Dear Rabbi Is it allowed to shave and have a haircut the Friday before Independence Day in honour of Shabbat please? Shabbat Shalom. Good Yom Tov All the best
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There are many different customs as to shaving during the Omer period. The Friday you refer to is the 2nd of Iyar this year, which falls in the restricted period according to all customs. However, there are those who hold that one may (or must) shave in honor of Shabat every week during the Omer. Others are stricter and do not shave even in the honor of Shabat. You should follow your local custom in this issue. (That is – if you do not have a family custom, or a Rabbi to ask, you should ask around your community and see if the practice is to shave for Shabbat during the Omer period or not, and then follow the local custom). As to shaving in honor of Israel's Independence Day (Yom Ha Atzmaut), this too is a matter of some debate. The question applies to the afternoon before Yom HaAtzmaut, or Yom HaAtzmaut itself (but not the Shabbat preceding it). Our Rabbis and Teachers, have taught us that one should in fact groom in honor of the festival – with those who normally shave or trim their beards doing so. Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook zt”l was adamant that this is the correct way to honor the great day that celebrates the miracles that Hashem has done for us in redeeming his people. I hope that this is of some help to you - Blessings.