Reader's Questions On Head Coverings

QUESTION:

What do you believe concerning the woman's headcovering and why? I can actually look back to the time of Noach and see possible specific reasons for headcovering of the females. The time may come upon us again soon when our Creator desires this to be done. I am open to it (and have been for several years) if it is led by YHWH.

ANSWER:

First let's shed some clarity on First Corinthians 11 and then proceed to answer the question from there.

1Cr 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Messiah is Elohim.

So we see that Shaul's main point in this chapter is that women should be subject to their heads (men) and men should be subject to their head (YHWH). If he makes any other points they are secondary points to back up the main point of focus, which is proper headship in the assembly. With this "interpretation key", let's take a look at the rest of the chapter.

1Cr 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his Head (Yahweh - his spiritual "covering") covered (hidden, i.e. exalting himself above YHWH, as the Pharisee in Yahshua's parable [Lk 18:10-14] -- in plain words, he's trying to cover YHWH, instead of the other way around), dishonoureth his Head (YHWH).

1Cr 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head (husband) uncovered (by Yahweh, like the man in the previous verse) dishonoureth her head (husband): for that is even all one as if she (also) were shaven (exposed, uncovered by YHWH as well, considering that the husband and wife are basar echad or "one flesh").

1Cr 11:6 For if the woman be not covered (by a believing husband, and therefore by YHWH), let her also be shorn (accounted as uncovered): but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered (i.e. draw her husband back to the belief, preforming her YHWH ordained role as helpmeet, before she attempts to publicly pray for and prophesy to others in the assembly [1Cr 11:8,9]).

1Cr 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his Head (YHWH), considering that he is [only] the image and glory of YHWH (masterpiece of creation, but not the Creator Himself):....

1Cr 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have (YHWH's) Authority over her head (husband) because of the messengers.

Then in the verses which follow, Shaul gives the picture of the natural covering of long hair on women and short hair on men (Ezek 44:20) to clarify the point he is trying to get across, by asking, "Does not nature itself even teach you?"

So as I stand at this point, I don't see anything in 1 Corinthians 11 which speaks of a definitive covering of the hair. At the same time, however, I am still leaning toward the understanding that the practice of covering the head is supported by the Tanakh. Following are some of my observations as they relate to the subject, and possible "indications" which I see, both in history and in the Father's Word.

Historically, women covered the head. In Jewish society, a woman's head was always covered outside of the home, and for the very devout, it was covered all the time. A woman going about with loosed hair, spinning in the street (which involved removing the outer garment, thereby baring the arms and lifting up the skirt to expose the thighs), familiarly talking with men, etc -- all issues of unchasteness and immodesty -- was actually deemed by the Rabbis as loose and flirty enough to warrant a divorce (Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life pg. 145)! In some of the Apocryphal books from around Yahshua's time, such as the visions of Hermas, the adversary's messengers are also symbolically depicted as women dressed in black with uncovered heads and loosed hair.

3 Hermas 9:80. "Then were there called twelve very stately women, clothed with a black garment, girded, and their shoulders free, and their hair loose.... 81 And the shepherd commanded them to take up those stones which were cast out of the building, and carry them back to the mountains out of which they were taken."

3 Hermas 9:128 "Hear also concerning those stones which were rejected.... 30 After that they beheld those women which thou sawest clothed with a black garment, with their shoulders at liberty and their hair let loose; they fixed their desires upon them, being tempted with their beauty; and were clothed with their power, and cast off the clothing of the virgins. 31 Therefore they were cast off from the house of Elohim and delivered to those women. But they that were not corrupted with their beauty, remained in the House of Elohim. This, said He, is the signification of those stones which were rejected."

3 Hermas 9:132 "And I said, Sir, what if any of these men shall repent and cast away their desire of those women, and be converted, and return to these virgins, and put on again their virtue; shall they not enter into the House of Elohim? 133 They shall enter, said He, if they shall lay aside all the works of those women, and shall resume the power of these vergins, and shall walk in their works."

According to the Torah, if a man suspected his wife of unfidelity, part of the procedure to determine if she was guilty involved the priest's uncovering her head (Num 5:18,19). To me, YHWH seems to be saying something in this.

Today, women (and men, but women especially) deck out their hair and show it off for all the world. When we see beauty salons boasting the name "Sheer Tempations", and such, I think that should really say something to us about a need for more modesty and coming out of defiled America and the Babylonian whore (1 Pet 3:1-5). You mentioned possibly seeing a reason for women covering the head in the days of Noach. My observations are that we are pretty much in the same boat right now. We are smack-dab in the middle of a Sodom and Gomorrah, and this time the earth is going to be destroyed by fire and brimstone instead of by flood (Rev 18:8, 21:8).

In our society, when covering the head is abhored (unless with a sassy looking, cock-eyed baseball cap, or flaming-red, gang-member style bandana, or cowboy hat and skin-tight jeans, or anything else except something reserved looking and modest), women's head coverings would certainly aid in visually setting us apart from the world (just as the tzitzits, other aspects of modest clothing, and many other things). It would provide additional modesty, even if it isn't required by the Torah, and without doubt, it sends many undesirables running the other way.

