The Beard and Shaving in the Teachings of HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l


To honor the memory and legacy of the venerated and beloved Gadol Hador, HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l, a new booklet was published during the days of Shiva, entitled (in English translation): “The Beard and Shaving in the Teachings of Maran HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l.”


This publication represents a compilation of halachic pronouncements by Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l regarding the beard in Jewish law. It is (primarily) excerpted from sefer Hadras Ponim Zokon and prepared by the sefer’s author, Rabbi Moshe Nisan Wiener.


Included are numerous (and some never-before published) fascimiles of handwritten responses from Rav Kanievsky zt’l.


Some of the issues discussed in the quotations from Rav Kanievsky zt’l in this publication include:


·     Why did the Chofetz Chaim, the Chazon Ish, the Steipler Gaon and (according to Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l: “all Gedolei HaDor”) rule that shaving machines (even non-electric) are the halachic equivalent of razors?

·     Is it appropriate to offer electric shavers to those who otherwise would shave with a razor?

·     Is there a halachic basis to prohibit cutting the beard with scissors?

·     What was the position of the Chofetz Chaim regarding trimming the beard?

·     What was the response of the Chofetz Chaim and Chazon Ish when Yeshiva students started removing their beards?

·     To what did the Chazon Ish (and Rav Kook) attribute the 1929 brutal massacre in Chevron?

·     How to manage conflict between beard growth and Shalom Bayis?

·     Will a Kohen who removes his beard (with any method) be eligible to serve in the Beis Hamikdosh when Moshiach comes?

·     Is it acceptable to cut the beard when it appears to be an obstruction to a Shidduch?

·     Is the Chasam Sofer a valid source of leniency regarding beard removal?

·     Should someone who shaves be honored with leading Birkas Hamazon?

·     Can maintaining a full beard help resolve health, fertility and parnasa issues?

·     Should beard hairs be placed in sefarim?

·     And much more.


Also included is Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s hand-written endorsement of the author’s response to those who are critical of the sefer Hadras Ponim Zokon (in which Rav Chaim Kanievsky wrote: “Yafa Kasavta” – “You have written well”) along with a photo of the sefer Hadras Ponim Zokon near Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l in his personal study as appeared on the front page of the New York Times.

To view this new publication at no cost, please click here.


For those who would prefer a hardcopy, it is available (at cost price) on Amazon.


Sponsors are being sought to enable an English language edition of this eye-opening work.

Visit for further resources.


Featured Sefer: Hadras Ponim Zokon

Sefer Hadras Ponim Zokon (by Rabbi Moshe Nisan Wiener) is a landmark work of halachic scholarship regarding the growth and cutting of the beard in halachic perspective. An encyclopedic study, comprising 1,227 pages and crowned with the approbations of the leading halachic authorities of our time, it presents extensive documentation of the relevant Torah sources and analysis regarding this mitzvah throughout the ages. The sefer is available at Jewish bookstores in a new, deluxe, expanded fourth edition or in softcover online through Amazon (to purchase volume 1, click here; to purchase volume 2, click here).


To view excerpts from the letters of support and approbation of Gedolei Yisroel regarding sefer Hadras Ponim Zokon, click here.

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