Chapter 1: Melacha on Chol Hamoed
1. The purpose of Chol Hamoed:
- Torah learning: The entire purpose of Chol Hamoed is for the sake of the Jewish people dedicating themselves towards Torah learning. Throughout the year we are involved in mundane work in efforts to sustain our family and contribute to society. The week of Chol Hamoed was given for the sake of taking a vacation from all the above activities and for a Jew to focus on his relationship with G-d in Torah study.
- Women: This obligation applies to both men and women.
- Day and night: This obligtation to learn Torah applies by both day and night.
- Years that the first day of Yom Tov falls on Shabbos: In years that Yom Tov falls on Shabbos and there is hence no Shabbos in-between the days of Chol Hamoed, one is especially obligated to spend his time learning Torah. The full week of Chol Hamoed weekdays is there for this purpose.
- Chol Hamoed trips: From the above its understood that one should not use up his entire Chol Hamoed with going on field trips, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities which remove one from his true purpose of Torah study during this time. [Nonetheless, those with children at home may designate a day or two for an outing, emphasizing that the main purpose of Chol Hamoed is not the trips but rather the Torah study. There is no greater example that a father can set for his children who are now home from school, than to sit at home and study Torah. Some are accustomed due to the above reason, to take their children on the various outings prior to, or post, Chol Hamoed, and use the entire time of Chol Hamoed for Torah learning, as intended.]
2. The importance of guarding the Moed:
- The Sages stated that one who belittles the Moed does not have a portion in the world to come and it is considered as if he has served idols. Hence, one must be very careful in the laws of the Moed, even though they are considered merely Rabbinical in nature.
3. The prohibition of Melacha on Chol Hamoed:
- Is the prohibition against performing Melacha on Chol Hamoed Biblical or Rabbinical? It is disputed amongst Poskim whether the prohibition of doing Melacha on Chol Hamoed is of Biblical or Rabbinical origin. Practically, Admur rules it is only Rabbinically forbidden to perform Melacha on Chol Hamoed. Nevertheless, the Sages stated that one who belittles the Moed does not have a portion in the world to come and it is considered as if he has served idols. Hence, one must be very careful in the laws of the Moed, even though they are considered merely Rabbinical in nature.
- The categories of Melacha forbidden on Chol Hamoed: During the period of Chol Hamoed, certain Melachos are forbidden to be performed while others Melachas are permitted. The definition of which Melachas are forbidden and which are permitted were handed over to the discretion of the Sages. Hence, all those Melachas which are forbidden to be done on Shabbos and Yom Tov are likewise possibly forbidden to be done on Chol Hamoed, based on the rules given to us by the Sages. In general, the Sages only prohibited those Melachas which involve effort and are time consuming. Even regarding these Melachas, in certain instances the Sages allowed for even these Melachas to be performed.
- The following is a list of exceptions of the Sages:
- No Effort: All Melacha [even Biblical in nature] which is not time consuming, and hence involves no effort to perform, is permitted to be performed during Chol Hamoed without restriction.
- On Chol Hamoed may one speak about doing Melacha after the Moed? Yes.
- May one turn on and off a light for no reason? Yes. However, some rule it is forbidden.
- Tzoreich Ochel Nefesh: If the matter is needed to be done for the sake of eating food during the Moed, then it is permitted to perform even Maaseh Uman, professional work.
- Davar Haveid/Loss: If the action is needed to be done to prevent a monetary loss then it is permitted to perform even professional work [Maaseh Uman] in order to prevent the loss.
- Tzorech Hamoed/Need of Moed: Is needed to be done for the sake of the holiday. It is permitted to perform any amateur work [Maaseh Hedyot] for the sake of the Holiday. It is however forbidden to perform professional work [Maaseh Uman] unless it is food related, or is a public need that relates to the body.
- Tzarchei Rabim/Need of Public: It is permitted to perform Melacha on Chol Hamoed for the sake of the public. This however only applies to needs of the public that relate to the bodily needs of a person, while other public needs are forbidden to be performed during the Moed. [Public matters that pertain to bodily needs may be performed even if it involves professional work [Maaseh Uman] if it is needed for the sake of the Moed. If, however, it is not needed for the Moed then it is forbidden to perform a professional work, and only amateur work may be performed.]
- No Effort: All Melacha [even Biblical in nature] which is not time consuming, and hence involves no effort to perform, is permitted to be performed during Chol Hamoed without restriction.
- Roads: For example, one may fix roads, and remove from them any hazards.
- Graves: One may mark graves to warn Kohanim from going there.
- Mikvaos: One may fix Mikvaos.
- Bathhouse: One may fix a bathhouse.
- Shul: It is forbidden to build a Shul during Chol Hamoed.
