hair · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · prayer

Bless the hair, please.

This is what my husband hopes our kids will look like, of course.

Confession: I get a kick out of saying blessings. It was one of the first things I started doing after I converted to Judaism. I like the idea of saying “Thank you, G-d” as often as I can, even when I’m not particularly on good terms with the Holy One Upstairs.

My husband came home today and told me the blessing you say on “nappy” hair. Of course, the Talmud doesn’t say “nappy,” but it gets the same point across. The Talmud thinks my hair is “different.”

First my husband tells me the blessing to say on albinos (like my uncle) and Africans (okay?)–people with unusual characteristics. And I wonder, do you think some Jews would say that one on all Jews of color? People need to get out more.

Here’s the blessing so you know what to say the next time you see my head bobbing past you:

“Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, the True Judge.”

My husband thinks it might be a little racist. But maybe so is saying blessings on albinos and Africans? I’m going to go ahead and say it’s not racist (to me) but perhaps, one shouldn’t count ALL their blessings in the same way.

8 thoughts on “Bless the hair, please.

  1. Okay, I leave this one up their with Chrisitian people saying they’re praying for your soul because you’re not a Xian, but Hashem uses the blessing in another way. I don’t think being of African decent and having naps are oddities, and this does contribute to the discussion of how Jews (especially Ashkenazi Jews) fetishize others.Add this to the reason why my brother, who read Aramaic and studied the Babylonian Talmud has decided that he’s a Jew but hates some of the things it has to say about dark skinned people.


  2. I never try to judge a religion by its followers. The religion is always an ideal that not so many of the followers can live up to. Part of the talk my husband and I give on racism in the Jewish community looks at racism (subtle and not so subtle) in Jewish sources.


  3. I would definitely agree that I don’t judge the faith by the followers, but that doesn’t mean that other JOC (Jews of Color) won’t get turned off by the rhetoric. We need to examine how the liturgy reflects various prejudices and attitudes that are less than stellar that times. It does make us better people for the soul searching and dynamic inquiry.


  4. I’m with your husband on this one. It’s racist and maybe throw up in my mouth little bit. I mean it’s what I say when someone has passed away.any weirdness in this post is the fault of my dictation software that I’m using because of my broken hand I just got Dragon.


  5. i’m confused. i was telling you about the “people who look different than what you’re used to” <>meshaneh haberiyot<> (‘who makes people different’) blessing where the Mishna lists Africans and albinos… what’s with the ‘true Judge’ and the nappy hair? i guess i’ll ask your husband


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