Must a Kallah cover her hair during the Chuppah/wedding

Must a Kallah cover her hair during the Chuppah/wedding:[1]

The opinions: A woman is required to cover her hair from the time she is married and onwards.[2] It is debated amongst Poskim as to the exact definition of marriage in this regard; Does it refer to the Kiddushin, Chuppah, the Yichud room, or the actual culmination of the marriage later on in the privacy of their home? Aside for the debate brought in Poskim[3] as to what is the defining act of Nessuin, which makes a woman considered to be a Nesua, in addition, there is dispute in Poskim[4] as to whether the covering of the hair is dependent on the status of Nessuin or not. The following are the opinions on this matter:

  1. Chuppah: Some Poskim[5] rule that Nessuin is defined as the time that the Kallah stands under the Chuppah, and thus from that time and onwards she is considered married, [and is required to cover her hair like any married woman. According to this approach, seemingly a Kallah must come to her Chuppah wearing a head covering, such as a Sheital.[6]] Furthermore, some Poskim[7] rule that the legal definition of Nessuin is irrelevant regarding the obligation to cover the hair, as this obligation begins from the Kiddushin, and today that the Kiddushin is performed under the Chuppah, she therefore becomes obligated to cover her hair from that point and onwards.
  2. Yichud: Other Poskim[8] rule that Nessuin is defined as the time that the Chasan and Kallah remain together in privacy for the first time after the Chuppah, which is formally known as the Yichud room. Likewise, some Poskim[9] rule that the obligation to cover the hair begins from the Nessuin and not from the Kiddushin. [According to these joint opinions, from the Yichud room and onwards is she considered married, and is required to cover her hair like any married woman. According to this approach, seemingly a Kallah must come out of the Yichud room wearing a head covering, such as a Sheital.[10]]
  3. Morning after: Some Poskim[11] rule that regardless of the legal definition of Nessuin, the obligation of covering the hair only begins when the Chasan and Kallah culminate their marriage after the wedding in the privacy of their home.[12] According to this approach, a Kallah must only begin wearing a head covering, the morning after the wedding.

The final ruling and custom: Some Poskim[13] maintain that the main Halachic opinion regarding the definition of Nessuin follows the 2nd approach brought above, that a Kallah is considered a Nesua only from the time of the Yichud. Nonetheless, even in their opinion, we suspect for all the definitions of Nessuin, including that she is considered a Nesua from the time of the Chuppah.[14] Likewise, the majority of Poskim[15] rule that a Kallah must begin covering her hair at the very least from the point she is defined as a Nesua and onwards. Accordingly, a Kallah should come to her Chuppah wearing a head covering, and certainly should be wearing a Sheital after exiting the Yichud room. Nonetheless, the widespread custom amongst Jewry is not like this approach. Although, some are particular even today for the Kallah to attend the Chuppah in her Sheital, and even more are accustomed to have the Kallah come out of the Yichud room already wearing a head covering[16], nonetheless, this is not the mainstream approach. The vast majority of Kalla’s follow the third opinion, to only begin wearing a head covering from the morning after the wedding, and not beforehand.[17] Despite this, many Rabbanim[18] of Anash rule like the main opinion which requires the head to be covered either from the Chuppa, or at least from after the Yichud room. Practically, every Kallah is to ask her Rav. It is worth noting the great blessing given in the Zohar for one who is scrupulous in covering the hair, and certainly being stringent in this matter helps give a great abundance of blessing to the couple and future children.

Summary:

According to the mainstream approach in Poskim, a Kallah is to cover her hair starting from under the Chuppah, or at the very least from after the Yichud room, and so is followed by many. Nonetheless, the widespread custom is to cover the hair only after the wedding, the next morning, and practically, each Kallah is to ask her Rav for guidance and direction in this matter

 

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[1] See Admur 339/8; Michaber and Rama E.H. 55/1; Beir Heiytiv 21/5; Pischeiy Teshuvah 21/2; Shulchan Haeizer 5/5; Nitei Gavriel Nissuin 2/58; Koveitz Ohalei Torah 822-829

[2] Admur 75/4; Michaber E.H. 21/2 as explained in Beis Shmuel 21/5; Michaber 115/4

[3] As brought in Michaber and Rama E.H.  55/1 and the coming footnotes, the opinions of the definition of Nessuin varies from: 1) The bedecking; 2) The Chuppah; 3) Bringing her into one’s home, even without Yichud; 4) Yichud that is fit for Biya.

