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The Systems of the Jewish Year

The Right Way to Shave during Sefirah

By Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber

Sign seen in Shul:

This Shul adheres to the tenets of Shulchon Aruch. Anyone who davens for the amud in this Shul must also adhere to Shulchon Aruch. Therefore we do not permit those who shave during Sefirah to lead the congregation in Tefillah.

Poskim (those commonly relied upon to elucidate Shulchon Aruch) permit the following to shave:

  • One who will face repercussions at work

  • A Chosson during Sheva berachos

  • Any time one would be allowed to shave during the 12 month mourning period for a parent (Rav Soloveitchik)

  • On Friday, Lekovod Shabbos, for one who regularly shaves more than once a week (Rav Henoch Leibowitz based on the Chasam Sofer).

  • A father or a Sandak on the day of the bris and the preceding afternoon

  • According to the Minhag Ashkenazi until Rosh Chodesh Iyar, on Lag B’omer, the afternoon preceding Lag B’omer and the three days before Shavous.

  • According to the minhag Sefardi after Lag B’Omer

  • On Friday when Rosh Chodesh Iyar is Shabbos according to both Minhagim such as this year

  • Women cannot get a haircut but may remove all other hair

  • For a first date (Yeshiva Staten Island)

  • A Chosson for his Aufruf (Noda BeYehudah, quoted by Shaarei Teshuvah)

  • Whenever one would be allowed on Chol Hamoed :

  • One who gets out of jail

  • One who was released from cherem

  • One who was released from a vow not to shave

  • One who arrived from certain types of trips

  • A child under bar/bas mitzvah

  • A moustache that interferes with eating

Although I am not necessarily promoting all the above sanctions, I don’t believe that this would be considered ‘going against the Shulchon Aruch.

Any more? Please comment!

UPDATE 4/28/09: Some permit shaving on Yom Hatzmaut (Israel Independence Day). see here for full discussion.

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