NAZIR 58 - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Reb Naftali ben Reb Menachem Mendel Bodner Z"L by his wife, Alice Bodner. A man who loved Chesed, Tuli Bodner applied his many talents to help everyone he knew in any way he could. His cheerful greeting is warmly remembered by all who knew him. He was Niftar on 5 Cheshvan 5765.
1) HALACHAH: MAY A MAN SHAVE THE HAIR OF HIS BODY?
OPINIONS: Rav and Rebbi Yochanan discuss whether a man is permitted to shave the hair on his body (other than his head and face) or whether the Isur of "Lo Yilbash" (Devarim 22:5) prohibits such an act. The Halachah follows the view of Rav. What exactly is the view of Rav?
The Rishonim have different Girsa'os in the Gemara which affect the Halachah (see Tosfos 59a, DH ha'Hu Gavra).
(a) According to the Girsa of our texts, Rav maintains that a man is permitted to cut the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi (underarms) and the Beis ha'Ervah (private area) with a scissors close to the skin, and he certainly may cut the hair on the rest of his body with scissors. This is the ruling of RABEINU TAM cited by the TUR (beginning of YD 182).
(b) According to the Girsa of the BEHAG, Rav permits a man to cut only the other bodily hair with a scissors, but not the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi or Beis ha'Ervah. The ROSH rules like the Behag that a man is prohibited from cutting the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi and Beis ha'Ervah.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 182:1) rules stringently (like the Rosh), that a man should not cut the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi or Beis ha'Ervah.
However, the Rishonim discuss whether this prohibition applies in all places at all times, or whether it applies only in a place where it is the practice of only women to shave these parts of their bodies.
1. The GE'ONIM cited by the RASHBA (Teshuvos 5:21) write that in a place where both men and women shave those parts of the body, the Isur of "Lo Yilbash" does not prohibit men from shaving those parts. Nevertheless, the RAN in Avodah Zarah (9b of the pages of the Rif, DH Ro'eh) points out that even according to the Ge'onim, it is proper for a Ben Torah to refrain from shaving those parts of his body, as implied by the incident recorded by the Gemara here, in which a man was pardoned from Malkus because the presence of hair under his arms proved that he was a "Chaver." The Gemara clearly implies that it was the practice of some men in the area to shave their underarms and nevertheless the Chaverim refrained from doing so.
2. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 12:9) also rules like the Ge'onim, that in a place where all men shave those parts of the body a man is not punished with Malkus for doing so. However, the Rambam's words imply that although a man is not punished with Malkus for shaving those parts of his body, the Rabanan prohibited a man from doing so. The RASHBA (Teshuvos 4:90) proves that it indeed is prohibited from the same story the Ran cites. The Chaver in that incident was not merely observing a praiseworthy custom, but he was following the letter of the law.
3. The RASHBA himself (Teshuvos 4:90) rules that the prohibition of "Lo Yilbash" applies even in a place where the practice is that men cut the hair of those parts of the body. He explains that anything which is appropriate or expected for women to do, and women actually do that act, is considered an exclusive practice of women and is included in the Isur of "Lo Yilbash." (The Rashba seems to refer to any act of beautifying the body to make it look more attractive.) The Rashba therefore prohibits a man even from cutting, with a razor, the hair that grows on the front of the neck ("Se'ar Tachas ha'Garon").
In practice, the Shulchan Aruch cites the wording of the Rambam, which implies that a man is prohibited l'Chatchilah from cutting the hair of the Beis ha'Shechi and Beis ha'Ervah even with scissors, even in a place where men do so. However, the REMA cites the Ge'onim who permit it l'Chatchilah but advise a Chaver to refrain from cutting that hair.