When the pilgrims arrived on this continent, the women wore coverings, and the men even wore hats (another example of ancient and not-so-ancient societies :-) Quite evident though, is that women's head coverings are not the in-thing today. Neither are dresses. So I can't help but take a look at the facts. The ladies in our family don't wear jeans, but why? Sure, the Torah says that a woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man. But who decides that pants pertain to men and dresses to women -- I have to admit that it wasn't YHWH. Or who decides that dresses are more modest than slacks? I mean, alot of womens slacks are more modest that many women's dresses, honestly!!! But which women stopped wearing dresses in this country? Wasn't it the women's-lib, women-in-the-work-force, rebellious, feminist, men-hating type? So do we really want to follow in their footsteps? And which women first stopped wearing a head-covering in this country? Wasn't it another issue of the same-type thing? And who DID wear the dresses and head-covering? Wasn't it the women who, just several centuries ago, were still following YHWH's ordained roles for women? So why would we want to follow the direct example of those who blatantly defied YHWH's ordained roles, even if their revolutionary change in wardrobe was not wrong in itself according to the "letter of the law"? How can we keep the Torah unless we also keep it in the Spirit?

Isa 47:1 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. 2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. 3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance.

So, as I'm leaning, perhaps woman should wear a head covering as a SIGN of submission (1 Cor 11:10, NIV). Granted, it's not the submission itself, and it certainly cannot replace submission, but is, nonetheless, a SIGN of a woman's submission to YHWH through her husband, and her departure from the sins and immodesty of the world -- even if it involves going further than she "has to" in order to be completely kodesh or set-apart to righteousness.



QUESTION:

If you believe [the head covering] is to be worn by women, do you believe it is to be worn by young girls as well, and, if so, why?

ANSWER:

My observations are "Why not?" Young girls are young women, and as Thomas Martincic of www.eliyah.com has said, "We're not training children; We're training adults." So should young women be any less modest or any less submissive (i.e. more rebellious) than older women, if that's what a head-covering represents? Aren't the older women to train the younger to be sober, shamefaced, chaste, and discreet? (Titus 2:4,5)

Finally, if the woman's headcovering is worn as an outward symbol of submission, I can't help but wonder where folks come up with the idea of only wearing it during prayer or an assembly, and then whipping it off as soon as they are done. Instead of submission, that seems more like a sign of rebellion to me -- and I can't help but think that they'd fare much better when YHWH examines hearts if they hadn't worn anything on their head at all.... or gotten a crew-cut, as Rav Shaul suggests. Wouldn't the same thing also go for the "shrinking snowflake coverings" or those that keep moving backwards like receding hair? Granted, I can't honestly say that any of these things are "sin" or "wrong" according to the "letter of the Torah", but it's sort of an issue like wearing tzitzits on the inside of our clothes. If we do it that way, are we REALLY keeping Torah? Observation tells me that we need to keep the spirit of the Torah as well, and if we understand Scripture to support the concept of a woman wearing something on her head, then won't YHWH take those convictions into account at the judgment, whether we went through with them or not, or whether we "minimized" those convictions so they weren't so noticable?

QUESTION:

What do you believe concerning men wearing the kippah and why do you believe this? Frankly, as our eyes have been opened wider and wider over the years we've come to question everything if we can't find it commanded it the scriptures.

ANSWER:

Much like the womens veiling, I can't say that I've found a command saying "you have to do this" in the Scriptures. Notwithstanding, YHWH did command the priests to wear turbans (Ex 28:40, 29:9, 39:28, Ezek 44:18), and the priests were commanded to teach the Torah to Yisrael (Ezek 44:23,24). We certainly apply YHWH's commands to the priesthood concerning divorce and remarriage (Ezek 44:22), etc. to the entire assembly, so why not everything else? YHWH does say that we are a nation of priests (Ex 19:6, Rev 1:6, 5:10), and if the woman's headcovering is going to be worn as a sign of submission to her father or husband, then why not the men wear something on their head as a sign of submission to YHWH? After all, the patriarchs did (2 Sam 15:30, Est 6:12, Psa 140:7), and it would be just balances.

But supposing that a man's head covering is worn, I can't help but sigh when I see the shrinking kippahs (so small you barely notice them unless you really look) that need to be pinned to stay put -- or the floppy ones that look like a smokestack whose favorite pastime is that of sliding off the head. And then, I can't help but be bothered the way the traditional Jewish style kippah looks virtually identical to what is worn by the pope. I don't know, but it's just that underlying feeling that maybe something is wrong. As you said, there are wrong traditions in Judaism just as much as in the church. Myself, I am more comfortable with something larger and a bit more squared off at the top. It just seems more like something which would have been worn in ancient Israel; a normal piece of dress instead of just another piece of religious paraphernalia to say that we have it on.

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I'd honestly have to say, however, that head-coverings, both for men and women, would seem to fall under the category of halacha/tradition, much like many other things in the Nazarene believer's life. Are they always to be worn or were they simply a cultural thing of the time? If we are convicted to wear them today, what size and shape should they be? What style? Does a baseball cap with "Nike" or "Pittsburg Steelers" embroidered on it serve the purpose, or does it just make us look like the world? What about a cap embroidered with "Qodesh LaYahweh", in representation of the turbans worn by the Levitical priesthood? I can't say that YHWH gave us specific instructions on the issue of headcoverings, but He did give us some hints. He also didn't give us specific instructions on tying tzitzits, but He did tell us to make them, and that's why we're doing it. So for me, it's not really an issue of who does or does not do it... it's just an issue of what I am convicted is right; an issue of what sets us apart from the world, mentally, visually, and completely. We need a certain amount of tradition in order to keep the Torah, and we also need a certain amount of tradition to break it.

Brother MattithYah
www.JoyInTheWorld.info
www.RealMessiah.Name



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