October 14, 2020 8:34 am at 8:34 am #1909628
I work in a hospital but I’m not a doctor. My employer is insisting on an n-95 mask which requires a clean shave to work properly. My minhag is to have a beard, I’m going to bring this sheilah to my Rav tomorrow but I want to hear your opinion. I’m not in direct patient care and the Sikh doctors are able to maintain their beards.October 14, 2020 10:23 am at 10:23 am #1909723
The Chasam Sofer O’CH 159 says that having a beard is not that important. You are not violating the prohibition of following the umas haolam, bechukoseihem, so if it is a question of your parnasa, you should. If you can leave a mustache, would be better, by differentiating between men and women according to the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitsh.October 14, 2020 10:24 am at 10:24 am #1909741DovidBTParticipant
How do the bearded Sikh doctors deal with the N95 mask requirement?October 14, 2020 11:26 am at 11:26 am #1909755se2015Participant
If the Sikh doctors get an exemption, then the policy is not absolute. Find out how you can qualify for an exemption. If your beard is a minhag not a grooming choice, then perhaps your rav can say that in a letter. I would probably avoid using the word “customary” because it sounds more wishy washy to me than most minhagim actually are. Tradition is probably a better word (imagine if Tevye sang about “Customs! Customs!”) but also be clear that there are different strains within Orthodox Judaism, or otherwise you’ll have to explain why some other orthodox men are clean shaven. I know nothing about why Sikhs don’t shave, but I can’t imagine it’s anything more compelling than a minhag or tradition.October 14, 2020 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1909756
Since you have it as a minhag, you might have to be matir nedorim to change.October 14, 2020 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1909758akupermaParticipant
Of their rule is that Sikhs can have beards, but Jews can’t, this is clear discrimination and you should complain to the appropriate agencies. Does the supervisor who ordered you to shave know: 1) that others in the same institution are allowed to have beards; 2) that the beard is halacha-based (n.b.: if the supervisor is a non-hareidi Jew, they might have very strong religious views of their own against beards, which, under American law, is totally irrelevant).October 14, 2020 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1909763GadolhadorahParticipant
If other doctors in similarly situated positions at the hospital are given waivers on the clean-shaven requirement, then 100 percent certain you can keep yours as well unless there is some prior issue or unique fact pattern you didn’t mention. I’d be glad to represent you pro bono, although I suspect your hospital’s legal staff will overrule whoever on the medical staff told you to shave your beard once they hear about it.October 14, 2020 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1909779
They don’t, they are doctors and I am not it seems to be a matter of class.October 14, 2020 11:39 am at 11:39 am #1909788Tachles1Participant
How would you feel if you brought covid home to a loved one, lo aleniu, and something terrible happened? There are halackic ways to not have a beard. It’s good that you’re going to your Rav about this. As for the sikh doctors, since when do we try to mimic the goyim? We were brought out of mitrayim for maintaining our identity and not doing as the goyim do.October 14, 2020 11:43 am at 11:43 am #1909810TRUEBTParticipant
Many Orthodox Jewish doctors (= wear yarmulkes at work) do not have beards. Trying to present different customs within the context of Orthodox Judaism to a goy never worked for me. Maybe it will work for you. Even if you get away with it, they will be looking for reasons to get rid of you. You will be considered one of the Orthodox Jews who don’t follow Corona virus regulations.
Instead, I would recommend that you buy a cheap electric razor. You won’t have a beard, but you will look unshaven. (They are cheap because they don’t work that well.) The N95 will fit just fine, so the cheap electric razor is the best compromise. When you go to the Rav, ask him which electric razor he recommends.October 14, 2020 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #1909814knaidlachParticipant
Many Gedolei Yisroel are of the opinion that any form of shaving is an Isur Min Hatorah.October 14, 2020 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #1909818DovidBTParticipant
They don’t, they are doctors and I am not it seems to be a matter of class.
That’s true. Not all employees in a hospital are on the same level. Doctors are at the top of the hierarchy.October 14, 2020 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #1909822
Make hatoras nedorim to eliminate a minhag based on the fact that if you knew that your parnasa will depend on it, you would never have followed the minhag.October 14, 2020 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #1909828akupermaParticipant
“They don’t, they are doctors and I am not it seems to be a matter of class.”
If they have a rule on religious accommodation applicable based on “class”, you will find attorneys offering to represent you for a contingency fee (instead of getting paid, they get a piece of the profits – something they only do if they are sure you will win). You might also induce a heart attack when the employer’s attorney hears about this (a phrase heard often among lawyers: “clients do the dumbest things”).
Make sure the supervisor is aware that this is a request for religious accommodation under the civil rights laws. That will force the supervisor to refer the question to the lawyer. It is also possible the supervisor is unaware of the religious aspect of the beard (many people, especially non-hareidi Jews, are ignorant on this subject).October 14, 2020 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #1909850
knaidlach, what is the issur?October 14, 2020 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #1909855bk613Participant
I find it strange that you are required to wear an n95 in a non direct patient care role. What’s the point? N95 protect you from others, who/what do you need protection from? Assuming you are not a troll, try and clarify the policy with your HR dept. I’m sure a policy for religious exemptions exists. Something doesn’t add up here (and my bet is troll)October 14, 2020 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #1909915RedlegParticipant
I’ve been an engineer for the last 50 years and have, on occasion, had to work in oil refineries. The API (American Petroleum Institute) safety regulations require that everyone working in the refinery carry, and be able to use, a respirator or other breathing device. The standard respirator is basically a gas mask which cannot be used with a beard as it will not then seal against the face.
