May Jewish men use electric razors?

22.04.2011                      18.Nisan, 5771                      Chel Hamo'ed 2; Tag 3 des Omer

Frag den Rabbi:

May Jewish men use electric razors?

Since electric shavers employ two blades, they are similar to scissors, remain permissible, even though they may cut the hair at skin level.

The picture of gray-haired men stroking their distinguished beards has long dominated the image of the Jewish scholar. The legal and cultural basis for this image remains a matter of historical intrigue.
The Torah prohibits cutting certain spots of male facial hair: “You shall not destroy the side-growth of your beard” (Leviticus 19:27). While the Talmud limited this prohibition to five points on one’s face, medieval commentators offered at least six varying definitions of these areas. While all agree that the center of one’s chin must remain unshorn, they dispute the area of the other points, which might include the area around the lower earlobe, the ends and sides of the upper jaw bone and the ends of the mustache (Ritva Makot 21a). Given this dispute, the practice became not to improperly destroy any facial hair (YD 181:11), with decisors debating whether this extends to the neck area (Shach181:7). The prohibition applies to barbers and clients alike (181:4), although many allow Jewish barbers uninhibitedly to shave non-Jewish clients….