Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Beard, A Source Of Blessing And Success

By the grace of G-d
The Beard, A Source Of Blessing And Success

Yoav longed to go to 770 for Tishrei. So he got the money together, arranged for his visa and a ticket, and then recalled that he had to get an exit permit from one of the government of fices.

A month before his flight, he went to pick up his exit permit and was told that the permit would be mailed to his home. Yoav was relieved and went about his business in the weeks remaining before his trip. When a few weeks had gone by and the awaited permit didn’t materialize, he began to get nervous. He called to find out the reason for the delay. He was told that they had no record of a request made on his behalf and thus there was no permit! The fact that an employee at the office had indeed promised him that the permit would be mailed to his house made no difference.
Yoav’s last minute attempts to procure the necessary document were fruitless, though, with unswerving faith, he continued to look forward to his trip as though there were no problem. Three hours before the flight, knowing that the moment of truth had arrived, Yoav took a volume of the Igros Kodesh.

He asked the Rebbe to be allowed to join him for Succos, and that he shouldn’t be asked for his permit at passport control. The words that leaped out at him from the letter said, "HaKadosh Boruch Hu kol yachol" [G-d is omnipotent].

That was all Yoav needed. He called his Rabbi and asked him to put in a request on his behalf in the Igros
Kodesh and he left for the airport.

The line moved quickly and soon it was Yoav’s turn to present his passport. The clerk flipped through it and then asked for his exit permit.

He said he did not have one.

Just at that moment one of Yoav’s friends handed his passport to a nearby clerk. She flipped through the passport and when she came to his picture she looked back and forth, from the picture to the person standing before her. "That’s not your picture, "she declared. "The man in the picture doesn’t have a beard, but you do."

Yoav’s friend, who had recently grown a beard, smiled and covered his beard with his hands, as though to say ,"Now see how I look without a beard. "The clerk saw that he did, in fact, look just like the picture. Then she showed her friend, who still held Yoav’s passport, how to identify someone with a beard. The friend looked in amusement as she stamped Yoav’s passport.

Later on, Yoav’s Rabbi told him that the letter he had opened to in the Igros Kodesh spoke about the importance of a beard and how it was a source of blessing and success.
From: KingMoshiach.com Editorial Staff http://www.kingmessiah.com/120/620.html
Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!


Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d
The Beard

From the onset of Chassidism, and especially amongst Chabad Chassidim, there has always been an emphasis placed on maintaining a full untrimmed beard.

The purpose of this essay is to explain the reasons and rationale that lie behind the wearing of a beard. These include the many benefits and blessings that one receives for keeping one’s beard. There are those, who are unaware of the importance of the beard and this has led some to begin trimming their beard, tearing out the hair root, or in some instances, shaving.

I. The Halachic Prohibitions

There are many famous Halachic issues involved in removing a beard. The Sefer Hadras Panim Zakan brings literally hundreds of Poskim [Halachic authorities] that discuss these issues. It is not possible to present all the opinions on this subject, so we will focus on the opinion of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek , which is the authoritative opinion as far as Lubavitcher Chassidim are concerned. The Tzemach Tzedek did not just regard the discussion about wearing beards as an academic matter, in fact, he waged many battles for its observance. The Russian Czar Nikolai I wanted to institute a policy making it mandatory for all Jews to shave. The Tzemach Tzedek exerted himself and through Mesiras Nefesh [self-sacrifice] was able to get this decree revoked.

A summary of the Tzemach Tzedek’s opinion follows:

A. It is forbidden to remove the beard through scissors, (even with those that do not resemble a razor) or through depilatories (hair removal through medicine). This is due to the law of Payos Hazakain, “Neither shall you mar the corners of your beard.”

B. Those who remove their beards transgress the Torah law of, “A man shall not wear the garment of a woman.” Some authorities hold that this brings with it a punishment of Malkos (lashing). This reason applies even to those who cut their beard with a scissors.

C. Removing the beard without a razor can lead one to remove the beard with a razor – leading to a transgression of Torah law. Furthermore, using a scissors to cut the beard violates the reason that underlies the prohibition (Taam Hamitzvah ).

