Haircuts on Erev Shavuos

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It is a Mitzvah to get a haircut on Erev Shavuos in honor of Yom Tov, in order so one does not enter into the holiday looking unpresentable.




May one get a haircut during Shloshes Yimei Hagbala, and when Erev Shavuos coincides with Shabbos?

Even if it is past one’s accustomed mourning period, according to Kabbalah, one is to avoid getting a haircut throughout the period of Sefira, including during the Shloshes Yimei Hagbala, until Erev Shavuos[2], and so is the Chabad custom.[3]

On Erev Shavuos: It is permitted, and is a Mitzvah, to get a haircut on Erev Shavuos. One may do so even past midday.

Erev Shavuos that falls on Shabbos:[4] When Erev Shavuos coincides with Shabbos, one may get a haircut on Erev Shabbos which is the 48th day of the Omer.[5] This applies even according to the Kabbalistic ruling and Chabad custom. [One may begin to take a haircut after sunrise of Erev Shabbos, although not the night before.[6]] However, when Shavuos falls on Monday, one is not to get a haircut on Erev Shabbos, but only on Erev Shavuos.[7]


May those who follow the Kabbalistic custom get a haircut on the night of Erev Shavuos [5th of Sivan]?

Some Poskim[8] rule one may get a haircut on the night before Shavuos even according to the Kabalistic ruling.[9] Other Poskim[10] however rule one is to avoid getting a haircut at night until daybreak.[11] Those who are stringent like all the Sefira customs do not get a haircut until the morning of Erev Shavuos.[12]


When may one get a haircut on Erev Shavuos?[13]

It is permitted to get a haircut throughout the entire Erev Shavuos, even past the time of Mincha. This applies even to a professional haircut that is being done by a Jew in exchange for payment.

Midday: Some Poskim[14] rule that [despite the above ruling] one is to beware to take a haircut prior to midday. Others[15] however rule that doing so is not required, and so is implied to be the opinion of Admur.[16] Furthermore some[17] rule one is to try to have a haircut specifically past midday so it be recognizable he is doing so in honor of Yom Tov. Even according to the above stringent opinion, if one did not take a haircut prior to midday he may do so afterwards[18], although there are some who are stringent in such a case not to take a haircut.[19]


May one get a haircut prior to Davening?

It is forbidden to get a haircut prior to Davening. This prohibition begins from Alos Hashachar.[20] However, prior to Alos, it is permitted.[21]



The Kavanos of a Haircut:[22]

One is to intend upon getting a haircut that he is removing the powers of severity and is fulfilling the Mitzvah of having Peyos and the Mitzvah of paying a worker for his job on the same day and the Mitzvah of honoring Yom Tov. One can fulfill a total of fourteen Mitzvos when he gets a haircut.[23]



[1] Admur 529:2 regarding every Erev Yom Tov

[2] Custom of Arizal, brought in Peri Eitz Chaim 22:7; Shaar Hakavanos 86; Nehar Shalom 25; Igeres Ramaz 2; Birkeiy Yosef 493:6; Moreh Baetzba 8:221; Minchas Elazar 4:44; Kaf Hachaim 493:13

Other opinions: Some write that according to even according to Kabbalah one may get a haircut on the 48th day of Omer and that so was the custom of Rav Chaim Vital. [Minchas Elazar ibid]

[3] Hayom Yom p. 53; Sefer Haminhagim p. 86 [English] “The Rebbe Rashab was uneasy with those which took haircuts during the Shloshes Yimei Hagbala”

[4] Moreh Baetzba 8:221; Minchas Elazar 3:65; Kaf Hachaim 493:13; Shevach Hamoadim p. 235 footnote 10 in name of Rav Shmuel Levitin that so was the custom in Lubavitch; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 290

Other opinions: The Rashash questioned whether one may get a haircut on the 48th day of Omer even in such a case. He concluded that if he would not have been forced into it, he would not have gotten a haircut on the 48th. [Nehar Shalom p. 25]

[5] The reason: Although in general, based on the custom of the Arizal, we avoid haircuts until Erev Shavuos, this only applies when Erev Shavuos falls on a weekday, as one cannot enter into the festival with improper attire. Furthermore, it is recorded in Shaar Hakavanos that Rav Chaim Vital was always accustomed to get a haircut on the 48th day of Omer. Some learn this itself was due to Kabalistic reasons. Furthermore, even according to the Rashash who leaned to be stringent not to take a haircut on Erev Shabbos in such a coincidence, nevertheless he too forced himself to do so. Hence there is no room to be stringent on the above, and on the contrary one should do so. [See Minchas Elazar ibid]

[6] See next Q&A!

[7] Hagahos Chasam Sofer 493

[8] Pekudas Eliezer 493:2

[9] The reason: So is the custom, and so was the custom of Rav Chaim Vital to get a haircut on the night of the 49th of Omer, after saying Sefiras Haomer. [ibid]

[10] Moed Lecho Chaiy 6:7

[11] The reason: As night time is a time of Gevuros, and hence if we avoid a haircut during Sefira, even more so is it to be avoided at night. [ibid]

[12] See Admur 493:3 that according to those who start on the second of Sivan the 33rd day falls on Erev Shavuos, and Miktzas Hayom Kekulo.

[13] Admur 251:4 regarding Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov [see 251:1 that includes Erev Yom Tov in these laws]; Mateh Efraim 625:11 “One may take a haircut throughout the entire day”; See “The Laws and Customs of Erev Shabbos” Chapter 2 for the full details of this subject!

[14] Custom of the Arizal brought in M”A 251:5; Gr”a brought in Aruch Hashulchan 251:3; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:15; Mateh Efraim 581:50; Mateh Efraim 625:11 “It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar…”; Alef Lamagen 581:108 “Is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar”; Kaf Hachaim 260:13; 581:80 [proper to be stringent]

[15] Aruch Hashulchan 251:3; Alef Lamagen 581:108 rules that the above ruling to take a haircut prior to midday is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar and if one did not do so beforehand then he may do so until Mincha Ketana. [Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol on the wording “Mincha Ketana” as everyone agrees a haircut may be taken the entire day.

[16] 251:4


The Magen Avraham 251:5 records that the Arizal would not get a haircut past the time of Mincha Gedola [midday], based on Kabalistic reasons. Admur omitted this custom of the Arizal in 251. See Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 1:130 that the Rebbe concludes regarding the time of cutting nails, which is similar to the time of the cutting of the hair, that he did not receive a directive in how to follow. The Aruch Hashulchan ibid states that the Gra is stringent against allowing haircuts past midday, although this is not the worldly custom.

[17] Based on Aruch Hashulchan 260:6; See also 251:3

[18] Mateh Efraim 625:11 “It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar…”; Alef Lamagen 581:108

[19] Mateh Efraim ibid based on the Arizal who would refrain from cutting his hair after midday.

[20] Admur 70:5

[21] Admur 89:8

[22] Shaar Hamitzvos brought in Kaf Hachaim 232:15; 581:80

[23] Kaf Hachaim 232:15: 7 negative commands relating to the Peyos and beard; One negative command of Bechukoseihem Lo Seliechu; One negative command of Lo Yilbash Gever; One negative command of Lo Savo Alav Hashemesh; One negative command of Lo Salin; One positive command of Beyomo Titen Secharo; If the barber is poor he also fulfills the negative command of Lo Yikra Alecha; One Rabbinical Mitzvah of honoring Shabbos and Yom Tov.

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