Jews generally do not shave during the period of Sefirah (from Pesach to Shavuot) since this period is a period of mourning.

If someone is meeting with a new propective client, what are the conditions that would allow him to shave his beard to look more presentable and make a better first impression, and perhaps assist in closing the deal?

  • It stands to reason that switching ones practice from the first to the second half or vice versa is preferable than relying on shas hadchak
    – sam
    May 6, 2016 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


As you write Jews generally do not shave. This being said, I know of two approaches to kulot relevant to your question. R Yehuda Balsam conveniently writes them up here

In a situation when one has a situation in which he will lose money, or possibly his job, R Moshe Feinstein writes (O.C. 4:102) that it is permissible to shave. However, during the week in which Tish’a b’av falls out, since it is halachikly assur m’drabanan to shave, one may not do so under these circumstances.

dinonline expands on this

As R Moshe Feinstein explains elsewhere (Choshen Mishpat 1:93), this leniency only applies if an actual loss would be incurred. If appearing unshaven merely causes ridicule or embarrassment, the leniency does not apply. Clearly, this will also be true of the discomfort a person suffers from not shaving for a number of days.

A similar ruling was given by R Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Maadanei Shlomo) concerning the Omer period: It is permitted to shave for one’s livelihood, but it is otherwise forbidden.

[However], “Kuntress Liknos Chochmah” cites R Yosef Shalom Elyashiv that today it is forbidden to shave during the Omer even for purposes of one’s livelihood, since being unshaven today does not cause a person to look odd. This clearly depends on a person’s environment and in practice if a person’s livelihood might be at stake the consensus is to be lenient.

The second approach is from R Yosef Ber Soloveitchik (again from here)

In Nefesh Harav p. 191 he writes that shaving was permissible during sefirah. He reasons that when the bnei yisrael accept a new minhag, that minhag must be patterned after an existing halacha, either mid’oraisah or mid’rabanan. An aveil observes three major steps in his mourning: 1) the ‘shivah’ period, observed during the first week, 2) the ‘shloshim’ which is the remaining thirty days, 3) the remaining twelve months. Rav Soloveitchik assumed that the aveilus of sefirah was patterned after the aveilus of the twelve months. During this period, both shaving and haircuts are prohibited. However, the gemarah (mo’ed kattan 22b) writes that if he becomes disheveled ‘ad sheyig’ar bo chaveirav’-until his friends scold him, he may cut his hair and shave.

Thus, one who normally shaves every day, and refrains from doing so for a few days would be considered to have reached this point. Thus, it is permissible for him to shave during this period (it is important to note that Rav Soloveitchik himself did not trim his beard during sefirah, because he did not consider that to be sufficiently unkempt to apply this din.) R Soloveitchik’s opinion is obviously not the mainstream shittah, but it has been accepted by some of his Talmidim.

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