- Need of Parnasa: Is needed for one to make a living
- Maaseh Hedyot:
- Need of Mitzvah: It is forbidden to perform professional work [Maaseh Uman] even for the sake of a Mitzvah. It is however permitted to perform any amateur work [Maaseh Hedyot] for the sake of a Mitzvah.
- Mikavein Melach to Lamoed: It is forbidden for one to schedule Melacha to be done during the Moed, and one must initially do so before the Moed. If one intentionally scheduled it to be done during the Moed then he may not do so even in a case of Davar Haveid.
- Amirah Lenachri- Doing Melacha through a gentile: Any Melacha which is forbidden to be performed during Chol Hamoed by a Jew is forbidden to be performed by a Gentile on one’s behalf.
- The need of a Mitzvah and the Moed: It is permitted to ask a gentile to perform a forbidden Melacha on Chol Hamoed if the matter needs to be done for the sake of a Mitzvah which is pertinent on Chol Hamoed. [If, however, the matter does not involve a Mitzvah, or is not pertinent for Chol Hamoed, then one may not ask a gentile to perform it.]
- May one do Melacha for the sake of a gentile? No. Those Melachas which are permitted for a Jew to do on behalf of himself are forbidden to be done for the sake of a Gentile.
- The law if it is questionable if there may be loss or need for the holiday: In a case that there is question as to whether there is a loss or need of the holiday involved, one may be lenient.
Chart of Melacha and its status
*In all cases stated “Forbidden with exceptions” this refers to the exceptions listed in the above chart
4. Preparing food/Cooking:
- May one cook or bake food for after the Moed? It is forbidden to cook or bake food during Chol Hamoed for the sake of eating after the Moed.
- May one cook or bake food on Chol Hameod for the sake of Shabbos which falls after the last day of Yom Tov? Example: The last day of Yom Tov falls on Friday. May one bake and cook on Chol Hameod for the sake of Shabbos? Yes.
- May one cook or bake food on Chol Hameod for the sake of Shabbos which falls the day after the last day of Yom Tov? Example: Yom Tov ends on Thursday. May one bake and cook on Chol Hameod for the sake of Shabbos? Yes.
- May one cook Gebrochts/Kitniyus during Chol Hamoed Pesach for the sake of eating on Shabbos that is after Shevi’i Shel Pesach? Yes.
- May one cook or bake food on Chol Hameod for the sake of a Bris taking place the day after Yom Tov? Example: Yom Tov ended Sunday. May one bake and cook on Chol Hameod for the sake of a Bris taking place on Monday? Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so.
5. Grinding flour:
- It is permitted to grind kernals into flour for the sake of [using the flour during] the Moed. This applies even if one could have ground the flour before the Moed, and intentionally delayed it until the Moed.
- Driving on Chol Hamoed: It is permitted to drive on Chol Hamoed whether it is for the need of the Moed, or simply for the sake of a trip or outing. [If, however, it is not for the need of the Moed, and is not for the sake of a trip or outing, then it is disputed amongst Poskim whether it is permitted to do so.]
- May one fix a car on Chol Hamoed? It is permitted to fix a car on Chol Hamoed under certain conditions. 1) It is only permitted to do so for the sake of using the car for the sake of the Moed. 2) Likewise, it is only permitted to do so if the fixing is defined as Maaseh Hedyot, which means that it can be performed by any amateur and does not require a professional [such as to change a flat tire]. It is however forbidden to perform a fixing that is defined as Maaseh Uman, professional work, even if it is for the sake of the Moed, unless one of the listed exceptions of Maaseh Uman is applicable. One may not fix a car even with Maaseh Hedyot, for the sake of traveling from Eretz Yisrael to the Diaspora. Thus, one may not fix a flat tire for the sake of traveling to Eilat.
- May one take driving lessons on Chol Hamoed? Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so long as one did not schedule the lessons purposely for Chol Hamoed. Other Poskim forbid doing so.
- Watering plants on Chol Hamoed: It is permitted to water plants on Chol Hamoed for purposes of damage prevention, such as to prevent the plants from withering. It is, however, forbidden to water plants if there will be no loss or damage involved with the plant, if one were to abstain from watering it during Chol Hamoed. [Accordingly, each plant product that one has in his home, or garden, is to be individually assessed as to whether a lack of watering it during Chol Hamoed will cause it to wither, and only then is it allowed to be done. This applies whether to flowerpots, vegetable gardens, or fruit trees. Accordingly, if it suffices for the plant to be watered only once a week, then it should be done prior to the start of the holiday and it will hence not be necessary to water it during the holiday.]
