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The laws of Gozeiz-Shearing
Removing hair, skin, and nails
1. The Av Melacha-Shearing wool from skin:
One who shears hair or wool from a living or dead animal, whether the animal is domestic or wild, or even [if he shears wool/hair] from removed skin, he is liable [for a sin offering]. Doing so is amongst the principle Shabbos Melachas as in the Tabernacle they would shear the skin of the Techashim and rams.
2. Using one’s hands to remove the wool:
One who removes wool with his hand from an animal or from its skin is exempt [from a sin offering] as this is not the common form of shearing. [However, it is Rabbinically forbidden as will be explained next]
Summary- Shearing hair/wool:
Using a Vessel: It is a Biblical prohibition to shear hair/wool using a vessel, whether from alive or dead animal, whether from a domestic and wild animal, even from removed skin. Doing so is amongst the principle Shabbos Melachas as in the Tabernacle they would shear the skin of the Techashim and rams.
Using one’s hands: It is Rabbinically forbidden to remove wool with one’s hand.
May one pluck a feather from his piece of chicken?
This matter is disputed amongst Poskim. The dispute applies even if one intends to eat the chicken right away after removing the feathers, due to a question of whether this involves the “Shearing” prohibition. Practically one should initially avoid removing feathers from chicken, [although those that do so have upon whom to rely on if they eat the chicken right away]. This prohibition certainly applies if one desires to remove the feathers in order to make the chicken more presentable to the guests in which case one must take great care not to remove those feathers.
For later use: According to all it is forbidden to remove the feathers for later use due to the Borer restrictions.
3. Removing one’s hair and nails:
A. The general rules:
Cutting one’s hair or nails with a vessel: If one cuts his hair or nails with a vessel, he is liable. By hair he is liable even if he only cuts two hairs. If he cut only one hair, he is exempt [from a Sin offering] although doing so is Biblically forbidden as is the law regarding all half measurements [i.e. that if one transgresses less than the measurement of liability he has nevertheless transgressed a Biblical command].
One who does not need to use the hair or nails: One who shears [hair] and cuts nails with a vessel is only liable [for a sin offering] if he needs the wool or the hair or the nails which he cut. However if he does not need them then this is a Melacha which is not needed for its own use [“Eino Tzarich Legufa”, which is only Rabbinically prohibited according to some opinions].
However there are opinions which say that even if one does not need the wool, hair and nails he is liable [for a sin offering] (as the principal Melacha [of shearing] is removing the hair and wool from the skin and the nails from the fingers, and he does need this removal in it of itself, and furthermore) also in the Tabernacle they would shear the skins of the Techashim even though they did not need their hair.
Removing ones hair/nails with fingers/teeth: One who removes his hair and nails with his hands or teeth is exempt [from liability]. However, it is Rabbinically forbidden to remove [hair or nails] with one’s hand even from another person, despite the fact that one is unable to train his hands to skillfully remove [the hair/nail] with his hands from another person, without use of a vessel.
One who removes a white hair from amongst black: One who gathers white [hairs] from amongst black hairs so he does not appear old, even if he removes one hair, is liable [for a sin offering]. Doing so is even forbidden during the week due to the prohibition against “a man wearing the garment of a woman” which is defined as a man may not adorn himself with the adornments of women.
[See Q&A regarding cleaning out dirt from under ones nails]
Summary-cutting hair and nails on Shabbos:
Cutting one’s hair or nail with a vessel: It is Biblically forbidden to cut with a vessel even one hair [from anywhere on one’s body] or nail. However, if one is cutting not in order to use the cut item, then there is a dispute as to whether this is Biblically or Rabbinically forbidden.
Removing one’s hair/nails with fingers/teeth: It is Rabbinically forbidden to remove with one’s finger or teeth even one hair [from anywhere on one’s body]. It is Rabbinically forbidden to peel or bite off a nail.
One who removes a white hair from amongst black: Is liable for a sin offering and doing so is forbidden even during the week due to the prohibition of “Beged Isha”.
