In the Shulchan Aruch, 531:2, the text reads אין מגלחין במועד and then continues to have a discussion about whether one can be מגלח, a word I learned to be "shave." It also later (in s"k 5) it reads "אע״פ שהתירו להסתפר" using the word "להסתפר" which I learned means "hair cut." So the halachot all around which focus on g-l-ch seem to surround the question of permissiblity of shaving. But s"k 6 reads קטן מותר לגלח במועד אפילו נולד קודם הרגל which would mean that a koton may shave on chol hamoed even if he had been born before the holiday began (because, as the taz explains, he was alive before hand but wasn't bar mitzvah so he had no obligation to shave before hand the way an adult would be obligated to shave beforehand). The "אפילו" as an extension makes it seem that this would clearly apply to a child born ON chol hamoed, meaning a newborn.

The Magen Avraham quotes the nodah Byehudah as saying that this applies when the koton has שער רב ומצטער, a lot of hair and it bothers him.

Is the text introducing a new case of a pre bar mitzvah boy (or even a baby) who has so much hair on his face that he has to shave or is the text following s"k 5 which discusses hair cutting with s"k 6 and using g-l-ch in a loose sense to ALSO mean hair cutting and not shaving (because it would seem unlikely that the text would be discussing a case of a baby with so much שער and not זָקַן, beard). The various other logical clues indicate that this is talking about a minor with an unruly and long beard which would only point to a strange order of se'ifim, but the commonsense of it would seem to be against a claim of a ZZ Top-esque newborn.

  • "The Magen Avraham quotes the nodah Byehudah" Didn't the former live well before the latter?
    – Double AA
    Apr 15, 2018 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Y. Farkash writes in Chol Homoed Kehilchoso (pg 120) that גילוח is not limited to the beard (contrary to popular usage of the term) and includes the hair of the head. In footnote 5 he cites Tosfos Moed Koton 14a "Umenuda", as well as bringing your proof that S.A. and poskim uses the term גילוח by a minor.

  • So why does the ShA change to להסתפר in s 5?
    – Double AA
    Oct 3, 2012 at 1:09
  • 2
    Good question. But IMHO shaving a minors beard is a stronger question than that.
    – Michoel
    Oct 3, 2012 at 1:15

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