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Iyyar 17, 5772

Cutting hair after lag bomer


Rabbi David Sperling

Question:
Is it permissable for a woman to cut her hair after Lag Bomer?

Answer:
Shalom,
During 33 days during the time of counting the Omer, we refrain from haircuts and weddings (and certain other celebrations) as a sign of semi-mourning for the death of Rabbi Akiva's students. The widespread custom is that women refrain from haircuts like men. (There are exceptions, but they do not seem to apply to your question).

There are many customs as to when during the 49 days of the counting of the Omer we observe days of mourning. Some people start this semi-mourning period from the beginning of the Omer until the 33rd day - Lag B'Omer, in which case they may certainly get a hair-cut after Lag B'Omer. In fact, the Ashkenazim who observe these days cut their hair from the day of Lag B'Omer itself (from the morning, not the evening). Sephardim wait until the morning of the 34th day (the day after Lag B'Omer).

Others, however, start their semi-mourning from Rosh Chodesh Iyar and continue it until 3 days before the festival of Shavu'ot. (There is a variation on this custom that counts from the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh until the day before Shavu'ot). According to this tradition, one would not cut their hair after Lag B'Omer. The Ashkenazim who hold according to this opinion may cut their hair on Lag B'Omer itself (in the daytime) but not the days after - until reaching the days before Shavu'ot.

There are others who refrain from haircuts during the entire Omer period until the day before Shavu'ot, for reasons based on the Kabbalah.

So, in short, the answer to your question depends on your custom. If you have no set practice, then if you are Sephardi, you should adopt the practice of allowing haircuts after Lag B'Omer. If you are Ashkenazi, you may certainly get a haircut on Lag B'Omer day itself (in the daytime), and if you started the semi-mourning from straight after Passover, may get a haircut any day (or night) after Lag B'Omer. If you started the semi-mourning period from Rosh Chodesh you should either get a haircut on Lag B'Omer itself, or wait until just before Shavu'ot.

Blessings.


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