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so my question is where should the top of the Peyot start.

do they start from the height of where your eyebrows are, top of ear etc.

thanks

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As a starting point, we need to refer to the Torah injunction brought in Vayikra 19:27 where it says:

לֹ֣א תַקִּ֔פוּ פְּאַ֖ת רֹאשְׁכֶ֑ם וְלֹ֣א תַשְׁחִ֔ית אֵ֖ת פְּאַ֥ת זְקָנֶֽךָ׃

You shall not round off the side-growth on your head, or destroy the side-growth of your beard.

The Gemara in Makkos 20a explains what this rounding of the head means:

על הראש שתים אחת מכאן ואחת מכאן על הזקן שתים מכאן ושתים מכאן ואחת מלמטה רבי אליעזר אומר אם ניטלו כולן כאחת אינו חייב אלא אחת

For rounding the edges of his head, one is liable to receive two sets of lashes, one from here, the hair adjacent to one ear, and one from there, the hair adjacent to the other ear. For marring the edges of his beard there are two edges from here, on one side of his face, and two from there, on the other side, and one from below, on his chin. Rabbi Eliezer says: If he removed the hair on all the edges of his beard in one action, he is liable to receive only one set of lashes for all of them. (Sefaria translation and notation - my emphasis)

Rashi helps further elucidate the stated area by defining it as:

בצד האוזן מלפניו מקום שלועזין טנפל"א ושם נקרא פאה

On the side of the ear in front of the temple - and there is where we call the 'peah'

Rav Belsky zt"l in Shulchan HaLevi right at the end in Siman 28 ('בענין שערות הפיאות') p.437 (unfortunately it is not included in the free part of the sefer) quotes Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt"l and states that to ascertain the area of the peyos one needs to 'draw' a line between two points. The first point is the intersection of where the hairline that runs horizontally meets with vertical hairline on the side of the head. The second point is the apex of the hairline above the ear. The area below this imaginary line until the bottom of the ear is all part of the peah.

This is more clearly defined here in which there is a link to a pdf here which provides a useful diagram from Rabbi Avi Wiesenfeld shlita: enter image description here

So in answer to your question, the top of the peyos start right above the highest point of the ear at the hairline and stretches across to the upper corner of the forehead.

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  • The sefaria translation includes a relevant Rashi: בצד האוזן מלפניו מקום שלועזין טנפל"א ושם נקרא פאה (Maybe edit this in?)
    – Mordechai
    Dec 16 '20 at 22:22
  • @Mordechai - many thanks! How would you best translate מקום שלועזין טנפל"א
    – Dov
    Dec 16 '20 at 22:25
  • The "temples" in English (from the French).
    – Mordechai
    Dec 16 '20 at 22:27
  • I figured many thanks! Edited accordingly :-)
    – Dov
    Dec 16 '20 at 22:28
  • It's old french language. There is not a Gemara המקיף פדחתו לאירי אוזנו?
    – kouty
    Dec 17 '20 at 0:59

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