||Only edition of these polemical responsa on the prohibition of shaving one’s beard on Hol ha-Mo’ed (intermediate days of festivals) by R. Jacob Ezekiel Levi. The title page is dated, “‘But to the wicked man God says, What right have to you to declare the statutes,’ (Psalms 50:16) of the Lord מה לך לספר חוק י"י (599 = 1839).” The issue of shaving on the intermediate days of festivals was important in the history of the Jewish Reform movement in Italy. Isaac Samuel Reggio published (Vienna, 1839) a pamphlet entitled Ma’amar ha-Tiglahat, in which he attempted to prove casuistically that the regulations of the Talmud concerning the cutting of the Beard on the intermediate days of festivals no longer had application, on account of the changed circumstances. This called forth the replies, Tiglahat ha-Ma’amar (Leghorn, 1839) by R. Abraham Hay Reggio and Tisporet Lulyanit, by Jacob Ezekiel Levi (Berlin, 1839). Tisporet Lulyanit is comprised of thirty responsa on the subject. The volume concludes with a detailed list of the contents. The author, R. Jacob Ezekiel Levi, was born in Osoblaha in 1814; he died in Beuthen in 1864.
The source of the prohibition against shaving is Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5 in an apparent reference to the hair between the head and the cheeks (sidelocks) it is forbidden to destroy the "corners" of the beard. It has been suggested that the reason for the ban is to differentiate Israelites from other peoples. Another possible explanation is that shaving specific areas of the face was associated with pagan cults or symbolized those who ministered to their gods and just as the Bible opposes imitation of pagan practices so it opposes this form of ritual shaving. In the Bible shaving of the head and beard is considered a sign of mourning (e.g., Job 1:20) and degradation. Shaving was identified with the spontaneous plucking of the beard, an expression of great sorrow (Ezek. 5:1ff.). To humiliate a man, it was the practice to forcibly shave half of the beard as in II Samuel 10:4, where the elders, because of this humiliation, were commanded to hide in Jericho until their beards grew again. Shaving is also part of rituals of purification (Lev. 14:8; Num. 6:9; 8:7). Priests were forbidden to shave the "edges" of their beards (Lev. 21:5), and "the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok" (Ezek. 44:15) were allowed neither to shave their heads nor let their locks grow long, but only to trim their hair (ibid. 44:20).
The Talmud regards the beard as "the adornment of a man's face" (BM 84a); a man without a beard was compared to a eunuch (Yev. 80b; Shab. 152a). Young priests whose beards had not yet grown were not permitted to bless the people (TJ, Suk. 3:14, 54a). Sennacherib was punished by God by having his beard shaved off (Sanh. 95b–96a). Rabbinic authorities permitted only those who had frequent dealings with the Roman authorities to clip their beard with forceps (kom; BK 83a). Objection to the removal of the beard was on the ground that G-d gave it to man to distinguish him from woman; to shave it, was therefore an offense against nature (see Abrabanel to Lev. 19:27).
Considerable difference of opinion among the rabbis as to the exact location of these five places had led to the practice of not using a single edge at all. In Western Europe and especially among Sephardi Jews, rabbinic authorities (S. D. Luzzatto among others), consented both to the trimming of the beard and even of its entire removal by chemical agents. This became the accepted custom (from the second half of the 17th century). The question of cutting and shaving the beard on hol ha-mo'ed, prohibited by the Talmud (MK 3:1), was a matter of much controversy at the turn of the 19th century. R. Isaac Samuel Reggio tried to prove that this talmudic injunction no longer applied because of changed circumstances (Ma'amar ha-Tiglahat, 1835) but the traditional opinion of the Shulhan Arukh (OH 531) prevails among strictly observant Jews, who also refrain from cutting their beard (and from shaving) during the Omer period (Sefirah) and the Three Weeks (see also Mourning Customs). To trim the beard (and have a haircut) in honor of the Sabbath and the festivals is regarded as a pious duty. Several rulers (e.g., Nicholas I of Russia) tried to force the Jewish population to cut off their beard and earlocks; others (e.g., Maria Theresa of Austria) ordered Jews to have beards so as to be easily singled out as a foreign element by their Christian neighbors.