Shaving with an Electric Shaver

Updated: Apr 19

Question:

I asked my friend what exactly he did to the shaver I gave to him to make it kosher (in his opinion). He told me that he removed the lifting part and left the cutting. He said it’s like a pair of scissors now. He pointed me to this website where it says how and what to do step by step and what he exactly did. http://www.koshershaver.org/index.html


Answer:

1. One could write a book about this subject, as has in fact been done. As I have written elsewhere, I do not see a meaningful and Halachicly significant difference between a hand-held razor and an electric razor. Both are razors, both achieve the same purpose. This was the view of the Haphess Hayim and the Hazon Ish. Both HaRav Elyashiv and HaRav Ovadhya Yoseph are reported to have responded that if after shaving the face feels smooth, it is asur. This, to me, seems correct.

2. The site to which you refer provides a comprehensive compilation of sources and opinions. If you read through the material there you will, I believe, see that the arguments for permitting shaving all of one’s beard with an electric shaver are tenuous at best, and can only be supported by making certain assumptions regarding the Talmudic discussion which are no more than speculation. I am unconvinced of the distinction drawn by some between different types of shaver. I therefore recommend not shaving all of one’s beard with any electric razor.

3. The areas of one’s beard that may not be shaved are 5: the area of the upper jaw where it meets the skull (next to the ear) on both sides, the area of the lower jaw joint beneath the ear on both sides, and the chin — see Rambam’s MT ‘Avodha Zara 12:7 and Pisqe Ridh Makoth 21a. Other areas may be shaved with any type of razor, electric or otherwise.

4. Two more points. One: one is not required to grow one’s beard to any length. A very closely trimmed beard is fine. Two: as a rule, Jews have always worn beards. Why should this change now?

SUNDAY, 22 JANUARY

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