- May one spill water over grass or over a plant on Chol Hamoed, such as when washing hands or emptying his cup? It is permitted for one to spill water over grass or over plants on Chol Hamoed if he is no intent to water the plant by doing so, such as while washing hands. Nevertheless, some Poskim are stringent not to spill water over plants during Chol Hamoed, even in the process of washing hands.
- Uprooting items from the ground: It is forbidden to uproot items from the ground unless there is a need to do so for the Holiday, such as to eat a fruit or vegetable that is attached to the ground.
- May one rip grass and the like from the ground for no reason? No.
- It is permitted to tear any item for the need of the Holiday. It is forbidden to tear without need for the Holiday, unless all the following conditions are met:
- One’s intent is to destroy the item.
- The item is not attached to the ground,
- The item is a single entity as opposed to being combined from different materials.
- The tearing does not involve the work of a professional.
- May one cut toilet paper? This may be done for use during the Holiday.
- May one sell fabrics or other materials which are required to be cut? They may only be cut if it they have a need for the Holiday. However, there are Poskim who rule this is permitted to be done.
- May one cut a piece of paper for no reason? Yes, it may be cut as long as one does not intend to cut it to any specific measurement.
- Separating items which have been taped or glued together: Have the same law as tearing, as explained above.
9. Fixing items during Chol Hamoed:
- The general rule: In general, it is forbidden to fix items in a professional way during Chol Hamoed. This applies even if it is needed for the sake of the Moed. However, it is permitted to perform amateur fixing jobs on Chol Hamoed if it is being done for the sake of the Moed.
- Professional fixing jobs are forbidden to be done even for the sake of the Moed, unless it needs to be done for the sake of preventing a monetary loss. Likewise, it may be fixed even professionally if lack of doing so poses a danger. Likewise, it may be fixed even in a professional way if it is needed for the sake of making food during the Moed.
- One may knock a nail into a wall on Chol Hamoed for the sake of hanging a picture, if one will benefit from the hung picture on Chol Hamoed. The same applies to any screw or nail, that it may be banged, or screwed in, if the item is needed to be used during the Moed.
- One may attach a Mezuzah onto a door on Chol Hamoed.
- Electrical appliances that are needed to make food [i.e. an oven or mixer] may be fixed even in a professional way for the sake of making food during the Moed.
- Fan, heater, air conditioner: May be fixed even in a professional way if the heat or cold is causing one pain.
10. Walking past the Techum:
- It is permitted without restriction to walk or travel past the Techum during Chol Hamoed.
11. Moving homes:
- It is forbidden to move from one house to another during Chol Hamoed unless lack of doing so involves a monetary loss. Likewise, it is permitted to move from a home which one does not own into a home which one owns.
- Moving merchandise: One is to only enter merchandise from outside to inside if lack of doing so involves a loss. In such a case, one is to do so in private, although if one is unable to, he may do so in view of the public.
12. Writing on Chol Hamoed?
- Introduction: It is forbidden to write [or draw pictures or designs] on Chol Hamoed. However, the Poskim differentiate regarding the type of script that is forbidden to be written, its purposes that it may be written for, and the form of writing it.
- Professional script: It is forbidden to write on Chol Hamoed in a professional script [Maaseh Uman], such as the scribal letters of the Torah, unless it is needed for the sake of the festival and is a need of the public, or is a Davar Haved [a matter that will incur loss].
- Regular script: Some Poskim rule that it is only forbidden to write in a professional script, known as Maaseh Uman, which is the scribal lettering used for writing a Sefer Torah, Mezuzah and Tefillin [i.e. Ksav Ashuris]. It is however, permitted to write in a commonly known script [i.e. Maaseh Hedyot] on Chol Hamoed [so long as it has a need for the Moed]. However, other Poskim imply that even amateur writing is forbidden to be done during the Moed, as all script was considered by the Sages to be professional. Practically, we rule like the former opinion that it is permitted to write regular script [Maaseh Hedyot] on Chol Hamoed so long as it has a need for the Moed.
- Writing with a slant/Shinuiy: From the letter of the law, this script may be written even without an irregularity/Shinuiy, however, the widespread custom is to write it with a Shinuiy, such as to make the first line slanted. However, it is permitted to write in regular script even without a Shinuiy in a case that involves loss. Likewise, it is permitted to write regular script for the need of the public even if it does not have a need for the Moed, and even without a Shinuiy. In all cases it is forbidden to write even regular script if it does not have a need for the Moed, [and is not a case of loss, or a public need, or the need of a Mitzvah].
