How is the mitzvah of simcha celebrated on Yom Tov?
compared to Shabbos, Yom Tov, has an extra embellishment
called simcha – happiness. The prophet tells us that
we must enjoy Shabbos, as it says –
å÷øàú ìùáú òðâ, which is
achieved by consuming succulent food and drink.
The Mishna Berura cites Rishonim who hold that
enjoying Shabbos is included in
î÷øàé ÷ãù, as it says åáéåí
äùáéòé ùáú ùáúåï î÷øà ÷ãù and the Sifra
explains that one must enjoy Shabbos with food and drink.
Oneg (pleasure) applies to Yom Tov as well, as Yom Tov
is also î÷øà ÷ãù.
So what is simcha?
says the following: One is obligated to be happy and good
hearted on Yom Tov; him, his wife and children and all those
depending on him. How does one make them happy? Children are
supplied with nosh (nuts, candies etc.) and women are
supplied with fine clothes and jewelry, according to one's
financial means. Men consume meat and wine, as simcha
can only be had with meat and wine.
What is the Rambam's source?
Rambam cites the possuk
åùîçú áçâê (rejoice on your
festival) as the biblical source for simcha. However,
he states that the possuk is really referring to
consuming the korban sh'lamim offered on Yom
Tov – the shalmei simcha, but nevertheless it
includes all means of simcha, each person with what
makes him happy. Indeed in the time of the beis hamikdash
the main simcha was to eat the korban sh'lamim.
What if one particularly enjoys
eating fish, not meat, what is the simcha?
in the gemora
says that women's clothing differs; in Bavel women
appreciated colored clothes and in Eretz Yisrael women
prefered ironed linen. There is no set pattern. For most
people a good piece of meat and good wine satisfies whereas
others might enjoy salmon steak. Each to his own, as long as
it brings one simcha.
Revelry and wine seem contrary to
Jewish behavior, should one not be more serious?
there is a major difference between drinking for simcha
and frivolity. Secondly, the halacha maps a timetable
for Yom Tov, which does not leave much room for incorrect
Rambam writes (6:19) “even though eating and drinking on
Yom Tov is a mitvas aseh (a positive mitzvah) one
should not spend the entire day eating and drinking.
Everyone must rise early to shul and to batei
midrash where they learn and read Yom Tov portions in
the Torah and return home to eat. They then return to shul
and learn until midday. After midday they daven mincha,
return home to eat and drink until nightfall”.
We see that
Yom Tov is divided between shul and learning and eating and
drinking, which should place Yom Tov in the right Torah
Is there a mitzvah of simcha on
cites the Rambam as his source to say that simcha
applies on Chol Hamoed but kavod (honor) and
oneg do not apply. However, in another location
he cites other sources who say that oneg and kavod
apply to Chol Hamoed as well and one must eat, drink
and wear clean clothing different to that of a weekday.
Why the discrepancy?
simcha stems from åùîçú
áçâê, which applies to
Chol Hamoed as well. Oneg and kavod
stem from î÷øà ÷ãù and
Chol Hamoed is not called î÷øà
What is the difference between oneg
requires one to eat two bread meals on Shabbos and Yom Tov,
one at night and one during the day. The Rambam says
to drink wine during the Shabbos and Yom Tov meals (on
account of oneg) and consume meat and delicacies
according to one’s means. Actions that cause pleasure are
included in oneg.
“original” simcha was to eat the korban, as
stated above, not any meat and only because we lack
korbanos are we obligated to find other means to make
In the time
of the beis hamikdash one has a mitzvas aseh
to eat the korban. One must consume meat during a
meal or alternately if one does not enjoy meat, one should
consume food that brings simcha. (Rav Sternbuch
shlita explains that simcha is brought about by
specific items, whereas oneg is more general. E.g.
eating nuts is pleasurable but does not necessarily cause
simcha. A good wine or juicy piece of meat will).
Must one imbibe wine every day of
mathematics. Since it is a mitzvah to be b’simcha
on Chol Hamoed and wine produces simcha, one
should imbibe wine on Chol Hamoed.
It is not
clear though how much wine, whether a revi’is,
a majority of a revi’is or any amount.
Perhaps we could say that the purpose is simcha and
each person according to his particular drinking habits.
Some people will suffice with a small amount of wine while
others require more, v’tzorich iyun. If one does not
enjoy wine it seems sensible that one is free from this