It is well known that when people went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l to receive a brachah or ask a sh’eilah, in many cases he will tell them to either cut their hair short or grow their beard. He also tells people to keep their pei’os out, not behind their ears. He was once asked by his son-in-law, Rav Mordechai Tzivyon shlita, why he told a person with facial issues to grow his beard and that Rav Chaim responded, “A beard is a person’s hadras panim (glory of the face). If one grows his beard, he has a real hadras panim. His issues that affect his hadras panim will be healed when he grows a beard.”

On another occasion, a religious infertility doctor was treating a non-religious couple. They had been married for quite some time and did not have children and were becoming quite depressed. On one of their visits, the doctor said to them, “I am afraid our treatments are not helping. I do not know what else to do medically, but if you are interested, there is a great tzadik who lives in Bnei Brak, and perhaps if you went to him for a brachah, he can help you in a miraculous way.”

The husband was doubtful about this. He had never been to a rabbi before, and he didn’t believe in this stuff. “Look, you can go see him; but the way I look, do you think he’d even agree to see me?” The doctor assured him that Rav Chaim saw all types of people, and if he was interested, he would take the husband in to see the Rav himself. Reassured, the man agreed.

The doctor accompanied the irreligious man to Bnei Brak a few days later and managed to get in to see Rav Chaim. As they walked into the room, the doctor spoke to Rav Chaim and told him that this man was married for a number of years and was not blessed with children. He was here today to receive a blessing from the Rav.

Rav Chaim lifted up his holy eyes and looked at the non-religious man. The first thing he noticed was that the man had a huge hairdo and a ponytail hanging down the back of his neck. Rav Chaim said to the doctor, “Sh’tei nashim? Zeh lo holeich” (literally, “Two females? This cannot work”). Rav Chaim is a man of few words, but when he speaks, every word counts. What he was saying was that this man had hair akin to a female, and if so, how can two females give birth to a child?

“What should he do?” asked the doctor, unsure if Rav Chaim was joking with his words or serious.

“Cut your hair,” Rav Chaim said to the man in Hebrew, “and you will see benefit.”

The doctor heard his words and replied, “But, Rebbi, it is now S’firas HaOmer. Should he cut his hair now?”

Rav Chaim told him to wait until Lag BaOmer and then cut his hair. The man was so taken aback by the Rav and his powerful words that, on the morning of Lag BaOmer, he took a haircut and cut off his ponytail, as well as trimmed his hair. Not coincidentally, his situation improved; and within a short time, he came to report the good news that his wife was expecting.

In the sefer Lachazos B’Noam Hashem, the author tells an interesting story about an Arab cleric who thought very highly of himself. Every Friday, he would deliver a fiery sermon in his mosque, and in the course of his words, he would whip his followers up into a frenzy against the Jews of the city. He would concoct ridiculous visions that he saw in his prophecies, all telling him to warn his fellow Muslims against the Jews and to do them harm. When Friday prayers let out, the Jews would barricade themselves in their homes and shops, to avoid any confrontations with the frenzied mob from this sheikh’s mosque.

One Friday, a Jewish man dressed up as a Muslim and decided to take matters into his own hands. He waited until the cleric had delivered his sermon, and as he was leaving his mosque, he walked up to him and said, “Oh, honored sheikh. I had a vision that the prophet came to me and told me that you are the most honored sheikh in the whole world. He also told me that if I could just get one hair from your beard, it will protect me all my life and I will surely enter the portals of Paradise.”

The Sheikh was flattered by these words and plucked a hair from his beard. The Jew kissed his hand and thanked him. When all his followers saw what he did, they too demanded a hair from his beard. The Sheikh plucked one, then another, then another, from his face – but the already frenzied mob could not wait and they pounced on the suddenly hapless cleric. They pulled and plucked and ripped every last hair from the man’s face. He was left mutilated and beardless for the rest of his life!

Rabbi Dovid Hoffman is the author of the popular “Torah Tavlin” book series, filled with stories, wit and hundreds of divrei Torah, including the brand new “Torah Tavlin Yamim Noraim” in stores everywhere. You’ll love this popular series. Also look for his book, “Heroes of Spirit,” containing one hundred fascinating stories on the Holocaust. They are fantastic gifts, available in all Judaica bookstores and online at To receive Rabbi Hoffman’s weekly “Torah Tavlin” sheet on the parsha, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.