- Definition of professional script versus regular script: Professional script is defined as the Hebrew scribal font written in a Torah scroll and other parchment. Rashi font script of the Hebrew letters is customarily viewed as regular script [Maaseh Hedyot]. The script of all other languages is viewed as Maaseh Hedyot. Nevertheless, it is proper not to write any of the above fonts in a careful and meticulous manner, hence beautifying the letters, as doing so can perhaps consider it Maaseh Uman.
- Is the writing of numbers considered Maaseh Uman or Maaseh Hedyot? It is a considered Maaseh Hedyot.
- Is the drawing of pictures considered Maaseh Uman or Maaseh Hedyot? It is permitted for children or adults to draw amateur pictures, drawings, and paintings on Chol Hamoed as a fun activity for recreational and entertainment purposes. However, a professional picture or painting may not be done.
- Divrei Torah: If one heard a [Torah] novelty, it is permitted to write it down in order so he does not forget it. [The same applies if one came up on his own with a Torah novelty, that it is permitted to write it on Chol Hamoed in order so he does not forget the subject.]
- It is permitted to even initially study Torah during the Moed with intent of novelizing Torah thoughts and then writing it down. There were Gedolei Yisrael who continued writing their Torah novelties on Chol Hamoed. The Torah novelties are to be written in regular script “Meshita” and not in boxed script used for Stam.
- Copying a Sefer: If one happened upon a new Sefer during the Moed, it is permitted to write a copy of it [in order so he does not forget the information ] if he will be unable to do so after the Moed. [It goes without saying that one may photo copy it by machine.]
- Accounting: It is permitted to write an accounting form that describes one’s financial situation, income and expenditure.
- Kesuba: It is permitted to write a Kesuba on Chol Hamoed, however there are opinions that are stringent. Practically one is to write it in regular script.
- Letter to friend: It is permitted to write a friendly letter to an acquaintance on Chol Hamoed. Nevertheless, one is to write the first line slightly slanted.
- May one write a loan document on Chol Hamoed? If one is unable to borrow the money after the Holiday, and is unable to borrow without writing a loan document, then it is permitted for him to do so even if he does not need the money for use during the Holiday.
- May one type on a computer during Chol Hamoed? Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so without restriction. Others however rule it may only be done for Holiday needs. Others rule it is completely forbidden with exception to those cases of which even skilled work [Maaseh Uman] is permitted. According to all one should not perform a very long and strenuous job of typing.
- Is it permitted to take pictures? It is forbidden to take film pictures at random during Chol Hamoed. However, a rare shot that one will not be able to take after the Moed, like by a family gathering, etc may be taken. However, there are opinions which allow it without limitations.
- Digital camera? Digital cameras are allowed to be used without restriction on Chol Hamoed.
- Is it permitted to do video Skype during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- Is it permitted to sign with a stamp on Chol Hamoed? Some opinions rule that this is forbidden [Maaseh Uman]. Others hold that it is permitted [Masseh Hedyot]. Seemingly when done for a Chol Hamoed need one may be lenient.
- May one sign a check on Chol Hamoed? If the matter is needed for the sake of the Moed, then it is permitted.
- May one write a shopping list on Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May children draw pictures and write on Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May children do arts and crafts, such as cut, band, glue things on Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one print papers on Chol Hamoed? No.
- May one print flyers of Simchas Beis Hashoeiva that are needed for the Moed? Yes.
- May one print flyers of a Levaya that is taking place during the Moed? Yes.
- May one print invitations or words of Torah that are needed for the Moed? Yes.
- May one print Sefarim on Chol Hamoed? No.
- May one use cake and cookie molds to make pictures and designs on bakery goods? Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to do so. However, from other Poskim it is evident that it is permitted.
13. Haircut and Shaving:
- Erev Yom Tov: It is a Mitzvah to get a haircut on Erev Yom Tov.
- The prohibition to cut hair during the Moed: It is forbidden to cut one’s hair during the Moed. This applies even if one cut his hair prior to the Moed. This applies even if one is doing so in order to beautify himself for the sake of the Moed.
- Brushing hair: It is permitted to comb and brush the hair during the Moed even though hair will be removed as a result. Doing so does not transgress the haircutting prohibition.
- The cases of exception: The Sages permitted one to launder clothing during the Moed under certain circumstances. These circumstances of exception are:
- Returned from oversees
- Freed from prison or captivity
- Released from excommunication
- Released from vow
- Private versus public: In all the above cases in which haircutting is allowed, it is only permitted to do so in private and not in a public area.
- May a child get a haircut during Chol Hamoed? It is permitted for a child to get a haircut on Chol Hamoed [if he is pained by his hair]. This applies even if the child was born before the festival [and could have gotten a haircut beforehand]. It is permitted to do so even in public [unless the child looks already like he is above Bar Mitzvah, in which case it may only be done in private]. [Some Poskim rule that this allowance only applies if the hair of the child is disturbing him. Other Poskim rule it applies in all cases.]
