If someone needs to shave during Sefirah or Three Weeks because of work, should he also shave before Shabbos?

It seems strange to shave for M-F, but to go into Shabbos with stubble. On the other hand, there's a dispensation for his job, so that might just be how it turns out.

  • you mean assuming that you are allowed to shave for sefirah??
    – avrohom
    Feb 4, 2011 at 18:55
  • 2
    avrohom, feel free to ask your rabbi (as always). But conceptually, the practice of not shaving during sefirah is a minhag (custom), and in a specific situation where minhag and parnasa (your daily job) conflict, minhag is very often deferred. (If your job doesn't care what your facial-hair situation is, then you'd be obligated to follow the custom.)
    – Shalom
    Feb 4, 2011 at 19:13
  • I thonk rav Sheinberg says your point its hersay so I will not put it as answer but I think in Chofetz Chaim they Shave EREV sHABBOS FOR THAT REASON AT LEAST DURING SEFIRAH BASED ON PSAK OF REB SHEINBERG Feb 4, 2011 at 20:46
  • Igros Moshe OH 4:102 allows shaving during sefira or the three weeks in a situation where he needs to shave for work. He does not allow it during the week that tisha b'av falls in itself.
    – Curiouser
    Jun 20, 2012 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


First, let's address the issue of shaving during the 3 weeks generally. According to R' YB Soloveichik, Shiurei HaRav Al Inyanei Aveilut V'Tisha B'Av, pp. 20-21, there is "a basis for shaving one's beard during this period. He contends that the observances of the three week mourning period are patterned after the twelve month period of mourning that one observes when losing a parent. A mourner during this period may shave or cut his hair when he has reached a state that his friends note his unkempt appearance. Nowadays, when people shave on a daily basis, this state is attained after a day or two. Once that state is reached, one may shave his beard and continue to shave for the rest of the mourning period. However, this leniency will only apply to the three week period [and not to the nine days leading up to Tish'ah BeAv]." - Quoted from: "The Laws of Bein HaMetzarim" [brackets added by me for clarification] http://www.yutorah.org/_shiurim/The%20Nine%20days.html

The opinion of the Rav isn't the only one out there, but he is well known for this opinion, and the following anecdote may be the source for the (now) well established, and possibly erroneous, practice among Yeshivah Bahurim to shave every Friday during Sefirah but not during the week. (By the way, since I'm recalling this from memory, if anyone sees any factual errors in my version of the anecdote, please point them out in the comments!)

When R' Aharon Lichtenstein became Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Har Etzion, his father-in-law, RYB"S, told him that his opinion (which I referenced above) probably ought not apply in Israel, since it was much more acceptable there to wear a few days' growth of facial hair. Since, because of RA"L's position, he wanted to maintain a dignified look, the Rav advised him to shave Friday LiChvod Shabbath instead of daily.

Nowadays, in my own opinion, even in Israel it is much more expected that one shave daily in the workplace. However, there still may be a problem for Bahurim to shave 'Erev Shabbath, since there is no societal expectation in a Yeshivah setting that one shave in the first place, much less during Sefirah or the Three Weeks.

Now, getting to the workplace, assuming one has an expectation of looking well groomed during the week, then, borrowing from the Rav, it would seem it is appropriate to shave on Friday as well, just as one might if, Lo 'Aleinu, one were in the 12 month mourning period for a parent.

EDIT: Unfortunately, the link at YU Torah to the Shi'ur where I found the quote is dead. If I find a new link online for the Shi'ur or for the quote, I will add it.

The link now works. I will keep a copy of the Shi'ur on hand. If I can find a new site to host it, perhaps a blog, I will provide that link in a future version of this answer.

