Who or what is the "Tzemech Tzedek" and what is his connection with Army rules for chaplains??? Did this guy consider the facts of this case before he paskined??I think Tzemach Tzedek probably did not have US Army rules in front of him when he paskened that shaving and trimming all the way to no beard (as with modern electric shavers) is ossur d’oraysa. Although, Tzemach Tzedek had ruach ha’koidesh, so who knows?
For more information, see this thread.
I found this interesting:
...Hairs act as "straws" transmitting profound and inaccessible energy. Each strand of hair, shaped like a straw (the form of the Hebrew letter Vuv, somewhat similar to the English I), communicates a level of soul-energy that due to its intensity cannot be communicated directly, only through the "straw" of hair, through the contracted, and curtailed medium of hair, which dilutes the intense energy.
Now, the Kabbalah (12) distinguishes between "fine hair" and "coarse hair" - the fine hair decorating the cranium, present immediately during birth, and the coarse hair of the beard, appearing only at a male's entry into adulthood. The hair that links the "fine" and the "coarse" are the earlocks, the payos, the hair extending from the skull, down the jawbone, after which it merges with the beard.
The hair growing on top of the cranium, the "fine hair," represents the deeply concealed energy stemming from the interior of the skull, the Kabbalistic identified location for the super-conscious formations of the human psyche. The deepest and most primal forces of our psyche, the supra-rational desires and cravings of the soul formulated even prior to the birth of cognition, are associated in Jewish Mysticism with the skull, defined as "the crown over the brain," or simply as "kesser", which means the crown. Kesser is seen as the most lofty and elevated part of the soul, its link to G-d who also transcends reason and logic.
The hair of the male beard, on the other hand, the "coarse hair," represents the energy stemming from the sub conscious cognitive impressions of the human psyche, located within the higher and lower brain. This dimension of the human soul is known in Kabbalah as "Mochah Stemaah" (the hidden cognition), and stands one rung below the level of Kesser.
[This is the mystical reason for the feminine body not developing a beard. As mentioned above, the mystical function of hair is to access, in a contracted and curtailed fashion, energy that is inaccessible due to its profundity. But women are naturally more in tune with their sub conscious cognition, and therefore do not require the "straws" of hair to access that level of self.]
Now, the question is: is there any way to link the super-conscious forces of the soul, the kesser dimension, with the cognitive structure of the psyche? Can we ever mentally experience who we really are in out deepest space? Even after the kesser energy was filtered into hair strands, is there hope for us to internalize this infinite light within the finite vessels of cognition?
Men of spirit from the days of yore have struggled with this dilemma. Judaism's answer to this question is - the earlocks, the two rows of hair lingering down the jaw bone, that link the hair of the cranium to the hair of the beard. In Kabbalah, these two rows of hair symbolize the contracted transmission of the super-conscious kesser energy, to the sub conscious mental (mochah stemaah) energy, so that the infinite and unconstrained atomic power of the soul's crown can ultimately be contained and internalized within the mental framework of the human condition.
Without the two side locks curtailing, contracting and metamorphosing the new-clear energy of kesser, none of it would be expressed or experienced within the person's conscious life. Only by having the kesser energy filtered through the hair on the skull, and then re-filtered a second time via the earlocks, can the deepest energy of the soul become articulated in the lower chambers of consciousness (17).
12) Zohar Naso Idra Rabah 129a.
13) Ibid. 129a.
14) Or Hatorah Emor pp. 588-593.
15) The contraction that takes place in Hair is manifested in the fact that our hairy parts, particularly of the head and pubis, are subject to troublesome infestations by minute insects and mites, such as chiggers and lice.
16) Shaar Hamitzvos Parshas Naso.
17) This may also be the reason why the great kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luryah (d. in 1572), did not allow his earlocks to grow below his ears and have them hang over the sides of his beard, as is the custom of Yemenite, Moroccan and most Chassidic Jews. Rather he would trim his payos (earlocks) with scissors to ensure that they merged with the beard. This "style" was embraced by the Chabad school and many other Ashkenazic and Sefardic communities. (See Shaar Hamitzvos and Taamei Hamitzvos Parshas Kedoshim. Beis Lechem Yehudah gloss to Yoreh Deah 181:1. Igros Kodesh by the Lubavitcher Rebbe vol. 20 p. 10.)
In the former style, the emphasis is on overwhelming the beard (representing the deep cognitive impressions) with the "earlocks," representing the flow of the soul's pristine desire and emotion. This indeed is the spiritual path of Yemenite and many Chassidic Jews. In Chabad, however, the goal has always been to link between the atomic energy of the soul and the mental framework of the mind, represented by the merging of the earlocks and the beard (see Or Hatorah and Hemshech 5672 references in footnote #20).