- What age is considered a child? Some Poskim rule that all children under the age of Bar Mitzvah are included in this allowance. Other Poskim however rule that only children below the age of Chinuch are included in this allowance.
- May one trim his mustache on Chol Hamoed? It is permitted for any man to shave his mustache on Chol Hamoed. It is permitted to do so even in public. [One may cut the mustache either with a scissor or with a razor. One may cut the mustache even if it is not interfering with one’s eating.]
- Is it permitted for a woman to shave parts of her body on Chol Hamoed? Yes. It is permitted for a woman to shave her body hair, such as the hair of the armpits and Ervah, on Chol Hamoed.
- May a man cut bodily hair on Chol Hamoed? Yes. However, some Poskim are stringent on this matter.
- May a married woman cut her hair if it is too long and is not able to be properly covered? Yes.
- If one began a haircut before Chol Hamoed, may he complete the haircut on Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one who is treating his hair for lice cut his hair? Yes.
14. Cutting nails during Chol Hamoed?
- One may not cut his nails with a knife or scissor [or nail cutter] during Chol Hamoed. This applies to both the hand and toenails.
- For the sake of a Mitzvah: It is permitted to cut nails in their regular way [even with scissors] for the sake of a Mitzvah, such as to immerse in a Mikveh.
- One who cut his nails on Erev Yom Tov: One who cut his nails on Erev Yom Tov [or in close proximity to Erev Yom Tov to the point there was nothing to cut before Yom Tov] is permitted to cut his nails during Chol Hamoed.
- If one cut his nails a few days before Yom Tov and on Erev Yom Tov there was nothing to cut, may he cut them later on during Chol Hmaoed? Yes.
- Those permitted to cut hair: All those who are permitted to cut their hair during Chol Hamoed may likewise cut their nails.
- Using one’s finger or teeth: It is only forbidden to cut the nails in their normal way which is by using a vessel, such as a nail cutter or knife. It is however permitted to cut one’s nails using one’s teeth or hands. [Some Poskim even allow slightly cutting the end of each nail using a scissor and to then remove the rest of the nail with one’s hands or teeth.]
- May one cut his nails if they are causing him pain? Yes.
- May a Mohel cut his nails for purposes of doing a Milah during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May a woman cut her nails in preparation for Mikvah? Yes.
- May a gentile cut one’s nails? Yes.
- May one shear his sheep on Chol Hamoed? No.
- The prohibition: It is forbidden to launder clothing during the Moed. This applies even if one is doing so for the sake of wearing the clothing during the Moed.
- The cases of exception: The Sages permitted one to launder clothing during the Moed under certain circumstances. These circumstances of exception are:
- Returned from oversees:
- Freed from prison or captivity:
- Released from excommunication
- Released from vow:
- May one launder his clothing on Chol Hamoed if they all became dirty? It is forbidden to launder clothing on Chol Hamoed even if all of one’s clothing have become dirty, unless one only owns one pair of that clothing [such as one jacket, or Kapata, or one pants or one shirt] or the clothing is changed on a daily basis due to becoming dirty [such as due to sweat and the like] and one does not have any more of that clean clothing remaining. Hence, one may launder underclothing, such as socks, undershirt, and underwear if they are all dirty, and one is accustomed to change them daily.
- When laundering clothing that are changed daily, how many clothing may be laundered at a time? One may only launder as many clothing as he needs, such as a single shirt. Some Poskim interpret this to mean that one may launder as many clothing as he will need until the end of Yom Tov. Others however rule that one may never launder more than one clothing at a time, per day. Practically, in today’s times that laundry is done using a machine, and there is no extra work involved in washing more than one necessary garment at a time, it is permitted to wash simultaneously all the clothing that will be needed until the end of Yom Tov, if te clothing are changed on a daily basis.
- If one’s clothing is dirty to the point that it is unwearable in public, may he launder the clothing on Chol Hamoed, even if it is not changed daily, and one has more than one pair? If all of a certain article of clothing have become dirty to the point that they cannot be worn in public, and one is unable to purchase a new article of clothing, then it is permitted to launder the clothing during Chol Hamoed. This applies even if one owns many pairs of that clothing, and they have all become dirty beyond wearing. If however one has ability to buy new clothing, then he must do so, rather than launder these clothing.
- May one wash his single Shabbos pants that became dirty? If one does not have any other pants available that can be worn on Shabbos, then he may do so.
- Is it permitted for one to wash a blanket on Chol Hamoed if he has no other blankets available? If this is the only blanket one has for him to use it may be washed.
- Towels: One may wash towels during Chol Hamoed. [However, this only applies if one is accustomed to switch the towels often and one does not have any more towels available.]
