story is full of folk beliefs of the time- demons and amulets.  But it tells us something about what wearing a turban indicated socially in the time.  Namely, it was a marker of status, and seemingly, intellectual status.  It wasn't what every man wore- and wearing one in this case was viewed as pretentiousness for the "scholar" in this piece of aggadah.

Obviously, head covering doesn't have any of the same connotations now- although I've heard similar sorts of reactions to the relative "frumkeit" of how people dress.   
A couple photos from a few weeks ago.  Deeper content in progress.  
The scarf was a gift from a friend- and filled a gap in my "wardrobe", as I had nothing of that sort of vibrant pink.  The criss-cross is a pair of headbands.  The scarf slipped back a little- they show a bit more than I'd originally planned.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm Back Again. Hoping to Stay Back, This Time.

It's been a long time quiet here, but once again, I'm making a stab at getting the shutters open and content coming out.  I'll start with a few photos from a while ago, then start adding more serious content.  I have a few things that need to be copied out that were shared with me a while back, and some amazing source sheets to work from, courtesy of a wonderful friend and scholar who did some teaching on the topic of head covering at Pardes recently.

 This was an experiment with asymmetrical styling.  On one side, a braid.  On the other, a knot.
It didn't stay up very well- the materials were too slippery.  I'm not sure if it will be a continued experiment or not.  We'll see.