Halacha for Monday 21 Tammuz 5780 July 13 2020

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts
As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av.

The Sephardic Custom
Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as stringent and follows the letter of the law established by a Tannaic enactment (following the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash) which is to prohibit taking haircuts and laundering clothing during the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out. The Rambam and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rule likewise. The week during which Tisha Be’av falls out refers to the very week the fast of Tisha Be’av is observed, beginning from Sunday of that week. For instance, if Tisha Be’av occurs on Wednesday, all of the mourning customs associated with the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out begin from the previous Sunday.

The Week During Which Tisha Be’av Falls Out this Year, 5780
This year, 5780, Tisha Be’av falls out on Thursday (beginning from Wednesday night). Thus, the laws of the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out will apply this year to their fullest extent, for Thursday is the latest day of the week that Tisha Be’av can fall out.

Haircuts for Women
Regarding a woman taking a haircut during the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out or during the “Three Weeks” according to the Ashkenazi custom, this depends on a related disagreement among the Poskim, as follows:

The Poskim disagree regarding whether a woman who is in mourning for one of seven relatives (father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or husband) is forbidden to take a haircut just as it is forbidden for a male mourner or does this prohibition not apply to women.

Halachically speaking, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, whose rulings are followed by Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jews, writes that the prohibition to take a haircut does not apply to women. Thus, immediately following the initial seven days of mourning (Shiva), a woman may take a haircut. Nevertheless, the Rama, whose rulings are followed by Ashkenazi Jews, writes that the prohibition to take a haircut applies to women as well.

It therefore seems that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch and the Sephardic custom, the prohibition to take haircuts observed in mourning the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash does not apply to women either. However, according to the Rama and the Ashkenazi custom, women are also included in this prohibition. Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l and other great Poskim rule likewise.

On the other hand, there are Ashkenazi Poskim who write that although women are prohibited to take haircuts while in actual mourning for a relative, nevertheless, woman may, in fact, act leniently and take haircuts during the “Three Weeks,” for this (not taking haircuts throughout the entire “Three Weeks”) is not as much a halachic prohibition according to the letter of the law as it is a custom which has been accepted. However, during the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out, when it is an actual prohibition to take a haircut based on the edict of the Sages of the Mishnah and not merely customary, there is no distinction between men and women.

Nevertheless, halachically speaking, the prohibition of taking haircuts does not apply this year at all according to the Sephardic custom besides for the day of Tisha Be’av itself. According to the Ashkenazi custom, however, several great Poskim rule stringently and write that even women should not take haircuts.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Question: Are those who customarily donate a tenth of their monthly income to Tzedakah permitted to deduct the cost of providing for their children still living at home from the sum of this ten percent?

Answer: We have previously discussed that one must donate a certain amount of Tzedakah annually. It is a “middle” level for one to give a tenth of one’s monthly profits every month. Now let us deal with our question regarding those who donate a tenth of their monthly profits to Tze......

Read Halacha

How Much Tzedakah One Must Donate

The Rambam, Tur, and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch write that the amount one should donate for Tzedakah is, if one can afford it, based on the necessities of the needy people. This means that if one is extremely wealthy and can provide for the needs of poor people in one’s city, one should ind......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Tzedakah

The Tur (Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 247) writes: “There is a positive Torah commandment for one to donate some of one’s money to charity, based on one’s individual capabilities. In addition to the fact that whoever donates charity fulfills a positive Torah commandment, one who abst......

Read Halacha

Who is Obligated in the Mitzvah of Tzedakah?

Every member of the Jewish nation must donate Tzedakah. Even a pauper who receives Tzedakah, has no way of earning a livelihood, and only lives off of what others provide him with must give Tzedakah from what others give him. When the Sages of Israel had control over the Jewish nation, the Jewish co......

Read Halacha


Question: Is one permitted to eat fish with milk or butter?

Answer: The Mishnah in Masechet Chullin (103b) states: “Any meat is forbidden to be cooked with milk, besides for the flesh of fish and grasshoppers.” Clearly then, according to the letter of the law, the prohibition of cooking fish with milk is not included in the prohibition of cooking......

Read Halacha

Foods Cooked by a Non-Jew

Question: We currently employ non-Jewish help in our home. She helps with things around the house including cooking our food. All of the ingredients which enter the house are kosher and we supervise her while she is cooking, such that there is no Kashrut concern with the food. May we eat the food sh......

Read Halacha

Washing Dishes on Shabbat for the Room to Look Clean and Orderly

Question: May one make a bed on Shabbat so that it looks neat although one does not intend to sleep in it on Shabbat? Similarly, is it permissible to wash dishes which are no longer necessary on Shabbat because it is truly unpleasant and causes discomfort due to guests and the like? Answer: Appro......

Read Halacha

Coffee Prepared by a Non-Jew

Question: Is it permissible to drink coffee which was prepared by a non-Jew, such as the coffee served during flights aboard non-Jewish airlines, or does this constitute the prohibition of foods cooked by a non-Jew or any other prohibition? Answer: Clearly, the coffee sold in many places where n......

Read Halacha