Monday, May 01, 2006

Oberservation in Shul

Going into this post, I am quite confident that my thoughts will get blasted by the oilam, and that's fine. My observation irked me, so I'm blogging about it. If you disagree, great, but I'm still free to opine.

As many people know, as a general rule, it has become the established custom (except for the Rav Soloveichik/R' Aaron Lichtenstein followers) that those who do not need to shave for work/school, refrain from doing so during whichever Sefirah period held by that individual. A noted exception to this rule happens once every couple of years, when Rosh Chodesh Iyyar falls out on Erev Shabbos. The added joy of the impending Shabbos combined with the already present joy of Rosh Chodesh, notes the Mishna Berura, is enough to permit shaving on Erev Shabbos. Yes, I am aware that this leniency is not really discussed elsewhere, and there is the opinion of R' Yehuda haChasid who forbade shaving on any Rosh Chodesh. Either way, this leniency has been accepted and endorsed by many Rabonnim and Yeshivas.

I was dismayed in shul this past Friday night when I saw how many people had not shaved for Shabbos. True, many people are lazy, forget, or hold of R' Yehuda haChasid. If these people were any of the above, then I completely understand. However, I feel as though that at least some of these people refrained from shaving as a way to show their frumkeit. "Sure, it's muttar/allowed to shave, but the frum thing to do would be to not", they must've been thinking. I'm sure their chavrusa wouldn't of thought less of them for shaving.

The problem is that people associate these outward expressions as signs of growth in Yiddiskeit, when often, there may be little to no association. I can understand wearing the black and white, or wearing a black hat; this is the established dress code for this crowd, and wearing them shows association with this hashkafa. However, by this minhag, there is no established "black hat" type of established way to do things. By choosing not to shave for religious reasons, these individuals, I believe, want to be viewed as frummer. I think, though, that at the end of the day their chumra on this minhag is at the expense of looking respectable on Shabbos.

We believe you're frum, we really do. Next go round, shave, it's the cool thing to do.


Anonymous nircgrad said...

I think you are reading into this way too much. I always remember people talking about this R' Yehudah Hachossid but noone actually shaved.

3:20 PM, May 01, 2006

Anonymous peninah said...

I agree with you.

5:14 PM, May 01, 2006

Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

r' yehuda hachasid doesn't say it's forbidden to get a haircut on rosh chodesh. in his ethical will, he instructs his descendents not to do so. at some point it became en vogue to follow.

shaving on friday would ruin the annual beard-growing contest. more likely, you might run into someone who doesn't know that MB, and you wouldn't chas ve-shalom want them to think you're MO.

8:27 PM, May 01, 2006

Blogger Outoftown said...

While I have no dobut that you are correct, I know my husband did not shave b/c his beard is finally getting to a length where it isn't itchy anymore. But he did trim his moustache and shave the back of his neck.

11:19 AM, May 02, 2006


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