Tuesday, September 29, 2009

שו"ת עומד לשריפה 1 aka The Shaving Post

It has come to the attention of these quarters that there is a lack of knowledge regarding the important halachos of hashchosas hazokon among קק"ק דבלאגער. To that end we the undersigned have decided to provide בירור in this matter -- at least to those members of the community who can read Yeshiva dialect aramaio-hebraicized English.


A shot rings out and the writer slumps over his desk in a pool of blood. A man steps through the bedroom doorway, smoking gun in hand. He looks at the old man lying across his notebook, fresh blood dying his gray beard the red of youth, and laughs.

"Once again ignorance is preserved."

Ok. No more leitzonus. ATTENTION: Here is the serious part

I was reading an old post on e's blog about shaving vs. picking when I came across some halachic stuff which I said I'd post about and this is it. (Note: e said I know what I'm talking about! Can you believe it?)

First off, there seems to be a misconception in Lubavitch (and other chasidusin) that shaving falls under the prohibition of transvestism (לא תלבש colloquially). While many authorities including the Chazon Ish among others have said this, upon examination it turns out that this is a statement of passion rather than psak as the Law simply does not stretch that way. (Perhaps another post if interest warrants)

That being said, the prohibition against shaving bears further analysis. Hashkafa, chasidus, and kabballa are beyond the purview of this post (I'm too lazy to look things up) and we will stick to straight halacha. Enjoy the ride.

Before proceeding further, it is important to note that the only readers of this blog to whom this applies are Shriki and myself, both of whom have beards anyway. The Tzemach Tzeddek assurs beard removal or abridgment in any way shape or form, therefore it is assur for his followers i.e. Lubavitchers.

The prohibition against shaving is derived from two psukim, the first states "do not razor the corners of thy beards" (emor) while the second states "he [the kohen] will not destroy his beard" (somewhat earlier in emor). By a combination of mesorah and אסמכתא the gemara derives that one has only committed the sin of shaving if one destroys the beard hair below the length of recognizable stubble, with a halachically defined razor.

A halachically defined razor is an instrument that removes hair at the root with a scraping (single-bladed) motion. The definition of stubble in halacha is a source of debate in its own right, though most poskim hold that a reasonably dexterous person must be able to take the hair between two fingers and bend it.

Following these criteria, we can form a list of permitted and prohibited activities.
  1. Trimming with scissors. Muttar, leaves enough hair and is not a razor
  2. Depilatory powder or cream. Muttar, is not a razor. The RaMChaL used this method
  3. Crappy shavers sold in Jewish electronics stores. Muttar, they use microscreens not blades at all and leave enough hair
  4. Good shavers. Some may be assur, particularly lift-and-cut models as they use single blades and some even work and give close shaves
  5. Razors of any sort. Assur gamur. While there has recently been a spurt of kiddush-club halacha going around that safety razors are not razors this is completely unfounded.
ועל זה באנו על החתום

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mazal Tov!

Mazal tov to our two basementbloggers.
The ones who have gotten married, that is.*
We wish them only the best.**
Rumors have it that although they have [insert appropriate chassidic alternative for "tied the knot"], they decided against moving upwards in life....to an apartment, that is.*** Ahhhhh, once a basement blogger, always a basement blogger

*the other ones who feel they deserve a mazal tov need to dedicate a post to that topic. for example, I finally made pasta that didnt immediately morph into a ball of pasta-mush. Mazal Tov to me!

**Well, I'm assuming we do.

***Just follow your nose to the nearest Dr-Prager stocked polka dotted-free sub terrian dwelling abode.

Friday, September 11, 2009

To remember 9/11

It's been 8 years. The memories are still clear in my mind.

It's a war that we have been fighting ever since then. It isn't over yet.

Take a minute of silence. Reflect. Remember. Don't walk away and never look back, because then you are condemning all who died that day to their graves. And they don't deserve that, they deserve better.

There's nothing we can DO to fix it, to change the past. But we CAN do something to change the future.

Light a candle for those who died. Give extra charity. Do a good deed in their memory. Help create a better future.

It's up to YOU.

Moshiach now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For E


What several people have said to me about college:
  1. You have to go or you'll be fixing toilets for the rest of your life
  2. You can't go or you'll go OTD and become a mumar.
  3. If you go you'll become an alcoholic and a drug addict
How it measures up with reality:
  1. I missed the first class of this semester because I was fixing a toilet.
  2. I daven vasikin
  3. I was at a wedding last night where I was the only current college student at my table and the only person who never smoked weed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

matisyahu virtual concert

Will the bloggers of today join together with reb matis in san fran?
its like on twitter or facebook or something, im not exactly sure but i think u can send in requests.
Right here:
5 PM PACIFIC STANDERD TIME, or for the rest of us, 8.