Wig wearing Jewish wives face divorce
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Wig wearing Jewish wives face divorce

THE spiritual leader of Shas, Israel's biggest Orthodox political party and part of the government coalition, has called for men in his God-fearing flock to divorce their wives if they wear wigs.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's comments have caused consternation among wig-wearing Shas followers who regard him as a divine messenger. The rabbi said: "The use of a wig is forbidden. Walk in the way of the Torah. Our rabbis and sages all wrote that if a woman goes out in public with a wig, her husband must divorce her."

Orthodox women are forbidden to expose their natural hair for fear of arousing impure thoughts, but wigs are also opposed on the grounds that they may be even more attractive.

There is a brisk trade in wigs in Jerusalem's Orthodox neighbourhoods where they are often preferred to hats or scarves and can catch fetch several thousand pounds. Most are earthy brown 1950s-style bobs, but a few have a blonde tinge.

Rabbi Yosef is a Sephardi Jew and his ruling is being interpreted by some as a challenge to Ashkenazi rabbis who tend to take a more relaxed approach.

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