Quietly I sat reading tehillim (psalms), with a handful of nickels and a small wooden pushka (charity box), as my hairdresser twirled my thick, beautiful curls into an updo. A bit distracted by the imminence of my upcoming wedding, which was scheduled to take place that afternoon in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, I glanced up at the mirror and watched her work for a minute. “If any curls give you a hard time, feel free to cut them,” I said nonchalantly. “Tomorrow morning I’m cutting my hair off anyway.”
A bit taken aback, the hairdresser asked for clarification. I explained that as a religious Jewish woman, I intended to cover my hair after getting married, and would be cutting it the morning after the wedding. Curious, she asked who would be cutting it for me. When I revealed my intentions to cut it myself, she immediately insisted on having the privilege to be the one to cut it. After a brief explanation of why it wouldn’t be modest for me to have my hair uncovered in her salon the following day, she responded, “Not a problem, I’ll come to your hotel room. It’s a hairdresser’s dream to be able to chop off such thick, beautiful curls like your own. I’ll give you a discounted price, just please don’t deny me the privilege.” Upon finishing the updo, she checked her appointment book to schedule a time to come to me the next morning. It would be tight, but she could manage to sneak away just before my hotel checkout time. We agreed upon the time and parted ways.
The next morning, I was awakened by an urgent phone call from my mother. Apparently, we were being asked to leave the hotel room an hour earlier than we had expected, so she had rescheduled my appointment with the hairdresser, who was willing to leave her other clients to be at my room in 30 minutes. Scrambling to get myself together, I hardly had time to mentally prepare myself for what was about to happen to the curls I had cherished for so many years, when the hairdresser suddenly rushed in.
She explained that when she received my mother’s urgent phone call, she had two Jewish ladies in her salon having their hair dyed. She told them about the pressing situation, and they agreed that she could run out while they sat under the blower waiting for the dye to set. However, wondering how rescheduling an in-home haircut could be such an urgent matter, they obviously questioned her. “They understood the part about reading psalms and putting coins in the wooden box,” she said, “but they had never heard of such a thing as cutting your hair and putting on a wig after marriage. Could you please explain to me your reasons for doing this so I can give them an answer when I return?” Smiling at the obvious Divine Providence in this sudden turn of events, I elaborated upon the spiritual and physical advantages of covering your hair after marriage.
Upon finishing the haircut, the hairdresser glanced at her watch and realized she was running very late. As she ran to the door, I reminded her that I still had to pay her. Rushing into the hallway, she smiled appreciatively, as if to thank me for letting her be part of such a big mitzvah, as she exclaimed, “Just put it in your wooden box!”