Head Covering (Tichel) Kinda Like Tefillin

There is a beautiful post from way back in August of 2001 written by Leonard Prager (lprager@research.haifa.ac.il) where he brings tidbits and highlights from on older Yiddish Machzor (as well as two beautiful Yiddish poems about Yom Kippur).  One of the Machzorim  [Yehoyesh version, 1926] had a translation of the Shema I found fascinating.  When talking about the Tefillin the Shema tells us to wear, the translation reads un zey zoln zayn far a shternband tsvishn dayne oygn.”   The translation tells us that the Tefillin will serve as the “shternband” which is the same name women in old time Europe called their fancy head coverings. 

 You see, the Tefillin Shel Rosh and the woman’s head covering (tichel) do one and the same.  It should connect us and focus us on Hashem, get us to be aware of G-d. 

You might then ask me, why don’t men wear their Tefillin all day just as the women wear their head coverings all day?  A man takes off his Tefillin when he is not learning or davening so as to not  profane it when not fully committed to G-d and G-d alone.  A woman doesn’t take off her head covering.  A woman, living life right, in all her actions is doing the “Avodah” is doing the work of G-d.  Feeding her family, cleaning her home, she is like the Kohayn, like the High Priest.  That is why, in this week’s Parsha, we find that the mirrors the women used to make themselves pretty were found to be worthy of being used in the construction of the Kiyor, the copper washbasin in the Mishkan.  Because, even in beautifying themselves, the women were focused on G-d.  Even with your pretty shawl, as you tie your tichel this morning and every morning, realize you are putting on the women’s version of Tefillin proudly.

Too Cool Not So Cool — Go For Classics

This young Jewish lady from old-time Algiers covered her hair with what might have been hip and cool in her time. tryagain 260x300 Too Cool Not So Cool    Go For Classics

 But like the unicorn she looks like, this style is long gone.  Do you wonder why some of us fall for the fad-of-the-moment? 

Is it pressure from our neighbors, to want to fit in and try to show how fashionable we might be?  If it is, we must, as a Rav said, choose, do we want Shechina or Shechayna — do we want to impress G-d or our neighbors? 

Or, are outlandish styles stemming from a need to be noticed?  My mother taught us not to try to be the avant garde.  She always quoted the holy woman who told the Navee, “B’soch Amee Anochee Yosheves”, which translated means “in the midst of my nation I dwell”.  In other words, she was saying, she had no urge to make herself a target standout, the one being noticed and about whom others oohed and ahhed. 

When putting together your ensemble and matching the right headcovering to it, ask yourself, is it a timeless, classically beautiful one.  Or is it pushing the envelope just because your neighbors and friends are urging you to wear it or because you want some attention.

Here are some tichels that bespeak elegance and probably would stand the test of time.

beret hiver noir1 Too Cool Not So Cool    Go For Classicsgyy0035 Too Cool Not So Cool    Go For Classics

Tying the Tichel – Quick Pointers

Elsewhere on this site, you can view a tutorial on how to tie your tichel properly.  It is way easier to see it in video format than to read instructions.  Yet, there are a few pointers I’d like to give you here.

 If you have two left hands, as do I, you might want to look into pre-ties, a variety of tichels that are already set for you. 

 If you, however, want the luxury of being able to select patterns of every sort and variety, your scarf can be bought or made out of any square of fabric.

 ■ Starting with a square..that is the key word to manage the tying. 

 Fold the square diagonally so that you have a triangular shape.  ▼

 Put two of the corners on either side of your shoulders and one down your back. 

Now take the corners that are on either side of your shoulders and tie it underneath the material that leads to the corner down your back.  This will give you a bandanna look.

Okay, ready…tuck the last loose corner under your knot, bring the two hanging ends up and wind it around the whole affair. It ought to look like a low-slung material bun at the nape of your neck.

Then again, you can always resort back to the pre-ties icon wink Tying the Tichel – Quick Pointers   which might look like this:

big yom yom with points Tying the Tichel – Quick Pointers 


Double the Covering – Twofold Blessings

In this upcoming week’s Torah portion [Parshat Yisro], we are told of the mountain held above the Jewish nation’s heads as we accepted the Torah at Sinai.  Kinda like a wedding canopy, G-d stretched out and suspended Mt. Sinai.    We are told G-d was trying to make us aware that when we try to base our whole beings around rational expectations, we often miss the spiritual experiences and don’t strive for all we can be in terms of soulful living.  Therefore, G-d suspended the mountain above us and told us we must learn to curb our limited rationalizations and expand our trust in Heaven.

 In our individual lives, we do the same, have something above us, trying to remind us of a lesson learned long ago at the giving of the Torah at Sinai. We call this custom Kisoy Rosh – -the covering of one’s head.  For a man, we can learn of some of its significance of what they are doing when donning a Kippah through the word Yarmulka, which is a composition of two words:  Yaray M’elokah – Awed by G-d.   We put the head covering right over our skull which houses our brains to proclaim we know G-dliness and spirituality goes beyond the limits of our brain.  That is why you will see Jewish men proudly sporting all types of head coverings, from knitted kippot to big, furry shtraimels.  It is their tool to focus on G-d.

 Yet, for a Jewish woman there is an additional reason to why she covers her head.  That second reason is through covering of the married Jewish woman’s hair she is proclaiming she will be focused on channeling her passion on building a healthy marriage.  Since there are two reasons to a woman’s head covering, there are many Jewish women [especially within the Sefardic and Chassidic groups] who are careful to cover their heads with TWO layers.  This can be accomplished by doing a fold in the scarf so that two layers of scarf covers. 

Another way of doing this is by wearing one of the stylish head coverings and wearing either a band,  hat or just another some type of layer right on top of it. Like this one:kaly rosee4 150x150 Double the Covering   Twofold Blessings

And then there are always those women who have a wig and perch atop of it a little hat or scarf. 

 Ah, now you know, why some folks have two layers.  And, yes, it is extremely pretty, too!  That, my friend is just the added benefit.


Hi Ladies !

And welcome to my new blog.

My name is Odelia,

Recently I met a lot of women and realized the need for women to learn and know more about the headscarf, crowning glory of a Jewish woman.

I realized a lot of women might feel terrible about how they look because they do not know they can be modest and beautiful.

They just throw a piece of cloth on their heads and accept that “there is nothing to do, you have to accept that … ”

Well, that’s not true!

yom yom avec clip papillon 150x150  Welcome, Sisters !

  • Here we will see and learn how you can be beautiful with the  right head cover for you.
  • We will learn HOW TO TIE A TICHEL in many ways.
  • We learn to match to our personalities and needs the right head covering!
  • There will be a lot more of interesting and powerful things hear.

But here I need your help, please let me know your thoughts on teh matter, what interests you and what you want to talk about when it comes to head coverings.

 You’re welcome to write your own inspiring or interesting stories, or any kind of info that can interest or help other  women.

I’m open to ideas,

Together we can share ideas and support each other.

See you until next time.


kaly rosee 1 150x150  Welcome, Sisters !big yom yom with points 2 150x150  Welcome, Sisters !sb122 150x150  Welcome, Sisters !gyy0035 150x150  Welcome, Sisters !

sb117 150x150  Welcome, Sisters !


kaly rosee1  Welcome, Sisters !






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