Since Star-K often receives questions regarding the use of electric shavers, this article will address the halachic concerns of removing one’s facial hair. The Torah states, “לא תקפו פאת ראשכם ולא תשחית את פאת זקנך” (ויקרא י”ט כ “Do not round the corners of one’s head and do not destroy the corner of one’s beard” . The Torah continues, “ופאת קזנם לא יגלחו (ויקרא כ, “and the corner of one’s beard they shall not shave”.
What are the actions of forbidden facial hair removal? The Mishna in מכות discusses which methods of removing facial hair are forbidden. הקפה, “rounding”, refers to the complete removal of hair from the temple area. The terms גילוח, “shaving”, and השחתה , “destroying” refer to forbidden forms of removing one’s beard.
The Mishna does not offer a practical explanation of these actions. Do these terms refer to the cutting of hair using different types of shaving implements, or do these actions refer to different degrees of hair removal […]