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It says in sefer vayikra in perek יט posuk כז, "You shall not round off the corner of your head, and you shall not destroy the edge of your beard." Now I shave my face because many poskim have made shaving mutar, but how can they do that? This posuk seems to be pretty explicit. I know you can interpret it differently,but wouldn't it be better that we be machmir just in case we are misinterpreting the posuk?

  • Did your poskim permit you to destroy your beard or to cut it really short? – Double AA May 30 '13 at 20:50
  • But isn't cutting it short a form of destruction? Cutting half a building to make it smaller is also destruction – Becoming a Torah Jew May 30 '13 at 20:52
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    I didn't realize your English translation and the subtleties of the English language were so relevant here. – Double AA May 30 '13 at 20:53
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    @ThehatmakestheJew - we are not dealing with the general conceptual idea of destruction and everything that the word can broadly communicate - we are dealing with the legal definition of the word "השחתה" in context as communicated in Hazalic sources. – Deuteronomy May 30 '13 at 21:33
  • related mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0321.htm#5 – Double AA May 31 '13 at 4:44
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As the Rambam states in H. A"Z 12:8:

ואינו חייב עד שיגלחנו בתער--שנאמר "ולא תשחית, את פאת זקנך" (ויקרא יט,כז), גילוח שיש בו השחתה; לפיכך אם גילח זקנו במספריים, פטור. ואין המתגלח לוקה, עד שיסייע.

One is liable only when one shaves with a razor, as [implied by Leviticus 19:27]: "Do not destroy the corners of your beard." [We can infer that this applies only] to shaving which utterly destroys [one's facial hair]. Therefore, a person who removes his beard with scissors is exempt.

Some debate whether it is patur aval assur or that that there is a free license altogether (Sefer ha-Hinukh vs Beth Yosef).

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