The Gaon Of Vilna
(Whether you are Ashkenazy, Chasidish or Sefardi – you have a deep respect and admiration for the Gaon’s wondrous mind in halachah and all areas of Torah.)
The Gaon of Vilna in his Sefer titled, “Shnot Eliyahu” writes the following: “Ein latzet be’Peah Nochrit birshut ha’rabim – a woman is not permitted to go out into the public domain with a Peah Nochrit.”
Remember that a Peah Nochrit was a small hair-piece that was worn underneath the head covering when a woman’s hair was shedding – and it was done only with special permission from Rabanim and worn only in the chatzer and not in the public domain.
Rav Chaim Zonenfeld
He wrote that the minhag of Yerushalayim was: “She’ein lalechet be’shum panim ve’ofen be’Peah nochrit.” He also placed a cherem on any man who allowed his wife to go out to the public domain with a wig.
Who can argue with the Rama? The Gaon Ye’avetz (a”h) who was a big talmid chacham wrote in a sefer called, “Mor ve’Ktziyah” that the Rama conceded that a woman is not permitted to go to the reshut ha’rabim with a Peah Nochrit. And if she did, it would be considered pritzut, a breaching in the walls of tzniyut that have been put up to protect Am Yisrael.
Ha’Rav Pinchas Ha'Levi Horowitz (The Baal Ha’haflaah a”h)
When speaking about Ha’Rav Pinchas Ha’Levi Horowitz, Rav Ovadyah Yosef (a”h) said that he is considered a Gaon Olam.
Rav Horowitz gathered his Bet Din, took a Sefer Torah out of the Aron Kodesh and announced that any woman who goes out to the public domain with a sheitel should be put in cherem.
The holy Divrei Chaim (Klozenberger Rebbe a”h)
He wrote in his sefer titled, “Divrei Chaim” that women who went down in their levels of ruchaniyut were the ones who walked out into the public domain with a Peah Nochrit. And many of them were influenced by the Apikorsim in their communities. He continued his comments stating: “Chalilah ve’chas that we should follow in this way.” He wrote that women who wear these sheitels (he was not referring to today’s sheitels because in his generation they did not exist) are not only breaching the protective walls of tzniyut but are doing so because deep down they want to be like the gentile actresses of their generation.
The holy Chatam Sofer a”h
In his last will and testament that he left for his family wrote the following: “Ve’afilu be’Peah nochrit ani oser aleychem be’isur gamur – and even with a Peah Nochrit (as identified in the earlier sections) I forbid you; it is absolutely forbidden.”
The Gaon Reb Moshe Yehoshua Leib Diskin a”h
He wrote a sefer of She’elot and Teshuvot titled, “Mahari Diskin.” In this sefer he wrote the following: “Asur latzet be’Peah Nochrit, vadai mishum marit ayin – it is forbidden to go out with a Peah Nochrit, certainly because of marit ayin.”
Rabbi Ovadyah Yosef (a”h)
He wrote in his Sefer titled, Yabiyah Omer, that although it has been our tradition for centuries now for a woman to cover her hair with a kisuy rosh, there have been those who have decided to be mekhil (lenient) in this regard but they did this against the ratzon (will) of the Rishonim and the Acharonim. They went against the rulings of tremendous Torah authorities.
He writes that they decided to create a new “minhag” that went against the very fabric and nature of our laws of tzniyut. He adds something frightening and states: “Such a new minhag (מנהג), can lead to gehenom (גהנם).”
He states that it is considered a mitzvah to abolish this minhag of sheitels. He then proceeds to make the same bold statement that Rav Elyashiv said. He wrote: “Do not be so surprised when your eyes see how many women who are the wives of Rabanim and Rebbes and yet they’re lenient in this matter. This should not surprise you because you should know that they are doing it against the ratzon of the earlier chachamim. Ve’ha’ikar ke’divrei ha’acharonim – the ikar is that we follow the words of the acharonim, the same acharonim who opposed the idea of sheitels and never allowed it.”
In one of his speeches to the men Rav Ovadyah offered harsh words of musar concerning this matter and said: “What I’m saying is from the Gedolei Ha’Dor and poskim and not from my heart and my mind. Two hundred years ago Ha’gaon Pinchas Levy Horwitz (a”h), the Av Bet Din in Frankfurt took out a Sefer Torah and with two Talmidei Chachamim who were Dayanim, placed a complete cherem (total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community) on any woman that wears a wig in the public domain and he reiterated in front of the Sefer Torah that any woman wearing a wig will be placed on the highest ecclesiastical censure.
“The reason a wig is prohibited is because it is not modest and it doesn’t matter if the hair of the wig comes from India or Ghana – it still remains immodest. The Vilna Gaon, The Chatam Sofer, Rabee Avraham Palági as well as additional Geonim prohibited women to wear wigs. The Gaon Rav Wosner, zt”l wrote in his sefer that wearing any form of a wig is absolutely prohibited. Every woman who wishes that her sons grow up to be tzadikim, the Zohar Ha’kadosh states: ‘She must be modest.’”