Kosher Shavers

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Traditional Judaism prohibits men from shaving their face with a razor. While many (or most) Ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t shave at all, exceptions have usually been made for electric shavers — a loophole embraced by most Modern Orthodox Jews.

Well, it turns out that in some communities the permissibility of electric shavers isn’t so straightforward and, amazingly, there’s a special beit din (Jewish court) to deal with shaver issues.

From Yated Ne’eman:

Members of the special beis din on halachic shavers held meetings at the homes of gedolei Yisroel, including Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita, where they expressed their dismay that some men still use forbidden shavers which gedolei haposkim hold are a transgression of Torah law, despite the fact two kosher shavers are currently sold on the market.


Posted on December 22, 2008

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7 thoughts on “Kosher Shavers

  1. The Doctor


    Amazing only if you are ignorant of the Torah and Jewish law. …

    Easier to understand now, no?


    I appreciate the information. On behalf of those who are not ignorant of Torah law [and there are many of us in that category] it’s quite possible to explain things without being condescending. Reminds me of when I was at the Kotel and a helpful person offered to teach me a prayer to say at the Wall; and I quote “I doubt you’ve heard of it; it’s called the Shema.”

    Explain away; everyone is capable of learning. But it’s not necessary to make comments about ignorance…

  2. Yossi

    Amazing only if you are ignorant of the Torah and Jewish law. The bible says expressly, “Thou shalt not use a razor”, and this law was traditionally applied only to males and only to facial hair. Scissors and the like are allowed.
    There are two types of electric shavers, those based on a razor-like system and those based on a scissors-like system. Nowadays, since the advent of microscreens, one needs to be an expert to tell which system is being used, hence the special rabbinic court.
    Easier to understand now, no?

  3. Daniel Septimus Post author

    I wasn’t amazed by the law. I was amazed that there was a special beit din to deal with it.

    But are there really only “two kosher shavers…currently sold on the market”?

  4. clara1


    Well, I am ignorant of the Jewish laws. But I keep at the reading and studying. I am not upset by my ignorance because I know I don’t know everything and am just learning.

    When i called JPS about Jewish commentaries I got a fellow on the phone like you. I told him that I was gentile and was studying Judaism. He flippantly told me that the books cost $60. (i pay more than that for computer books.) He finally transferred me to a lady who was very nice and I signed up for the five Commentaries on the Torah (the last on wasn’t even written). As a xian, I had a Torah, a Tank and I needed a commentary.

    So don’t be such a jackass, if the jackass at JPS had dissuaded me I might not have converted to Judaism. Although as a woman I and a computer engineer, I am used to men who try to put down women I wouldn’t have let him deter me.


  5. toni3

    why is it against the law for men to take a razor to their faces? does it have to do with distinguishing themselves from the egyptians or other nations?

  6. The Doctor

    I suspect that may have been the original sociological rationale…most of the other major cultures of the time had either their rulers or their priests clean-shaven.

  7. toni3

    i think someone had mentioned that yesterday when jacob asks joseph who these children are, and joseph replies that they are his grandchildren and doesn’t he recognise them. probably aluding to the children looking more like egyptians.

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