D. The hairs of the beard contain a high degree of holiness as is taught in Tanach and the words of the Rabbis.

E. The Rabbis from the time of the receiving of the Torah were accustomed not to remove their beards

F. There is a basis to permit the removal of hair that is under the throat (totally out of the area of the “corners”) but due to the fact that we do not know the exact place of the Payos (corners), we should be strict in this matter.

The Rebbe disapproved of the practice of trimming the beard, and says that the Tzemach Tzedek himself requires one to refrain from trimming.

In regard to pulling out the hairs of the beard, the Arizal writes that, it is strictly prohibited to pull or uproot even one of the hairs anywhere on the beard, because they are “pipes for a divine flow.” (They are a path by which the Divine blessings and revelations are channeled to a person.)

II. The Benefits

Maintaining a beard carries with it great advantages, as the Tzemach Tzedek writes: “Therefore, he who doesn’t shave his beard or touch it with metal at all, awakens the Yud Gimel Tikkunei Dikna.” (This refers to a very high spiritual level as is known to those well versed in Kabbala and Chassidus.)

If it seems that wearing a beard relates only to abstract spiritual levels, the following are two letters that the Rebbe wrote addressing this subject:

“Without quoting here what it says in the Inner part of Torah and in the holy Zohar and in many Seforim, that the hairs of the beard are the idea of Yud Gimel Tikkunei Dikna; and how they elicit success in learning Torah and fulfilling Mitzvos, behold everyone agrees that the beard is a part of the Tzelem Elokim (G-dly image) and removing the beard, even according to those who permit it in certain ways, nevertheless, [this person] lacks the G-dly image.”

“In regard to the idea of growing one’s beard, it is simple that according to all opinions there is an important point in it, and all the differing opinions are whether to permit [the removal of the beard] when one must [remove it] so to speak, and whether this is a Rabbinical or Torah prohibition. But, as mentioned above, it is simple in the revealed part of Torah, and specifically and strongly in the Inner part of Torah, that in the Tikkunei Dikna (as they are called in Zohar and Kabbala Seforim, which are accepted by all Jews with the full strength of the Oral Torah) there is a very high level of holiness, and the attribute of Hashem is Midda K’negged Midda [measure for measure]. A measure [the beard hair] of man [below] elicits the same measure from above, so to speak. "

As can be seen from the above letters, the hairs of the beard are the receptacle for Divine blessing in one’s day-to-day life.

Furthermore, even those who disagree with the Tzemach Tzedek in this matter, concur that a beard is a sign of Yiras Shamayim [fear of Heaven]. The Rebbe writes in a letter, expressing his amazement that someone without a beard should be involved in making Tefillin because the one who wears the Tefillin is dependent on the Yiras Shamayim of the one who fashioned them.

There is a story told that a man once came to one of the Chabad Rabbeim and asked him: “Why are Chabad Chassidim so careful not to touch their beards, but are not as scrupulous when it comes to Loshon Hora [evil talk]?”

The Rebbe answered him, “To speak Loshon Hora doesn’t require a great deal of contemplation – it comes before one even realizes what he is saying. However to touch one’s beard, a person has to make a conscious decision to act."

In another letter the Rebbe writes: a certain man came to him with complaints about wearing a beard. The Rebbe asked him, “Why is it that when someone conjures up an image of Moshe Rabbeinu or Aharon Hakohen, whether Jewish or not, they picture them with a big beard?”

The man answered that not only when he imagines Moshe Rabbeinu but even when he thinks about people who kept Torah and Mitzvos throughout the generations, he imagines them with a full untouched beard.

III. Conclusion

It seems clear that that there are many Halachic reasons to refrain from shaving or trimming one’s beard. There are many blessings that are elicited through keeping a beard, both in a material and spiritual sense. The choice seems obvious...

originally published online by Chabad of New Haven, CT

Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I need help. I put a letter into igros kodesh sefer alef daf reish chuf ches - reish chuf tes, but I do not understand hebrew and I need someone to please translate these pages for me. Thank you, Raizel, railroad27@juno.com

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