Weekly Q&A about Jewish law
Answered by Rabbi Agisthein
QuestionAm I allowed to get a haircut or shave on Chol Hamoed?
The Shulchan Aruch (Oh”c 531:1) writes that there is a Mitzvah to get a haircut before Yom Tov so that one enters the festival looking respectful. To ensure that people don’t procrastinate and go into Yom Tov looking overgrown, Chazal prohibited getting a haircut on Chol Hamoed.
Even if someone was too busy and truly had no time to get a haircut before, it is still prohibited because onlookers will not know that he has a valid excuse (ibid).
Regarding shaving, the majority of Poskim write that the same prohibition applies and one cannot shave on Chol Hamoed. If someone has a real need to shave, such as an important meeting or something similar, Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that one can be lenient provided that they made sure to shave on Erev Yom Tov.
This prohibition only applies to hair of the head or beard. Removing other body or face hair i.e. waxing, shaving legs, doing eyebrows, etc. is permitted on Chol Hamoed (ibid 546:5).
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