Photo Credit: Jewish Press

So why do I have a beard?

I could just say that about six years ago, at the end of Sefira, my dislike of shaving won out over my dislike of having a beard. While that’s true, it tells a small, and unimportant part of the story.


I constantly struggle over the meaning of external manifestations of inner feelings. If I am feeling a certain way on the inside, is there any value in expressing it externally? Does doing so help develop the inner feeling, or does it cheapen it by putting it “out there?” On top of that, what does having a beard mean?

When people ask me about why I grew a beard, I jokingly answer that it was time for people to know what a tzaddik I am. I sometimes think that people treat me differently, as in more rabbinically, ever since I grew my beard, especially since it got longer (my choice) and grayer (not my choice). That feels silly and superficial to me. Having a beard, wearing a hat, or dressing a certain way has nothing to do with what kind of Jew I am and what kind of relationship I have with Hashem.

So why do I have a beard? Suddenly, having one made sense in a way that had never before been true.


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