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Weekly Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Yom Tov

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Parshas Nitzovim/Vayeilech

May one cook on first day Yom Tov for the second?

Firstly we must realize that first day Yom Tov is biblically Yom Tov whereas second day Yom Tov is rabbinical. This concept was born as a result of not being able to inform communities outside of Eretz Yisrael when the new month began. To prevent violation of Yom Tov, Chazal instituted a second day Yom Tov.

Does that mean we can be lenient on the second day?

Heaven forbid! Chazal went far to ensure that second day Yom Tov shares a similar severity to first day. We often find statements in Chazal such as in order that people will not degrade the second day. [1]

So with regards to cooking for the second day?

Since the two days of Yom Tov are not one long day and the second day is lower in holiness than the first, one may not cook or perform any melacha on the first day for the second. [2] This is true even though one does not have sufficient food prepared for the second day.

And the two days of Rosh Hashana?

Even though two days of Rosh Hashanah are observed in Eretz Yisrael they are not considered as one long day [3] and consequently one may not prepare on the first day for the second. [4]

So how may I prepare food on the first day for the second?

Best is obviously to prepare before Yom Tov and freeze. But if that is not possible or some other event prevents this, we find methods to overcome the problem.

A concept called making more is applied.

The Shulchan Aruch says [5] that one may fill a pot with meat and place it onto the fire (on first day Yom Tov) even though one only requires a single piece for the first day and most of the pieces will be used on the second.

Likewise, one may fill a pot of water and place it onto the fire even though only a single cup of water is required on the first day and the remainder is for the second.

Since one is not performing extra work for the second day, it is permitted. 

Does it make a difference if content is added to the pot before or after it is on the fire?

Yes it does. If we can interpret the action as benefiting first day Yom Tov it may be carried out but if we cannot, it may not be. For example, Chazal tell us that the more meat in a pot the tastier it is, so even if the pot of meat is on the fire one may add more meat to the pot even though that meat is intended for the night meal, because it will improve the meat intended for the first day.

Water, on the other hand, does not improve in taste, so if the pot of water is already on the fire one may not add water to the pot if that water is not needed for the first day. In such an event, the pot must be filled with water needed for the both days and only then placed onto the fire.

May the person adding the meat intend it for the second day?

Yes, but that person should not say that it is intended for the second day. If that thought was verbally expressed the food may be eaten bdiavad on the second day. [6]

May this method be applied any time during the day?

No it may not, it must be applied before the meal. If one begins cooking after the first days meal one cannot say that one is cooking for first day and obviously it is for the second day. [7]

But isnt this entire concept a trick - how is this explained?

Midoraisso, if one cooks close to sunset on the first day for the second or for a weekday he is liable for malkos (lashing) for violating a biblical prohibition of cooking (or any other melacha) not for Yom Tov. The Torah permits cooking for Yom Tov ochel nefesh but not for after Yom Tov.

If one cooks early in the day and the food can be eaten on that day, even though one did not intend eating it, but since guests might or could arrive and eat that food it is ochel nefesh and biblically permitted.

Chazal prohibited this unless one needed the food or one of the above methods was used, i.e. adding to the meat pot or placing the water onto the fire in a single action.

The final result is that cooking early in the day is biblically permitted but prohibited midrabanan and when the above rules are complied with it is permitted. [8]

[1] There are leniencies on the second day with regards to burial and medication, but obviously a rav must be asked.

[2] Simon 503:1.

[3] Two days Rosh Hashanah differ from two days Yom Tov in the sense that it is considered a single long day for certain stringencies.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Simon 503:1-2 and MB.

[6] MB simon 503:6.

[7] Mechaber ibid.

[8] See Shulchan Aruch HaRav simon 503:1-5.


Food for Thought

Is it permitted to cook for second day before the first day meal and taste it?

What about preparing things for the second day without doing a melacha?

May one remove frozen food from the freezer on the first day for the night meal?

Answers coming BE"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Ksav Sofer explains the possuk The veiled matters are known to Hashem and the unveiled are known to us to be referring to the golus. Moshe Rabeinu envisioned the golus saying that we will be thrown into another land but could not say when we would be redeemed the time of geulah, only Hashem knows that. The time of geulah is veiled .

The unveiled time of geulah is in our hands, as it says today, if you adhere to his commandments. The unveiled geula is in our hands.

May Hashem grant His people a very good and sweet year.

For a printed version, click here.



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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.