I therefore had to remove my beard to do work in the refinery. I kept the mustache, however. One refinery offered my the choice of shaving and carrying a standard respirator or keeping my beard and having to schlep around a 30lb Scott Airpac (basically a scuba tank and helmet) wherever I went. I chose to shave. You know what? My beard always grew back.October 14, 2020 4:00 pm at 4:00 pm #1909966charliehallParticipant
I have worn an N95 mask with a beard. I also trim my beard really close with an electric trimmer (not an electric razor; I have not shaved since 1986). Remember that pikuach nefesh overrides almost all halachic restrictions and shaving is not one of the exceptions. Good luck.October 14, 2020 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #1910003
I have found out for the sake of pikuach nefesh I am to shave with an electric razor.October 14, 2020 4:26 pm at 4:26 pm #1910020Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
My personal opinion – if you are even minimally contributing to healing people, esp from the pandemic, then you should focus solely on the mitzva at hand and do what makes you do that job better, including being on good term with your boss. If you are not contributing, then just change the job. Why hang out in N95 if you could work from home.
Quick check seems to show that Sikh see beards as more important, in some cases agreeing to martyrdom not to shave. Anyway, you may also want to ask your wife or shidduch consultant. At least, keep a picture of yourself with a beard to prove your social status.October 14, 2020 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #1910067
When you use an electric shaver don’t press it to your face.October 14, 2020 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm #1910079HealthParticipant
Lostspark -“I’m not in direct patient care”
There are 2 reasons that Hospitals require fit checking – either they are scared about OSHA or they are Anti-semitic. They don’t care about the employee.
If it’s the Latter, get a diffferent job.
If it’s because of OSHA – You can work with them – i.e. – You don’t work in direct pt. care.
BTW, I never shaved my beard. I always got around that, because they really don’t care!October 14, 2020 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm #1910108
health, you are like Trump who doesn’t care for someone’s livelihood as I pointed out that if he needs to shave, he can.October 14, 2020 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm #1910139Yechi HamelechParticipant
Please don’t misquote the Tzemach Tzedek. According to him, a person is oiver 5 aveiros for every time he shaves. He is the most stringent authority in regards to this matter, and he was attacked by many poskim for his opinion.
When R’ Efraim Mol was told during the Yom Kippur war that there would be a gas attack, and he would have to shave his beard, the Rebbe told him that there would be no gas attack, and that at if the supervisors pressed him, he should tell them that the indian Sikhs wore their masks even without a beard. In the end, there was no gas attack and everything worked out fine.
Considering that Chabad.org is the safest, oldest, most famous, most popular Jewish website, I’m sure YW will have no problem with me posting the following link, although the official policy is that links are not accepted. ThanksOctober 15, 2020 9:23 am at 9:23 am #1910254
If there are 5 aveiros to shave, what does the Tzemach Tzedek do with the mishna ואלו מגלחין במועד?October 15, 2020 9:24 am at 9:24 am #1910268
It says on your website that shaving is a question of cross-dressing as I pointed out besides kabala where the Chasam Sofer proves from the Rma of Pano, Italy had no beard.October 15, 2020 9:39 am at 9:39 am #1910292hujuParticipant
Trump’s friends The Proud Boys will shave it for you.October 15, 2020 10:39 am at 10:39 am #19103015ishParticipant
Even if you don’t follow the Tzemach Tzedek, who was the pre-eminent posek in Russia, the Chofetz Chayim writes clearly that in Eastern Europe Jews had a custom which has the force of halacha to not even trim the beard. Shaving is not a light matter and the fact that it is popular is no proof of anything as even being not shomer Torah and Mitzvos is CH”V popular among Jews.October 15, 2020 11:11 am at 11:11 am #1910321
5ish, what is the issur?October 15, 2020 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm #1910347
5ish, did you see the Chasam Sofer I referred to above?October 15, 2020 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm #1910493commonsaychelParticipant
I wear a Scott Pack and full beard, OSHA lets you use that instead.October 18, 2020 7:58 am at 7:58 am #19109235ishParticipant
Yes I saw the Chasam Sofer.
The Chasam Sofer was a posek in Central Europe. I am not discrediting him at all I am just saying it is no light matter as the preeminent poskim in Eastern Europe held that it was assur.
According to the Tzemach Tzedek it is forbidden to cut the beard because it is something that distinguishes men from women.
According to the Chofetz Chaim, the community accepted a custom not to even trim the beard and communal acceptance of a custom creates a prohibition.October 18, 2020 8:53 am at 8:53 am #1910974
5ish, I don’t know why you were arguing. I thought I said everything correctly. If needed for parnasa, do hatoras nedorim and according to the Tzemach Tzedek leave a mustache to differentiate between men and women. First cut with a scissors and then use an electric shaver but don’t press it to your skin.October 18, 2020 1:50 pm at 1:50 pm #1911053
Anyway, if you don’t press the shaver to your skin, it will leave a stubble which will differentiate between men and women.October 18, 2020 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm #1911257
Lostspark, What did your Rav tell you?October 20, 2020 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm #1911759
See a complete discussion in Yabia Omer YD (9,10) and he rules as I mentioned above, if needed for parnasa, do it but don’t press the electric shaver to the skin.October 20, 2020 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #1911869
Another thing don’t use ‘lift and cut’ shaving machines.
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