So now that you’ve read my Modesty Progression story, I’m sure you’re wondering…
What’s a tichel?!
Pronounced “Tickle”, tichel is the Yiddish word for headscarf. In the Orthodox Jewish community, women cover their hair once married, revealing their actual hair only to their husband. This is based off a story in the Old Testament where a woman had committed adultery and when she was taken before the high priests, the story tells us her hair was uncovered before them. This tells us that her hair was covered as a married woman in the days of the Israelites- which is why Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair today.
But how did a Lutheran American end up covering in the Orthodox Jewish style, you’re asking?
Well, let’s start with 1 Corinthians 11. After I made the decision to start taking modest dress seriously, it wasn’t long before headcovering was laid on my heart. I mean, the Amish and Mennonites and other conservative denominations must do it for a reason, right? But why? Is it really necessary?
Some pastors and Christian leaders take the stance that a woman’s hair is her covering. Others believe that while it is the glory of a woman, it’s not her covering based off the wording in 1 Corinthians 11. But which is the truth?
For me, doing some in depth Bible studies and reading sites like headcoveringmovement.com helped to bring clarity to the situation. There’s too much to go into here into the exact reasons why Paul tells the church in Corinth to have women cover their hair, but I encourage you to take a look at the chapter itself as well as the Head Covering Movement website. I’ll link some other resources below that expound on the topic in more depth.
Once I had decided to cover, I needed to decide two things: how and when.
For me, the when was easy. In 1 Corinthians 11, it tells women to cover when praying or prophesying. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it tells us to pray continually/without ceasing. I then extrapolated that meant I should cover all the time, or at least when out and about. It’s easy to throw a covering over my head at home if I want to pray; not so easy to do the same while standing in the checkout line at Aldi. If we have guests, almost all of the time I will cover, for the same ease of prayer. I also took a little inspiration from my Jewish Cousins of Abraham, where the women let their true hair show for their husbands; they have been living these rules and rites for much longer than we Christians have and I felt that if it worked for them for this long, then there is something I can learn from it. Only when I’m around Brian and Caleb do I wear my hair without a covering.
The how was a little more difficult to decide. After doing my research, I found that there were really only 4 options for full time covering. Veiling (which may often remind you of a bandana), Amish or Mennonite style kapps, hats/berets/snoods, and tichels. I thought long and hard about each. I decided against the veiling because I felt that, if I wanted to truly convey my faith through my headcovering, that a bandana would not always do that. I felt it was a little too casual for what I wanted. I did not want to wear an Amish or Mennonite style kapp because I’m not either of those faiths and I did not want to co-opt their important faith decisions for myself (side note: I have since discussed this over with Mennonite friends of ours, who have said they welcome my wearing of their style kapp; I have since found a similar style kapp not worn by any Anabaptist group around me, and am prayerfully considering it as another covering). Berets, Snoods, and Hats were definitely possible options, but I wanted to keep those more for slow or painful days where I needed easy options. That left the tichel, and so I started doing more research into it to see if it would actually work for me.
As I was researching, I discovered Wrapunzel. What a wonderful resource! They are a Baltimore based business owned by several Orthodox Jewish ladies, and they provide not only a place to purchase scarves and the correct undergarments, but wonderful support, tutorials, and a safe place online for all who chose to wrap, Be they Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, sick or well, or whatever reason you have found yourself interested in tichel style coverings.
Some other resources for headcovering include:
(Part 2 of my headcovering story will be on the blog tomorrow; be sure to check it out!)