How come it’s mutar to remove the beard but not the sideburns? The שלחן ערוך & רמב״ם both say they can be removed completely (with scissors or the like). So how come we only apply this halacha to the beard but not sideburns?

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    Can you cite this Shulchan Arukh? I think you are misremembering
    – Double AA
    Jul 12 '19 at 20:42

You are misquoting!!!! Regarding sideburns that Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 181) says that there is an opinion that one may not use scissors that cut the hair very short, and one should act in this manner.

א פְּאוֹת הָרֹאשׁ הֵם שְׁתַּיִם. סוֹף הָרֹאשׁ הוּא מְקוֹם חִבּוּרוֹ לַלֶּחִי מִיָּמִין וּמִשְּׂמֹאל.‏

ב בֵּין שֶׁגִּלַּח הַפֵּאוֹת בִּלְבַד, בֵּין שֶׁגִּלַּח כָּל הָרֹאשׁ עִם הַפֵּאוֹת, חַיָּב. ‏

ג אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא בְּתַעַר. וְיֵשׁ אוֹסְרִים בְּמִסְפָּרַיִם כְּעֵין תַּעַר, וְיֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם. ‏

He also says that one shouldn't touch the entire width of the sideburns - the exact meaning is open to discussion, but he doesn't say anything similar for the beard.

ט שִׁעוּר הַפֵּאָה מִכְּנֶגֶד שֵׂעָר שֶׁעַל פַּדַחְתּוֹ וְעַד לְמַטָּה מִן הָאֹזֶן, מָקוֹם שֶׁהַלֶּחִי הַתַּחְתּוֹן יוֹצֵא וּמִתְפָּרֵד שָׁם, וְכָל רֹחַב מָקוֹם זֶה לֹא תִּגַּע בּוֹ יָד. ‏

Regarding the beard he says one may use scisosrs to cut it very short:

י אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַל הַשְׁחָתַת פְּאַת הַזָּקָן אֶלָּא בְּתַעַר, אֲבָל בְּמִסְפָּרַיִם מֻתָּר, אֲפִלּוּ כְּעֵין תַּעַר.‏

Though the Remo warns against using the lower part of the scissors which may be used in a razor-like manner which would be forbidden.

הגה: וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם נִזְהָרִים כְּשֶׁמִּסְתַפְּרִין בְּמִסְפָּרַיִם שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה הֶקֵּף הַגִּלּוּחַ בַּחֵלֶק הָעֶלְיוֹן מִן הַמְסַפְּרוֹת וְלֹא בַּתַּחְתּוֹן, פֶּן יַעֲשֶׂה הַכֹּל עִם חֵלֶק הַתַּחְתּוֹן וְהָוֵי כְּתַעַר ‏

  • הלכה ג is not exclusively on the peyot, it’s also about the beard. And הלכה ט is talking about using a razor on the peyot. doesn’t answer my question Jul 17 '19 at 7:37
  • 1
    @KapinKrunch - I suggest you read the original - until הלכה י it's talking EXCLUSIVELY about the sideburns. Jul 17 '19 at 7:46
  • @KapinKrunch - How do you get from לֹא תִּגַּע בּוֹ יָד to using a razor? Especially since he already forbade a razor in ג. Jul 17 '19 at 7:47
  • Any thoughts or commentary on what "very short" mean for the hair? Is a buzz-cut (#2 or #3 comb) ok? Does "very short" suggest close to shaved? I would guess whatever "very short" means, it applies to beard too. Mar 3 '20 at 19:54
  • @WilburWhateley - there are various opinions on what very short means, which is why I left it vague, but at the very least you need to be able to grab the hairs with your fingernails. Beards have different Halachot and as long as you don't use a [Halachic] razor, you can cut it as short as you wish. Mar 3 '20 at 21:16

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