Does My Barber Need a Hechsher?


Are we regularly breaking halacha without even realizing it? We wouldn’t dream of purchasing food from a restaurant without a proper hashgacha, nor would we buy Tefillin from a person lacking proper credentials. Why then is it commonplace in our communities to get a haircut from any barber with a pair of scissors and a good price?

Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l pronounced, “Every barber needs to learn and know the laws, and to receive an endorsement from the rabbis, and without this it is forbidden to have him cut one’s hair.”

Parshas Kedoshim tells us of the issur of lo sakifu peas roshecheim (Vayikra 19:27), not to round off the corners of our hair, which Chazal define as removing the sideburns. This Torah prohibition applies equally to the barber and to the person receiving the haircut. As such, every time a person sits down in the barber’s chair, he runs the risk of violating a Torah Law.

How far down on the face must the sideburn extend? How short can the hair be cut around the ear? Both you and your barber need to know the answers to these questions to ensure a haircut ke’halacha.

To bring awareness to these issues, Torah Live produced an engaging video series on the topic.

Under the guidance of Rav Yitzchak Berkovits and other experts including Rabbi David Heyman, founder of Tisporet Kehalacha, the video demonstrates how to get a kosher haircut. Advanced graphical overlays allow viewers to fully grasp an otherwise technical and potentially complex halacha.


“Since there’s a lot of confusion, I want to begin with a quick overview.” explains Rabbi Dan Roth, founder and director of Torah Live, the largest online Torah learning gamification platform. Set in a barber shop in Ramat Gan, Rabbi Roth proceeds to demonstrate how to ensure a haircut conforms to halacha.

Users of the Torah Live platform are not only able to watch the haircut videos, but can access additional components in the haircut curriculum, including games, quizzes and bonus content.


Optimally designed for children ages 9-12, the Torah Live gamespace contains 38 learning units (and growing) composed of films, quizzes, challenges, and other surprises. There are a robust variety of incentives as the user progresses through the platform, including levels, points, badges, a dinar bank, a leaderboard, and real world impacts.

Torah Live is not a newcomer to Jewish education; it has been providing high quality supplemental educational content to Jewish day schools since 2009. There are more than 2,000 day schools around the world who have used the materials, and there are 168,000 active users since Covid. During Covid, they experienced a major transformation when tens of thousands of parents who were in need of Torah content for their children during the shutdowns registered for the platform. Torah Live ceased to be a largely supplemental education platform and became a primary means by which children learn Torah at home.

While Torah Live content targets younger learners, it is great for people of all ages. And every adult who does not have a clear understanding of how to get a halachik haircut should make sure to watch the Torah Live video on haircuts before we read in shul this shabbos, lo sakifu peas roshecheim.


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