I have very curly hair. Now that it’s longer it hangs in ringlets. Every now and then someone will ask me if they can touch it. By touching it what they really want to know is whether or not they can pull one of the ringlets to watch it spring back. I’m accustomed to my hair so this is no big thrill for me.
Only once have I ever wanted to pull a ringlet.
My roommate and I were riding the bus in Jerusalem, chatting and laughing when something caught my attention out the corner of my eye. It was the most beautiful ringlet I had ever seen. It was brown with a hint of gold, lustrous and so thick that it appeared as though it were a solid tube. It moved along with the bus, bouncing and beckoning with every jolt.
The person was a complete stranger, it would have been improper and inappropriate to touch. It reminded me of when my father would make Friday night kiddush and my sisters and I could not make eye contact or we would laugh for no other reason than the fact that we shouldn’t. Our faces would burn and contort with the witheld laughter until it would escape through someone’s nose and then all was lost. Sometimes my father would be annoyed but the very best times he laughed with us. My fingers began to tingle. Just one little tug. No one would laugh but I needed to see that glorious ringlet snap back into place.
I looked at my girlfriend and smiled as I slowly raised my hand. My aitzer harah had come out to play. My girlfriend gasped as she realized what I was about to do. That gasp snapped me back into place. What was I thinking? How could I possibly be so disrespectful?
I didn’t do it and I have NEVER wanted to pull on someone’s peyos ever again but if I close my eyes and think about it I can see temptation in the form of that ringlet dangling in front of me as though it had just happened only yesterday.