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If R' Schneur Zalman of Liadi had long Peoth, as in this famous sketch, why is it not the custom in Lubavitch circles these days for adult men to maintain long, emphasized Peoth as it is in many other Hasidic groups?

(Of course this is not strictly a Hasidic custom; there are many others who grow out their Peoth. I'm just comparing the practice of one Hasidic group against, it seems, nearly all the others.)

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See here: chabadtalk.com/forum/showthread.php3?t=30 – HodofHod Mar 1 '12 at 6:27
Fun fact: From The Jews of Teman (Days of Exile and Days of Redemption) by Rabbi Dr. Aharon ben Dawid pg. 14. The dress of the Jews until then [1673 leminyanam] was honorable garb, with wide sleeves like important Muslims; they wore headdresses on their heads, and they did not grow out their peyoth at all. ... cont – avi Mar 1 '12 at 6:59
... Almadi Ismail [the Turkish ruler who came into power at this time] decreed upon the Jews to remove their headdresses, a symbol of pride, and go bareheaded, and this for them was a disgrace. To increase their degradation it was decreed that they should grow out their sidelocks and walk with their sidelocks (called Zenanir by the goyim and simanim by the Jews) out in the marketplaces and streets and everywhere else. – avi Mar 1 '12 at 6:59
What happens if you dont have a beard i think that people are getting mixed up if the ari says that to separate between the beard then you should have a beard – user4650 Dec 19 '13 at 0:25
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35677 – msh210 Feb 21 '14 at 2:12
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that the custom among Lubavitch was to cut the Peos.

He said that there are a few reasons, one of which is to avoid mixing the two types of light from the 13 strands of the beard. He also mentioned that the Arizal used to cut his Peos (as is written in the Shaarei Hamitzvos and Taamei Hamitzvos parshas Kedoshim).

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@avi It is a very old picture. I don't doubt it is not 100% as accurate as a photograph would have been, but I have a hard time accepting that he just happened to have bushy hair around his ears. – Seth J Mar 1 '12 at 15:27
An important aspect of the Rebbe's letter is "Kivan D'Nafak M'Pumiya D'Rav Kahana". If the Arizal did it, we should be Mehader to follow it. – Menachem Mar 1 '12 at 16:05
@SethJ Wild speculation: If I'm not mistaken, this sketch was done by a non-Jewish artist while the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned. It's possible that he did not have access to a barber for a while, or that he didn't trust the prison barber to touch his peyos. Also, it's possible that, as Alex said, the artist (intentionally or unintentionally) drew his peyos wrong. – HodofHod Mar 1 '12 at 16:35
@HodofHod nevermind not trusting - it's halacha (Avodah Zarah 27a, Yoreh De’ah 156:1) – yoel Mar 1 '12 at 16:50
I've deleted a bunch of comments that were not about the post. – msh210 Mar 2 '12 at 0:49

When Communist Russia came to power, and Jews were in danger, the Russian Jews (which included Lubavitch) began cutting their peyos short as to avoid distinction, wearing fedoras to cover their kippos, and a long Prince Edward frock coat in place of the traditional bekishe. By the time Lubavitch wound up in the States, these customs were well set and concrete.

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In the Soviet Union, Lubavitchers didn't wear Fedoras, they wore Kaskets – Shmuel Brin May 19 at 18:18
There are pictures and portraits of Chabad Rebbes and Chassidim from before Communism. – Yishai May 19 at 19:08
A beard is a much larger sign than Peyos. I can't believe that someone would notice the Payos and not notice the beard – Shmuel Brin May 19 at 21:56
@ShmuelBrin, my understanding is that beards were standard for Russian peasants for at least part of the period that Chabad was active under Czarist rule. – Yishai May 19 at 21:58
@Yishai he talked about Soviet rule – Shmuel Brin May 20 at 17:22

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