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What is a Sheitel?

According to Jewish tradition, women must cover their hair at all. Why do devout Jewish women wear wigs? The reason for this action is modesty. They wear scarves, veils, hats or wigs (Sheitel) to hide their hair. Especially, a woman has to cover her hair in public when she gets married. Her hair must be completely hidden so that no one can see her hair. Some women take this step further, and they keep their hair covered at all times, in their home and maybe even within their bedroom.

Sheitel is a wig or half-wig worn by some married Orthodox Jewish women in order to obey with the requirement of Jewish law to cover their hair. Some Hasidic groups encourage sheitels, while others avoid them.


In 2004, there was a degree of controversy over natural hair sheitels procured from India. It was discovered that the hair used for the production of these wigs was taken from a Hindu temple. According to Jewish law, one cannot derive benefit from anything used in practices considered to be idolatry. Today, many wigs used by Jewish women come with a hechsher (kosher certification), indicating that they are not made with hair originating from rituals deemed to be idolatrous.


However, in the 19th century, the external change of life forced many women to go out without covering their hair. And some Jewish women find it more convenient to replace their traditional veil with a wig. It’s a reason why Jewish women wear wigs instead of scarves.Wearing wigs also means they don’t expose their hair. And it’s difficult to aware someone is wearing a wig.

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