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There is a famous Hasidic rabbi who has no facial hair, and I seem to recall that there is a famous story as to why. But I can remember neither which rabbi (or of which sect), nor the story. I do not even know if he is/was "the" Rebbe of his sect. Can someone please post information?

I cannot provide any further information, other than that I know there are color photos of him (ie., this was not centuries ago).

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3 Answers 3

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The Kaliver Rebbi. It was pulled out by the Nazis Yemach Shemom.

http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%91%D7%A5:Kaliver_rebbe.jpg

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Gershon, thank you! That's who I was picturing. Do you know more about his story? –  Seth J Dec 20 '11 at 18:37
    
The way I heard it, they performed certain medical experiments on him that caused him to lose his beard. –  Dave Dec 20 '11 at 18:40
    
@Dave I heard that they just pulled the beard out with the root. –  Shmuel Brin Dec 20 '11 at 19:05
    
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(The Hebrew wikipedia entry, he.wikipedia.org/wiki/… , mentions that 'chemical experiments' were performed on him). –  ChaimKut Nov 29 '12 at 10:06
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As others have answered, the photo of the Rebbe you are thinking of is all but certainly the Kaliver Rebbe shlita, HaRav Menachem Mendel Traub. As mentioned, the Kaliver Rebbe shlita is a Holocaust survivor, and it is my understanding (as well) that it was during this time he lost his beard. The version of the story I heard is different than Gershon Gold's or Shmuel Brill's versions of the story.

In so far as that makes three slightly, but significantly, different versions of what happened and the details are absent in the Wikipeda page about him, from the general information on the web, and perhaps most significantly from the (now defunct) website apparently established by his Chassidim, it seems to me that the details have been kept quiet out of privacy.

Perhaps until we can find more specific, better sourced, details we should treat it as a private matter as well.

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Although he preceded the Hasidic movement, the Ramchal, Rabbi Moses Chaim Luzzato supposedly had no beard. He did however write a section in his sefer Mesillat Yesharim dealing with Chassidut. I found a source (http://ha-historion.blogspot.com/2006/11/beards-in-jewish-tradition.html) that suggests he was influenced by the renaissance culture developing around Italy at the time.

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I do not believe there are any color photos of the Ramchal. –  Seth J Nov 28 '12 at 22:59
    
I think Ramchal use not to use beard because he was out of Israel –  juanora Dec 10 '12 at 19:27
    
@juanora - What does that have to do with anything? –  Adam Mosheh Dec 16 '12 at 4:18
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To do deal with two of the flaws of this answer. The Hassidut that the Ramhal was discussing was not the Hassidut of the Baal Shem Tov (or even close). Second, since the Ramhal was a great Mekubal, it makes sense to assume that he held like the Zohar which is very strict about keeping a beard. –  Hacham Gabriel Apr 10 '13 at 3:57
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