Is one permitted to have a non-Jewish barber use a straight edge razor on the back of one’s neck (not the five corners of the face)? I recently went to get a haircut and the barber started to shave my neck. Should I have stopped him? Thank you.
It is permitted to shave the back of the neck with a razor, for the prohibition applies to one’s beard, which is limited to the front of the face (see Rambam, Laws of Idolatry, Chap. 12, concerning shaving those parts of the body that it is customary for men to shave).
At the front of the neck, one may not shave the beard, down to the area opposite the throat. Beneath this (beneath the adam’s apple) one may use a razor.
There are opinions that are stringent, and rule that one may not use a razor in any area (see Rashba Vol. 4, no. 90 (prohibiting on account of the prohibition of woman-like beautification); see also Beis Yosef, Yoreh De’ah 181, and Bach 181:8-9; see also Hadras Panim Zakan, p. 502, who cites a number of authorities). The common custom is to be lenient. However, for the throat area it is preferable to avoid using a razor.