Veil

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A cover for the face; a disguise. From the earliest times it has been a sign of chastity and decency in married women to cover their faces with veils in the presence of strangers. This custom is still in vogue in the Orient. The putting on of the veil marked the transition from girlhood to womanhood. Rebekah, the bride, covered herself with a veil on meeting Isaac, the groom (Gen 24:65). A widow did not wear a veil (ib. xxxviii. 19). The custom of dressing the virgin bride with a veil is mentioned in the Mishnah; covered with a veil ("hinuma") and seated on a litter, she was carried in the wedding-procession from her father's house to the nuptial ceremony (Ket. ii. 1). In modern times the bride is "covered" with a veil in her chamber in the presence of the groom, just before they are led under the canopy. In some countries the groom, and in others the rabbi, performs the ceremony of covering the bride.

Moses, when speaking to the people after he had come down from Mount Sinai, covered his face with a veil as his skin shone so brightly that the people feared to come nigh him (Ex 34:29-35).

The veil was used as a disguise by Tamar to mislead Judah (Gen 38:14). The prophet "disguised himself with his headband over his eyes" (1 Kg 20:38, R. V.).

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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