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Author:  Aaron Abadi
E-mail:  aabadi@kashrut.org
Date:  5/21/2004 7:29:00 PM
Subject:  The big wig question
Message:  What is the basis to permit the wigs made from Indian hair?
Reply:  Lately there has been much talk about the human hair wigs that may contain hair from India. In India there is a Hindu Temple that supplies a huge quantity of the Indian hair sold around the globe. Those concerned feel that the hair is cut at the Temple as an offering (Korban) to their Avoda Zara (idol). If a non-Jew discards an actual idol, it is then permitted, however offerings are unique in that even a non-Jew cannot remove the prohibition. My father wrote a Teshuva that is available on our website www.kashrut.org/hindu_hair.doc .

The gist of his decision to permit the wigs is as follows:
·     The Hindus do not consider the hair an offering, but rather they sacrifice their egos by removing their hair. Even if some stray Hindus personally believe in the hair as a sacrifice, it is still not “Darko BeKach” (the official service to this idol), which is one of the Talmud’s requirements to consider it an offering.
·     The cutting of the hair is merely a means to remove the hair, not a sacrificing of the hair.
·     In order for something to be considered an offering, it must be something brought in our Jewish Beit Hamikdash (Temple). We do not bring human hair.
·     In order to be a sacrifice it must be brought inside the Temple before the idol. This is not the case with the hair.
·     Each wig is only a Safek (chance) that it has hair from a Hindu ritual. Not all hair and not all Indian hair come from this Temple.
·     For more facts look at the Teshuva.

The issue is an old issue and many Rabbanim addressed it then and concluded that it was no problem for these same reasons. No one knows why it was reopened, since there is no real new information. This mass “wig burning” ritual looks itself like Avoda Zara. It has been said that many of the proponents to the wig burning are opposed to women wearing wigs at all. They believe that Jewish women must not look pretty. That is not the case and not the reason why women are required to cover their hair. My father proves that in his Sefer Ohr Yitzchak (Even HaEzer #3). Each Jewish woman is a princess and is entitled and encouraged to look like one. Wearing a wig has been approved by most Poskim over the generations, even when it looks close to natural hair. Those who do not agree should not use Avoda Zara tales to promote their agenda.

Aaron Abadi

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