Although it is permitted to bite ones nails, and is not considered uncouth as is stated in Moed Koton (18a):

אמר רב שמן בר אבא הוה קאימנא קמיה דר' יוחנן בי מדרשא בחולו של מועד ושקלינהו לטופריה בשיניה וזרקינהו שמע מינה תלת שמע מינה מותר ליטול צפרנים בחולו של מועד ושמע מינה אין בהן משום מיאוס ושמע מינה מותר לזורקן

However, some people have a (IMO very disgusting) habit to swallow the nails after they bit them. Is this permitted? Is it considered as if you are consuming human flesh which is forbidden as stated in the Rambam (Maachlos Assuros 2:3):

והאוכל מבשר האדם או מחלבו בין מן החי בין מן המת אינו לוקה. אבל אסור הוא בעשה

Furthermore, the nature of biting nails is also that inevitably some parts of the skin around the nails is pulled off with the nail and that is consumed together with the nail.

Are there any poskim that discuss this?

  • possible partial dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/14788/759
    – Double AA
    Jun 4, 2015 at 5:38
  • ? Why I asked specifically about nails and agav mentioned skin. Jun 4, 2015 at 5:39
  • I have a feeling that biting his own skin which is not meat as such is not included.
    – cham
    Jun 4, 2015 at 5:55
  • 1
    Should not have read this while eating!
    – Scimonster
    Jun 4, 2015 at 7:07
  • Lol I'm sorry, now can you can be mesaken that by answering! Jun 4, 2015 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


Baruch Hashem I found this addressed in an English book featuring the halachic rulings of Rav Yisroel Belsky compiled by Rabbi Moshe Dovid Lebovits on page 62:

"Ideally one should be careful not to swallow any of his nails"

In note 8:

this is quoted in the name of Rav Yisroel Belsky. Refer to Tziporan Shel Rishonim page 309, 121.

If one did swallow his nail, it is not included in the prohibition to eat one's flesh (Doleh Umashke page 145).

The Yalkut Yosef (יו"ד ב עמ’ סד) says that the eating and biting of the skin is a possible transgression of consuming human flesh as stated in the Rambam (Maachlos Assuros 2:3)

  • well its just my word against the yalkut yosef unless he also brings some proof. He only uses the word possible. @mefaresh
    – cham
    Jun 4, 2015 at 17:08

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