Chapter: 14 – Personal Grooming

01. Gozez (Shearing)

The melakha of Gozez (shearing) is the removal of things that grow on the body, such as hair, nails, warts, loose skin, and the like. In contrast, one who actually cuts skin and draws blood transgresses the prohibition of Ĥovel … Continue reading

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02. Gozez and Ĥovel of Human Beings

Just as one may not shear an animal’s wool, so too one may not remove anything growing from the human body, such as hairs, nails, loose skin, and warts. One who removes them in the usual fashion transgresses a Torah … Continue reading

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03. Brushing and Braiding Hair

One may not brush or comb one’s hair on Shabbat, because when doing so hairs are pulled out. This is actually a beneficial phenomenon. Every day a person sheds dozens of hairs naturally. People would rather that hairs with weak … Continue reading

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04. Applying Makeup

One of the 39 melakhot forbidden on Shabbat is Tzove’a (dyeing). By Torah law, it is limited to long-lasting paints or dyes applied to surfaces that will retain them for an extended period (see below 18:5). The Sages, however, prohibited … Continue reading

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05. Applying Oils, Perfumes, Creams, and Lotions

One may apply oil to the hands or body on Shabbat in the manner that people normally anoint themselves for pleasure. Similarly, a woman may rub her hair or body with perfumed oil. It is true that the Sages forbade … Continue reading

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06. Bar Soap, Liquid Soap, and Wipes

While one may use liquid soap to wash one’s hands, the general practice is to be stringent about bar soap or thick liquid soap. There are two reasons for this. First, using bar soap or thick liquid soap resembles Memaĥek, … Continue reading

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07. Brushing Teeth and Toothpaste

One may brush one’s teeth on Shabbat to clean them and to treat bad breath. Similarly, mouthwash may be used to freshen one’s breath. However, it is proper to refrain from using toothpaste, the same way we refrain from using … Continue reading

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08. Bathing on Shabbat

The Sages forbade bathing the body in hot water on Shabbat. This is because some people were so eager to bathe in hot water that they would heat the water on Shabbat, thus transgressing both Hav’ara and Bishul. When they … Continue reading

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09. Swimming and Immersion in a Mikveh

The Sages prohibited swimming on Shabbat, because one might come to build or mend a raft. One who lifts his feet from the ground and floats in the water is considered swimming. However, if he does not lift his feet, … Continue reading

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