Rashi (B'reshis 37:2) calls it an "an act of immaturity [to fix one's] hair (...) so he would look good".

Obviously, payos are made from hair, but they are not considered regular hair within kabbala (k'lipos that are to be removed).

The fact is that many orthodox Jews go to great lengths in order to have long beautiful payos.

Question is if they have a status as mitzva item that exempts them from the problem Rashi speaks of.

  • Hi NBZ. This is a wonderful question! Is it possible for you to briefly explain Rashi's rationale for calling the act of taking care of one's hair "immature." I will of course (?) do my own research on this topic but since you appear to have at least some of the facts-on-hand......Thank you NBZ.
    – JJLL
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 23:27
  • @JJLL Your question would actually be a very good question too, so why not ask it? If I have understood right, it is seen as an effeminate thing to do. However, you may want to ask msh210 instead of me. Also, remember to up-vote questions you consider good!
    – Adám
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 23:34
  • Considering tending to one's hair as being an effeminate act makes sense. (Not that I necessarily agree with it.) You are right about the up-vote NBZ. You got it. As far as asking my response as a question, I will wait a bit to see what responses/answers your question receives. Again, great question NBZ.
    – JJLL
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 23:43
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    אלו דברים שאין להם שיעור הפאה... :)
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 0:21
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    @ephraimhelfgot It's not so clear that hiddur mitzva (à la "זה א-לי ואנוהו") would apply to a לא תעשה.
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


Tosafos in Chagiga 7a - ד"ה והבכורים - states that only items mentioned in the Mishna we say daily - these are the items that have no measure - are those items that doing more is a bigger Mitzva.

והבכורים אין לו שיעור לא למעלה ולא למטה. הדר פריך בירושלמי רבי ברכיה בעי למה לא תנינן עפר לסוטה אפר פרה רוק יבמה דם צפור של מצורע א''ר יוסי לא אייתינן במתני' אלא דברים שהוא מוסיף עליהן ויש בעשייתן מצוה ואלו אע''פ שמוסיף עליהן אין בעשייתן מצוה:‏

For other Mitzvos one gets no extra points for increasing them. E.g. if the Yevama spits more, she has not done a bigger & better Mitzva.

If you look in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah קפ"א you will see that the peyos area ends at the bottom of the ear (if not higher).

The בית לחם יהודה adds that one should ensure that they do not grow into the beard area - which starts below the Payos area. He adds that the Ari z"l would trim his peyos every Friday, IIRC.

Since there's clearly no Mitzva-aspect to longer payos, (and the Ari z"l et. al. would say there's a problem with it, actually) it's hard to explain why beautifying the long payos would be a Mitzva.

That leaves us with Rashi.

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    Fun fact, the mishna you say daily, isn't actually the mishna. Its a combination of multiple mishnaot and a bereita in the talmud. Also, the "peah" mentioned in the mishna, isn't just one sidelock :P
    – avi
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 9:58
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    @avi - the first half is Mishna 1:1 in Peah: אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם שִׁעוּר. הַפֵּאָה , וְהַבִּכּוּרִים, וְהָרֵאָיוֹן, וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים, וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה - the second half starting with אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאָדָם אוֹכֵל פֵּרוֹתֵיהֶן is a compendium, as you say. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 10:28

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