Shaver Advice

As you all know I have two teenaged sons. The time is fast approaching when they will both need to start shaving. I know there are laws about electric shavers – some are halachically acceptable, some are not – especially those that puts the blade too close to the skin. Does anyone have a shaver they recommend? Also, can two boys use the same shaver, or is it not hygienic? How often should they shave? Is there something they should put on their skin first? How far up are they allowed to shave on their sideburns? How are we at this stage already – it was just yesterday that they were babies.

Any and all advice much appreciated.

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7 responses to “Shaver Advice

  1. 1. Have you asked KoD what he thinks? Or does he have a beard?
    2. It is not entirely simple about what is permitted or forbidden. I discussed this with a number of rabbanim recently. Some had a far more complicated and restrictive approach than I find necessary (as also reflected on a certain website that claims authority in this matter). Some had a simpler, and ultimately more lenient approach; as I do. You could/should ask your LOR. I shave. I like my most recent purchase a lot, especially because it handles a beard well after several days or more of no shaving – as is common with observant Jews. If you’d like my direct recommendation, email me. Keep in mind I have a simple/lenient approach to the topic.
    3. Teenage boys don’t need the best shaver for the first few years, IMO. As far as sharing, my opinion is it can indeed be a hygiene problem unless they will really be careful to clean the shaver after every use. Not likely to happen. If each can have his own, I recommend that.
    4. They should shave as often as the need is apparent. That varies with age and individuals.
    5. In the old days, my father a’h would pretreat his skin with Lectric Shave or the like. I don’t bother. I haven’t seen much need for it. The final answer may be: experiment.
    6. Sideburns is a bit of a halachic issue; but they may shave them pretty high up. Not very fashionable, though. 😉 They should not be smooth shaved all the way up at the point where the ear meets the skin of the head.

    Mazal tov. I’m glad our kids are way past adolescence!

    • Mordechai – thanks for the detailed response.

      KoD is most definitely clean shaven. We both like it that way and plan to keep it that way 😉 KoD and a beard – no. Just No Way. Un Unh. Not happening. Not Now. Not Ever. Basically. No ‘stache either. Shudder…..

      I have asked him what he thinks, and he is totally prepared to help us out with this – but seeing as he is there and I and the boys are here, it makes it a little difficult. He has a great shaver – but as you said, do you really want to buy the best for a teenager??!!

  2. This is very much a male-bonding project, so stay out of it! They’ll choose who to discuss this with, and you should simply buy them whatever model they ask for.
    I suspect this is the male equivalent of getting your first bra…!

  3. Yossi’s probably right! Made me laugh, too. I have daughters. I think a bra is a lot tougher on a dad than a shaver is on a mom. But then, I didn’t have to deal with it. Their mom handled all that.

    If there is a way that KoD can help out with this, it might be good for family dynamics.

    Good luck!

  4. [audio src="http://download.yutorah.org/2010/2318/743475/Laws%2520of%2520Payos%2520and%2520Shaving.MP3" /]

    Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Laws of Payos and Shaving:
    Lots of details on beard and head – where, what and who

    HT to http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2010/04/audio-roundup-lxxxvii.html#more

    (he just takes care of the halacha, he does not get into baby powder is great for shaving in humidity)

  5. This website is an excellent resource: http://www.koshershaver.org/

    The only real problem is that the list of kosher “out-of-the-box” shavers hasn’t been updated since Rabbi Blumenkrantz (of Pesach guide fame) was nifter several years ago, circa 2007. So the models listed there are not so readily available – though you can find them by searching on Amazon or eBay by model number to locate secondary online retailers.

    That website also offers a wonderful service, and instructional guide, for “kashering” Norelco lift-and-cut, which have been deemed problematic due to the way they “destroy” the hair below the skin level. The fine people at the website, or you yourself with the guide, can easily remove the little lift-and-cut bits. They offer the service free, and a few friends that have done it say it takes maybe 10-15 minutes once you get the hand of it. I’ve been too chicken to try it out, so I have purchased the out-of-production models via Amazon’s partner sellers, usually a Remington.

    I currently have Remington Titanium R960 – cordless/rechargeable.

    The benefits of doing research on models through Amazon lets you see ratings as well to see if the men who used the shavers liked them or not, including how well they shaved and how durable the shavers were.

    Norelcos with lift-and-cuts are still out there in plentiful supply, so you may want check out which of those are good and then modify it to be kosher (the more I write, the more it sounds like KoD should be in charge of this project). Just make sure to avoid the “microscreen” or “screen” models, which have a very thin metal foil that covers the rotating blades, but are actually thin enough to slice hair inserted into the surface holes – thus making them akin to a straight edge razor.

    Also, as Mordechai Y. Scher said, the shaving itself really varies per guy and per age range, and KoD should probably advise them on technique etc, including pre and post application of shaving lotion or whatever.

    Lastly, as regards to where they can shave their sideburns – a handy reference that a rebbe in yeshiva pointed out was to make sure that the sideburns minimally reach the bottom of the ear. For some boys, their sideburns simply don’t grow that long until they are 15-16 or older. There is a mistaken notion that the protruding bone on the side of the face is the “cut-off” point (pun intended), but that is halachically inaccurate per several rabbeim I’ve spoken to.

    I hope this is helpful!

  6. I’ll add to my previous comment, and take a bit more clear stand. Yes, the kosher shaver site is very interesting. But ask your rav. My take, and that of Machon Tzomet and several rabbanim with whom I’ve discussed this, is that the website’s position is unnecessarily complicated and ends up more strict than one need be. In fact, the halachic and engineering position taken by Machon Tzomet is that probably just about any electric shaver is permissable. So, the best advice is that one clarify their halachic concerns with their rav.

    Here is the link to Tzomet’s position statement: http://www.zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=253&ArticleID=141&Page=1

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