How frum is your facial hair?
You ever notice that Rabbis and super frum guys tend to have beards? It just so happens that I’m visiting my sister in Denver, and her husband just got semicha. His first priority: grow out the beard. Let’s take a look at how facial hair corresponds to a dude’s frumkeit. (I can’t hit Lubavitch customs now because I don’t know their halach…er…minhagim).
Long beard: If you have a beard that grows past your Adam’s apple, you’re probably not working at Burger King for $5.00/hr; you’re probably working at a yeshiva for $8.00/hr. It’s like ALL chashuv Rabbis have these long beards. The older they get, the longer the beard. Why? I’ll tell you why: shaving is bittul Torah. A long beard means that you have no time to waste on stupid activities such as shaving. Think about all the time you’ve spent on taking care of facial hair in your life. Imagine if all that time was used to learn Torah….and that’s my mussar for the day.
Beard approaching Adam’s apple: At this phase, you’re the “Little Engine who Could”. We all know what you’re planning. You’ve been spending more time in the Beis Medrash lately, have recently chucked that shaver, and now save 7 dollars every time you get a haircut because you don’t need a shave, too. You know in 20 years that your beard will be very long, and people will be lining up outside your door for you to paskin complex shailos.
Clean shaven: Ah, yes, assimilation at its finest. You shave because it looks nicer in the goyishe world, and you have a job to protect. You care more about working than learning Torah, and you don’t care who knows it! You know that if you don’t maintain that clean cut look you will be fired, your wife will leave you, and your kids will emancipate. Shabbos is a disaster because you have to wake up and go to shul without shaving. You probably shave twice on Fridays and immediately after shabbos. You run to the bathroom to shave after havdalllah just like a smoker runs to light up his cigarette. But you have a heter to shave because the kollels, shuls, and yeshivos need your money. You probably feel so frum shaving during the 9 days because you have a heter the size of the Rav’s beard. Those 3 day yuntifs are your tests in this world.
Trimmed beard: You think you can get the best of both worlds? You think you’re super frum by having facial hair and modern orthodox by having it short. You are torn between the olam haruchni and the olam hagashmi. The yetzer hara is at war with the yetzer tov. If you go to Thornhill, you are considered too frum;if you go down south, you are considered a kofer and chayav missa. You’re just waiting for Hashem to tell you to shave or grow it out. You are the worst kind of Jew because it takes so much more time to trim and shape than it does to shave completely! May Hashem have rachmanus on you.
Chin strap/goatee: You don’t believe in the mesorah, there’s no G-d, and no Torah.
Mustache: You believe that one should have facial hair, but you’re super modern-orthodox/conservadox/flexi-dox that you’ve changed the halacha to suit your comfort level. You do shaving and trimming (of the stache), but you’ve probably paskind it’s alright (like you paskin everything else) because there is a mitzvah to have parnassa and have facial hair. The fact that it’s a mustache allows you to show off that you make your own halachos, while showing the corporate world that you are not intimidated by its plethora of hot-shot, clean shaven executives.