Payot

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Payot
Orthodox Man with Beard by David Shankbone.jpg

Orthodox Jewish man with untrimmed beard and Pe'ot

Halakhic texts relating to this article:
Torah:Leviticus 19:27
Babylonian Talmud:Makkot 20a
Mishneh Torah:Avodath Kokhavim 12:6
Shulchan Aruch:Yoreh Deah 181
* Not meant as a definitive ruling. Some observances may be rabbinical, custom or Torah-based.
 
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Payot
Orthodox Man with Beard by David Shankbone.jpg

Orthodox Jewish man with untrimmed beard and Pe'ot

Halakhic texts relating to this article:
Torah:Leviticus 19:27
Babylonian Talmud:Makkot 20a
Mishneh Torah:Avodath Kokhavim 12:6
Shulchan Aruch:Yoreh Deah 181
* Not meant as a definitive ruling. Some observances may be rabbinical, custom or Torah-based.

Payot (also pe'ot, peyot, payos, peyos, peyois, payois; Hebrew: singular ,פֵּאָה ;plural ,פֵּאוֹת‎) is the Hebrew word for sidelocks or sidecurls. Payot are worn by some men and boys in the Orthodox Jewish community based on an interpretation of the Biblical injunction against shaving the "corners" of one's head. Literally, pe'ah means corner, side or edge. There are different styles of payot among Haredi, Yemenite, and Hasidic Jews. Yemenite Jews call their sidelocks simonim Hebrew: סִימָנִים‎, literally signs, because their long curled sidelocks served as a distinguishing feature in Yemenite society (distinguishing them from their non-Jewish neighbors).

Rabbinical interpretation[edit]

The Torah says, "You shall not round off the פְּאַת Pe'at of your head" (Leviticus 19:27). The word Pe'at was taken to mean the hair in front of the ears extending to beneath the cheekbone, on a level with the nose (Talmud - Makkot 20a).[1] The Mishnah interpreted the regulation as applying only to men. Thus it became the custom in certain circles to allow the hair over the ears to grow, and hang down in curls or ringlets.[2] According to Maimonides, shaving the sidelocks was a heathen practice.[3] There is considerable discussion in the halachic literature as to the precise location of the payot and of the ways in which their removal is prohibited.[4]

History[edit]

As kabbalistic teachings spread into Slavonic lands, the custom of payot became accepted. In 1845 the practice was banned in the Russian Empire.[2] In the Crimea, Crimean Karaites did not wear payot, and the Crimean Tatars consequently referred to them as zulufsız çufutlar, meaning Jews without payot, to distinguish them from the Krymchaks, referred to as zuluflı çufutlar, meaning Jews with payot. Many Hasidic and Yemenite Jews let their sidelocks grow particularly long. Some Haredi men grow sidelocks, but keep them short or tuck them behind the ears. Even among Jewish groups in which the men do not wear noticeable payot, often the young boys do wear them until around the age of Bar Mitzvah.

Styles[edit]

Young hasid wearing twisted payot
Brisker peyot tucked behind the ears

Most other Hasidic groups wear their payot down and curled.

The Lithuanian Jews were less influenced by Kabbalistic practises, but still retain sidelocks to a degree, in a small number of variant styles:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Side Curls". Judaism.about.com. 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  2. ^ a b Jewish Encyclopedia
  3. ^ Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah:181
  4. ^ "''Halachos Of Payos Harosh''". Yutorah.org. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  5. ^ (Sichot Haran?); The Master of Prayer (from Tales of Rabbi Nachman), where the Master is "not particular about garb at all; see [1] for a video showing a variety of styles among Breslevers.