In Western culture, giving a lock of hair to a loved one used to be a common practice. According to halakhah, may the recipient of a lock of hair continue to posses it after the death of the giver?

  1. Is there an obligation to dispose of it?

  2. If one is obligated to dispose of it, what is the prescribed manner for doing so?

I've seen this post about disposal of beard hair, but this case seems different due to:

A) it is someone else's hair rather than one's own, and

B) the person it belonged to is deceased.

1 Answer 1


The Bais Yosef YD 349 says that hair that was attached to a deceased person at the time of death, is the subject of a dispute of that hair is prohibited to have any benefit from. The Rambam, Smag, Tosfos, and the Rashba permit it. The Ramban and the Tur prohibit it.

כתב סמ"ג המת אסור בהנאה כולו חוץ משערו ע"כ: ב"ה וכ"כ הרמב"ם בפרק י"ב מהלכות סנהדרין וכל אשה שתהרג מותר ליהנות משערה: ואיני יודע מנין לו להתיר שערו ודוחק לומר דבפיאה נכרית תלוין בסיכתא קאמר דא"כ הו"ל לפרש: ב"ה והרשב"א בתשובה סימן ש"ל הביא דברי הרמב"ם וכתב שהתוס' ג"כ בפרק שור שנגח את הפרה כתבו להתיר ותמה עליהם וכתב שהרמב"ן בתורת האדם אוסר: ומ"ש רבינו אשה שנגמר דינה וכו' בס"פ בתרא דסנהדרין (קיב.):

In Shulchan Aruch 349:2 both the Mechaber and the Rama say that it is prohibited to have any benefit from hair:

אבל שערו ממש אפילו אם צוה עליו אסור בהנאה: הגה אשה שיוצאת ליהרג נהנין בשערה אף על פי שנגמר דינה אין שערותיה נאסרים עד שתקטל (טור):

but one's real hair, even if he left instructions regarding it, — [the law is that] it is forbidden to make any use of it. Gloss: If a woman is about to be put to death, use may be made of her hair, [for] although her trial is ended, her hair does not become forbidden until she is executed

  • 1
    The Mechaber and the Rama say that it is prohibited to have any benefit from hair taken from a dead body. Is saving the hair for sentimental purposes considered benefit, as far as this Halacha is concerned? May 18, 2023 at 20:39
  • Benefit doesn’t have to be physical pleasure, sentimental benefit is still benefit
    – Chatzkel
    May 18, 2023 at 20:51
  • If I understand correctly, the OP is asking about hair that was detached before death.
    – magicker72
    May 18, 2023 at 22:38
  • 1
    If that’s the case then this answer is irrelevant. Not sure what the shaila is though in that case
    – Chatzkel
    May 18, 2023 at 23:12
  • Do you have Halachic proof, that "sentimental benefit is still [considered] benefit", even though the person has no physical benefit from it? May 19, 2023 at 7:24

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