Right after the epic Jewish holiday of Passover comes the 49-day period of the Hebrew calendar known as ‘Sefirat Ha’Omer’. During this time many religious Jewish men refrain from shaving their facial hair for the first 33 of the Omer’s 49 days. For those who regularly shave, growing for a little over a month might only lead to a relatively short beard, but either way, both short and long beards need love and this is where Aleph Male comes in. We’re on a mission to reveal the wisdom of Jewish sacred masculinity and the majesty of the beard is central to that mission.
As Sefirat Ha’Omer has begun we present to you three beard growing tips - physical, psychological and spiritual - to help you actualize your bearding potential. #morebeardmoreblessing
1. What you need to know physically
Just as you need to take care of the hair on your head so too you need to take care of the blessed hair on your face - keep your beard clean. Dirt, dust, dead skin cells and grime can get into your beard. Just as you shampoo your hair in the morning, as your beard grows in, it’s also a good thing to lather your beard with some gentle shampoo or face wash to keep it clean and fresh (2-3 times a week).
Also, as your beard grows in, it might begin to itch. There are two main reasons for this.
The first reason is that the ends of your facial hair (which are hard and rough compared to the hair on your scalp) rub against your face’s skin and the hair follicles located right below which can result in irritation and itchiness. If this is the case, this itchiness will generally go away after a few weeks as the hairs grow longer and your face gets used to it.
The second reason is dry skin. To take care of your beard, you actually need to take care of your skin. Your skin produces natural oil to moisturize and protect itself called sebum oil. This oil also coats your beard (to a certain extent). Washing your beard with bar soap or regular shampoos strips this natural oil and can often dry out your skin which leads it the skin flaking and itching or what is called ‘beardruff’. Taking excessively hot showers also strips this oil and can dry out your skin. Extreme hot and cold weather can also dry the skin.
That being said, Aleph Male beard balm and beard oil can help with the itch.
Our handmade beard balms and beard oils (made in Israel) coat the skin and hair with non-comedogenic (won’t clog your skin) ingredients making the hair softer, more manageable, and also moisturizing the skin beneath which can really help with beard itch.
2. What you need to know psychologically:
Psychologically, for those used to waking up and seeing a clean-shaven face in the mirror and associate a few days of growth with lack of self-care, this is chance for you to reframe your experience.
That hair coming out of your cheeks and chin is a reflection of your connection to a spiritual lineage going all the way back to Moses. Moses had a beard. King David had a beard. King Solomon had a beard.
Also, Rabbi Akiva, one of the people of Israel’s greatest teachers, a central figure to Sefirat Ha Omer, and Rabbi Akiva's teaching for the need for brotherly love and unity. That being said, Aleph Male can also help in the self-care/grooming department. Aleph Male optimizes each individual hair and the beard as a whole thanks to its conditioning and shaping effects so when you look in the mirror you can see a face well taken care of.
3. What you need to know spiritually:
Spiritually, growing a beard is a source of great joy and a huge opportunity to open the gates of blessing. The custom of not shaving for the first 33 days of the Omer is a form of mourning for the students of Rabbi Akiva. But, as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches, we should always be connected to joy. This is true even when we are feeling sad or any other emotion and the fact that we are growing a beard is for sure something to be joyous about.
As the Talmud says “[The term] 'hadras ponim' — the splendor of the countenance — refers to a beard.”
And as it is brought down by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, “The beard is the channel for one's livelihood”. So for some men, not shaving may seem like a burden, but it is actually an opportunity to bring more blessing into their lives and that is something to celebrate.
To take it to an even higher level, anointing your beard with Aleph Male not only keeps your beard moisturized and looking well-groomed, it also hearkens back to the ancient Jewish ritual of using anointing oil to sanctify people, places and objects like Israelite kings and priests as well as the vessels used in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Growing a beard during Sefirat Ha’Omer is a great time to reconnect to Jewish sacred masculinity and make your beard holy. In fact, you can just #letitgrow.
May Hashem bless you to anoint your beard with joy and blessing!