10. Getting a haircut on Erev RH

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10. Getting a haircut on Erev Rosh Hashanah:[1]

It is a Mitzvah upon a person to get a haircut on Erev Rosh Hashanah in honor of Yom Tov, in order so one does not enter into the holiday looking not presentable.



When may one to get a haircut on Erev Rosh Hashanah?[2]

It is permitted to get a haircut throughout the entire Erev R”H, 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[3] rule that [despite the above ruling] one is to beware to take a haircut prior to midday. Others[4] however rule that doing so is not required, and so is implied to be the opinion of Admur.[5] Furthermore some[6] 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[7], although there are some that are stringent in such a case not to take a haircut.[8]


May one get a haircut prior to Davening?

It is forbidden to get a haircut prior to Davening. This prohibition begins from Alos Hashachar.[9] However prior to Alos it is permitted.[10]


The Kavanos of a Haircut:[11]

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.[12]

[1] Michaber 581/4; Admur 529/2 regarding every Erev Yom Tov; 529/5 that this Mitzvah applies likewise on [Erev] Rosh Hashanah.

[2] 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!

[3] 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]

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

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

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

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

[9] 70/5

[10] 89/8

[11] Shaar Hamitzvos brought in Kaf Hachaim 232/15; 581/80

[12] 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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