Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A slippery slope of dressing like women. Importance of a beard
(this guy skipped a few steps)

This is what happens. First, men start trimming their beards (bad idea according to Kabbala). Then they start shaving (halachically forbidden according to Tzemach Tzedek). And the next thing you know — they are wearing bras. OK, not exactly, but according to Judaism, shaving is considered to be an activity that leads to men imitating female look, which is forbidden to Jews (as is practice of women imitating masculine look).

Many people believe that just because it says in Shulchan Aruch and Rambam that it is OK to trimm one’s beard, these sources allow use of electric shavers that “trim” all the way to no beard (as opposed to obviously forbidden shaving with a razor). That’s not true. Shulchan Aruch and Rambam talk about halachically allowed (although still kabbalistically forbidden) trimming of beard to maintain a symmetric shape. According to Tzemach Tzedek (whose psak din relates not only to Chabad Chassidim but arguably to all Jews of Russian heritage), trimming all the way down to no beard is immitating a female look, which is not allowed.

In general, having a beard is considered in Judaism a sign of fear of heaven (a Russian shochet who moved to Germany and started shaving should not be bought meat from). In Chassidus, it is considered important to have an untrimmed beard. Listen to Rabbi Paltiel’s shiur explaining the reasons.

* * *

Coming back to the topic of male bras. Those Japanese… what would we do without them? They are the only ones with common sense not only in cars, but, as it turns out, in clothes too.

“Executive director of Wishroom, Akiko Okunomiya, hopes the [men bras] will help men understand women better.” Umm… Yes. This makes sense. I think… Get even more in touch with our feminine side to understand women. And women should get more in touch with their masculine side to understand men. (Women playing Unreal Tournament and paintball, drinking beer and watching soccer? Sounds good to me.)

Regarding this new phenomenon in men’s attire. I’ll go out on a limb and say this is probably assur.

I wonder, however, how long it will take for some MO rabbis to declare that it’s OK, since in our culture, an image of a man in a bra is not shocking (after all, Seinfeld already introduced the concept) — especially, if it contributes to a man’s feeling of self-worth. Just like women feel inadequate by not being given opportunity to wear talles… well, you get the idea. (Lehavdil.)

* * *

Returning to the topic of beards, a joke.
A modern, cleanely-shaven Jew is approached by a traditional-looking Jew with a full beard. The latter says to the former:
— When you go up to Heaven, they will ask you: “Jew, where is your beard?”
The first Jew answers:
— And when you go to Heaven, they will ask: “Beard, where is your Jew?”

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