Treife Electric Shavers is a website dedicated to publicizing the ruling of many gedolim that electric shavers with a lift and cut system (like Norelco) are not ‘kosher’ unless the lifters are removed. Rabbi Abadi refutes this (see the message board there) quite simply.

Being relatively new to the shaving game, I panicked when I realized my Norelco was not kosher, and went through a series of substitutes that included a micro shaver (it took me 20 minutes to shave) and a battery operated travel shaver (ditto). In desperation, I checked the website again to see if any new developments had taken place. If not, I planned on sending them my shaver to have it “de-lifted.” Or I would buy Nair.

Enter Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz of Passover guide fame. Rabbi Blumenkrantz has tested many shavers and has come up with a list of ‘kosher-out-of-the-box’ shavers, posted on the website. I made a list of the Blumenkrantz-tested-and-approved models and went shopping. I found one, a Remington Titanium Model Number 9170, on on sale at 1/3 of its retail price. I bought it.

This ‘kosher’ razor shaves much closer and better than my ‘treife’ Norelco and does so very rapidly, often in one pass. This appears to violate the new strictures imposed by the gedolim – a club in which Rabbi Blumenkrantz is himself a junior member.

Today’s gedolim move to ban for reasons of ideology, not halakha. While halakhic “reasons” are found for their bans, those reasons are found after the decision to ban has already been made. Whether banning the books of Rabbi Nosson Slifkin and Rabbi Nosson Kamentsky or reading the opinions of entire groups of Rishonim out of Judaism, it is haredi ideology, not Jewish law and history, that guides them.

Rabbi Abadi – who permits all electric razors – is right, again.*

* [I should also add that the idea that the blades of the electric shaver can be “too sharp” is bizarre. The entire heter for using an electric shaver is based on how it operates, not on how sharp the blades are. In order to shave as a real razor, the blades need to have direct and full contact with the skin. No electric shaver does this. Why? Because they would slash the skin. That is why all electric shavers have screens.

Either facial hair can be removed or it cannot be removed. We know that Jews in Poland removed their beards for hundreds of years, and that the vast majority of poskim ruled it permitted – including the Rema. The chemical used to remove the hair left the face smooth. Indeed, today’s hair removers, like Nair, which are much more sophisticated, are to my knowledge all considered kosher by today’s gedolim. A scissors, whose use is kosher, can be razor sharp.

If the issue is closeness of hair removal, the electric shavers common 20 years ago should also have been forbidden.]



Filed under Haredim, Torah and Science

15 responses to “Treife Electric Shavers

  1. ah yid

    i one’s read a article that said that RaSHy
    says that you could cut with scissors.

  2. Nigritude Ultramarine

    >That is why all electric shavers have screens.

    Speaking of screens, there is one well-known rabbi who says that you have to be wary of some screens, as they can sometimes cut hair.

    /rolls eyes

  3. SS

    Are you for real? Why do you even pay attention to those crazies. What they really want is for everyone to have a beard, and that’s why they try to make shaving difficult.

  4. Thank you for the information. This was all very interesting, but please, which of them are kosher for Passover?

  5. Yochanan Lavie

    Any one of them are if you kasher them with a blowtorch (preferably while in use).

  6. Dovid Lerner

    Libun Kal or Libun Gamur? 🙂 (I need to know ’cause kibolo kach polto)

  7. Anonymous

    you’re new to the shaving game? how old are you,14?

  8. No, I’m not 14. I had a beard for my entire adult life.

  9. Anonymous

    whyd you shave it off?
    your wife doesn’t like it?

  10. Facial hair removal is of course a personal choice, and many factors can influence an individual’s decision as to whether to remove their facial, cultural and religious reasons are just two of them. It’s really just up to an individual.

  11. Dan

    Without elaborating on the controvery Abadi vs. Koshershaver, I think there are some factors that you are not taking into account. Assuming it is permissible to remove facial hair with scissor-like intruments, the argument that some (or all) electric shavers have the halakhic status of a ta`ar seems sound to me. The norelco lift and cut, which is the only shaver I had a chance to examine, has vertical blades that point directly against the skin. The shaver does have a screen that prevents direct contact with the skin, but the same holds true with most razors that have protection for the face. So, IMHO, the argument that the screen makes a ta`ar-like shaver permissible is fallacious, since the same would apply to today’s gillete razors. I never had a chance to examine other electric shavers, but it is likely that most of them function in a similar manner (screen + vertical blades pointing directly against the skin).

    Regarding the historical argument that because Jews in Poland removed their beards, then it must be permissible, I don’t think resorting to history to justify certain behavior is helpful here. Following that reasoning, you can read Isaia and the Gemara in `Eruvin mentioning the fact that people were carrying in the R”HR during the first Temple period and justify such behavior. Again, we must live by the laws of our Torah as they are, not as they were observed in previous generations.

  12. Yes, but previous generations include (at least) the past 1000 years. Check out the dozens of photos of Aaron Kotler and other gedolim of this or the immediate past generation beardless in their early 20’s.

  13. Dan

    And so what? What kind of logical argument is that? “because gedoylim do or did something, then it must be OK.” That is a fallacious argument, and I don’t think you want me to elaborate on it.

    I would rather focus on the first paragraph of my prior post. Maybe someone has a good argument to distinguish electric shavers with screens from razors with protection for the face. I honestly cannot see any difference in the status of both (=ta`ar) but maybe you can come up with an argument.

  14. No. If the gedolim did it and it was wrong, then there must be halakhic proof for that. There is nont.

    The blade of a “Gillette razor” TOUCHES YOUR FACE. The blades of a Norelco Lif And Cut and other electric razors do not.

  15. Victor

    This is rediculous. A norelco lift and cut system does not shave like a blade at all. True it is a very good razor and delivers a very close shave. But when it comes down to it, no electric razor cuts below the hair below the skin. It is just a marketing ployto get you to buy one. I am a baal-tshuva and I know what freehand blade shaving is like(I used to use an old style double headed safety razor before becoming frum)and it is much different that an electric. The Halachic grounds for this is nonsense. If they came out with an electric razor that used no blades at all and just lazer to shave your face, some Rabbi would say it is treif on some ground.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s