[4] Some Poskim rule even an Arussa must cover her head. [Chavos Yair 196; Teshuvas Yitzchak Halevi [brother of Taz] 9, brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5; Rav Akiva Eiger E.H. 21 and Tinyana 79; Beis Meir 21; Mayim Rabim 30; Erech Shaiy Apei Zutri; M”B 75/11] Other Poskim rule only a Nesua must cover her hair. [Shvus Yaakov 1/103, brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5; Masas Moshe E.H. 2/7; Yeshuos Yaakov E.H. 21/9; Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 15b] Other Poskim imply that only after Beilas Mitzvah must she cover her hair. [Chasam Sofer Y.D. 195]

[5] 1st opinion in Admur 339/8; 2nd opinion in Rama E.H. 55/1; Beis Yosef 61 in name of Orchos Chaim in name of Ittur; Rosh Sukkah 2/8; See Chelkas Mechokeik 55/7 and Aruch Hashulchan 55/7-9

Badeckining: Some Poskim rule that Nessuin is defined as the time that the Kallah has the sheet placed over her head, formally known as Badeckining, and thus from that time and onwards she is considered married. [3rd opinion in Rama E.H. 55/1; Tosafus Yuma 13b] According to this approach, seemingly a Kallah must start wearing a head covering, such as a Sheital, from her Badeckining. However, the Mishneh [Kesubos 2/1, brought in Chelkas Mechokeik 21/2] explicitly states that a Kallah comes out with her “Hinuma” and her hair uncovered, and hence we clearly see that this was not the stage that required covering the hair. Now, although one can argue that perhaps this only applied until the Chasan that placed the veil over her head, and once he does so, she must cover her hair [see Aruch Hashulchan 55/10] this only applied in previous times when Kiddushin was done before the Badeckining. However, today that the Badeckining is done before the Kiddushin and Chuppah, this form of Nissuin is no longer applicable according to any opinion, as there is no Nissuin before Kiddushin. [Chelkas Mechokeik 55/9; Aruch Hashulchan 55/10]

[6] The following Poskim emphasize a Nesua must cover her hair even if she is still a Besula: Shvus Yaakov 1/103 [in his full wording, not brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5] that a Nesua must cover her hair even is she is still a Besula; Yehoshua 89; Masas Moshe E.H. 2/7; Yeshuos Yaakov E.H. 21/1; Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 15b; Yad Eliyahu 79; Degul Merivava E.H. 21; This would certainly apply according to all Poskim brought in next footnote

[7] Chavos Yair 196; Teshuvas Yitzchak Halevi [brother of Taz] 9, brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5; Rav Akiva Eiger E.H. 21 and Tinyana 79; Beis Meir 21; Mayim Rabim 30; Erech Shaiy 21; Apei Zutri; M”B 75/11; See Admur 75/4 and Michaber E.H. 21/2 that “an Eishes Ish is obligated to cover her hair” which implies an Arussa!

[8] The following Poskim rule it must be Yichud that is fit for Biya: 2nd opinion in Admur 339/8; Michaber E.H. 55/1; Rambam Ishus 10; The following Poskim rule that the Yichud is not needed to be fit for Biya, and it suffices to bring her into one’s home: 1st opinion in Rama E.H. 55/1 and Ran Kesubos 1a; Chelkas Mechokeik 55/6

[9] Shvus Yaakov 1/103 [in his full wording, not brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5] that a Nesua must cover her hair even is she is still a Besula; Yehoshua 89; Masas Moshe E.H. 2/7; Yeshuos Yaakov E.H. 21/1; Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 15b; Yad Eliyahu 79; Degul Merivava E.H. 21; Shvus Yaakov 1/103 [in his full wording, not brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5] that a Nesua must cover her hair even is she is still a Besula; Yehoshua 89; Masas Moshe E.H. 2/7; Yeshuos Yaakov E.H. 21/1; Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 15b; Yad Eliyahu 79; Degul Merivava E.H. 21; This would certainly apply according to all Poskim brought in previous footnotes who hold from Eirusin and onwards she must cover her hair

[10] The following Poskim emphasize a Nesua must cover her hair even if she is still a Besula: Shvus Yaakov 1/103 [in his full wording, not brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5] that a Nesua must cover her hair even is she is still a Besula; Masas Moshe E.H. 2/7; Yeshuos Yaakov E.H. 21/9; Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 15b; Degul Merivava E.H. 21; Chavos Yair 196; Teshuvas Yitzchak Halevi [brother of Taz] 9, brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5; Rav Akiva Eiger E.H. 21 and Tinyana 79; Beis Meir 21; Mayim Rabim 30; Erech Shaiy Apei Zutri; M”B 75/11; See Admur 75/4 and Michaber E.H. 21/2 that “an Eishes Ish is obligated to cover her hair” which implies an Arussa!

