The Kosher Mohawk

As many of you know, I am a big James Harden fan. If you don’t know who James Harden is, he is probably the only guy you’re going to see playing basketball with giant beard unless you’re watching the Haifa Heat. Known even more for his skills as a shooting guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder than for this facial hair, Harden is also known to sport a mohawk-style hair cut as he helps carry the Thunder through the NBA finals.
In celebration of the Thunder’s success, my wife has given me a mohawk hairstyle as well. I will admit, this is the most radically different hairstyle I’ve ever had as I have been told I typically have the fashion sense of a man 40 years my senior. Some of you might be saying “But Ken; isn’t a mohawk hairstyle one worn typically by pagans who violate the Torah by trimming the hair on the sides of their heads?” In reply to that, I would say “Go back and study your Torah more in depth!” 
While there is section of Torah that specifically prohibits a certain hairstyle, when studying Torah, it is one of the only aspects of life where it is, in fact, GOOD, to split hairs. You see, the passage in Leviticus 19:27 reads like this: 

לא תקפו פאת ראשכם ולא תשחית את פאת זקנך
You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.”

Where there is a prohibition against harming/trimming the corners of one’s beard, the prohibition does not extend to the temples or the sides of one’s head. In this instance, the term “פאת ” refers to a complete removal of hair down to the skin and is used to prohibit the shaving of the hair completely clean from the sides of one’s head, but the beard is not to even be “תשחית“, or harmed. 

So while this is laudable, yet not completely necessary in order to fulfill the mitzvah (picture below)…

…this (below) is prohibited according to the Torah. Besides that, I personally think it looks pretty stupid.

But a mohawk, as long as the hair is not completely shaved from the skin, is, in fact, a kosher hair style and does look pretty sweet with a kippah. 

– Ken

2 thoughts on “The Kosher Mohawk

  1. Thank you so much for this post!! I too have given my husband a Mohawk and immediately had that sick gut feeling, about 2 hours afterwards, when I remembered the scripture in Torah regarding what is or isn’t allowed when it comes to men’s hair or beard. My husband has a beard like James Harden and I think it looks exceptionally great with the Mohawk style. I have researched many different sides of tattoos according to Torah. I’ve heard from many that they believe they’re not permitted, and surprisingly some that say the prohibition of marking our bodies in mourning as the pagans did/do is not permitted, being that pagans in that day were known to tattoo and mark their bodies with their loved one’s ashes in memorialization and ritual mourning to the dead. I was just curious as to what your thoughts are regarding this situation. I’m not passionately for or against, just curious what your take is.

  2. I’ve never been to your site before, and just realized you’ve already addressed tattoos. I’ll read more on that now. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon this site..

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