I don’t trust Orthodox Rabbis don’t have beards

belzer rebbes son middle fingerI received this disturbing comment the other day in response to this post:

While I agree with you on the gay marriage issue, I can tell you that some of the greatest Orthodox rabbis of the 20th-21st centuries were clean shaven. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Marvin Heir, etc.

And how many bearded Orthodox rabbis have been indicted recently for all kinds of fraudulent business practices and child molestation. Heshy Fried doesn’t know what he is talking about and has invalidated his own argument. Shame!!!

Unfortunately you are making many assumptions which are simply wrong, many of the Rabbis you mentioned fit nicely into the “orthodox” affiliations that you have made for yourself, but in the frum world most of these men are simply folks wishing to call themselves Rabbi. Teitz is the leader of an institution which allows and encourages secular subjects and has openly violated the laws of mesirah by cooperating with law enforcement when sexual misconduct arose at his schools. Lichtenshtein has a very treife PhD in literature from Harvard, and Avi Weiss wishes to break our holy mesorah in an effort to take women out of the kitchen and off the birthing stones to make them Rabbis, Yitz Greenberg is married to a feminist and encourages dialogue between idol worshipers and Jews. Unfortunately, your group of clean shaven Orthodox rabbis has proved my point. None of these Rabbis would be trusted in the frum world, hence they had to join up with Yeshiva University which is considered worse than any other college in the Yeshiva world, because it attempts to portray Orthodoxy in an Anti-Torah way.

Need I say more. It’s plain to see that clean shaven Orthodox Rabbis are openly going against the age old adage of the wise man in the long flowing beard. It seems that getting a clean shave is not conducive to being a respected and authentic Orthodox rabbi. It seems that clean shaven Rabbis are seldom the respected gedolei hatorah, take a look at the old Agudah Conventions, the ones where all the European gedolei hatorah attended, only Rav Moshe Sherer is without beard and he got a heter kiruv from Rav Moshe. I’d like you to find me one clean shaven rabbi who got a heter to cut the corners of his face, I know that the laymen of this generation are not on the madreiga to keep their beards, I’m willing to acknowledge that hats and beards are not the norm. I’m willing to acknowledge that you can be Orthodox and have a clean shaven face, not wear a hat, and have a secular education. However, I just don’t think that they should give semicha to clean shaven rabbis, they are a disgrace to the mesorah.

And how many bearded Orthodox rabbis have been indicted recently for all kinds of fraudulent business practices and child molestation. Heshy Fried doesn’t know what he is talking about and has invalidated his own argument. Shame!!!

This has been a very tough thing for me to cope with, but I’ve asked my personal Rav and he told me that it’s the yetzer harah of our time. He told me that the yetzer harah wants us to believe that having a beard leads to sin and this will cause people to shave their beards and eventually assimilate. My Rav told me that I can shave my beard because I work in the kiruv industry, but that I shouldn’t shave it because of a few people who’ve decided to go against the Torah by doing illegal things. He did mention that child molestation is probably way over blown and that tax fraud may be justified because the governments unwillingness to give tax credits or vouchers to those struggling with yeshiva tuition.

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  • Sara Biller

    How can I follow you? I can’t find a link to subscribe to your blog?
    Also, FYI, two of the Rabbis in the small town I am from did not have beards. One of these Rabbis was the great grandson of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, I don’t know if he has a heter, his grandfather is Rabbi Reuven. Many Litvishe girls will not go out with bearded guys.
    Please do not post my email address, I don’t wish to be spammed

    • http://yeshivadaze.wordpress.com Shragi

      Sara, you can subscribe any number of ways:
      1. Right here below the comment box there’s a checkbox you can click before submitting your comment which will sign you up for email alerts for new posts.
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      Next question please.

  • David

    In some Yekkish communties, there was a minhag to not have a beard unless you were married. In some it went even further and there was a custom to not have a beard unless you were both married and had smicha!

  • Fielding Melish

    A beard, similar to a black hat, means nothing. Following the 613 mitzvot to the best of one’s ability, treating people kindly, and serving as an living example of being a light unto the nations. These are the things that turn a Rabbi into a Rav – and a true gadol.

    • Eli

      Uch, what narishkiet. You must be a BT or some other kind of wacko.

  • http://www.starofdavida.blogspot.com Talia bat Pessi

    Uch. Feminists.

    • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB


    • Helyn

      Talia… I’m scared. What on earth is this????

  • Dave

    Notice that none of the maharats have beards.

    • The real MS

      Although not as big and bushy as some of the more frummer well known gedolim , a few of them do.

  • http://woodrowconservadox.wordpress.com Woodrow

    Am always amazed by commenters who do not realize when Heshy is kidding (as is undoubtedly true in the present post!)

  • Anonymous
  • oy
  • Swash

    This is awesome you should submit it to sites like Webtrist.com to share it with the world

  • groinem

    I am not aware of a charedi Rabbi who was indicted, let alone convicted, of child molestation. A beard does not a rabbi make and not one of the famous cases of Rabbi x or Y are bona-fide rabbis.
    A Rabbi is defined by the job of teaching or deciding Torah for others. It does not mean ‘religious looking person of jewish descent’.
    One person after being convicted and sitting 16 years in jail, tried to become a rabbi. He was not a rabbi when he committed said acts and his attempts to become a rabbi have not been successful.

  • http://www.michaelmarc.us michael n. marcus

    My Grampa Jay used to say, “The bigger the beard, the bigger the crime.”

  • http://www.mywesternwall.net Rafi Hecht

    It’s clear then that the beard doesn’t define who is pious and who isn’t. The Satmar Rebbe saw that when referring to Mike Tress Z”L (http://bit.ly/1crvIc3). Also, I certainly won’t be going anytime soon to Hell’s Angels or ZZTop for a Bracha.

    Historically, in the 19th-early 20th centuries in America it was stylish for people to have beards. Kabbalistically, the hairs on top of ones head represent Gashmiyus and the hairs on the beard represent Ruachniyus/humility.

    Practically, it doesn’t matter one way or the other. What matters in the end of the day is ones deeds and character.