Hair Covering by a Bride Immediately After the Wedding Ceremony: A Brief Follow Up
Guest post by R. Michael J. Broyde
Rabbi Michael Broyde is a law professor at Emory University, was the founding rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta, and is a member (dayan) in the Beth Din of America
As is widely known (see Yechave Da’at 5:62 for a review), there is a dispute among the poskim about when a bride needs to start covering her hair. Some say after erusin, some say after nesuin, some say after yichud, and some say not until the next morning. In my reply to Rabbi Shulman, entitled “Hair Covering and Jewish Law: A Response” which was published in Tradition 43:2 89-108 (2010) I made the following claim:
Indeed, this school of thought argues that even women who are married but not “sotah eligible” need not cover their hair; hence a betrothed woman (arusah) does not have to cover her hair and even a woman who is a fully (nesuah) but has not yet been intimate with her husband need not cover her hair, since she too is not yet sotah eligible.
And in footnote 24 of that article I stated:
I have in my possession a responsum from R. Moshe Feinstein, dated 15 Elul 5745, to R. Aharon Tendler, forthcoming for publication which states, in relevant part:
The obligation of a woman to cover her hair takes effect only after the first night since it is from that point on that she has the status of one who has been intimate with her husband. She does not have to cover her hair immediately after huppah and yihud since at that point she does not yet have the status of one who has been intimate with her husband. The reason is obvious, since as a matter of marriage law, there is no distinction between an arusah and a nesuah, rather the obligation to cover her hair is dependent on whether or not she has been intimate with her husband.
I assumed, incorrectly, that the teshuva was in fact set to be published in the ninth volume of Iggerot Moshe, but apparently it was not, and a few readers have emailed me asking where I had seen a copy of the teshuva, and if I could share a copy.
The teshuva in question was distributed as part of a pre-publication selection of teshuvot printed in honor of the chasunah of Zev Shub and Tzipora Tova Tendler on January 6, 2010. I attach a copy of the relevant pages of this material for others to see: link.