Why do Jews grow beards? Many Messianic Jews also have beards – is this a custom, a commandment, or what? (Sasha)
Alexander S., the messianic teacher, answers:
Good afternoon, Alexander!
This question could be answered like this: “Well, first of all, it’s beautiful!” But if you want a detailed answer, it will look like this: In ancient times, most men wore a beard. All the more so for Jewish men. The Torah does not allow trimming the edges of the beard.
“Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” (Lev.19: 27)
These “edges”, according to the Talmud, are five points on the lower part of the face, and their boundaries are difficult to establish. Therefore, they leave the entire beard.
Traditionally, the beard is considered a man’s adornment in Orthodox Jewish society. And as you know, the Jewish people are people who are in no hurry to change traditions. We must remember that modern shaving products such as various creams, hair removers, etc. appeared in our everyday life relatively recently. Accordingly, even a hundred years ago, shaved cheeks betrayed a Jew who had deviated from the tradition of the fathers. And, of course, no one from the Jewish community wanted to do business with him.
Oral tradition has added many rules and regulations regarding the beard, linking them to Kabbalah and other teachings that are not supported by Scripture.
For Messianic Jews, wearing a beard is optional. It can be compared to wearing a kippah. In a sense, it is like a small “icon, sign” that can show other people that such a person adheres to ancient Jewish traditions. But a beard does not endow a person with any special qualities and does not bring him closer to God. If you like it – wear it, just do not forget to take care of it :) As they say in Odessa: “A beard does not turn a goat into a rabbi.”
Respectfully yours, Senior Minister of the Jewish Messianic Community “Light of the Messiah”