May one scrape dirt from under his nail on Shabbos?
Yes, although when doing so one must beware to press down the flesh under the nail in order to avoid scraping the nail in the process of removing the dirt.
May one scrape off the inside of his nail?
No, as explained above.
May one brush their hair on Shabbos?
May one pluck hairs out from a garment made of animal skin?
No. Doing so involves the Shearing prohibition.
B. May one ask a gentile to cut ones nails for Mikveh if they forgot to do so before Shabbos?
First opinion-Gentile may cut even with vessel: One who shears [hair] and cuts nails with a vessel is only liable [for a sin offering] if he needs the wool or the hair or the nails which he cut. However, if he does not need them for this purpose then this is a Melacha which is not needed for its own use [which is only Rabbinically prohibited according to some opinions].
Therefore, a woman which forgot to remove her nails before Shabbos and Shabbos is her night of immersion there is an opinion which permits her to tell a gentile woman to cut the nails for her, as all matters which are only Rabbinically forbidden are permitted to be done through a gentile for the need of a Mitzvah as is written in chapter 307 [Halacha 12] and 325 [Halacha 5].
Second Opinion-Gentile may not cut with vessel but may cut with teeth hands: However there are opinions which say that even if one does not need the wool, hair and nails he is liable [for a sin offering] (as the principal Melacha [of shearing] is removing the hair and wool from the skin and the nails from the fingers, and he does need this removal in it of itself, and furthermore) also in the Tabernacle they would shear the skins of the Techashim even though they did not need their hair.
Therefore, one may not allow to ask a gentile woman to cut the nails being that this is a complete Rabbinical prohibition which was not permitted [even] for the need of a Mitzvah as was explained in chapter 276 [Halacha 8]. Rather one may tell the gentile woman to remove the nails with her hands or with her teeth which is a Rabbinical prohibition upon a Rabbinical prohibition. [See Q&A for the final ruling]
The reason why the above is not prohibited due to that she is assisting the gentile to cut the nails: Now, although she tilts her fingers towards the gentile and [thus] slightly assists her, this is [Halachically] meaningless as one who assists does not carry [Halachic] weight (and is completely permitted Biblically. Even Rabbinically there is no prohibition against assisting, with exception to one who is doing a complete Melacha or a matter which is forbidden due to a Rabbinical prohibition not in the place of a Mitzvah. However, in the case of a Mitzvah there was no decree made on the assistance just like they did not decree against telling the gentile [to do the Rabbinical prohibition] as he [the Jew] is not doing anything, and as well by assisting he is not doing anything as assistance truly carries no [Halachic] weight and it is just that the Sages decreed a decree against doing so due to that one may come to do so himself. However, one who does an [actual] action is forbidden even if it is a Rabbinical prohibition upon a Rabbinical prohibition in a Mitzvah scenario, as was explained in chapter 331 [Halacha 8].)
Summary- May one ask a gentile to cut her nails for Mikveh if she forgot to do so before Shabbos?
A woman who needs to immerse on Friday night and forgot to cut her nails before Shabbos may ask a Gentile to cut her nails using her teeth or hands. Regarding if the gentile may use a vessel to cut them, this matter is disputed in Admur, see Q&A below regarding the final ruling.
Practically may one ask a gentile to cut the nails using a vessel or not? 
Rav Farkash rules that although Admur does not explicitly write to be stringent, nevertheless based on the rules of the Poskim, it is implied that he holds of the second, stringent, opinion, and one is to thus be stringent to forbid asking a gentile to cut the nails using a vessel even if she cannot do so otherwise. [For ruling of Mishneh Berurah and others see footnote]
What is the woman to do if a gentile is unable to remove the nails with her teeth or hands?
She is to clean out very well all dirt from under her nail and verify that there is no dirt left there. Care must be taken that she does not scrape off part of the nail in the process. Thus, she should press her finger downwards to open more space for the cleaning and thus prevent scraping.
May one ask a gentile to also remove the woman’s toe nails?