- May one wash floor rags on Chol Hamoed? Yes. One may do so if there are no other rags available.
- Laundry for children: It is permitted to launder clothing of children that are commonly soiled.
- Must one bring all their children’s clothing upon traveling elsewhere in order to avoid needing to do laundry for them during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one iron clothing on Chol Hamoed? Many Poskim rule that it is permitted for one to iron clothing on Chol Hamoed [for the sake of Chol Hamoed or Yom Tov]. However, some Poskim rule that the custom is to avoid doing so, as perhaps the form of ironing which was allowed to be done is a very light form.
- May one clean a stain from his clothing? Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to clean individual stains from a clothing, even though one will not launder the entire clothing in the process. Other Poskim rule it is permitted to clean an individual stain and one may even use laundry detergent or stain removal in order to clean it. If lack of cleaning the stain may cause permanent damage to the clothing, then according to all one may wash the stain. According to all it is permitted to scrub the stain off using a dry brush and the like.
- May one polish his shoes? Some Poskim rule it is permitted to polish shoes during Chol Hamoed. Other Poskim rule it is forbidden to polish shoes during Chol Hamoed. Some of these Poskim however permit doing so through a gentile. Practically, many are accustomed to abstain from doing so. According to all, it is permitted to clean the shoes using a brush.
- May one sew clothing on Chol Hamoed?
- Making and tying Tzitzis on Chol Hamoed: It is permitted for one to weave Tzitzis strings [and tie the Tzitzis] onto one’s garment [i.e. Tallis Gadol or Tallis Katan] on Chol Hamoed. [This may be done even without an irregularity. However, one may not weave the strings using a sewing wheel or other machinery. Likewise, one may only make/tie the strings on Chol Hamoed for the sake of wearing it on Chol Hamoed. Likewise, one may not make/tie strings on behalf of others, even for the sake of the Moed, unless he does not take payment.]
- It is forbidden to build anything during Chol Hamoed. This applies even if it is for the need of the Moed.
- Meleches Hedyot: It is permitted to perform amateur building jobs on Chol Hamoed if it is being done for the sake of the Moed.
- May a gentile continue renovations in one’s home during Chol Hamoed? No. One must protest the gentile from doing so.
- May one attach a Mezuzah to a door on Chol Hamoed? Yes.
18. Working and Business
- Collecting debts: It is permitted to collect money of a loan during Chol Hamoed. This applies whether the borrower is a Jew or gentile. [This applies even if one is able to collect the loan also after the Moed.] It is, however, forbidden to collect merchandise in exchange for the loan, unless one may not be able to collect the loan after the Moed. If one is owed money for a service or sale of a product, it may be collected during Chol Hamoed if the client/customer was already billed for payment prior to the Moed. If, however, the client/customer was not yet billed for payment, then one may only bill him to collect money during the Moed if one may not be able to do so afterwards.
- The custom today: All the above is from the letter of the law, however, the custom today is to collect all debts during the Moed, as it is all considered today as if one may not be able to collect it after the Moed. The Poskim justify this custom.
- May one build an item on Chol Hamoed for the sake of his business which will remain open during Chol Hamoed due to Davar Haveid? If building the item is necessary for bringing in income that is defined as Davar Haveid, then it is permitted to do so. Nevertheless, it is forbidden to schedule to do this Melacha during the Moed, and one must initially do so before the Moed. If one intentionally scheduled to do so during the Moed he may not do so even in a case of Davar Haveid.
- May one buy or sell on Chol Hamoed? It is forbidden to buy or sell on Chol Hamoed. If, however, one has an opportunity to bring in a large income through the sale, he may do so in private. In such a case one is to spend more money than he originally intended for his Yom Tov expenses.
- May one purchase items on sale during Chol Hamoed? Yes. If the sale is limited to the days of Chol Hameod, it is permitted to purchase the sale item during Chol Hamoed.
- May one buy toys for children, and presents for people during Chol Hamoed? Some Poskim write it is permitted to buy presents for children during Chol Hamoed due to the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov. This applies even if the item is not required for Chol Hamoed.
- May one buy things for the Moed in a Jewish owned store that is open without following the Halachic regulations? Seemingly it is forbidden to do so.
- May one buy clothing which are needed for the festival during Chol Hamoed? It is permitted to buy clothing during Chol Hamoed if they are needed for the Moed or for Yom Tov, even if they are needed for Yom Tov Sheini.
- May one lend money to a gentile on Chol Hamoed? One may make an interest loan to a gentile customer on Chol Hamoed if the gentile is a previous customer. If the gentile is a new customer, then although it is permitted to give him an interest loan nevertheless, he is to use some of the interest earned towards expenditure on Simchas Yom Tov.
