Jan 31, 2013

Rac Chaim Kanievsky's preference for messy peiyos

Having long or bushy peiyos, sidelocks, is fairly popular nowadays among yeshiva students and graduates. Back in my day, it was just starting to become popular, but most guys still didn't have the long, or even bushy, peiyos behind the ears. Even I flirted with peiyos behind the ears for a short period of time.

Even when it was becoming popular and dominant through the yeshivas, most guys generally were wrapping their peiyos behind their ears. I don't think it was anything more than an attempt to look neat and clean, as much as possible, rather than the busy peiyos sticking out of the side of the head that look fairly messy.

That makes Rav Chaim Kanievsky's recent statement fairly intriguing.

According to Bechadrei, a Rsoh Kollel from Monsey went with his family to visit Rav Kanievsky in Bnei Braq. Rav Chaim saw that all his kids had their peiyos wrapped behind their ears, as is done by most in the yeshiva world..

Rav Chaim asked them if they are embarrassed by their peiyos.

The father, the Rosh Kollel, spoke up at that point, saying that this is how he has worn his peiyos, this is how his grandfather wore his, and the kids are doing the same.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky was not satisfied by that answer and asked that if the grandfather did something not wrong, does that mean the grandchildren have to do the same thing, following in his footsteps?

It is intriguing that there is a preference to have one's peiyos sticking out, as a sign of being proud of them. All those yeshiva guys with their peiyos behind their ears were not keeping them that way out of shame and embarrassment, but, I think, out of a sense of neatness and order. Perhaps it is too superficial of me, and probably of many others, but I would not want to look so messy, having all that messy hair sticking out of the side of my head. If I could even grow peiyos like that anymore, not a given, I would have a difficult time with the idea that I needed to keep them messy like that.

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  1. From the SidelinesJanuary 31, 2013 3:13 PM

    The juxtaposition of this posting to the following is incredulous. The Charedi world is rocked with scandal after scandal and sex abuse cover up and all this high ranking rabbi cares about is where you stick your peyos?

    Maybe this is a very telling clue in what the real problems are.

    1. Get real. Who says this topic is his focus or main priority? His concerns are very wide-ranging. This happened to come up.

  2. When you get old, in general, you don't care as much about your appearance and how you are perceived. He feels free to do what he wants. Younger people do live with social constraints regarding their appearance, and I don't think that's an entirely bad thing.

  3. See here where I discuss peyos up or down, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

    In that post, I assumed that Rav Kanievsky was not a proponent of making others change their custom. That he does is... interesting.


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