Haircut

Haircut:[1]

One who is in mourning for his father or mother may not take a haircut until [thirty days have passed[2] and] he is reprimanded by his friends for his ill-mannered appearance.[3] There is a dispute amongst Poskim[4] as to when this time of reprimanding is reached [in the event that his friends do not reprimand him]. Practically, the custom is that after three months [from the beginning of Aveilus[5]] one may get a haircut [even if he is not reprimanded[6]].[7] This is formally called Shiur Gearah.

Does a holiday permit a haircut?[8] If during the period of Aveilus, prior to the passing of Shiur Gearah, one reaches a Holiday, the Holiday does not help remove the prohibition against taking a haircut, and it remains in place until the Shiur Gearah is met.

Trimming/Shaving the beard: Those that are accustomed to shave or trim their beard may not do so until after thirty days pass from the beginning of the mourning [Aninus] period.[9] After the passing of thirty days it is permitted to shave the beard if one has not been reprimanded.[10]

 

Summary:

*Includes crucial points explained in Q&A!

First month: One who is within the first month of mourning for his father or mother may not take a haircut even if he is reprimanded by his friends for his ill-mannered appearance.

2nd-3rd month: One who is within the 2nd-3rd month of mourning for his father or mother may not take a haircut unless he is reprimanded by his friends for his ill-mannered appearance.

After third month: One who is three months past the start of the mourning [Aninus] may take a haircut even if he is not reprimanded.

Q&A

From when does one begin to count the three months?

Some Poskim[11] rule the three months begins from the beginning of Aveilus, which means from the time of Aninus and onwards.[12] Other Poskim[13] rule it begins from one’s last haircut. Other Poskim[14] rule one may only be lenient to count from one’s last haircut if his friends reprimands him. Practically, one is to be stringent to count three months from the beginning of Aveilus.[15]

 

If three months have passed, must one wait until he is reprimanded to cut his hair?

No. If three months have passed one may cut his hair even if he is not reprimanded.[16] Nevertheless, some Poskim[17] are stringent to require reprimanding even after three months.

 

If three months has not yet passed, may he cut his hair if he is reprimanded?[18]

If one is reprimanded within thirty days from the mourning, he nevertheless remains prohibited in taking a haircut. If however one is reprimanded after thirty days, then one may cut his hair even prior to three months. If one is reprimanded on the thirtieth day he may take a haircut.[19]

 

Must three months pass between each haircut one takes during the 12 months?

No. Once three months have passed from the beginning of Aveilus one can take as many haircuts as he desires in close proximity.[20] However some Poskim[21] are stringent to require there to be three months between each haircut within the first twelve months.

 


[1] 390/4; Moed Katan 22b; See Divrei Nechemia Yoreh Deah 26 for a general discussion of this law

[2] See Q&A!

[3] Michaber ibid; Gemara ibid

[4] Some Poskim rule the Shiur is two months. [Smak] Others rule it is after one month. [See Mishmeres Shalom Gimel 51; Divrei Nechemia ibid]

[5] See Q&A!

[6] See Q&A!

[7] Rama ibid; Agudah; Maharil; Ran

Intent of three months: The Divrei Nechemia Yoreh Deah 26 gives four possible explanations into the intent of the Rama to wait 3 months: 1) One cannot cut his hair before three months even if he is reprimanded, and after three months it is allowed even if no one reprimands him. 2) If there is no one around to reprimand him then after three months he may cut his hair. 3) Within three months it does not help to be reprimanded, although after three months, if one is reprimanded he may get a haircut. 4) One can cut his hair even prior to three months if he is reprimanded, and if he was not reprimanded he may cut his hair after three months.

Other customs: Some are accustomed that mourners of a parent do not to get a haircut for the entire 12 months, unless there is a need, such as one’s hair is too heavy to carry, or he is acquainted with gentiles and is not considered representable amongst them due to his hair, in which case he may cut his hair. [Rama ibid]

[8] Rama ibid; Michaber O.C. 548/9; Y.D. 399/4

If one is reprimanded: Some Poskim rule that if one is reprimanded prior to the holiday he may be lenient to get a haircut even within 30 days. [Nodah Beyehuda O.C. 14, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 390/4] Practically, the Poskim negate this opinion. [Teshuvah Meahava 1/124; Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid]

[9] Michaber 390/1

[10] Chasam Sofer 347; Nodah Beyehuda O.C. 14; Pischeiy Teshuvah 390/4; Maharam Shick 371; Darkei Hachaim 13/4

[11] Conclusion of Maharam Shick Yoreh Deah 371; Daas Torah 390; Maharshag 2/214

[12] Meaning, that even if there were many days that passed between the death and burial, and subsequent start of Shiva, nevertheless one counts from the time of death.

[13] Initial ruling of Maharam Shick ibid; Hisorererus Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 204; Yosef Daas 390; Gesher Hachaim 21/11-3

[14] Divrei Nechemia Yoreh Deah 26; See there that he gives 4 possible explanations into the intent of the Rama to wait 3 months: 1) One cannot cut his hair before three months even if he is reprimanded, and after three months it is allowed even if no one reprimands him. 2) If there is no one around to reprimand him then after three months he may cut his hair. 3) Within three months it does not help to be reprimanded, although after three months, if one is reprimanded he may get a haircut. 4) One can cut his hair even prior to three months if he is reprimanded, and if he was not reprimanded he may cut his hair after three months.

[15] Nitei Gavriel 4/1; Rav Ginzberg; Rav Garelick

[16] Birkeiy Yosef 390 in name of Rabbeinu Yeshaya Harishon 156 “Those that are particular to wait until they are reprimanded even after Shiur Geara has passed, are foolish, as it is not the reprimanding that permits the haircut, but the span of time which makes one fit to be reprimanded.”; Mishmeres Shalom

[17] See Divrei Nechmia ibid

[18] Beis Yosef 390; Rav Akiva Eiger 390 in name of Elya Raba; Kitzur SHU”A 211/12; Mahrshag 2/214; Peri Hasadeh 2/24; Mishmeres Shalom Gimel 50

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may only be only be lenient to cut his hair if his friend reprimands him if three months have passed from his last haircut. [Divrei Nechemia Yoreh Deah 26]

[19] Rav Akiva Eiger 390

[20] Rav Akiva Eiger 390 based on Or Zarua brought in Darkei Moshe; Adnei Paz 8; Pischeiy Teshuvah 390/4

[21] Derech Hachaim; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3/156 that it is proper to be stringent

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2 Comments

  1. Michael

    How is it possible to say that one is permitted to shave or trim his beard? Isn’t doing so a grave transgression according to halacha and kabbalah!!!!

    1. Rabbi Yaakov Goldstein

      Trimming the beard in general [not during Shloshim] is Mutar according to many Poskim, including the Beis Yosef. The Tzemach Tzedek holds its Biblically forbidden. Chas Veshalom to suggest that all Jews that trim are transgressors. On the other hand I myself as a Chabad Chassid, holds its Biblically forbidden due to the ruling of the Tzemach Tzedek, and that is how I would rule to another Chassid.

      Regarding Kabbalah, it is correct that one may not shave or trim, however one cannot enforce Kaballah onto Halacha.

      Shaving with a razor or razor like shaver is Biblically forbidden according to all, and people who use non-Kosher shavers certainly transgress.

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