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Nov 17, 2013

Rav Chaim Kanievsky says wearing peyos in front of ears will give good health

I need some help here...

A yeshiva bochur who has bad health conditions went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky asking for a bracha.

Rav Kanievsky told him that if he would take his peyos out from behind his ears and keep them in front, he would be healed.

This yeshiva bochur later went to Rav Shteinman and asked the same - a bracha for his health, and mentioned that Rav Kanievsky had told him to wear his peyos out front, though he said he is embarrassed to do so.

Rav Shteinman said he should not be embarrassed but should wear his peyos out front, as instructed by Rav Chaim Kanievsky, the "Minister of Torah", and he will have good health because of it.

Rav Chaim's opinion seems to be known that peyos should be worn in front of the ears, and people should not be embarrassed by their Jewish appearance.
(source: Kikar and Bechadrei - though Bechadrei relates the story slightly differently)

So, I need help in understanding this.

It seems that peyos in front or behind the ears is more than just a matter of style, but I do not know why. The Torah says to not cut your peyos, but it does not talk about wearing them front or back, and I do not remember such a topic of discussion in the Gemara or Shulchan Aruch. So, where does this come from? And why should wearing them in front or back affect someone's health for good or for bad?

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  1. Not only does the Shulchan Aruch not discuss the issue, the fact is that al pi din there is absolutely no source for long payists. Each hair has to be a 1/2 centimeter long, that is it. There is no chiyuv whatsoever to grow each hair long. For more on this see פאות הראש

  2. And shulchan aruch takes the strictest opinion on every machlokes rishonim regarding peos harosh. Even in nistar it is just a kisvei ari noting that he wore them long .

  3. You're mammash a koifer. The Sar Ha'Torah shlit"a gives a psak and is koivei'a masmeirim le'halocho that pei'is should be left in font and this will cure us of all our ills. What right do you have to ch"v ask any questions? Where's your emunas chachomim? I bet you've been misled by the apikorsim of benei Toirah led by the renegade zekan mamrei "Rav" Shmuel Auerbach which is why you have absolutely no respect at all for what the real gedoilim say. But then again, why should we be surprised when this is done by somebody who uses the internet Hashem yeracheim and who voted for the modern-day Antiochus and King Ferdinand - not to mention Amalek, but that one's been used so much, and I'm trying to be creative here - Eli Cohen, who would have put all the chareidim in Beit Shemesh behind barbed wire fences, and then embarked on a campaign to do the same to all the frum yidden in all Eretz Yisrael? It's all part of the disgusting campaign to go against daas Torah and persecute all those who faithfully follow the holy words spoken by the Sar haTorah shlit"a.

    1. I hope for sanity's sake that your comment is an attempt at satire and cynicism. Though it scares me that I'm capable of believing it was serious.

    2. On the surface your answer seems to be Pshat. However you didn't insult Dov Lipman or mention how evil Yair Lapid is. Now I am trying to determine if making such a glaring error Posuls you and your answer.

  4. See this http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/735346/Rabbi_Aryeh_Lebowitz/Halachos_of_Peyos_Harosh
    Your answer may be found in paragraph 1.

    C. Behind the Ears. Another very common practice amongst Jews who accept extra stringencies relating to peyos harosh is to grow the hairs of the peyos very long and wrap them behind (or around) the ears. It seems that this was the practice in Jewish communities in the diaspora, while the Israeli Jewish community typically did not follow the custom of putting peyos behind the ears. This practice, too, was met with a mix of criticism and approval:
    1. Arguments Against: Rabbi Menashe Klein (Responsa Mishneh Halachos VII:121) argues that putting peyos behind the ears indicates a certain sense of shame in having long peyos. Rabbi Klein argues that considering the suggested reason for the mitzvah of peyos (clearly distinguishing ourselves from idolaters) it is counterproductive to “hide” the peyos. Traditionally tzadikim take great pride in their uniquely Jewish appearance. In fact, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (Orchos Yosher chapter 5) reports that when people would visit his uncle, the Chazon Ish, with peyos hidden behind their ears, the Chazon Ish would get very upset because it seemed to him that they were embarrassed about the mitzvos. [This criticism is reminiscent of the Mishnah Berurah’s critique (8:26) of those who tuck their tzitzis into their pants, though in the case of tzitzis the torah explicitly states that one should “see them”.]
    2. Arguments For: Rabbi Binyamin Zilber (Responsa Az Nidberu XII page 37) recalls how upon his arrival to Israel in the year 5693 (corresponding to the secular year 1933) he came across a book called “Chatzvah Amudeha Shiva” which strongly criticized the practice of wearing peyos behind the ears. Rabbi Zilber writes that this criticism is totally unfounded. Unlike tzizis, there is no requirement that peyos be seen. Also unlike tzitzis being tucked into pants, putting peyos behind ears is not at all degrading to the mitzvah. Most of all, peyos that are kept behind the ears are typically visible to other people. The reason people had the practice of putting the peyos there had less to do with embarrassment than with the practical benefit of not having the peyos in the way. Rabbi Zilber concludes by reminding us that the entire discussion revolves around something that is purely a middas chasidus, as minimally kosher peyos need not be long at all. As such, it is entirely unnecessary to criticize any of the divergent practices.
    3. During Davening. Sefer Moadim L’Simcha cites a practice for those who normally keep their peyos behind their ears to pull them out from behind the ears for davening. Rabbi Zilber (ibid.) points out that while ostensibly this practice is based on a passage in the Zohar which warns about peyos being on the ears during davening, a careful look at the Zohar reveals that the opposite is true. The Zohar seems to disapprove of the peyos blocking the ear canal during davening, which is exactly what happens when one removes peyos from behind his ears!

  5. Maybe someone can get the one of the Kupot to commission a study. Imagine how much money they could save!

  6. See also this

  7. This was a personal eitza about one individual's spritual needs.

  8. This has nothing to do with peyot and everything to do with pride of being Jewish /different. He likely had some clear self esteem issues which were causing him stress, and making him get sick often.

  9. Here are my 2¢ on this issue: Where should my payos go? Physical health? Eh. Mental health? Possibly.


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