shave body hair on Chol Hamoed?
A woman may
shave body hair on Chol Hamoed, the same as she may
apply makeup, powder etc., as it is all inclusive in
tzorchei haguf – physical necessities.
A woman may not have a haircut on Chol Hamoed.
for the same reason that prohibits a man from doing so.
May one cut the hair of a male
child who reaches the age of three on Chol Hamoed?
the custom to undertake a child’s first haircut on Chol
but seeing that it is an interesting question, let us view
circumstances one may not shave on Chol Hamoed
because it should have been done before the Chag.
According to halacha, one who is released from prison
on Chol Hamoed may shave.
The reason is twofold: firstly, in prison he was unable to
shave; secondly, even if his jailers permitted him to shave,
he was not in a joyous mood to do so. Hence upon release a
prisoner may shave.
the custom not to cut a child’s hair before the age of
three. Consequently, a child who turns three is only
“released from prison” on Chol Hamoed and it should
therefore be permitted to give him a haircut.
Sounds good, so why not give him a
than that. The Shulchan Aruch explicitly says that
one may give a haircut to a child under bar mitzvah, however
the Mishna Berura
adds that this is only when the child has a lot of hair that
disturbs him, which is not normally the case.
that halacha is in favor of giving a three year old a
haircut on Chol Hamoed but some distinguished rabbis
prefer the custom not to do so.
As is usual
in such instances, one must ask one’s rav.
Are there restrictions as to
Mechaber rules that one may cut finger and toenails in
the regular manner on Chol Hamoed. The Rama is
stringent and says that custom is one does not, unless for a
The Mishna Berura rules
that if one cut nails before Yom Tov one may cut them on Yom
Tov as well.
implies that one who did not cut nails before Yom Tov may
not cut them on Yom Tov (e.g. before the last day of Yom
Tov). The Be’er Heitev cites an opinion who holds
that one who cuts nails regularly before Shabbos may cut
them on Chol Hamoed before Shabbos (it probably
includes before Yom Tov as well).
What is the halacha with regards to
melachos not performed for physical benefit?
to ochel nefesh and tzorchei haguf – physical
benefit, where melachos may be performed in the
regular professional manner, other needs necessary for
Chol Hamoed may only be tended to in compliance with
restrictions laid down by Chazal.
What are the restrictions?
attempt to present the various rules.
performs the melacha in a non-professional manner
may do so on Chol Hamoed.
performs the melacha in a professional manner
(even if he is not a professional but does it
professionally) must perform the melacha in an
irregular manner (shinui). The melacha may
not be done in a professional manner even for a mitzvah.
We will see b’ezras Hashem that certain
leniencies apply to mitzvos.
melacha that does not require much effort and is not
a meleches uman (craftsman) may be done in the
regular manner without need for a shinui.
Can you present practical examples?
One may mop
floors on Chol Hamoed when necessary and wash and
squeeze the cloth upon completion. Cleaning the floor is a
necessity and is not a professional melacha.
water may be poured onto plants that one is usually
prohibited to water on Chol Hamoed, provided that one
does not have an easy viable solution as to where to pour
Why is one permitted to pour water
above case one does not intend to water plants, rather one
wants to dispose of the water. The plants are being watered
‘by the way’ in a manner called p’sik reisha.
P’sik reisha is permitted on Chol Hamoed because
melachos on Chol Hamoed are prohibited mainly
on account of tircha – effort, and when a melacha
is done ‘by the way’ in a manner of p’sik reisha, it
is not prohibited.
May one wax floors on Chol Hamoed?
not wax floors on Chol Hamoed because it involves a
melacha and is an uvda d’chol. Certain opinions hold that
one may not shine windows on Chol Hamoed (unless
dirty) on account of uvda d’chol.
rule is that one may do the regular cleaning, not periodic