Electric Shavers

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Note: This Q&A derives from the Torah prohibition (Lev. 19:27) for a man to shave his beard (using a blade). However, the Talmud distinguishes between a razor blade and a scissors (the latter is permitted). What about contemporary electric shavers? Read on.

Dear Rabbi Simon,
Do you have any guidance on which shavers are OK to use, or a list of shavers?
Very many thanks

Dear Harry
Thank you for your practical question, which is also a hardy perennial.
I have always found Philishave products to be acceptable. Lists of acceptable shavers have been compiled, but they go of date very quickly, as the manufacturers are continually changing the model numbers, and tinkering with the aesthetics and functionality of the devices, even if the essential technology (and halakhic acceptability) does not really change. The crucial consideration is that where the blade traps the hair follicle against a screen and cuts in a scissors action, this is permissible. The concern is that the blade may be sharp enough to cut the strand of hair on its own. But in practice, with electric shavers this is rarely the case.
I hope this is helpful.
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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