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Nazir, 58

NAZIR 58 - Today's learning is dedicated in loving memory of Professor Dr. Eugene (Mordechai ben Aharon) Heimler, on his 10th yahrzeit, by his beloved wife, Miriam Bracha. May the Zechus of the Torah being learned around the world be an Iluy for his Neshamah.


OPINIONS: Rav and Rebbi Yochanan discuss whether it is permitted for a man to shave the hair on his body (other than his head and face) or whether it is prohibited because of "Lo Yilbash" (Devarim 22:5). The Halachah follows the view of Rav. What exactly, though, does Rav rule?

The Rishonim (Tosfos 59a, DH ha'Hu Gavra) have different Girsa'os in the Gemara that affect the Halachah.

(a) According to our Girsa, Rav says that it is permitted for a man to cut the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi (underarms) and the Beis ha'Ervah (private area) with a scissors close to the skin, and it is certainly permitted to cut the hair on the rest of the body with scissors. This is the ruling of RABEINU TAM as cited by the TUR (beginning of YD 182).

(b) According to the Girsa of the BEHAG, Rav permits cutting only the other bodily hair with a scissors, but not the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi or Beis ha'Ervah. The ROSH rules like the Behag that it is prohibited for a man to cut the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi and Beis ha'Ervah.

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 182:1) rules stringently like the Rosh who says that a man should not cut the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi or Beis ha'Ervah.

However, the Rishonim discuss whether this prohibition applies in all places at all times, or whether it applies only in a place where it is the practice only of women, and not men, to shave these parts of their bodies.

1. The GE'ONIM cited by the RASHBA (Teshuvos 5:21) write that in a place where men and women both shave those parts of the body, it is not prohibited because of "Lo Yilbash" for men to shave. Nevertheless, the RAN in Avodah Zarah (9b of the pages of the Rif, DH Ro'eh) points out that even according to the Ge'onim, it is proper for a Ben Torah to refrain from shaving those parts of his body, as we learn from the story in our Gemara about the person who was pardoned from Malkus because the presence of hair under his arms proved him to be a "Chaver." It is obvious from the story that it was the practice of some men in the area to shave their underarms, and nevertheless the Chaverim refrained from doing so.

2. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 12:9) also rules like the Ge'onim, that in a place where all men shave those parts of the body, a man cannot receive Malkus for doing so. However, his words imply that although we do not punish him with Malkus, nevertheless l'Chatchilah it is not permitted, mid'Rabanan. The RASHBA (Teshuvos 4:90) proves that it is indeed prohibited from the same story that the Ran cites, regarding the Chaver who was pardoned from Malkus. The Chaver was not just observing a praiseworthy custom, but he was following the Halachah.

3. The RASHBA himself (Teshuvos 4:90) rules that the prohibition of "Lo Yilbash" applies fully even in a place where it is the practice for men to cut the hair of those parts of the body, because anything that is *appropriate* or expected for women to do and women actually do, is considered to be an exclusive practice of women and is included in the Lav of "Lo Yilbash." (The Rashba seems to be referring to any act of beautifying the body to make it look more attractive.) Because of this, the Rashba prohibits even cutting with a razor the hair that grows on the front of the neck ("Se'ar Tachas ha'Garon").

In practice, the Shulchan Aruch cites the wording of the Rambam, implying that it is prohibited l'Chatchilah to cut the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi and Beis ha'Ervah even with scissors, even in a place where all men do so. However, the REMA cites the Ge'onim who permit it l'Chatchilah but advise a Chaver to refrain from cutting that hair.

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