No. Rather she is to clean out from under her nail very well and verify that there is no dirt left there. Care must be taken that she does not scrape off part of the nail in the process. Thus, she should press her finger downwards to open more space up for the cleaning and thus prevent scraping.
C. Removing a nail or piece of skin which is irritating:
If majority of it has begun peeling off: A nail which is in the process of peeling off and cuticles, which are thin strings [of skin] which have [begun] separating off of the skin of the finger that surrounds the nail, then if majority of it has peeled off, since they are close to becoming [completely] disconnected there is no Biblical shearing prohibition applicable to removing it even if one cuts it off with a vessel. However, it is Rabbinically forbidden [to do so with a vessel].
Removing it with ones hands: However to remove it with one’s hand [or teeth], [being that it] is not the common way of shearing, is permitted to be done even initially if they are irritating him, so long as they have peeled off towards the top, meaning that it had begun to peel off on the side of the nail [as opposed to under the nail].
Other Opinions: [However] there are opinions which say that towards the top means towards the body and not towards the nail.
The Final Ruling: One needs to suspect for both explanations [and thus it is never permitted to peel the skin off even when majority of it has begun to peel off. [Regarding the nail-See Q&A].
If only minority of the nail or skin has peeled off: If majority of [the skin or nail] did not peel off and one took it off with his hand then he is exempt [from Biblical liability] although he has done a [Rabbinical] prohibition. [However] if one cut it with a vessel then he is liable for shearing. [Furthermore] even according to those opinions that say that an action which is not done for its own use one is not liable on, [nevertheless] there are opinions which say that by shearing one is liable according to everyone for the reason to be explained above.
Summary-Removing a nail or pieces of skin on Shabbos:
If they are not irritating him: Then it is forbidden in all cases to peel off a nail or skin.
If they are irritating him:
1. Pieces of skin: It is forbidden to remove pieces of skin whether with one’s hands or with a vessel, even if it is irritating him and majority of it has peeled off. When done with a vessel and majority has not yet peeled off it is Biblically forbidden due to shearing.
2. A Nail: When done with a vessel and majority has not yet peeled off then it is Biblically forbidden due to shearing. If majority has peeled off, then it is Rabbinically forbidden to remove it with a vessel. Regarding removing it by hand-see Q&A.
May one remove a nail which has peeled off in its majority?
Some Poskim rule that it is allowed to be removed by hand [or teeth] if they are irritating him, as the dispute with regards to what is considered going upwards and downwards was only with regards to pieces of skin and not with regards to the nail. Whatever the case one must beware that no blood gets extracted in the process.
How is one to wash his hands for bread if he has a nail that has partially peeled off?
See Piskeiy Teshuvos 161; Taharah Kehalacha chapter 20 in laws of tevila.
4. May one style their hair or undo the style on Shabbos?
A. May one make or undo a hair braid [“Tzama” in Hebrew] on Shabbos?
It is [Rabbinically] forbidden for a woman to braid her hair [or another women’s hair or child’s hair] on Shabbos. It is likewise forbidden for her to undo a braid on Shabbos [even if it was made before Shabbos]. [Some Poskim rule it is even Biblically forbidden to do so. Those women who are lenient to do so are to be protested. This prohibition applies even if one will make a weak braid, and will use a soft brush that does not pull out hair.]
It is forbidden to make a braid or undo a braid on Shabbos.
May one make or undo a braid on a Sheital on Shabbos?
No. Nevertheless, it is not required to protest those who do so if they in any event will not listen.
May one simply remove the elastic from the braid, without actually undoing it?
Some write it is permitted to do so, even though it will eventually become undone on its own without the elastic.
B. Splitting the hair “down the middle”:
However, she may split the hair [through the middle having the hair on the right part of the head brushed to the right and the hair on the left part of the head brushed to the left, thus having an empty path in the middle of the head].
Other Opinions: However, there are opinions which forbid to split the hair [in the way explained above], which means to make the Sheitel, and so is the custom to forbid doing so using a vessel, however with a mere finger the custom is to be lenient.
