Q. Why does Judaism legislate so much about people’s hair?
A. Laws and practices to do with hair include men and married women wearing headcovering, men having beards, men not shaving at certain times of the year, and boys having a ceremonial haircut at the age of 3.
Behind them all is the concept that the hair is a mark of glory. In the presence of God, men and married women cover their heads because the Divine glory is greater than their own.
Married women have the additional duty to ensure that only within marital privacy is their hair shown. Men not shaving at certain times put God’s law above their personal vanity.
These principles give rise to much detailed discussion – headcovering, but what kind? For women – a hat, a wig, a headscarf? For men – a big kippah, a small kippah, a hat on top of the kippah? Headcovering in bed at night? And the fascinating questions about the status of “the hoary head” and the problem of male baldness…