melachos prohibited on Chol Hamoed mid’oraisso or
Rambam says (Yom Tov 7,1): Even though it does not say
Shabbat in relation to Chol Hamoed, but since it is called
î÷řŕ ÷ăů and during this
period people brought the korban chagiga (festive
offering) to the beis hamikdash, it is forbidden to
Similar to Yom Tov, are all
Rambam continues, that the intention is to distinguish
between a regular weekday and Chol Hamoed and therefore it
is enough to prohibit some melachos and permit
others. In other words, he is saying that Chol Hamoed must
not be like a regular weekday where everything is permitted
and on the other hand it is not Yom Tov - suffice to
prohibit some melachos and permit others.
It sounds like the prohibition is
of rabbinic origin, is that true?
three opinions in the Rishonim.
melachos are of biblical origin but Chachamim were
empowered to decide which melachos to permit and
which to prohibit.
prohibition to do melachos is rabbinic and the
possuk is an asmachta (hinted to by Chazal
in the torah). This is the Rambam’s opinion.
melachos are of biblical origin, except that
mid’oraisso one may perform melachos for Chol
Hamoed, even îěŕëú ŕĺîď
(melachos performed by craftsmen) and Chazal
only permitted them when done in layman fashion.
Are there rules as to which
melachos are permitted on Chol Hamoed?
categorized permitted melacha into five groups:
– melachos related to food preparation.
Davar ha’aved - in case of loss.
Ma’ase hedyot – regular melachos performed in a simple manner.
Tzorchei rabim – melachos that benefit the public.
A worker who does not have Yom Tov necessities.
Each one of
these groups includes many intricate halachos as to
when melacha may be performed and by whom.
One must know the definition of a “davar ha’aved” as
not every “loss” is halachically so. Sometimes one is merely
“not gaining” as opposed to losing.
How does one define a ma’ase hedyot? Is writing a
ma’ase hedyot and what about typing?
Are there not simple guidelines one
can follow to know which melachos are permitted when?
Unfortunately there are not. Chazal teach us that the
halachos of Chol Hamoed are
unassociated with each other and one heter does not
necessarily lead to another. The Chinuch
writes “sometimes we will find that Chazal permitted
arduous melachos and sometimes they prohibited easy ones”.
He continues “do not be surprised at this because the Torah
handed it to them to decide that which is permitted and that
which is prohibited”.
We see that much is to be learned and nothing can be taken
It seems that going to work on Chol
Hamoed is problematic.
is and one must enquire as to whether one’s work is
permitted. The Aruch Hashulchan
adds the following: the general rule is one must flee from
leniencies that degrade Chol Hamoed.
If work is prohibited on Chol
Hamoed, what is one supposed to do for an entire week?
cites the Yerushalmi: R’ Aba bar Memel says
melacha is prohibited on Chol Hamoed to be able
to eat, drink and learn Torah. He then cites the Kol Bo
saying Hashem intended Chol Hamoed to be a
time where one can strengthen one’s fear and love of heaven
and toil in His perfect Torah.
What is included in the heter of
nefesh does not only mean cooking and baking, it
includes anything done to an item from which one will
benefit on Chol Hamoed or the last day of Yom Tov.
includes, reaping – one may pick apples, tomatoes,
wheat and berries or anything similar. Grinding – one
may grind wheat, beets or any other food. Capturing –
it is permitted to catch fish even though on Shabbos and Yom
Tov it is a biblical prohibition. Hav’arah - lighting
a fire is totally permitted for ochel nefesh.
What if the ochel nefesh involves
One may do
all the above even though it might be a meleches uman
– professional work or hard labor. Reaping and grinding
wheat can be hard labor and take up much of one’s vacation;
nevertheless it is permitted under the umbrella of ochel