- May one hire a worker during Chol Hamoed to work for him after the Moed? Yes.
- Is it better to take a Jewish or gentile taxi driver during Chol Hamoed? It is better to take a gentile taxi driver, as in general a Jewish driver is not allowed to work during Chol Hamoed.
- May one cash a check on Chol Hamoed? One may not cash a check on Chol Hamoed unless he is unsure whether there will be money in the account of the check after Yom Tov. [Likewise, if one needs the money for holiday needs or to cover payments that are due then he may cash the check.]
- May one make a deposit on Chol Hamoed? It is forbidden to do so due to the business prohibition. If, however, one fears the money being stolen or needs to cover checks that have already been written out.
- May one pay bills during Chol Hamoed? Some Poskim rule one may not do so. Others rule it is permitted.
- Eulogy: Eulogies are forbidden to be given during Chol Hamoed, and hence one does not eulogize the Niftar. One may not even recite words of praise for the Niftar, as doing so can lead to eulogizing him. However, one may say words of Torah to arouse the public. Some Poskim lean to permit the Aveilim of the Niftar to recite a Hesped, although practically this is not the accepted ruling.
- Is one to have a Seudas Havrah on Chol Hamoed after the body was buried? Yes. However, one does not serve the mourners the accustomed foods of mourning for this meal, such as eggs or lentils, and rather regular foods, such as coffee and cake/Matzah, are to be served. Some say that the mourners are to be served meat and wine. Some Poskim rule that there is no prohibition for the mourners to eat their own food for the Seudas Havrah and thus they do not have to be fed by others. Nevertheless, it is proper for others to give them food for this meal.
20. Killing animals and creatures
- May one go fishing on Chol Hamoed? Commercial fishing and fishing for food purposes: It is permitted to go fishing during Chol Hamoed if one’s intent in doing so is to eat the fish during the Moed. There is no limit as to how many fish one may catch, and one may thus catch as many fish as possible. It is permitted to fish even in public. [Some Poskim rule that this applies even if one is a professional or occupational fisher. Other Poskim rule that an occupational fisher may not fish in public. This applies especially in today’s times that occupational fishers freeze fish for storage.] Those who were accustomed not to fish during the Moed may break their custom, and are encouraged to do so.
- Recreational/sport fishing: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to go recreational/sport fishing on Chol Hamoed, even if one does not intend to eat the caught fish. Other Poskim rule it is forbidden to go recreational/sport fishing on Chol Hamoed, even if one plans to eat a caught Kosher fish.
21. Medical treatment:
- All medical treatments are permitted during Chol Hamoed.
Chapter 2: Simchas Yom Tov
1. The Mitzvah of Simcha:
- It is a Biblical positive command and obligation for one to rejoice and be of happy spirit throughout all days of Yom Tov, including Chol Hamoed, with exception to Rosh Hashanah. This obligation applies to oneself, his wife, his children and his entire household [even non relatives ].
2. How does one rejoice himself and his family?
- Men: Men [includes oneself and his adult male household members] are obligated to drink wine [every day of Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed] in order to fulfill their Mitzvah of Simcha. One who does not drink wine does not fulfill the command. In addition to drinking wine, there is also a [Biblical] Mitzvah, although not an obligation, to eat meat and other delicacies. [One who increases in eating other delicacies and doing other matters of joy is as well considered to be fulfilling the Biblical command, although he is not obligated in doing so.]
- Women: One is to buy his wife [and adult female children and other adult female household members] jewelry or clothing in accordance to his affordability.] If one cannot afford to purchase clothing or jewelry then he is to purchase them new shoes in order to fulfill this Mitzvah. ]
- Children: One is to distribute nuts to his young [children and other young members of his household]. [Today this can be fulfilled through giving children chocolate and other candies and treats that they enjoy.]
3. The meals of Chol Hamoed:
- How many meals is one to have per day? One is not obligated to eat any specific amount of meals on Chol Hamoed, so long as he does not fast. [Nevertheless, initially it is a Mitzvah for one to have a meal with bread. One is to eat bread twice on Chol Hamoed, once by day and once by night.]
- Eating before midday: One may not fast past midday on Chol Hamoed. One must thus eat or drink something prior to midday.
- Bread: One is not obligated to eat specifically bread on Chol Hamoed, and it suffices even if he eats mere fruits. Nevertheless, initially it is a Mitzvah for one to have a meal with bread on Chol Hamoed, [once by day and once by night, as stated above].
4. Celebrating a joyous occasion during the festival:
- One is not to rejoice other joyous occasions during the festival days in order so the joy of the festival remains distinct.
