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Not Taking Haircuts from Non-Jews (& Kabbalistic Traditions)

The Pele Yoetz on gimmel, GILOOCH-grooming,writes that one should not take a hair cut from a non-Jew acoording to Kabbalah. Is this brought down in halacha? How stringent should one be in this regard because its differcult to find a Jewish barber? Also, in general when do we follow Kabbalah or “main stream” Halacha?The majority of us are not Kabbalist or have a tradition in Kabbalah.Should one first try to follow Halacha to the best of ones ability and then consider Kabbalah?


Like many kabbalistic ideas, the source of the halachah that one should not take a haircut from a non-Jewish barber is actually from the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 27a), and there halachah is ruled in the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 156:1). The reason is because we are concerned the non-Jew might assault him.

However, if there is a mirror so one can watch the non-Jew, or there are other people present,  it is permitted (see Rema), and according to some opinions there is no prohibition where the non-Jew is being paid. In addition, the Shach writes that the prohibition applies only when a razor is used.

Thus today, where there are always mirrors, and there are usually others present, and a razor is usually not used, and there is also an effective law enforcement agency, there would not be a halachic concern for taking a haircut from a non-Jew.

This is where the Kabbalah sets in, and writes that in all cases one should not take a haircut from a non-Jew (see Kaf Ha-Chaim, Orach Chaim 26-:13, who writes that it is good to avoid a haircut from a non-Jew).

Unless one has a specific tradition, or the custom is universal and has become a minhag yisrael, there is no need (in general) to be stringent for kabbalistic traditions — there are enough halachos for us to be concerned with, without turning to the additional material of kabbalistic sources.


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