Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Halocho #91 - Chol Hamo'ed; Chol or Mo'ed?

The intermediary days of Pessach and Sukkot are known as Chol Hamo'ed. Some types of work are permitted, others are forbidden. Chazal (our Rabbis of blessed memory) have some harsh words for those who don't honour Chol Hamo'ed properly. Honouring Chol Hamo'ed includes eating meals and wearing clothes that are closer to Yom Tov standards than regular weekday standards. On Chol Hamo'ed one may do all work needed to prevent a monetary loss. Preparing food for Chol Hamo'ed or the last days of Yom Tov is allowed. Gardening is forbidden besides for picking fruit for Chol Hamo'ed or Yom Tov, and to prevent plants dying, e.g. if they need to be irrigated. Planting is forbidden. Cutting hair is forbidden on Chol Hamo'ed. Cutting nails is only allowed if one also cut them before Yom Tov. Writing down information so that it won't be forgotten is allowed. Writing letters to friends and family is allowed. The custom is to write the first line at an angle as a reminder that writing is only partially permitted. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104. - Danny 4 Nissan 5768

סעיף א - חול המועד אסור בקצת מלאכות ומותר בקצתן, דהיינו כל מה שהוא לצורך אכילה לחול המועד או ליום טוב, וכן מלאכה בדבר האבד, דהיינו שאם לא יעשנה יבא לידי הפסד מותר לעשותה, וצריכין ליזהר מאד שלא לעשות בחול המועד מלאכה האסורה, כי אמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה המחלל את חול המועד כאלו עובד עבודה זרה. סעיף ב - עוד אמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה המבזה את חול המועד, אף על פי שיש בידו תורה ומעשים טובים אין לו חלק לעולם הבא, והמבזה היינו שאינו מכבדו במאכל ובמשתה ובכסות, ולכן כל אדם חייב לכבדו כפי כחו וללבוש בגדים מכובדים.


  1. Somebody asked:

    So you can't just "stam" write things down? you can make a grocery list but you can't do a crossword puzzle. that kind of thing?

    I responded:

    Correct. You shouldn't doodle or do crossword puzzles unless you risk loosing a prize by waiting.

  2. Somebody asked:
    One time, my family planned a trip to an apple orchard for chol hamoed. We had a great time apple picking, but I don't think I can safely say we used all those apples for the 2nd half of yontif. A friend of mine did mention that there might be a halachic issue. What's your take?

    I responded:
    I would guess that if there was a possibility that you (along with a few imaginary guests) could have eaten all those apples by the end of Yom Tov then it wouldn't be a problem.

    No different than cooking on Yom Tov - you don't have to ensure that there won't be left-overs. A lavish menu with generous quantities and catering for an unexpected-hopeful guest or 2 is perfectly OK.

    - Danny.

  3. Somebosy asked:


    I just joined your group and wanted to say a huge thank you! I think it's so great that there are so many groups using facebook for torah these days, kol hakavod!

    Secondly, a question you may have the answer to: I am a student; what is the halacha regarding writing academic papers during Chol HaMoed?

    I reposnded:

    I really appreciate the feedback - it keeps me going.

    Regarding writing academic papers during Chol HaMo'ed:

    - If you planned to write a specific amount every day/week and skipping Chol Hamo'ed will upset your scheduling,then you can write "on schedule" on Chol Hamo'ed.

    - If you specifically scheduled a paper to write it on Chol HaMo'ed then you may not write on Chol HaMo'ed.