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Weekly Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Yom Tov

shabbos candles

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 Bo

May one write a shopping list?

It is known that writing on Chol Hamoed is a problem and we will b’ezras Hashem learn specific details another time. However, writing a shopping list is necessary for Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed and one may write shopping lists on Chol Hamoed. [1]

Must a shinui be made when writing a shopping list?

No, one need not write b’shinui because it for the sake of the mo’ed. [2]

Must I pay cash on Chol Hamoed in order to avoid writing a check?

If possible to pay with cash rather than credit card or check, it would seem this is preferred in order to avoid unnecessary writing. If one prefers paying with a check or credit card and cash is available one must ask a rav as to the correct conduct. [3]

 [Even if the answer to the question is relatively simple (one should seek halachic guidance) and one does not need to pay cash, it is important to raise these questions in order to heighten our awareness of these matters].

May one bake a large cake, even though it involves extra effort and one can suffice with a small cake for Chol Hamoed?

For example, one is baking cake for the last days of Yom Tov and one wishes to bake a large cake to eat after Yom Tov as well. Obviously if the entire cake might be eaten on Yom Tov, or if it is more attractive to place a large cake on a platter then a smaller one, it is permitted, as being a Yom Tov necessity. The issue is whether it is definitely not needed for Chol Hamoed or Yom Tov.

Why should it be permitted, since you’re not doing it for Yom Tov?

The reason to permit it is because one is performing the same actions as when preparing a smaller quantity. Instead of mixing 1 kilo flour with water, one is mixing 2 kilos. Instead of sifting 1 kilo of flour one is sifting 2 kilos etc.

One is permitted to prepare a larger quantity than needed for Chol Hamoed (and the ensuing Yom Tov) provided that one does not need to perform extra melachos that would not be needed had one prepared only for Chol Hamoed. [4] If the extra quantity is needed to improve quality or for any other beneficial reason, one may prepare a larger quantity.

Can you be more specific?

One may sift 2 kilos of flour instead of 1 kilo; one may mix in the Kenwood 2 kilos of flour instead of 1 kilo, because it is the same action.

One may fill a pot with meat and chicken and place it on the stove, even though some of the meat and chicken is for after Yom Tov. One may not put meat and chicken into a pot already cooking on the stove when that meat or chicken is not for Chol Hamoed or Yom Tov.

What’s the difference between the two cases?

The difference between the two cases is that placing a pot full of meat and chicken (or any other product) onto the cooking source is a single action, where part of that action is intended for Chol Hamoed and one is not doing anything extra for after Chol Hamoed. Placing additional pieces of chicken or meat into a pot already on the stove is an action performed solely for after Chol Hamoed.

Are all food manufacturers permitted to work on Chol Hamoed?

Avoiding the issue of davar ha’aved (preventing a loss), [5] let us focus on the ochel nefesh factor.

The halacha makes a distinction between manufacturers who produce food items that are perceptibly produced for Chol Hamoed and Yom Tov and products that are not evidently for Chol Hamoed. [6]

Bakeries and milk-product manufacturers are permitted to work regularly on Chol Hamoed, because everyone appreciates that their produce is intended for Chol Hamoed. Chocolate factories and the like are problematic because their produce is not automatically intended for Chol Hamoed. They may operate when their intention is to produce for Chol Hamoed however an element of not operating publicly is advised.

Nowadays it is not possible for a factory to work “behind closed doors” and when producing food for Chol Hamoed, they may do so in the regular manner, especially because their produce is intended for the public.

As a rule, factory owners, storekeepers and almost every businessman must seek halachic guidance as to whether one may work on Chol Hamoed. The issues mentioned in this sheet are not applicable to 90% of the population [7] but it is intended to heighten awareness to the kedusha of Chol Hamoed and the importance of receiving proper halachic guidance.

Is there a limit as to what a bakery may produce?

Yes indeed. They may produce all items that are regularly eaten during Chol Hamoed and Yom Tov, such as challos, cakes and rolls, but not bread that is only eaten on a weekday, because they are baked specifically for after Yom Tov. [8]

[1] SS”K 66:11.

[2] Based on the sources cited in SS”K ibid footnote 50.

[3] See SS”K 66 footnote 50*.

[4] Based on SS”K 66:12.

[5] One may do melacha on Chol Hamoed to prevent a loss, but the definition of davar ha’aved is not simple.

[6] SS”K 66:13, based on simon 537:15.

[7] When was the last time you owned a bakery?

[8] SS”K 66 footnote 59*.


Food for Thought

May one sharpen knives on Chol Hamoed?

What about fixing a leaky faucet in the kitchen?

A kitchen utensil is broken, but I’ll have more time on Chol Hamoed to repair it than before Yom Tov. May I leave its repair for Chol Hamoed?

Answers coming BE"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Hashem wants us to relate to our children that he teased and mocked the Egyptians (10:2 –Rashi). What was the purpose of this? How did it contribute towards the salvation of the Jews?

True that B’nei Yisroel were physically redeemed from the terrible hardships and sufferings, but mentally they were wrecks. Chazal tell us on numerous occasions that leitzanut – mockery can destroy seriousness, which in most cases is unfavorable. However in this particular case it was extremely beneficial. Mocking the Egyptians lifted the Israelites spirits and injected self respect and self esteem, preparing them for their journey to a new life. (From sefer D’var Mikrah – Rav Emanuel Bernstein).


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.