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Is it permitted for a man to trim his armpit hair and pubic hair? I know shaving is not permissible under certain circumstances but would trimming be allowed?

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Despite you asking not about shaving, here are some sources about shaving that indicate it may depend on local practice.

The Torah in Devarim 22:5 writes:

לֹא־יִהְיֶ֤ה כְלִי־גֶ֙בֶר֙ עַל־אִשָּׁ֔ה וְלֹא־יִלְבַּ֥שׁ גֶּ֖בֶר שִׂמְלַ֣ת אִשָּׁ֑ה כִּ֧י תוֹעֲבַ֛ת יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ כׇּל־עֹ֥שֵׂה אֵֽלֶּה׃ {פ}

A woman must not put on man’s apparel, nor shall a man wear woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is abhorrent to the LORD your God.

This prohibition of 'Lo Yilbash' is understood by chazal to not only forbid a man wearing the clothes of a woman but also replicating any womanly beauty practises.

Rashi writes on the pasuk an alternative understanding:

דָּ"אַ — שֶׁלֹּא יַשִּׁיר שְׂעַר הָעֶרְוָה וְשֵׂעָר שֶׁל בֵּית הַשֶּׁחִי (נזיר נ"ט):

Another explanation of the second part of the text is: it implies that a man should not remove the hair of the genitals and the hair beneath the arm-pit (Nazir 59a).

This is codified in halacha with the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 182 writing:

המעביר שער בית השחי ובית הערוה אפילו במספרים כעין תער היו מכין אותו מכת מרדות בד"א במקום שאין מעבירין אותו אלא נשים כדי שלא יתקן עצמו תיקון נשים אבל במקום שמעבירין אותו גם האנשים אם העביר אין מכין אותו: הגה ואפילו לכתחילה שרי (ר"ן פ"ב דעבודת כוכבים) רק החברים נמנעים בכ"מ (שם ובב"י בשם נ"י) (וע"ל סימן קנ"ו): ומותר להעביר שער (שאר) אברים במספרים בכל מקום :

One who removes the hair of the armpit or pubic area, even with scissors in a similar manner to a razor (i.e. close to the skin) receives lashes of rebellion. About what were these words said? In a place where only women remove it, so that he should not improve himself as women do. In a place where men, too, do so, however, if he does so they do not beat him. (Rama: Even initially this is permitted (Ran in Avodah Zarah). Only exceptionally scrupulous people refrain in all places (ibid and in Beis Yosef in the name of the Nimukei Yosef). See above Siman 156.) It is permitted to remove the hair of other limbs with scissors in any place. (Sefaria translation and notation)

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  • Why the downvote?
    – Dov
    Aug 24, 2021 at 21:06
  • Your summary seems to ignore most of your quotation
    – Double AA
    Aug 24, 2021 at 22:48
  • What summary? I said no and then proceeded to list sources?
    – Dov
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:05
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    But your sources don't uniformly say "no" and don't uniformly address this question of not shaving close
    – Double AA
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:05
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    @BobSmith The best things is to ask your local rabbi, because he knows what is the local custom and whether there was room for leniency. Aug 25, 2021 at 8:00

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