I am very confused about the prohibition of shaving. The Shulchan Aruch uses the term "L'histaper" which means cutting hair. There is no term "giluach", or shaving, used by either the Shulchan Aruch or Mishnah Berura for being prohibited during sefirah. Why then is shaving prohibited during sefirah?

  • 3
    Well the Mishna Brurah forbade shaving always,in fact he wrote an entire kuntres called Tiferes Adam concerning shaving,and held its prohibited. So for him it was pashut that we are only talking about cutting hair.
    – sam
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 14:36
  • possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/20509/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 15:29
  • There's no reason to think the modern Enligh terms "shaving" and "haircutting" map precisely to the rabbinic Hebrew terms "Giluach" and "Histapper" respectively.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 16:11
  • @sam Meaning the Mishna Berura doesn't think there is a Minhag to prohibit shaving during the Omer.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 16:51

4 Answers 4

  • Masekhet Semachot (7:11) in regards to mourning writes that lihistaper means to cut the hair of one's head, mustache, beard, and all other hair.

  • Nitei Gavriel (Pesachvol 3, 49:2) and Chazon Ovadyah (p. 262) write that including in the minhag not to take a hair cut is not to shave.

And as sam pointed out in a comment, the Mishna Berura forbids shaving at all times, so it wouldn't make sense to mention it about sefira.


I don't think there is any real significance to the fact that the term "giluach" does not appear in the Shulchan Aruch. It is mentioned by rishonim (e.g. Rabbeinu Yerucham נשארו לד' והם לג' שלמים ומגלחים בבקר של ל"ד כי מקצת היום ככלו), and a simple comparison of the Rema in Shulchan Aruch to the Rema in Darchei Moshe will show that in the former he speaks of "lehistaper" regarding the same halachos that he speaks of "legaleach" in the former. In other words, it is lav davka (imprecise).

For example, regarding the case where Lag B'omer falls out on Sunday, in Shulchan Aruch he writes:

מיהו אם חל ביום ראשון נוהגין להסתפר ביום ו' לכבוד שבת

Yet when discussing this same case in Darchei Moshe he writes:

כתב מהרי"ל אם חל ל"ג בעומר באחד בשבת אסור לגלח בערב שבת אבל מהר"י וייל כתב דשרי


Chida, in Shut Chayim Sha'al (1:6):

"One who looks carefully at the origins and roots of this matter… that this custom is very lenient… and for any reason we may override it… According to the straightforward understanding, we have no proper or sufficient reason to prohibit shaving." (See also Rav Sperber's Minhagei Yisrael, vol. 1 chaps. 12-13.)

Source: http://etzion.org.il/en/sefirat-haomer-practices-mourning-during-sefira


There is such a distinction made by the Chasam Sofer YD 348 which notes that nowadays people shave more frequently than geating a haircut,so a distinction can be made between shaving and haircut. Of course ask your LOR before jumping to conclusions.

Text of the Chasam Sofer:

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