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Washing hair on 3-day Yom Tov

13 September, 2004

Question:

I will have to go to the mikveh on Friday night of this upcoming 3- day yom tov (Rosh Hashana). I understand that I should prepare and wash my hair on Wednesday, erev yom tov. Are there any opinions that say you can wash your hair on yom tov? By the end of the third day my hair will certainly feel dirty (it tends to feel a bit oily even after one day).

I imagine it will be hard to keep all tangles from my hair when sleeping even if I can manage to keep it in some kind of ponytail for 2 days straight. My hair is not thin, so running my fingers through it will most likely not produce a knot free head. I hope this will not be problematic.

Thank you for your help and Shana Tova.


Answer:

The problem with washing hair on Yom Tov is that you might squeeze out the water from the hair or towel afterwards. Therefore, if you can be careful about this, it is ok to wet your hair on Yom Tov. A normal shampoo with a scrub is likely to produce tangles and is not recommended at a time that you cannot comb out your hair. However, if your hair is going to feel greasy, you could pour some diluted shampoo over it and then just rinse without scrubbing.

There is a difference between what one tries to do lechatchilah – removing every single knot in the hair with a comb – and what is acceptable when combing is halachically prohibited – making sure there are no tangles by running through the hair with one's fingers.


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