1) SHAVING WITH SCISSORS
QUESTIONS: The Gemara explains that according to the Rabanan, the verse of "Rosho" (Vayikra 14:9) teaches that Hakafah of the entire head is considered Hakafah, and that the shaving of a Metzora overrides the Lo Ta'aseh of Hakafas ha'Rosh (a Lo Ta'aseh which is not Shaveh ba'Kol). However, "Rosho" does not teach that the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach of a Metzora must be done with a Ta'ar (razor). TOSFOS (DH Hashta, and in Shevuos 2b, DH Chayav) proves from the Gemara's explanation that the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh is not limited to a Ta'ar, but includes Hakafah with scissors as well.
(a) Why does Tosfos need to prove that Hakafas ha'Rosh is prohibited with scissors? Why would one have thought that Hakafas ha'Rosh with scissors is not prohibited? The verse says merely, "Do not circle your head [by removing your hair]" (Vayikra 19:27). In what way does the verse imply that Hakafas ha'Rosh is prohibited only with a Ta'ar?
(b) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas to Shevuos 2b, and in a question written to the CHASAM SOFER, printed in Teshuvos Chasam Sofer YD 139) asks that according to Tosfos, every man should be prohibited from combing his Pe'os. The Mishnah (42a) states that a Nazir may not comb his hair because combing inevitably pulls out hair ("Pesik Reshei"), and a Nazir is prohibited from removing his hair, even with his hands. According to Tosfos who explains that the prohibition of Hakafas ha'Rosh is not limited to a Ta'ar, every man should be prohibited from pulling out the hair of his beard or Pe'os with his hands. Consequently, he should be prohibited from combing his Pe'os because a comb inevitably pulls out hair. Why do none of the Poskim prohibit the use of a comb on one's Pe'os?
(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas; see also Teshuvah of the Chasam Sofer loc. cit.) suggests that Tosfos understands that Hakafas ha'Rosh should be prohibited only when done with a Ta'ar because the Torah writes the Isur of Hakafah in the same verse as the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan (shaving one's beard), and thereby compares the two Isurim.
Why does Tosfos discuss only whether Hakafah is prohibited with scissors? Tosfos should be equally in doubt about whether a Melaket and Rehitni are prohibited, and yet Tosfos (Shevuos 2b) takes for granted that they are prohibited. Rebbi Akiva Eiger answers that the verse which compares the Isur of Hakafah to the Isur of Gilu'ach states, "Lo Sashchis Es Pe'as Zekanecha" (Vayikra 19:27) -- one may not do "Hashchasah" to his beard. The Gemara explains that "Hashchasah" refers to cutting the hair at its root, the way a Ta'ar, Melaket, and Rehitni cut. Accordingly, one might have thought that Hakafah is prohibited only when done "b'Derech Hashchasah," but it is not prohibited when done with an instrument -- such as a scissors -- which does not cut the hair at the root. (Although another verse teaches that Gilu'ach is not forbidden when done with a Melaket or Rehitni but only with a Ta'ar, since this verse of Gilu'ach does not clearly permit Melaket and Rehitni one might have thought that Hakafah is forbidden with a Melaket and Rehitni, and it is permitted only when done with scissors.)
Tosfos here alludes to an additional reason for why he assumes that Hakafah with scissors is permitted. The Mishnah describes Hakafah as "leveling the area from the forehead to behind the ears" by making the skin above the ears as bald as the skin on both sides (the forehead, and behind the ears). This implies that the act of Hakafah is forbidden only when it makes the sides of the head entirely hairless. Tosfos cites a Tosefta which states that Hakafas ha'Rosh is prohibited only when it is done "k'Ein Ta'ar," in the manner that a Ta'ar cuts hair. The Gemara says that scissors do not cut the hair at its root; the scissor-action of the two blades leaves behind hair as long as the thickness of the bottom blade (40b, Tosfos DH d'Tanya). Therefore, perhaps cutting hair with scissors does not constitute Hakafah. In contrast, a Melaket and Rehitni remove the hair at the root, and thus they certainly are included in the Isur of Hakafah. In fact, the TOSFOS RID permits cutting the Pe'os with scissors for this reason.