Braid: It is forbidden to make a braid or undo a braid on Shabbos.
Split: Splitting the hair down the middle having the hair on the right part of the head brushed to the right and the hair on the left part of the head brushed to the left, thus having an empty path in the middle of the head, may be done only with a mere finger [as opposed to one’s hand].
May one make a hair do on Shabbos?
It is forbidden to make a hair do having it hold in place using clips and bobby pins. However, one may enter bobby pins into the hair for mere orderliness and not for the sake of a design.
May one use a soft brush to make the above-mentioned hair split?
Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to do so. Other Poskim rule it is permitted if no hair will be removed in the process.  Practically one should be stringent.
May one use his hands to make the split?
No. One may only use a mere a finger.
May one use a comb to gather the hair and make it into a ponytail and the like?
No, one may only do so by hand.
Do the above laws of braiding and hair do’s apply equally to a Sheitel?
Yes, it thus may not be designed on Shabbos.
Does the hair design prohibition apply to men as well?
May one twirl his Peiyos on Shabbos?
It is best to avoid doing so.
Nevertheless, some Poskim write that if they were already twirled before Shabbos then doing so does not involve a building prohibition. However, one must take care to only do so with his hands while the Peiyos are dry and to not remove any hairs in the process.
Others rule that twirling the Peiyos is not at all within the building prohibition and may thus be done in all cases, so long as it is done softly with one’s hands while the Peiyos are dry.
May one fold his beard on Shabbos?
5. May one brush his/her hair on Shabbos?
Using a brush: It is forbidden to brush [hair] with a brush on Shabbos, even with those [brushes] made of swine hair.
The reason for this is because: it is impossible to avoid removing hairs in the process.
Using ones hands: However it is permitted to separate the hairs apart with ones hands.
One may not use a brush to brush one’s hair on Shabbos as it causes hair to come out. However, one may use one’s fingers.
May one use a soft brush to brush their hair on Shabbos?
To straighten out the hair: One may use a soft brush to gently brush hair on Shabbos. One may not brush with force is this can lead to pulling out any hair. As well it is proper that the brush be designated for use only on Shabbos.
To make a design: See above!
May one brush their Sheitel on Shabbos?
If the Sheitel is wearable without the brushing: One may brush a Sheitel using a soft brush and doing so softly in order to avoid pulling out any hair. As well it is proper that the brush be designated for only Shabbos use.
If the Sheitel is not wearable without the brushing: Then it is forbidden to be brushed even in the above method due to the Fixing prohibition.
6. Cutting off a blister:
It is forbidden to cut a blister from one’s body whether with ones hand [or teeth] whether with a vessel, whether for himself whether for others, whether it is [filled with] puss [blister] whether it is dry. If one does cut a puss [filled] blister with a vessel he is liable for the shearing prohibition according to those which hold one is liable for shearing even if he does not require that which is being sheared.
It is a Biblical prohibition according to some opinions to cut off a blister with a vessel, if the blister is filled with puss. It is Rabbinically forbidden to remove it with one’s hands [or teeth] even if it is dry.
7. Removing scabs:
One may remove the scab of a wound [with one’s hands]. [However, this may only be done if it will not cause blood to be extracted.]
Final stage of the wound: Even in the final stage of the wound, which is defined as when it has already healed and one feels no pain from it, it is permitted to remove the scab.
It is permitted to remove scabs with one’s hands [so long as doing so does not release blood in the process].
May one remove a bandage that is taped onto his skin, such as a typical band-aid?
If doing so will remove in the process hair, then it should not be removed due to a possible shearing prohibition. However, if one is in pain he may be lenient to remove it even if hairs will be removed through doing so.
8. Removing lice from skins:
One may not remove lice from the skins of fox and the like being that [in the process] one removes hair from the skin which contains the sheering prohibition, and although it is done unintentionally, nevertheless it is an inevitable occurrence [and is thus forbidden].
