Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Fall - Part 1

It had been eight days since Moshe had last shaved. He spent Pesach at Mount Airie Lodge resort, and did not bring his shaver with him. He, along with his wife and daughter, had spent the week in the Poconos, and then, stayed on for the weekend, not coming home until Sunday. Moshe’s beard, which would start hinting at a five o’clock shadow by two thirty on a normal day, had come in full and thick, and with his beard trimmer broken after falling into the toilet a year earlier, all he had was the trimmer that was built into his Norelco triple head 3200.

And the trimmer wasn’t making a dent. His face hurt, and it felt as if each hair was being pulled out by the roots. Again and again he tried to clear the space on his face, so he could show up to work the next day without looking like a homeless drunk, but the hair continued to rebuff him. Moshe peered into the shower. Sara’s razor hung on a hook on the wall. He had wondered about using it for his face in the past, but never did. Shaving with a razor was one of those halachos that he didn’t understand, but had never violated.

Shaving with a razor looked so simple. He had seen it done at least a thousand times while watching football games. Three blades, four blades, today, during the basketball game he caught while waiting at thew airport, he saw an ad for some Gilette 5-blade razor.

Moshe was curious about the razor that hung on the shower wall. He put down his electric shaver, and gingerly took the razor off the hook it was hanging on. Moshe glanced at the bathroom door, took a step in front of the door, and locked the handle. Now, confident that Sara wouldn’t walk in on him, he sat down on the toilet, and examined it closely. Three little blades, close together, held by an off-white handle. There was a teal grip on the handle, and the razor fit comfortably in his hand.

Moshe wondered how much easier his life would be if he tried shaving with a razor blade. Sara would never find out, and if God was going to strike him down, it probably wouldn’t be illegal shaving.

Shaving with a razor was safe, private, and his next step toward freedom from the religion that had held him hostage.

Moshe unbuttoned his shirt and took it off. He had watched Sara shave her legs a few times when they first got married, always in the shower, and it seemed like a safe place to try out her razor. He unbuttoned his pants, and stepped out of his boxers.

"Sara, I'm jumping into the shower," he called out through the closed door.

He heard her yell something back, but her voice was muffled by the door.

Moshe turned on the water, tested the temperature, and stepped into the shower. He washed his face with his wife's facial soap, washed his hair with Pert Plus, and cleaned his body. Was he procrastinating, pushing off the great razor experiment? He had already showered that morning, and didn't really need a good cleaning.

He decided to test out the razor on his leg, just to make sure it worked. He bent down, determined to shave an unnoticeable small bit of hair off his leg, just above his ankle. The test run for the great razor experiment went perfectly. The skin was smooth, and there were no cuts on leg, like he had seen on TV commercials.

"Sara must use a good quality razor," he thought to himself.

He brought the razor up to his neck, and started to clear off the forest that was growing there. Moments later, his neck felt soft and smooth. "Still not in violation," he thought to himself, until now. He placed the razor on his cheek, and in one upward motion, felt the cool metal razor against his skin. The warm water brushed over him, creating a hot and cold sensation that he found pleasurable.

Moshe continued.

There was no mirror in the shower, and Moshe had to go in and out of the shower three times to check his progress before he was finished shaving. The floor in the bathroom was soaked.

Moshe felt his skin. It was soft and smooth, and the warm water running over his face was stopping him from feeling any burning sensation. He rinsed the hair off the razor, and hung it back on the hook in the shower.

Moshe let the hot water down his face for another minute, then turned off the shower, and stepped onto the soaking wet rug next to the shower. He took his towel off the rack, wrapped it around his waist, and scooped his clothes off the bathroom floor before walking into his bedroom to get dressed.