Oct 27, 2020

shortage of hair for sheitels

Just the other day Rav Yitzchak Yosef spoke about sheitels being prohibited because the hair is avoda zara, coming from the Indian temples.

Interestingly, the New York Times had an article about a month ago about a global shortage in hair for wigs and extensions. The shortage was caused by a confluence of factors, including the pandemic and lockdowns (and also less people going to the temples, and less people in the temples willing to process the hair and risk infection), but also politics and international disputes. According to the article, 80% of the hair for wigs comes from India and the temples there.

No, the New York Times article does not mention the Jews who wear wigs. It talks about the wigs for black women mostly.

I do not know if anything written in the article has any bearing on the halachic issue. It does not details the process of obtaining the hair nor the intent of the donors - just mentions where most hair comes from. Even if most of the hair does come from India and from the temples, which seems pretty accepted, that does not necessarily mean the hair is avoda zara (it might be tikrovet avoda zara, it might not be, depending on how the intent of the donor is determined, among other factors. speak to your LOR about the issue if it is relevant to you). But I guess it does mean that sheitel prices will be going up because of the shortage. Even if you don't think it is avoda zara, you might want to switch to tichels because of the shortage!

And if it is avoda zara, then perhaps the CoronaVirus was worth it (I doubt it) just to stop the flow of avoda zara into our communities!

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