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      Rabbi Elyashiv: No Wigs From India

      First Publish: 5/14/2004, 2:43 PM / Last Update: 5/14/2004, 2:31 PM

      Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, considered the top Halakhic [Jewish legal] authority in most religious Jewish circles, has added his name to those banning the use and benefit of all human hair wigs originating in India.

      The decision is based on confirmed reports that human hair in India is often shaved off for the purpose of idol worship practices, and is afterwards sold to companies that manufacture wigs. Although there is no certainty that any specific Indian-made wig is made of hair used for idol-worship, the widespread practice there means that each individual wig involves at least a "possible" violation of the Torah ban on benefiting from idol worship, and may therefore not be used. Rabbi Elyashiv said that his ruling does not imply that wigs in general are appropriate as head-coverings, and that on this issue, each woman should follow her rabbis' instructions and her own family customs.