Halacha for Wednesday 30 Sivan 5782 June 29 2022

Taking a Haircut During the Afternoon and Nighttime Hours

Question: Is it true that one may not take a haircut in the afternoon or at night?

Answer: Sefer Chemdat Yamim (Laws of Erev Shabbat) writes that it is proper to take a haircut before halachic midday, for after this time, Heavenly judgment begins to increase and since a haircut symbolizes removal of judgment, it is inappropriate to perform such an action when the attribute of judgment is in control. According to this, one should only take a haircut during the morning hours, not in the afternoon or night.

Although we may not understand these deep Kabbalistic concepts completely, we can understand that Heavenly judgement begins to manifest itself in the world during the afternoon and since a haircut represents the antithesis of this, it is not an appropriate time to do so.

Indeed, Rabbeinu Chaim Vital writes (in his Shaar Ha’Mitzvot) that his teacher, the saintly Ari z”l, would not take a haircut after halachic midday. Maran Ha’Chida (in his Moreh Be’Etzbah) and Rabbeinu Chaim Palagi (in his Chaim Le’Rosh) rule likewise. Similarly, Rabbeinu Yosef Haim writes in his Ben Ish Hai that a G-d-fearing individual should act stringently and not take a haircut after halachic midday in accordance with Kabbalah. Rather, one should only do so in the morning.

The Sefer Mishcha De’Rabvata (authored by the Tunisian luminary, Hagaon Harav Masood Alfassi and his sons Rabbi Shlomo and Rabbi Chaim) writes that there is no proof from the words of Rabbeinu Chaim Vital to prohibit haircuts past halachic midday, for the reason why the Ari z”l would abstain from doing so was because there is a disagreement among the Poskim whether one may take a haircut after midday before having prayed Mincha and the Ari would pray Mincha later in the evening, before sunset. It is for this reason that the Ari z”l acted stringently and did not take a haircut in the afternoon and not for any other reason. He therefore rejects the opinion of the Chemdat Yamim and the other Poskim who write that there is a Kabbalistic reason not to do so.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l proves (in his Responsa Yechave Da’at, Volume 4, Chapter 20) that the Magen Avraham likewise understood the position of the Ari z”l as the Mishcha De’Rabvata did and there is no Kabbalistic issue with taking a haircut in the afternoon. The only reason the Ari abstained is because he did not yet pray Mincha. Many other great Acharonim concur.

Thus, halachically speaking, one need not abstain from taking a haircut during the afternoon or nighttime hours. This is indeed the prevalent custom, as quoted by the Ben Ish Hai.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

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. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha

Tisha Be’av Which Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat- Clothing for Tisha Be’av

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha