Where Beis Shammai And Beis Hillel Agree
‘One Must Not Sit Before A Barber Near Minchah’
Our mishnah states that one is proscribed from taking a haircut half an hour before the time for minchah lest one forget to pray that tefillah. The mishnah lists other activities, as well, that one may not engage in at this time for the same reason.
Rashi (s.v. “ad she’yispallel”) wonders why the tanna cites this halacha in the midst of a discussion of the laws of Shabbos. This halacha, after all, applies to every day of the week. Rashi suggests that that this halacha appears here specifically because it is similar to another one mentioned in the next mishnah: the halacha that a tailor may not go out in the public domain with his needle near nightfall.
A Shabbos Concern
The Sefas Emes (Novella, ad loc.) offers a different reason. He explains that one might have thought that on erev Shabbos there is no concern that a person may prolong his haircut to the extent that he will miss minchah since, in any event, he knows that he must stop all his activities before the onset of Shabbos. That’s why although this halacha applies every day, it is necessary for the mishnah to state that it applies even on erev Shabbos.
The Shofar Blasts
Additionally, the Gemara (infra 35b) teaches that there was a custom on erev Shabbos to sound several shofar blasts shortly before the onset of Shabbos to remind people to cease working. One might have thought that a person need not worry about taking a haircut half an hour before the time of Minchah on Friday since the shofar blasts will remind him that Shabbos is about to arrive. That’s why the tanna has to state that doing so in nonetheless forbidden.
To Honor The Sabbath
The Rashash (ad loc) offers yet another reason. He explains that taking a haircut and bathing in honor of Shabbos is a mitzvah. Therefore, the mishnah in Meseches Shabbos needs to stress that, nonetheless, one may not perform it starting half an hour before the time of Minchah.
The Maharitz Chayos (Novella, ad Loc.) cites the Rambam in Pirush HaMishnayos (first perek of Meseches Shabbos) who states that this halacha is among the (Sabbath-related) halachos that were jointly enacted by Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel in the aliyas Chananya ben Chizkiya ben Garon (infra. 13b). Therefore, it is stated here.
The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 251:1, based upon Pesachim 50b) states that one should not do any melachah from the time of Minchah since one will not see a siman berachah from it. Some say this applies starting from Minchah Gedolah; others say it only applies starting from Minchah Ketanah.
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