KosherShaver.org 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 koshershaver.org 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 koshershaver.org 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 Amazon.com 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.]