SHELOSHET YEMEI HAGBALAH (Heb. שְֶׁׁשת יְמֵי ַגְּבָּלָה; "the three days of limitation"), the name given to the three days immediately preceding the festival of Shavuot. The scriptural sources for distinguishing these days are found in Exodus 19:12, where God commands Moses, "And thou shalt set bounds unto the people," and Exodus 19:15, where Moses orders the children of Israel, "Be ready against the third day." (See also the discussion in Shabbat 87a as to how many days of "limitation" were ordered by God and how many by Moses.) The original limitations were against touching Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:12) and against having sexual intercourse (ibid. 19:15). The people were also commanded to sanctify themselves during these days (ibid. 19:10 and 14). According to the halakhah, marriage celebrations and haircuts, otherwise prohibited during most of the period between Passover and Shavuot, are permitted during these three days (Sh. Ar., OḤ 493:3 and Mishnah Berurah, ad loc.).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.