Q. Dath Yehudith requires married women to wear a redidh, but unmarried girls are exempt, right?
A. It is true that the concept of “dath Yehudith” is brought up within the context of kethuboth (marriage contracts); but if we were to conclude that this means the concepts of modesty discussed therein refer, therefore, only to married women, we would then have to say that unmarried girls can go around exposing their arms in public and flurting with young men, that this is forbidden only to married women. But to the contrary, Hil. Ishuth 24:11 begins by saying “What is dath Yehudith? It is the modest behavior that the daughters of Israel practice…” The halakha then goes on to clarify that, among other parameters of modesty practiced by the daughters of Israel, a woman should not go about in a market-place or in a lane with openings at both ends while her head is exposed (paruwa), even though her hair is covered with a mitpahath. It is clear from this that when only the hair is covered, the head is still regarded as exposed (paruwa). So when Hil. Isurei Bi’a 21:17 informs us that “The daughters of Israel should not go about in the market-place with their heads exposed (paruwa), whether they are married or unmarried,” it should be clear that they are covering more than just their hair. And if there were any doubts before, Hil. Isurei Bi’ah 21:17 also lets us know that unmarried girls are included among the modest “daughters of Israel” referred to in the beginning of Hil. Ishuth 24:11.
(Laws of Women) Hilkhoth Ishuth 24:11
(Laws of Forbidden Relations) Hilkhoth Isurei Bi’a 21:17
* DorDeah.com is an independent organization. DorDeah.com is not affiliated with www.mechon-mamre.org, the “Torath Moshe Society,” nor Chabad-Lubavitch. Though we are grateful for the contributions of these organizations in providing Mishne Torah resources, we do not endorse all the views espoused by these organizations.