- Getting married: Remarrying divorcee: It is permitted for one to remarry one’s ex-wife on Chol Hamoed. [Some Poskim however rule that one may not hold a celebratory feast for such an occasion. Other Poskim however rule it is permitted. One may certainly be lenient to hold a feast on the next day. It is questionable whether one may re-perform a Kedushin ceremony during the Moed, if the original Kedushin was invalid. ]
- May one celebrate a Bris Mila during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one celebrate a Pidyon Haben during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one celebrate a Bar Mitzvah during Chol Hamoed? Yes and so is the widespread custom.
- May one get engaged during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one celebrate a Lechaim/Vort during Chol Hamoed? Yes
- May one celebrate a Siyum Mesechta during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one celebrate a Chanukas Habayis during Chol Hamoed? Yes.
- May one celebrate an Upsherenish during Chol Hamoed?
Chapter 3: The Chol Hamoed Davening
1. Shemoneh Esrei-Yaaleh Veyavo:
- One Davens a regular weekday Shemoneh Esrei for Maariv, Shacharis and Mincha, although adding Yaaleh Veyavo to the prayer. If one forgot to recite Yaaleh Veyavo in Shemoneh Esrei he must repeat the prayer. This applies even by Maariv.
- Forgot Yaaleh Veyavo but remembered prior to finishing Shemoneh Esrei: If prior to finishing Shemoneh Esrei one remembered that he did not say Ya’aleh Veyavo, [then if he is holding prior to saying the name of Hashem in the concluding blessing of Visechezena then he should say it as soon as he remembers and continue afterwards from Visechezena. If, however, he remembered only after he already said Hashem’s name in the concluding blessing of Visechezenu then some Poskim rule he is to conclude the blessing with Lamdeini Chukecha and then go back and recite Ya’aleh Veyavo and then repeat from Visechezena.] If he remembered after concluding the blessing of Visechezena, but prior to Modim, then he is to say it there [and continue afterwards with Modim]. If, however, he only remembered after he already began saying Modim then he must return to Ritzei and recite from there with Ya’aleh Veyavo. If he only remembered after he already finished Shemoneh Esrei then he must return to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei. [This applies even if he remembered after reciting the second Yehi Ratzon, prior to taking three steps. ] If, however, he remembered prior to reading the second Yehi Ratzon then he is to return to Ritzei. [If he is accustomed to add prayers after the second Yehi Ratzon, then if he remembers prior to concluding these prayers he is to return to Ritzei. ]
- In doubt if said Ya’aleh Veyavo: If one is in doubt as to whether he recited Ya’aleh Veyavo then some Poskim rule he fulfills his obligation and is not required to return to Ritzei or repeat Shemoneh Esrei. Others however rule that it has the same law as one who did not say Ya’aleh Veyavo and he must hence return to Ritzei or repeat Shemoneh Esrei. Practically, one is to complete the Shemoneh Esrei and repeat Shemoneh Esrei as a Nidavah.
- If one remembered only after he already Davened Musaf: If one had already Davened Musaf and only then realized he had forgotten to say Ya’aleh Viyavo in Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis, he does not need to repeat Shemoneh Esrei.
- Sukkos: Throughout the eight/nine days of Sukkos and Shemini Atzeres, one is required to recite the complete Hallel with a blessing. See Chapter 2 Halacha 7 for the full details of this matter!
- A Chassidic Perspective: The reason we say the complete Hallel on each day of Sukkos in contrast to Pesach: On Sukkos, the G-dly revelation is able to be internally felt on each day of the holiday, and thus there is an abundance of joy on each day which is expressed in the daily completion of Hallel. This ability to internalize and feel the revelation is only available after the giving of the Torah. However, on Pesach which took place before the giving of the Torah, we were unable to internalize the revelation, and thus the joy is not exorbitant enough to justify the completion of Hallel. However, on the first day of Pesach the complete Hallel is recited as we were removed from the 49 gates of impurity and there is no greater joy than this.
3. The order of the Davening after Hallel:
- After Hallel, Hoshanos is performed as explained in Chapter 2 Halacha 6. After Hoshanos, the Chazan recites Kaddish Shaleim which is then followed by Shir Shel Yom, Kerias Hatorah, Ashreiy, Uva Letziyon, and Musaf.
- The Musaf of Chol Hamoed follows the same dialect as Musaf of Yom Tov of the 1st day of Sukkos, with exception that when the Musaf sacrifice is mentioned in the prayer, one recites the particular sacrifice of that day. The reason for this is because the Musaf sacrifices of each day of Sukkos were different than the previous day, decreasing the number of bull offerings by one each day.
5. The six Zechiros:
- One is to recite the six Zechiros after the prayers.