In a letter discovered several years ago and published in the most recent volume of his Igros Kodesh, the Frierdiker Rebbe responds to a student who asked the Rebbe to tell him — clearly and unambiguously – what the Rebbe asks and demands of him.
Following is an English translation of that letter:
You ask in your letter that I should tell you unambiguously what I demand from you. As I have already told you, one’s outer appearance must match his inner self.
Removing one’s beard can be compared to removing a mezuzah from
a Jewish home. As is the case with every mitzvah, the mitzvah of mezuzah must be fulfilled as a chok, because Hashem so commanded.
However, there is another, spiritual intent [to this mitzvah]. Affixing a mezuzah to the door of a house demonstrates that the house and all its contents are associated with G-dliness. [Accordingly,] removing the mezuzah is an expression of one’s desire to throw off the yoke of Heaven.
The same is true regarding a beard. Besides for being a specific mitzvah, it is like a mezuzah, declaring that this is the kind of person who fulfills Torah and mitzvos with extra care.
In any case, [growing a beard] serves as a fence that encloses and
constrains a person from many unwanted elements. To repeat an
analogy, men with beards can be compared to a house located in a yard
surrounded, if not with an iron barrier, with a wooden fence that protects it from thieves, bringing [the potential thieves] distress and apprehension. Those who cut their beards, on the other hand, are like a house standing in the field, an easy target for thieves.
(Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe,
Vol. 17, p. 189)
To view the original Hebrew text of this letter as it appeared in the Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe in PDF format, suitable for use as a flier, please click here.