Display of wigs
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The rabbi of the Gur hasidic community in Ashdod, Rabbi Shmuel David Gross, has stated that members of the community must be careful not to purchase wigs originating from idol worship.

For that reason, the rabbi also instructed his community to buy wigs only from manufacturers certified by a specific religious inspection authority which he claims ensures that the wigs in question are free from any such concerns.

The announcement caused considerable consternation in the city, as the rabbi had until now refrained from issuing a ruling on this matter. Similar controversy has occurred in previous years regarding rulings on wigs, but the rabbi had refrained from issuing such instructions at the time.

Rabbi Gross’ retinue has explained that he has now conducted a new review of the matter, leading to his decision.

Wigs are common among religious Jewish women due to halakhic (Jewish law) requirements that married women cover their hair.

According to the New York Times, the controversy surrounding wigs originated when a group of rabbis from Israel discovered that the hair used in making a large percentage of wigs on the Israeli market, as well as those sold in American Jewish communities, comes from the Indian practice of tonsuring. During tonsuring, a worshiper is ritually shaved bald as part of the rite of pilgrimage to the Tirupati temple of Venkateswara in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Jewish law forbids ownership of anything used in idolatrous service, as well as deriving any benefit from it, making wigs manufactured out of tonsured hair forbidden to Jewish owners according to several religious authorities. This has resulted in numerous instances of such wigs being publicly burned in both Israel and the United States of America.

The controversy surrounding the need for religious certification stems from a disagreement between authorities as to the degree of certainty needed to ascertain that no part of the wig contains material derived from idol worship.