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Negative Commandment #177

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

Second Section – the Negative Commandments

177. It is a negative commandment "do not destroy the edges of a beard"

As it states in Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:27, "do not destroy the edges of your beard." There are five edges of the beard and a person receives lashes for each one individually. If they were all taken off at once, the person transgressed five prohibitions. A person is not held liable unless they are shaved with a razor which is the type of shaving which destroys, as it is written, "you shall not destroy." If his beard is shaved with scissors, then the person is not held liable. The person who does the shaving is held liable, but the person who is shaved is not whipped, as long as he did not help the person who does the shaving. A woman is allowed to shave her beard if she has facial hair. If a woman shaves a man's beard, she is free of penalty, but it is still forbidden.

In Sefer haChinuch it is written that shaving a beard also transgresses two other negative commandments in addition to the five mentioned above. They are: "do not walk in their ways" (Vayikra 18:3) and "a man shall not wear a woman's garment." (Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:5)

This applies in all places and at all times.

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