 Admur 340:1
 Admur 340:1
 Shabbos Kihalacha Vol. 2 p. 229
 The stringent opinion: Is brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 143 footnote 1 in name of the Yeshuos Chachma, and so plainly rules SSH”K 3:30.
The lenient opinions: The Ketzos Hashulchan [ibid] himself says that the world is not accustomed to be stringent in this and he goes on to be Melamed Zechus through four different reasons for why removing feathers of cooked chicken does not contain a prohibition of “Shearing”, and he thus concludes that one should “leave the Jews to do so”. So rules also that it is allowed: Shut Har Tzevi, Yalkut Yosef, Igros Moshe.
 So rules Rav Farkash ibid, however the Ketzos Hashulchan rules that the world is lenient in this, and so rules Piskeiy Teshuvos [340:2].
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143 footnote 1
 As this is similar to the removing of the skin or peal of a fruit which is only allowed to be done prior to the meal. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 340:2]
 Admur 340:1
 Admur 340:2
This concept is called a “Melacha Sheiyno Tzarich Legufa”
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143:1
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143:1
 Admur 161:3, so rules also Biur Halacha there
 As scraping the nail is problematic due to the shearing prohibition.
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143:4 in name of Taz in end of 337
 Shach Nekudos Hakesef Yorah Deah 198
 Taz Yorah Deah 198:23
 Tahara Kehalacha chapter 19:79-3 footnote 202
 Vetzaruch Iyun as to why Admur did not rule this way explicitly as he does by other disputes?
 The Magen Avraham 340:1 rules that initially one is to have a gentile do so without using a vessel. However, if this is not possible then the gentile may use a vessel to do so.
The Mishneh Berurah 340:3 rules like the Magen Avraham, although adding that the woman is to not assist at all in the removal of the nails, and the gentile is to be taught to take the woman’s hand herself.
 Taharah Kehalacha 19:79-3
 Taharah Kehalacha ibid in name of many Poskim
 Admur 161:3
 Taharah Kehalacha ibid in name of Mishneh Berurah in Biur Halacha
 As people are less particular regarding the cleanliness of the toenails.
 Admur 161:3
 Admur 328:37
 Taharah Kehalacha 19:79, and so seems Pashut from 340:2
 Rabeinu Tam. The former opinion is that of Rashi.
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143:1; Mishneh Berurah 99
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:25
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143:1 and footnote 3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 161:5; Az Nidbaru
 Taharah Kehalacha 19:79, and so seems Pashut from 340:2
 So rules Peri Megadim M”Z 328:23, brought in Taharah Kihalacha 19:79-2, Upashut!
 Michaber 303:26
 P”M 303 A”A 20; M”B 303:82; Rambam 20; Chachamim in Mishneh ibid; The following Poskim rule like Chachomim regarding makeup, and the same applies to a braid: Implication of Michaber 303:25 and Admur 320:27; M”A 303:19; Olas Shabbos 303:19; M”B 303:79; See Biur Halacha 303:25 “Mishum Tzoveia”; Kaf Hachaim 303:115-116
 Michaber ibid; Mishneh Shabbos 94b “Hagodeles”
The reason: This is forbidden due to the building prohibition, as it is similar to building and hence the Sages prohibited it. [M”A 303:20; M”B ibid; based on Shabbos 95a] This is supported in the Torah, as the verse states “Vayiven Hashem Elokim Es Hatzela” and the Sages teach that Hashem made a braid for Chava and presented her to Adam Harishon, and thus we see that a braid in the Torah is referred to as building. [Shabbos 95a; Machatzis Hashekel 303:20; M”B 303:82] It is not Biblically forbidden due to building, as the building prohibition only applies to structures. It is also not Biblically forbidden due to weaving, as this prohibition only applies a) To matters that are not attached to a person or the ground, and b) To a weaving that lasts and is permanent. [M”A 303:20; M”B 303:82; Tosafus Shabbos 94b] Regarding why it does not transgress the tying prohibition-see Or Sameach on Rambam 10:8 and Shevet Halevi 1:101
 Michaber ibid; Tosafus Shabbos 57a “Bema”
The reason: This is forbidden due to the destroying prohibition, as it is similar to destroying and hence the Sages prohibited it. [P”M 303 A”A 20; M”B 303:83; Tosafus ibid]
 Rebbe Eliezer in Mishneh ibid, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 303:66; The following Poskim rule like Rebbe Eliezer regarding makeup, and the same applies to a braid: Elya Raba 303:40 in name of Rishonim who rule like Rebbe Eliezer in Mishneh ibid; Yireim, brought in Nishmas Adam; Semag; Ran; Ravan; See Biur Halacha ibid and Kaf Hachaim ibid
Difference between doing it to a friend and to oneself: The Gemara Shabbos 95a differentiates between if a woman makes a braid on her own hair, in which case she is exempt [even according to the approach of Rebbe Eliezer, and only when she makes a braid on her friends’ hair is she liable, as only then is the braid nice and beautiful.
