Question: [Sunday, 28th Iyar, 5782]
This year that Shavuos falls on Motzei Shabbos, may one get a haircut on Thursday night?
Initially, one should not take a haircut on Thursday night, and should wait until Friday morning, after Shacharis. This applies every week of the year, and especially applies this year before Shavuos. If, however, one will not be able to get a haircut on Friday, such as there is no barber available on Friday, then one may do so on Thursday night.
Getting a haircut on Thursday night as opposed to Friday morning faces the following question:
- Is it permitted to get a haircut at night?
- Is it permitted to get a haircut prior to sunrise of the 48th/49th day of the Omer?
- Is it permitted to get a haircut for Shabbos on Thursday night if one can simply wait until Friday?
Practically, many of these matters are under debate. It is debated amongst the Poskim as to whether one should abstain from ever getting a haircut at night. Some say, that one should always abstain from getting a haircut at night as if we abstain from getting haircuts during the period of Sefira due to the Gevuros-severities that exists then, then certainly one should avoid getting a haircut at night, which is also a time of severities. Now, although we do not rule this way and allow even initially for one to get a haircut at night, practically, due to the other issues mentioned above, one should avoid doing so in the above scenario. The reason for this is as follows: There exist many different customs regarding the 33 day mourning period of Sefira and when it is to be followed, with one custom holding that it begins after Rosh Chodesh Iyar and extends until the morning of Erev Shavuos, which is the 33rd day of mourning, as “Miktzas Hayom Kekulo.” According to this approach, one certainly may not get a haircut until after sunrise of Erev Shavuos, and this certainly applies in years that Erev Shabbos is the 48th day of counting, that one may not get a haircut until sunrise of Erev Shabbos. Now, regarding the Chabad custom, the widespread custom is to be stringent and follow the mourning customs throughout the entire period of Sefira, being stringent like all the various opinions of the time period of mourning. Accordingly, one should not get a haircut on Thursday night, and is to wait until Friday morning especially in years that Friday morning is the 48th day of Sefira, and not the 49th day. This is in addition to the un-conclusive debate as to whether things that are done Thursday night are recognizable to have been done for the honor of Shabbos, and therefore since the haircut is being allowed for the sake of the honor of Shabbos and Yom Tov, and in general throughout the year is always to be done on Erev Shabbos for the sake of Shabbos, it is best to circumvent the debate and simply do so on Erev Shabbos, after sunrise and Shacharis. Nonetheless, in a time of need when getting a haircut on Friday is not possible, one may be lenient in all the above debates, in order so he looked befitting for the festival.
Sources: See regarding whether one may get a haircut at night: No: Moed Lecho Chaiy 6:7; Yes: Pekudas Eliezer 493 that so is the custom, and so was the custom of Rav Chaim Vital; See regarding whether one may get a haircut on the night of the 49th, the night of Erev Shavuos: Yes: Pekudas Eliezer 493 that so was the custom of Rav Chaim Vital; No: Moed Lecho Chaiy 6:7; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 94; See regarding the custom to follow the mourning customs until Erev Shavuos after sunrise: Admur 493:3; See regarding getting a haircut specifically on Erev Shabbos and not beforehand: Admur 260:1; See regarding the debate of whether Thursday night is really considered Erev Shabbos: Shevet Halevi 9:129; Rav SZ”A, brought in Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 12 p. 496; Nitei Gavriel Yom Tov Vol. 2 chapter 81 footnote 18; Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 12; Rebbe in Toras Menachem 5747 Vol. 4 p. 426