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Sefirat Ha’Omer Responsa From Rav Aviner

Q) In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, may one get a haircut and shave?

Rav Aviner: It’s allowed and is even an obligation (Hilchot Yom Ha’atzmaut V’Yom Yerushalayim of Rav Professor Nachum Rakuver).

Q) May one dance and listen to music on the evening immediately following Yom Ha’atzmaut?

Rav Aviner: No. After sunset, one must return to the regular Sefira observances of mourning.

Q) Are women also prohibited from getting their hair cut?

Rav Aviner: Sephardi women are permitted to get their hair cut, Ashkenazi women are not. (In extenuating? circumstances, they may. Igrot Moshe Yoreh De’ah 2:137)

Q) May one who is used to shaving every day shave during the Sefira?

Rav Aviner: Some allow (Igrot Moshe 4:102, Nefesh HaRav 191), but most poskim prohibit this.

Q) May I attend an aerobic exercise class on Sefira if it will involve listening to music?

Rav Aviner: Since the main purpose of the class is the exercise, many permit this, as it is very similar to playing music to set the pace for rowing a boat. However, it would be better to lower the volume if possible, and it would be best to try to use vocal music.

Q) Is music permitted at a seudat mitzvah?

Rav Aviner: Yes, at a brit milah, pidyon haben, siyum, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah and hachnasat Sefer Torah (see Piskei Teshuvot 943:5).

Q) At my work, music is played and they’re not letting me turn it off. What do I do?

Rav Aviner: There’s no need to do anything—this is not an issue. Your case is an example of pleasure against one’s will, which is not problematic (Pesachim 25a). You should just try not to listen too much.

Q) May one play music while driving?

Rav Aviner: Yes, if he may fall asleep behind the wheel otherwise

Q) If I’m getting a ride with someone and the driver puts on music, should I ask him to turn off the music?

Rav Aviner: No. This is unnecessary and chutzpah.

Q) May one put on new clothing during the Sefira?

Rav Aviner: Yes, and you may even bless Shehechiyanu.

Q) May one make an engagement party during Sefirat Ha’Omer?

Rav Aviner: Yes, but it must be without music and dancing.

Q) May I attend someone else’s wedding during one of the prohibited times during the Sefira?

Rav Aviner: Yes. Whether he’s getting married at a correct time or not, this is his day of celebration, and you may certainly join. (Igrot Moshe Orach Chayim 1:159)

Q) May I move into a new apartment?

Rav Aviner: Yes. (Yechave Da’at 3:30)

Q) May one knit a kippah during Sefirat Ha’Omer?

Rav Aviner: Yes.

Translated by Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel

 Edited by Rav Mordechai Zion, reprinted and translated with permission.

Rav Shlomo Chaim Aviner is the French-born head of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem. Shu”t SMS questions can be sent to Rav Aviner at +972 52-3653028.


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