Dear Heshy: I saw a frum woman wearing a bikini and covering her hair!

I just received the following, and I’ve been getting them for years :

Greetings, thought would like this…my family and I are hanging by the pool…and there is this obvious young Lubavitcher long beard, baseball cap and his wife with a perfect Israeli Style Tichel/kerchief not one hair showing ….yet in a tiny bikini!!! What’s with that?? Bikini is ok? but she cannot show her hair??? I get that some people pick and choose and I am guilty of that but this takes the cake!For years I’ve been hearing about those “hypocritical” modern orthodox ladies in Miami over Pesach who wear thongs and snoods on the beach. I can honestly say that, despite rumors of the bikini clad ladies with sheitles, tichels and snoods, I’ve never had the honor to see one. I’m sure it’s true, I’ve seen plenty of supposedly hypocritical things in my days of frum community observations, but let us just look at the case of the pritzus ladies with their hair covered.

Quite some time ago I realized, and was subsequently informed, that covering of the hair and tznius are two separate things. While both are definitely steeped in social orthodoxy, one is actually based on sexual ideas and the other is based on spiritual ideas. Unmarried and married ladies both need to cover all of the same parts (we can probably debate this all day) while only married ladies need to cover their hair.

I’m sure some poskim are probably reading this post and I wonder what they would say to whether or not it’s more important to dress tzniusly or to cover your hair as a married lady. We can point our fingers at Israel who has plenty of ladies that choose hair coverings (mostly because it’s in this hippie kind of fashion) over dressing in strict tznius standards. I know girls who wear pants, tank tops and full head scarves. Hypocritical? Or just choosing hair covering and their own style?

Of course, most people jump to conclusions (I sure as hell do, because it’s way more fun to be a judgmental asshole then do my research) when it comes to our pick and choose Judaism. Covering your hair while wearing a bikini is kind of like a tefillin date. Just because you just had illicit sex, doesn’t mean you can’t wrap (or lay) tefillin. It just means that you’re not perfect and in the eyes of the irreligious and the super religious you’re a moron.

Now let’s switch the scenario, instead of saying that those ladies are being hypocrites, let’s do it this way. Wow, I saw a women who was dressed super scandalous, yet she still covered her hair, that’s some dank mesiras nefesh.

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