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Sefirat HaOmer & Cutting Hair

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

The Daily Halacha Moment - Sefirat HaOmer & Cutting Hair 💇

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Are there any leniencies to cut ones hair during Sefirat HaOmer?


During Sefirat HaOmer, one may not cut one's hair. However, If there is a brit milah during the omer period, the father of the child, the sandak, and the mohel may cut their hair, even on the day before. [1] Similarly, if the brit milah is on Shabbat or Sunday, they may cut their hair on the Friday before. [2] If a boy turns bar mitzvah during the omer period, he may cut his hair on the day of his bar mitzvah. [3]

A chatan may shave and cut his hair during sheva berachot since those seven days are considered a Yom Tov for him. [4]

If one finishes the first thirty days of avelut before the thirty-fourth day of the omer and feels that his beard is bothering him since it has already been growing for thirty days, he may shave. However, he should preferably perform hatarat nedarim before shaving. [5]

If one may incur a financial loss by not cutting his hair or shaving (for example, if he needs to look put together for a business meeting or interview), he may cut or shave his hair. [6] Similarly, if one must appear in court or is meeting an honored figure (such as a king or head of state) and must look presentable, he may shave and take a haircut. [7] A woman may shave and take a haircut during the days of the omer. [8] Some Ashkenazim are stringent, one should follow one's custom.

Adapted From Rabbi Yonatan Nacson's "Laws Of The Holidays" Sources:

[1]. Rama 493:2.

[2]. Kaf HaChaim §37; Mishnah Berurah §13; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 265.

[3]. See Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 266. This view is also cited by Rabbi Ben Tzion Meir Chai Uziel, Mishpetei Uziel, O.C., Mahadurah Tinyana §11. Chovot Yair, Mekor Chayim, siman 493, “Baal Brit,” even states that not only may the bar mitzvah boy have a haircut, but the father of the boy may also cut his hair (but not the rest of the family). See also Halichot Shlomo, Pesach, ch. 11, 16:25, footnote 61; and Shalmei Moed, p. 450.

[4]. This is the ruling of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, as cited in Ashrei HaIsh, O.C., vol. 3, 65:4.

[5]. Kaf HaChaim §15, which states that even though Birkei Yosef §3 says that one should not shave, if the excess hair is bothering him, he may cut it.Ohr LeTzion_, vol. 3, 17:5, in the footnotes says that Rabbi Ezra Attia ruled like the view of the Kaf HaChaim. Preferably, one should do so on erev Shabbat.

[6]. See Igrot Moshe, O.C. 4:102. Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 262 adds that if one must shave or have a haircut, he should try to do so on erev Shabbat.

[7]. Zera Emet §69; Machazik Berachah §4; Kaf HaChaim §19. See also Teshuvot Chatam Sofer, vol. 1, O.C., 158.

[8]. Ohr LeTzion, vol. 3, 17:3; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 261. This is unlike the view of Rav Pe’alim, Sod Yesharim, vol. 4, siman 15, which is stringent for women. Ashkenazim, however, are stringent unless there is a need. See Igrot Moshe, Y.D. 2:137.

Regarding women shaving other parts of their body, such as their legs, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (as cited in Rivevot Ephraim, vol. 6, 291:2 and Mesorat Moshe O.C. 326) rules leniently even for those women who have the custom to refrain from taking regular haircuts.

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