Tosfos, however, proves that even scissors are included in the Isur of Hakafah. The Gemara earlier (40b) implies that scissors are a valid form of Gilu'ach (that is, had the verse not excluded scissors from the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan with the phrase, "Lo Sashchis," shaving with scissors would have been included in the prohibition). Since the Mitzvah of Metzora is "v'Gilach," it follows that unless the Torah states otherwise, the Gilu'ach of a Metzora may be done with scissors. If the Torah commands the Metzora to perform the normally-forbidden act of Hakafas ha'Rosh, the Gemara should learn from this command that a Metzora may not use scissors (since Hakafas ha'Rosh with scissors is not prohibited). It must be that Hakafas ha'Rosh is forbidden with scissors, and thus there is no proof that a Metzora may not use scissors. Although scissors do not cut off the entire length of hair, the amount of stubble that remains is so little that the scissors' action may be called "k'Ein Ta'ar." This is clear from the Mishnah earlier (39a) which teaches that a Nazir is Chayav Malkus for cutting his hair with scissors even though the Torah forbids him from cutting only "k'Ein Ta'ar" (see Tosfos to 39b, DH Tanu Rabanan). (This is the intention of Tosfos when he writes (at the end of DH Hashta) that even cutting with scissors may be called "k'Ein Ta'ar.")
(b) In response to Rebbi Akiva Eiger's question (why is a man permitted to comb his Pe'os), the CHASAM SOFER points out that the wording of the Mishnah (42a) implies that only a Nazir is prohibited from combing his hair; an ordinary person may comb any part of his hair, including his Pe'os. Apparently, even if the prohibition of Hakafas ha'Rosh includes the use of scissors or Melaket and Rehitni, it does not include plucking hairs from the head. Plucking hairs ("Korchah") is not a normal form of hair removal and cannot be included in the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan or the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh.
What is the difference between cutting hair with a Melaket or Rehitni and plucking hair? RASHI (Shabbos 97a, Kidushin 35b) explains that a Melaket and Rehitni are tools similar to a plane used for smoothing down rough surfaces. Each instrument is comprised of a metal blade which cuts, but does not pull out, the hair. Perhaps pulling out hair alone is permitted. Such an allowance would be consistent with the contrast between the wording of the Mishnah (39a, 42a) -- which discusses the prohibitions of a Nazir and states that a Nazir may not "pull out" hair, and does not state that he may not use a Melaket or Rehitni -- and the wording of the Beraisa -- which discusses the prohibition of Gilu'ach and states that one may not use a Melaket or Rehitni.
However, the RAMBAM seems to have a different approach. The Rambam (Perush ha'Mishnayos, end of Makos; see also Aruch, Erech "Melaket") writes that Melaket and Rehitni are forms of tweezers which pluck out hair. If the act of plucking out hair constitutes the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan, plucking out hair (with the hands or with a comb) should also constitute the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh.
The Chasam Sofer points out that the Tosefta (Makos 4:4) clearly states that it is possible for a person to transgress multiple Isurim by plucking out two hairs, and included in the list of Isurim is the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh and the Isur of Gilu'ach of a Nazir.
Why, according to the Rambam, is one permitted to comb his Pe'os? There are two reasons why combing the Pe'os is permitted according to the Rambam. The Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 12:6) rules that the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh forbids one from cutting the hair with a Ta'ar, but not with other instruments (such as scissors, or by pulling it out with a comb). Moreover, the Rambam there writes that one transgresses Hakafas ha'Rosh when he leaves less than forty hairs. Apparently, the Rambam maintains that Hakafas ha'Rosh is prohibited only when one removes so much hair that less than forty hairs remain. (See Chasam Sofer.)