Shpitzel

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A Jewish woman wearing a sheitel with a shpitzel or snood on top of it

A shpitzel is a head covering worn by some married Hasidic women. It is a partial wig that only has hair in the front, the rest typically covered by a small pillbox hat or a headscarf.[1] The hairpiece may actually be silk or lace,[2] or else made of synthetic fibers, to avoid too closely resembling real hair.

According to Jewish law (halacha) concerning modesty (tzniut), a woman must cover her hair after marriage.[3][4] The shpitzel was popular among Hungarian Hasidim in the 19th century, and it is worn by some contemporary women who follow the customs of that community.

Etymology[edit]

The Yiddish word "Shpitzel" is related to the grammatical diminutive of the high-German word "Spitze" which can either mean "point" or "lace"; the latter translation is most likely the right one in the context of this article. (It must not be confused with the high-German "Spitzel" which is a spy or a snitch.)

The term shpitzel may also be used to refer to the ends of a loaf of bread in some dialects.[5] In this case, the above-mentioned translation "Spitze" = (end)point/peak is applicable, with its High German grammatical diminutive "Spitzchen".

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Hella Winston (15 November 2006). Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels. Beacon Press. pp. 21, 181. ISBN 978-0-8070-3627-3. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  2. ^ Elbinger, Naomi. "The Tichel: A Short History of Headcovering Fashion". Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha'ezer 115, 4; Orach Chayim 75,2; Even Ha'ezer 21, 2
  4. ^ Schiller, Mayer. "The Obligation of Married Women to Cover Their Hair". JHCS 30, 1995, 81–108.
  5. ^ Vaux, Bert. "Dialect Survey: What do you call the end of a loaf of bread?". Retrieved January 13, 2013.