 The reason: Although it is farfetched to consider a hair braid similar to building a building, nevertheless, the Torah itself testifies that it is considered a category of building, as the verse states “Vayiven Hashem Elokim Es Hatzela” and the Sages teach that Hashem made a braid for Chava and presented her to Adam Harishon, and thus we see that a braid in the Torah is referred to as building. [Shabbos 95a; M”B 303:82]
 Darkei Moshe 303:7; Bedek Habayis; See Beis Yosef 303:26; Kol Bo 31
 M”B 303:82
 The reason: Although doing so does not transgress the building prohibition [as a braid is only considered building when attached to the body, just like Chava], nevertheless, it is forbidden due to the weaving prohibition. Now, although the braid is temporary, it is nevertheless Rabbinically forbidden. [M”B ibid] It is likewise forbidden to undo the braid due to the prohibition of Potzeia, which is undoing the weaving. [Shaar Hatziyon 303:71]
 M”B ibid; See Kol Bo 31, brought in Beis Yosef 303:26
 Chut Shani 36:15, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 303 footnote 87
 Michaber ibid
 Ketzos Hashulchan 146:11
 Rama ibid
 Due to the building prohibition. [Ketzos Hashulchan 146 page 39] However others explain that this is due to a suspicion that one may come to tear out hair. [Mishneh Berurah 303:84]
 Ketzos Hashulchan 146 page 40
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:8 in name of Minchas Yitzchak 1:80
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:8 and footnote 27
 Ketzos Hashulchan ibid
 As doing so even with a soft brush still contains the building prohibition.
 M”B 303:84
 As there is no building prohibition involved in splitting the hair and it was only forbidden due to suspicion that it may come to remove hairs.
 Ketzos Hashulchan 146 page 40
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:8 in name of Ketzos Hashulchan 146 footnote 21 [I have not found the source for this in the Ketzos Hashulchan there!]
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:9
 So writes Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid, and so is implied also from Ketzos Hashulchan ibid
 The Ketzos Hashulchan 146 p. 42 is Milamed Zechus that it does not involve a building prohibition as one is merely adjusting an already twirled Peiyos.
 So rules Beir Moshe 1:19 and 5:74
 Beir Moshe Ibid
 Ketzos Hashulchan 146 page 41
 As doing so is not considered a form of design. [ibid]
 Michaber ibid
 Rama ibid
 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:31
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143 footnote 6; Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:10
 The Minchas Shabbos [80:117] concludes that it is forbidden to do so, although he brings that there are those which are lenient and a Baal Nefesh is to only do so in the way described above.
 Admur 340:3
 Ketzos Hashulchan 143 in name of Mishneh Berurah.
 Admur 328:28
 However, with a vessel is forbidden [Ketzos Hashulchan 136 footnote 22]
 Admur 328:33
 Admur 328:28
 SSH”K 35:29 footnote 73; Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:22
 Being that this is a Pesik Reishei that is not beneficial, as well as that the removal of the hair is being done with a Shinui, and thus is permitted in a case of pain.
 Admur 316:21
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