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Q: Dear Rabbi,

I have been conscientiously (albeit passively) adhering to the (halakhic) custom of not shaving or getting a haircut during the days of the ‘Omer. Having abstained from these activities for more than a month since before Pesach I am now feeling (and looking) shaggy and craving a shaving. When may I tend to these personal grooming needs?



A: Dear Harry

I have good news for you: Relief is at hand, and a bit sooner for Ashkenazim:

According to the Rema, in his glosses to the Shulkhan ‘Arukh (493:2) when Lag B'Omer falls on Sunday, as it does this year, one may shave and take a haircut on Friday in honour of Shabbos (because if one were to enter into Shabbos unshaven, and were then were to cut his hair on Sunday morning, it would disgrace the honour of the Shabbos). The minhag of the Sephardim however is to wait to shave or take a haircut until the morning of the 34th day of the ‘Omer, i.e. Monday 19th May.

On this subject, I am reminded of the rabbi who waxed lyrical and at length in his Shabbos lecture about how all of nature sings the praises of Hashem, to the point that even the grass in the field offers up a prayer to G-d. The next day a congregant saw the rabbi mowing his lawn. He called out to him, “That’s the idea, Rabbi: Cut your sermons short!”

Happy Lag B’Omer and see you at the Kesher Braai.

rabbi rashi simon