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Gozez is detaching a growing part of a living creature, such as hair, nails, or skin. Therefore, pulling off or biting one’s nails or dried lip is forbidden on Shabbat.
Combing Hair on Shabbat
- It is forbidden to brush or comb one's hair on Shabbat. If a comb has soft bristles that won’t pull out hair, it is permitted to use it to gently comb a specific spot to fix the hair there but not to comb the whole head. Also, one who plans on using this leniency should have a designated comb for Shabbat so that it isn’t considered a weekday activity, uvda dchol.
- It is permitted to gently scratch one’s head in a small area if it isn’t certain that they will pull out any hairs.
- Women should be especially careful since they have long hair and running their hands through their hair or scratching their head vigorously will almost definitely make hair fall out.
- However, it is perfectly fine to part one’s hair.
- One may not braid one's hair on Shabbat.
Brushing a Sheitel
- Some say that a sheitel should not be brushed like one’s regular hair because if the brush pulls out a hair it is breaking it, soter. However, most poskim are lenient for several reasons including that it is unintentional, not beneficial, and not definite. Everyone agrees that it is not gozez since the hair is already detached.
- It is forbidden to cut one's nails on Shabbat.
- If one has a hangnail which became detached along majority of its width and it is causing them pain, they may remove it with their fingers and not a nail cutter. According to Sephardim if one has a hangnail that is causing him pain, he may remove it with his fingers or his teeth.
- If a woman forgot to cut her nails before Shabbos and is going to mikveh, she should ask a non-Jew to cut her nails on Shabbos. If that’s not possible she may just clean her nails very well.
Dried Lips and Dandruff
- It is permitted to remove pieces of dandruff from one's hair on Shabbat, but one may not detach them from one's scalp. Some say that even someone with dandruff can scrap their head unless they know that by scratching they’re going to detach dead skin from their scalp.
- It is forbidden to remove dead skin around the cuticles, a sunburn, or a dried lip on Shabbos. It is best to avoid biting one’s lips during the week so that one doesn’t forget and bite them on Shabbos.
Pulling Out a Tooth
- Pulling a tooth is gozez. If a person is in pain, they can ask a non-Jew to do it for them.
- Regarding removing a band aid on Shabbat and how it relates to Gozez, see the Medicine on Shabbat page.
- 39 Melachos v. 3 p. 673, 681
- Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 303:27 forbids combing one’s hair on Shabbat since it’s inevitable that one will remove hair.
- Mishna Brurah 303:87
- Rama 303:27, Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 14:42
- Avnei Yashfeh 5:71:1
- Rama 303:26
- Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 303:26
- Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 14:53 based on Rama 337:2
- Rav Elyashiv (Shalmei Yehuda ch. 10 fnt. 8), Rav Willig (Asicha Shabbos 2 p. 7)
- The Shulchan Aruch O.C. 340:1 writes that it is biblically forbidden to cuts one's nails on Shabbat. Many ask: how can it be that the shulchan aruch holds chayav if he holds milachah sheayna tzricha ligufa is patur? The magen avraham (340:1) says we must be talking about a case where the guy wants the nails and hair which makes it a milachah shetzricha ligufo and is why the shulchan aruch says chayav. The vilna goan disagrees and says that the shulchan aruch really just feels milachah sheayna tzricha ligufo is chayav. The biur halachah proves from other milachos that this pshat of the gra is not possible. He explains the pshat in the shulchan aruch is that he is holding like the rivash. The rivash (siman 394) explains that milachah sheayna tzricha ligufo is not relevant in this discussion here. Milachah sheayna tzricha ligufo is all determined by the mishkan and in the mishkan there was sometimes hair removal to beautify the oros tichashim so this is a milachah shetzricha ligufo. Only because it is a milachah shetzricha ligufo will it be chayav.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 328:31, 39 Melachos v. 3 p. 681
- Rabbi Eli Mansour
- Mishna Brurah 340:3
- Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 14:49 writes that it is permitted to remove dandruff from one's head and it isn't considered borer. One may not detach them from one's head because of gozez.
- Rav Willig (Asicha Shabbos 2 p. 7)
- Biur Halacha 340:2, Toras Melachos gozez fnt. 19*, 39 Melachos p. 681
- See Chazon Ish cited by Dinim Vhanhagos 13:31
- Biur Halacha 328:3