The Tichel (טיכעל) also Mitpachat is a headscarf worn by married Jewish women in compliance with the code of modesty known as Tzeniut. Tichels can range from a very simple plain color cotton square with a simple tie in the back to very elaborate fabrics with very complex ties using multiple fabrics. As with any other form of clothing, it serves as fashion as well as its function of modesty.
Halakha (Jewish Law)
Once a woman is married, she enters into a completely unique relationship with her husband. This transformation is alluded to by the Hebrew name for the wedding ceremony, “Kiddushin,” which means sanctification or holiness.
Through this act, the bride and groom are totally and utterly dedicated to each other in a holy coupling. This dedication manifests itself in both an internal and an external form, in many ways, and for both partners.
One of these ways is by a woman covering her hair, which is viewed by Judaism as a sensual and private part of a married woman’s appearance. By covering her hair (even with a wig, which may be mistaken for real hair) a woman is expressing her exclusive devotion, love for, and unique connection to her husband.
Even if others do not realize that she is covering her hair, she has the constant awareness and consciousness that she is one half of a unique and profound relationship, sanctified by G-d Himself.
Now, normally, the laws of modesty are not loosened in the privacy of home. The Code of Jewish Law, acknowledging human nature, states that it is natural for people to act differently when they are in the privacy of their own home then when they are around a group of people.
In a semipublic place, one opinion states that even if men are not usually found there, a married woman must cover her hair.
Torah Texts (Jewish Texts)
The Torah, as usual, is not content to let us just “act natural.” Rather, it exhorts us to keep to high standards, and to maintain a high level of moral and ethical conduct, even when no other human beings are around. Even when they are getting dressed in a dark room, they are enjoined to do so in a modest manner. However, the hair of a married woman does not have the same status as other private parts of the body that are usually covered. Hair covering is primarily a symbol of marriage, a demonstration of her devotion to her spouse.
The Torah states that a woman must completely cover her hair in a public place. Some opinions state that under a tefach (a handbreadth, about three inches total) of hair may show.
Tying a tichel
There are several forms of tichel tying: Dutch Crown, Butterfly, Rapunzel, Bun, Snood Band, Jerusalem Twist, Glitter Glamor, Crown, Ponytail, Classic, Braid, and Ribbon.