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Triming Beard

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Rabbi Daniel Kirsch

Kislev 11, 5782
Question
is trimming beard allowed or better not to touch it? thank you
Answer
Shalom U'vracha, According to the halacha, one is allowed to trim his beard (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 181:10). Shaving is a different story, as there is a big disagreement as to which shavers are kosher. I should mention that there is a dispute on trimming the beard according to the Kabbala. some hold that according to the Kabbala one should not trim his beard at all. This is mentioned in the Zohar Parshat Naso (pg. 130) that one should not touch his beard. In 'Igrot Harayah, (2, page 101) a book of Rav Kook’s letters, a story is related regarding Rav Chaim of Volozhin, who was seen by one of his students trimming his beard. The student asked Rav Chaim: “Rebbe, is it not mentioned in the Zohar “woe to one who touches his beard”? Rav Chaim answered: “Look in my Zohar”. The student looked in the Rebbe’s Zohar and there was a small addition: “woe to one who touches his beard in a forbidden way” (the word used is 'taar') Rav Kook added that in any event the Jewish preference is to grow a beard, and it’s considered a kosher and proper minhag. (See also Yebia Omer, part 9;10, 4-5. See also Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s approach in the book ‘Kol Mishalotecha; 412-413, Rav Shlomo Aviner in 'Short and Sweet' page 185). To summarize: according to the Halacha you may trim your beard. However, according to Kabbala there is a dispute in this matter.
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