April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Prior to our marriage there was little discussion as to whether or not Nina would cover her hair following the big day. She remembers the relief seen in the eyes of her beloved when she said that covering her hair was something she expected to do. Keep in mind that neither of our mothers covered their hair.

A sheitel did not enter into the picture until we were married about two years, when Nina began to feel that wearing hats detracted from her intention of getting “really dressed up” for a wedding or similar function. She was in the company of the wives of many roshei yeshiva and most wore sheitels.

As the years passed, the culture of sheitels became a big business. Synthetic wigs became out of the question, although it worked well for many years. Suddenly the industry grew and the prices grew. We are still in shock at the amount of money that is being spent and the number of wigs that women own.

Young girls about to be married require at least two, if not three, wigs. Of course, there must be one for Shabbat, another for the week and a hat fall to be worn under hats. Then, of course, there is also the ponytail sheitel, which is kind of sporty. Nina once tried to explain to a young lady about to be married that perhaps she would be better off buying only one wig so that she would be able to acclimate herself to wearing something so tight-fitting on her head. She also suggested that perhaps the style she was choosing at first might not be something she would be comfortable with four months later. A look of consternation came upon the young lady’s face, as if to say, “How would you know?”

The conclusion we have come to is that although “only her hairdresser will know for sure,” underneath Nina’s sheitel and many other women’s sheitels are heads full of gray hair. Obviously, gray connotes not knowing anything! (Even though we make sure to cover our gray so that it will not pop out from below our sheitels.) What is most disturbing is that the adage of older and wiser might be written in fairytales, it definitely does not seem to affect the younger generation today. Everyone seems to know everything, and if they do not they just “Google” it. The problem with Google is that it has no experience with life. Will it tell you that along with the excitement of getting a hair covering might come some normal times when it seems quite burdensome? Will it forewarn you that Chevy used to be the name referenced to a type of car? Do they know that Claire and Ralph are probably still a step above Shevy in some circles? Covering the gray does not erase the many years of experience and life situations we have lived through. We have heard from others that suggestions are not warranted unless they are requested, and there is no need to ask because everyone knows everything. The only people capable of answering questions properly are those of the same generation. A young girl is certainly not going to ask an older woman where or how she should choose her wig.

Young people planning a trip would not think of going to a travel agent who works to ensure that whatever their concerns and desires are will be met. The young consumer today knows all of the ins and outs of travel by using the internet. Years of training are inconsequential.

Older teachers with years of experience have far less ability to communicate with young children today than their younger colleagues. They need to be put out to pasture.

Doctors who have been working in their professions for years are suddenly, in the minds of the younger generation, not up to date with the latest methods of medicine. (Obviously, the gray is interfering with their brains.)

And lastly, but not finally, parents who have raised children over the past many years have no idea of what the complexities of raising a family are. There was no sibling rivalry, bullying, jealousy of peers, learning disabilities or family conflict. Everything was always hunky dory.

What does all of this mean? Certainly, covering up the gray doesn’t trick anyone into thinking we are younger! We guess that in each generation as people got older they were faced with these same challenges. The significant difference might be that in previous generations older people were really “old.” They acted older and appeared considerably older. They didn’t toboggan with their grandchildren, zip line with them, discuss the Yankees scores with them and gossip about the latest shades of nail polish or review a good book. The saving grace is when a couple can giggle with each other when they realize that they probably did the same thing to the older generation when they began their life’s march.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

 

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