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Where Beis Shammai And Beis Hillel Agree
‘One Must Not Take a Haircut Close to Minchah’
(Shabbos 9b)



Our mishnah forbids a person from taking a haircut within a half hour of Minchah lest he forget to pray that tefillah. Rashi (s.v. “ad she’yispallel”) wonders why the tanna mentions this halacha in the laws of Shabbos when it applies to every day of the week. He suggests that it is mentioned in Meseches Shabbos because it is thematically similar to the neighboring halacha that a tailor may not go out to the public domain on Friday afternoon close to nightfall (infra, mishnah 11a).


A Sabbath Concern

The Sefas Emes (Novella ad. loc.) offers a different reason. True, he writes, this halacha applies every day, but it was necessary to teach it in Meseches Shabbos because one might have thought that it didn’t apply on Erev Shabbos considering the unlikelihood that a person will accidentally miss Minchah due to taking a haircut when he has so many other activities on his mind that he knows he must finish before Shabbos.


The Shofar Blasts

The Gemara (infra 35b) notes a custom on Erev Shabbos to sound several shofar blasts shortly before Shabbos to remind people to stop working. Thus, the tanna is teaching us that one may not take a haircut on Erev Shabbos within a half hour of Minchah even though shofar blasts will remind him to stop before Shabbos.


To Honor The Sabbath

The Rashash (ad loc) offers another reason. He writes that taking a haircut and bathing in honor of Shabbos is a mitzvah. It thus is more relevant to Erev Shabbos than it is to a regular weekday.

The Maharitz Chayos (Novella ad. loc) cites the Rambam (Pirush HaMishnayos, first perek of Shabbos), who writes that this halacha is among the Shabbos-related halachos jointly enacted by Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel in the aliyas Chananya ben Chizkiya ben Garon (infra 13b). That’s why it appears in Meseches Shabbos.


No Blessing

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 251:1, based upon Pesachim 50b) states that one should not do any melacha from the time of Minchah on Erev Shabbos (whether Minchah Gedolah or Minchah Ketana is meant is a machlokes), and if one does, one will not see any siman berachah from it.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.