||Demanding married women cover their hair. Jewish tradition requires women to cover their head, as evidence of modesty before men.
In biblical times, women covered their heads with veils or scarfs, as a sign of chastity and modesty. The unveiling of a woman's hair was considered a humiliation and punishment (Isa. 3:17; cf. Num. 5:18 on the loosening of the hair of a woman suspected of adultery). In talmudic times, too, women always covered their hair (e.g., Ned. 30b.; Num. R. 9:16). If a woman walked bareheaded in the street, her husband could divorce her without repaying her dowry (Ket. 7:6). Girls did not have to cover their hair until the wedding ceremony (Ket. 2:1). In some contemporary Sephardi communities, however, it is the custom even for unmarried girls to do so. Some rabbis compared the exposure of a married woman's hair to the exposure of her privy parts (Ber. 24a), and forbid the recital of any blessing in the presence of a bareheaded woman (ibid.). Pious women took care not to uncover their hair even in the house. This was particularly true of Kimhit, the mother of several high priests (Yoma 47a; Lev. R. 20:11). The general custom was to appear in public, and in the presence of strange men, with covered hair. It gradually became the accepted traditional custom for all Jewish women to cover their hair (see Sh. Ar., EH 21:2).
It was toward the end of the 18th century that some circles of women began to wear a wig (shaytl). This "innovation" was opposed by certain Orthodox authorities such as R. Moses Sofer. In modern times, however, only the strictly Orthodox insist on women covering their hair all the time. It remains the practice, however, even in some Reform congregations, for women to cover their hair in synagogue.