10 Aug A MAJESTIC HAIRCUT
In Devarim 17:15 the Torah tells us that we should appoint a king. The Gemara in Taanis 17a and Sanhedrin 22b says that a king takes a haircut every day, as the posuk in Yeshaya 33 says, “a king shall be seen in his glory and beauty.” The question arises; does a king take a haircut on Chol HaMoed despite the fact that a common person is forbidden to take a haircut? Do we say that the king’s mitzvah to take a haircut is docheh the Lo Saaseh of not taking a haircut on Chol HaMoed, or do we say that the king has the same issur as the commoner and would be forbidden to take a haircut on Chol HaMoed?
The Shailos U’tshuvos Siach Yitzchok 245 has the above chakira and explains that since the king has a mitzah min hakabalah (Nevi’im) to be seen in his glory and beauty, the haircut will be docheh the issur of taking a haircut on Chol HaMoed which is just assur MiDeRabbanan, as the issur melacha on Chol HaMoed is a DeRabbanan. On the other hand, there are many poskim that consider melacha on Chol HaMoed a DeOraysa so a mitzvah min hakabalah (Neviim) would not suffice to be docheh an issur DeOraysa. The Siach Yitzchok concludes that it would seem that the king could take a haircut on Chol HaMoed based on the Ran in Yoma. The last perek says that since the five inuyim are only a DeRabbanan, it makes sense that the Mishna in Yoma 58b was maikil on a king and a bride permitting them to wash their face. Even according to the Rambam, who holds the five inuyim are Min HaTorah, it still makes sense that they were meikil for a king and/or a bride to wash their face, as the Torah gave the Chachamim the right to set the guidelines and they can be meikil as they see fit. Similarly, the Bais Yosef in Hilchos Chol Hamoed 530 says that even according to those who hold that melacha on Chol HaMoed is assur Min HaTorah, nevertheless the Torah gave the Chachamim the koach to be meikil as they see fit. The king therefore would be allowed to take a haircut on Chol HaMoed.
The Taz in Orach Chaim 260:1 brings in the name of the Maharshal that one should not cut his or her nails on a Thursday because hair and nails that are cut do not begin to grow again until three days after they were cut. Since we don’t want this to happen on Shabbos, we don’t cut nails or hair on Thursday. The Machtzis HaShekel and Elya Rabba say the reason for this is that we cut the extras off our body lekovod Shabbos, so it is not fitting that on Shabbos they should begin to grow back. We said earlier that the king takes a haircut every day, so it would stand to reason that the hair grows every day. This would seem to contradict the aforementioned Taz that says that it only grows after three days.
There are a number of answers to explain the seeming contradiction. The first answer is from Reb Yitzchok Zilbershtein in Chashukei Chemed Sanhedrin 22b that explains since a king takes a haircut every day, his hair grows quicker than a regular person who does not take a haircut every day. The second answer is also from Reb Yitzchok Zilbershtein explaining that the king, who took a haircut every day, did not cut down all the way to the bottom of his hair. He did it to look like he received a haircut a week ago, so his hair never stopped growing; whereas a regular person, who cuts his hair very short, will not have his hair grow until the third day. The third answer is based on the Elya Rabba and Machtzis HaShekel who say there is no issur that the hair should begin to grow on Shabbos. There is nothing wrong with that al pi Halacha. It is just not honorable or respectful that one who does something le’kovod Shabbos should have it start working on Shabbos. In truth, hair grows every single day a tiny drop, it is just not noticeable until three days later, which comes out on Shabbos. A king, who takes a haircut every day, will not have hair growth noticeable because he took a haircut on Friday. His Shabbos will not lose any kovod!
May we all be zocheh to once again see a Jewish king by greeting Melech HaMashiach!