Howdy my dear brothers and sisters,

I've recently read a passage in the Zohar which gave insight to certain characteristics of people with specific hairtypes (curly wavy and straight, 'glossy' or not 'glossy'etc.). It was in Shemoth Section 2.

Out of sheer interest, I'd like to know: What does Jewish thought say about people with little to no beards? Which attributes are prescribed to them? I'm already familiar about the fact that the beard hair symbolizes the kabbalistic trait of mercifulness. What about people with a lack thereof?

  • Somewhat similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/12419/759
    – Double AA
    Nov 14, 2018 at 22:31
  • I find that odd; the central Asians I know are quite hairy. East Asia is a different story.
    – Oliver
    Nov 14, 2018 at 22:34
  • The inability to grow a beard, might be due to hormonal issues. Nov 14, 2018 at 23:17
  • In a biography of the Baba Sali I read, it said that he could not grow a beard until he was older, perhaps 40 or so. Since he was distressed about this (perhaps due to the kabbalistic significance of the beard) he prayed with tears for a beard. Starting the next day, his beard started growing in, and he was careful never to cut it once it began growing.
    – Kordovero
    Nov 15, 2018 at 3:20
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure Rabbi Yochanan could not grow a beard, and we hold him in the highest regard as one of the greatest talmud sages. Nov 19, 2018 at 2:42

2 Answers 2


Answer to Q.What does Jewish thought say about people with little to no beards?

“You shall not round off the corner of your head, and you shall not destroy the edge of your beard.” Leviticus 19:27. Then in the context of the laws of the priests, we read: “…nor shall they shave the edge of their beard…” Leviticus 21:5.

The idea is not to have a long beard, its not to cut the beard.

But the LORD said unto Samuel: 'Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him; for it is not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.' 1Samuel -16:7

“Proverbs 4:23 – Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

The condition of the heart will always dictate the condition of your life.


I wouldn't obsess over it.

The Talmud Sanhedrin 100b is seeking to prove that the book of Ben Sirach doesn't belong in the Jewish Bible because some of its ideas are silly and wrong. What's the statement from Ben Sirach that clinches this argument? It says the greatness of a man can be determined by the length and shape of his beard.

אלא משום דכתיב זלדקן קורטמן עבדקן סכסן דנפח בכסיה לא צחי אמר במאי איכול לחמא לחמא סב מיניה מאן דאית ליה מעברתא בדיקני' כולי עלמא לא יכלי ליה

Rather, [a proof this book is flawed] because it is written there: A sparse-bearded man is clever; a thick-bearded man is a fool... One who has a split in his beard -- the whole world can't beat him. [Abaye suggests: Due to all this nonsense, it is not appropriate to read this book (at least not as Scripture).]

For the fun of it -- there's an interesting responsum from the Chasam Sofer that allows Jews to shave with scissors (not a razor), and rejects the blanket argument that "beards are Jewish, clean-shaven is pagan", because the heathens of Biblical times also had beards; he claims the clean-shaven look came into fad a few centuries ago when some Polish ruler couldn't grow a beard and others thus imitated his look.

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