Monday, April 28, 2008

Shaving on Shabbos

The Gemora (Daf Yomi: Nazir 40a) cites the verse regarding the Levi’im [Bamidbar 8:7]: And they shall pass a razor over their entire skin. The Chasam Sofer asks: According to the calculation, this occurred on Shabbos. How was it permitted for them to shave on Shabbos?

He answers: They shaved in a manner that was less than the amount required for one to be liable.

A similar question is asked regarding Yosef. How was he permitted to shave on the day that he emerged from prison? Chazal say that Yosef was summoned to Pharaoh on Rosh Hashanah! Chasam Sofer answered that it was permitted due to the honor of the king.

Accordingly, the Pardes Yosef said that this answer can be used to explain the Levi’im’s permission to shave as well. Since this shaving was part of the process of anointing and sanctifying the Levi’im, which prepared them to serve Hashem in the Mishkan, it would certainly be permitted, even on Shabbos.