Selected Halachos relating to Parshas Pinchas
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
My offering, My food for My fires.... two a day as a Tamid offering (28:2,3).
On the 17th of Tammuz the Tamid sacrifice was discontinued (Ta'anis 26b)
THE THREE WEEKS
The three week period between the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and Tishah b'Av, known as Bein ha-Metzarim, was established by the Rabbis as a period of mourning over the destruction of the two Batei Mikdash. There are certain activities, normally permitted, which are prohibited during this period. The Talmud (1) tells us that only one who has properly mourned over the Temple's destruction will merit to see its rebuilding. It is important, therefore, to become more knowledgeable about the exact nature of those prohibited activities. Let us review them.
There are four forbidden activities, for men and women, which
are specific to the Three Week period:
- Taking a haircut or a shave,
- Getting married or participating in a wedding,
- Listening to music and dancing,
- Reciting shehecheyanu.
Important Note: The Three Week period includes another period of mourning, called The Nine Days. The halachos of those days--from Rosh Chodesh Av through midday of the tenth of Av--are more restrictive in several areas. Here we are discussing the laws of the Three Weeks only, not the special, more stringent, halachos of the Nine Days.
HAIRCUTS AND SHAVING
It is permitted to trim a mustache that interferes with
It is permitted to trim eyebrows or eyelashes (3).
Married women may cut hair that is protruding from their head
It is permitted to comb one's hair even though some hair will
get torn out while combing (5).
Nail cutting is permitted (6).
It is permitted to shave if otherwise one will not be allowed to
come to work or will lose his job (7). But if he would be
permitted to work, it is prohibited to shave--even though he
may be ridiculed (8).
A mourner who completed his mourning period during the Three
Weeks, may take a haircut and a shave (9).
The prohibition of haircutting applies even to small children
under the age of chinuch (10). Thus if an upsheren occurs during
the Three Weeks, it should either be done earlier or
In time of necessity, it is permitted to take a haircut or a
shave on the evening of the 17th of Tammuz (12).
There are poskim who support the custom of those who shave on
erev Shabbos (13). But this is not the custom today in most
On the day of his son's bris (15), the father, the sandak and the
mohel may take a haircut (16).
A wedding is permitted on the evening before the 17th of Tammuz
if no other date is feasible (17).
Engagements are permitted and even may be celebrated with a
party or a meal (18).
A professional musician, or one who is learning to play
professionally, may play music during the Three Weeks (19).
Listening to music is prohibited, whether it is live, from the
radio or pre-recorded (20).
Programs or other circumstances where the musical entertainment
is incidental to the main event may be attended or viewed (21).
Children who have reached the age that they understand about the
destruction of the Beis ha-Mikdash may not listen to music (22).
Several poskim, however, permit a child to practice his music
Singing in praise of Hashem at a seudas mitzvah without musical
accompaniment, is permitted (24).
On Shabbos, it is permitted to recite shehecheyanu (26).
On Rosh Chodesh Av, it is permitted to recite shehecheyanu (27)
over new fruit (28).
A new fruit that will not be available after the Three Weeks may
be eaten and a shehecheyanu recited (29).
A shehecheyanu is recited at a pidyon haben (30) and at the birth
of one's daughter (31).
A shehecheyanu may be recited if by mistake the Borei pri
ha'eitz was already said on the fruit (32).
The blessing of Ha'tov v'hameitiv may be said during the Three
Since it is prohibited to recite shehecheyanu, it is also
prohibited to buy any item which normally requires shehecheyanu
to be recited. It is forbidden, therefore, to buy a new car for
personal use during the Three Weeks. It is permitted, however,
to buy a car for business use [and the shehecheyanu will be
recited after the Three Weeks] or for the benefit of the family
[since in that case Ha'tov v'hameitiv is recited instead of
It is forbidden to buy or wear clothing which normally would
require a shehecheyanu to be recited (34). If the clothing needs
alterations, they may be bought during the Three Weeks and
altered after the Three Weeks are over (35).
1 Ta'anis 31b, quoted in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 554:25.
2 O.C. 551:13.
3 Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 241 quoting an oral ruling from
Harav S.Z. Auerbach and Harav S. Wosner.
4 Mishnah Berurah 551:79. When necessary, women may shave their
legs--Harav M. Feinstein (Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 9). See also
Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:137 where he allows women to take haircuts in
time of necessity during the Three Weeks. When necessary, a girl
of marriageable age may take a haircut--Harav S.Z. Auerbach
(Halichos Bei'sah, pg. 371).
5 Mishnah Berurah 551:20.
6 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:5.
7 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:102; She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah
8 Igros Moshe C.M. 1:93.
9 Mishnah Berurah 551:87.
10 Sha'ar ha-Tzyion 551:91. Aruch ha-Shulchan 551:31, however,
seems to hold that only children above the age of chinuch are
11 Mishnas Ya'akov O.C. 551 quoting Harav Y.Y. Teitelbaum
12 She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:1, based on Igros Moshe
13 Kaf ha-Chayim 551:66. See also Biur Halachah 551:3 quoting R'
14 Shmiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 42:52.
15 Or the evening before--Mishnah Berurah 493:13. If the bris
is on Shabbos, it is permitted to take a haircut on Friday -
ibid. If the bris is on Sunday, most poskim do not permit to
take a haircut on Friday--see Kaf ha-Chayim 493:36.
16 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:15; Shaar ha-Tziyon 551:4 quoting
Chasam Sofer; Kaf ha-Chayim 551:10; Pischei Teshuvah 551:1;
She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:16. See, however, Be'er
Heitev 551:3 who is stringent.
17 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:168. Other poskim are more stringent--see
Tzitz Eliezer 10:26.
18 Mishnah Berurah 551:19 and Sha'ar ha-Tzyion 26.
19 Biur Halachah 551:2; Igros Moshe O.C. 3:87
20 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:166; 3:87; Minchas Yitzchak 1:111;
Yechaveh Da'as 3:30.
21 Harav M. Feinstein (quoted in Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 128).
22 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:21-4.
23 See She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:2 and Oholei
Yeshurun, pg. 128.
24 Harav M. Feinstein (Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 128). Harav S.Z.
Auerbach (quoted in Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 285; Yechaveh
25 Not all poskim prohibit reciting shehecheyanu during the
Three Weeks and some conduct themselves according to that view -
see Aruch ha-Shulchan 551:38. Our discussion here is based on
the view of the Mishnah Berurah who is stringent, and this has
become the custom by the majority of people.
26 Mishnah Berurah 551:98. Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 293,
quotes Teshuvos Riva that this is permitted only on Shabbos
itself, but new clothing may not be worn for the Minchah service
on erev Shabbos.
27 Sha'ar ha-Tzyion 551:99.
28 Halichos Bei'sah, pg. 371--since clothing may not be bought
during the Nine Days.
29 Rama O.C. 551:17.
30 O.C. 551:17.
31 Nitei Gavriel, pg. 35.
32 Birkei Yosef 555:12.
33 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.
34 Mishnah Berurah 551:45; Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.
35 Kaf ha-Chayim 551:88.
Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and
Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne
Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily
Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.
The Weekly-Halacha Series is distributed L'zchus Hayeled Doniel Meir ben
Hinda. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr.
Jeffrey Gross firstname.lastname@example.org.
The series is distributed by the Harbotzas Torah Division of Congregation
Shomre Shabbos, 1801 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118--HaRav
Yisroel Grumer, Marah D'Asra