  • The custom of shaving on Friday, but not during the week, is not erroneous (see my answer below), and would allow one to shave on Friday during the 9 days, where R' YD Soliveitchik's permit would not apply since the custom is to act in accordance of shloshim.
    – YDK
    Feb 6, 2011 at 3:02
  • Your answer supports the opinion that one should not shave on Friday, not that one should.
    – Seth J
    Feb 11, 2011 at 4:20
  • @SethJ how does it support not shaving on Friday?
    – avi
    Jun 20, 2012 at 6:07
  • @avi, see my question to him on his answer.
    – Seth J
    Jul 9, 2012 at 16:07
  • @YDK, so now I think I understand where you're coming from, but I think (without seeing it inside) your explanation of the C"S seems to imply that he would generally oppose shaving on Friday but might accept it if someone needs to shave and look decent, but otherwise is allowing his shaving to build up and look like he's in mourning. The Rav seems to be allowing shaving regardless for someone who needs to look decent, but if there's no reason to look decent, it seems, he would not allow it. Similar, I think, but the Nafka Minah might be the Yeshivah setting, in which, I posit, the Rav might...
    – Seth J
    Jul 9, 2012 at 17:28

In O.C. Siman 551, the Rema, who extends the issurim of the week of tisha b'av to the previous Rosh chodesh, permits wearing "linen garments" for the honor of Shabbos. [ The Magen Avraham (14) extends this to washing clothes on Thursday for Shabbos. The Magen Avraham then brings the Darkei Moshe who says that the practice was not to wash in honor of Shabbos and implies the same for laundering. The MA concludes that one may be lenient if he has no clothes for Shabbos and alternatively, one may have a non-Jew wash it for Shabbos.]

At the end the MA quotes the Hagaos Ashri that haircuts are forbidden for Shabbos. The MA says that the reason seems to be that we don't normally haircut "every week" (b'chol shavua). The simple reading of this MA is that the HA holds that which is normally done weekly to honor shabbos is not restricted, and only forbids haircuts because they are not a weekly activity.

The Chasam Sofer wants to read the MA as we normally don't haircut except on erev shabbos (perhaps reading it similar to "b'chol *ha*shavua), and it isn't recognizable that he is mourning if he continues to shave on erev shabbos. To me, this would circumvent the DM, since the DM would only forbid once-a-week honors. (See the Chasam Sofer for a further heter for beards.)

So, the Chasam Sofer (if he would sanction shaving year round), would permit shaving on Friday even during the 9 days, if the one shaving would shave more than once a week so that the mourning is recognizable. However, (it seems to me) if one is shaving daily for work, Friday would not be permitted since there, too, his mourning would not be recognizable.

It is unclear whether the MA agrees to the CS's reading of himself, or if the MA would permit shaving as long as it was a normal erev shabbos activity. I have only seen those who follow the Chasam Sofer's reading.

  • YDK, you state, "The Chasam Sofer want's [sic] to read the MA as we normally don't haircut except on erev shabbos, and it isn't recognizable that he is mourning if he continues to shave on erev shabbos." To me this sounds like he would not allow shaving or hair cutting on Fridays. How do you get from that to your next statement, which basically says that more shaving makes the mourning recognizable?
    – Seth J
    Jul 9, 2012 at 16:07
  • @SethJ The CS's understanding of the MA/HA is that taking a haircut on Fridays would not be permitted since haircutting is a normal Friday activity. So even though there is honor of shabbos, one must share in the mourning. The CS seems to agree that if, in theory, a person would take a haircut more than once a week, his mourning would be apparent and he would be permitted to haircut on Friday to honor shabbos. It is worthwhile to see inside, but I did not see a link that has the CS.
    – YDK
    Jul 9, 2012 at 17:13
  • OK, so it still sounds like you are coming out (based on the Chasam Sofer) that one may not shave on Friday if he shaves every day, but only if he does not shave every day may he shave on Friday. Is that right?
    – Seth J
    Jul 9, 2012 at 17:20
  • I can make it even more convoluted. If yearly he shaves throughout the week, and during the bein hametzarim days he does not shave throughout the week, he may shave on Friday (nikar aveiluso). If yearly he only shaves on Friday, then bein hametzarim he may not shave on Friday (ein nikar aveiluso). My extension: Even if he shaves throughout the week the rest of the year, if he does so throughout the week during bein hametzrim, he may not shave on Friday (ein nikar aveiluso).
    – YDK
    Jul 9, 2012 at 17:41
  • That actually makes perfect sense to me. Not convoluted at all.
    – Seth J
    Jul 9, 2012 at 17:43

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