[11] Implication of Chasam Sofer Y.D. 195 that we cover the hair only after Beilas Mitzvah [however see Kinyan Torah 2/43 that this refers to the shaving of the head and not the head covering]; Rosh Kesubos 2/3 that hair may be uncovered the first day after Chuppah, brought in Mahariy Levi 9; Masas Moshe E.H.  2/7; See Sefer Hachaim 263; Beis Shearim Y.D. 273; See Halichos Bas Yisrael p. 80; Nittei Gavriel 34/1 and 7

The opinion of the Shvus Yaakov: Some Melaktim mention that a possible way of learning the Shvus Yaakov 1/103, brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5, is that the matter is dependent on whether she is a Besula or Beula, however in truth, when looking in the actual words of the Shvus Yaakov ibid, he clearly writes that his discussion refers to an Arussa who is a Besula, and not a Nesua, in which case even if she is a Besula she must cover her hair. The Melaktim who wrote otherwise seemingly based their statement on the partial quote brought in the Beir Heiytiv ibid and not in the actual source. Nonetheless, the Shvus Yaakov ibid does testify to the custom that the Kallah goes with uncovered hair on the day of her Chuppah, which can be learned to imply like this approach that until the next morning she does not have to cover her hair.

[12] The reason: Possibly the reason is because the covering of hair of a married woman is connected with the Mitzvah of Sotah, which is the source for the law of covering the hair, and since a woman cannot become a Sotah until after the Beilas Mitzvah, so too perhaps the covering of the hair obligation does not begin until then. [See Shvus Yaakov ibid “”She would go with uncovered hair the day of the wedding because there is no worry that she would be promiscuous on that day”; See Koveitz Ohalei Torah ibid]

[13] Beis Shmuel 55/5; Bach 55; Nitei Gavriel 58/5 footnote 6 that the main opinion is like the Michaber, that Yichud is Koneh; However see Admur 339/5 and M”A 339/11 that Chuppah is Koneh a Besula, and from the wording it is implied only that we suspect for the opinion of the Rambam that one needs Yichud to be Konneh, and not that the Rambam is the main opinion; The Rama 55/1 concludes that we do all the stages of Chuppah to cover all the opi8nions, and does not give any arbitration as to who the main opinion follows; See also M”A 55

[14] See Rama ibid; Admur ibid; Chelkas Mechokeik ibid

[15] Shvus Yaakov 1/103 [in his full wording, not brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5]; Masas Moshe E.H. 2/7; Yeshuos Yaakov E.H. 21/9; Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 15b; See Degul Merivava E.H. 21; Chavos Yair 196; Teshuvas Yitzchak Halevi [brother of Taz] 9, brought in Beir Heiytiv 21/5; Rav Akiva Eiger E.H. 21 and Tinyana 79; Beis Meir 21; Mayim Rabim 30; Erech Shaiy Apei Zutri; M”B 75/11

[16] See Nitei Gavriel 58/5 that the custom is to cover the hair after the Yichud room, and some do so already before the Chuppah;

[17] See article of Rav Hendel in Koveitz Ohalei Torah ibid; Halichos Bas Yisrael p. 80; Nittei Gavriel 34/1; Rav Rafael Kahn stated to Rav Mundshine that the custom in Russia was to only cover the hair the next morning; Rav Yungreiss of the Eida Hachareidis acknowledged to Rav Mundshine that so is the Minhag

Custom of Sefaradim: The Sefaradi custom is to only begin covering the hair the next morning. However, this is because they hold the main Kinyan of Nessuin is the Yichud [as rules Michaber 55/1] and they do not perform Yichud by the Chuppah. However, according to the Asheknazi custom to perform Yichud by the Chuppah, they agree that Ashekanzim must come out of the Yichud room with covered hair. [See Yabia Omer1/8; Yechaveh Daas 5/62; Heard from Harav Yaakov Yosef]

[18] So rules: Rav Z.S. Dworkin [after Chuppah-brought in Nittei Gavriel 58 footnote 9; However Rav Mundshine writes that he heard from Rav Cheikin that he ruled that only the next day a covering is needed]; Rav Osdaba [from Chuppah]; Rav Ashkenazi [from Yichud room]; See Yabia Omer1/8; Yechaveh Daas 5/62; Heard from Harav Yaakov Yosef that Ashkenazim must cover the hair from after the Yichud room and onwards. The custom of Beis Harav: Some have a tradition that this custom was likewise followed in Beis Harav, and that the Rebbetzins did not cover their hair until the next morning after the Chuppah. [Heard from Rav Y.L. Groner that so is the tradition that he received, that his grandmother [from Beis Harav] did not cover her hair.] However, there is clear testimony that the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka covered her hair from the Yichud room and onwards, and that so was the directive she gave to the Gurary families who follow the tradition of Beis Harav, that the Kallah’s should all cover their hair in the Yichud room and onwards, and so was practiced by Gurary family members, clearly contradicting the above testimony of Rav Groner. [See Teshuros of Gurary family weddings; See Oahalei Torah ibid]

The Rebbe’s approach: Some say that the Rebbe once inquired if the hair would be covered under the Chuppah although the Rebbe answered people who asked that they should follow the Minhag Hamakom. The Rebbe never made a public statement about this issue, and was Misader Kiddushin for couples that had their hair uncovered under the Chuppah. [See Leket Shichichas Hapeia p. 30; Ohalei Torah ibid]

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