shabbos candles

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 Tetzave

May one mend torn shoes on Chol Hamoed?

There are still places in the world where torn shoes and sandals are handed to a shoemaker for repair. The Shulchan Aruch says [1] that shoes and sandals may not be repaired on Chol Hamoed, even by a gentile shoemaker. If however the shoes are required for Chol Hamoed they may be repaired bshinui, i.e. in an irregular manner, as explained in the previous shiur. [2]

But if I dont repair them on Chol Hamoed they might tear completely?

To prevent a total loss one may repair them (when needed on Chol Hamoed) on account of davar haaved to prevent a loss. It seems though from the Mishna Berura [3] that one may not take the shoes to the shoemaker rather the shoemaker must fetch them from your house. Others permit it. [4]

One may remove a nail or pin from the shoe because that is not a meleches uman and is necessary for Chol Hamoed. [5]

What about repairing a broken window on Chol Hamoed?

Repairing a broken window is a meleches uman but permitted because human health is at stake, [6] either because broken shards are hazardous or because wind and cold air blow into the house. A broken window that does not present a health hazard may not be repaired in a professional manner [7] unless a loss might incur. It may be repaired in a non-professional manner when needed on Chol Hamoed.

Similarly one may repair a heater needed in cold climates, when it is to be used on Chol Hamoed. [8]

Why must you say health is at stake, would uncomfortable not suffice?

Indeed it would seem so. We have learned that one may perform professional work for physical comfort , and sitting in a cold room on Chol Hamoed conforms thereto. The problem is that the Pri Megadim cited by the Mishna Berura [9] says that people are prone to catching colds, meaning that one may only repair a heater (or a window) to prevent catching a cold and not solely for comfort.

We must say though, that it does not only mean that and one may repair a heater for physical comfort as well.

May one repair an air conditioner on Chol Hamoed?

Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that when the weather is stifling hot one may repair an a/c unit, even professionally. [10] He compares it to repairing a heater in the cold. We see from this that one need not become ill to permit repair; it suffices if one is uncomfortable.

Which writing is permitted on Chol Hamoed and which is not?

Many halachos pertain to writing on Chol Hamoed and we will try presenting them as briefly and concisely as possible.

Writing Stam (sofer stam). Writing letters in a sefer torah is professional writing and totally prohibited on Chol Hamoed. Editing even a single letter in a sefer torah is prohibited, even if the sefer is possul.

What if they found a mistake in a sefer torah while leining in shul?

It may not be repaired and another sefer torah must be taken from the ark. If the shul possesses only that one sefer torah it may be repaired, even though it is possible to obtain another sefer torah from another shul. [11]

If the shul has another sefer torah but is used by a minyan in the main shul and the minyan in another room uses the possul sefer torah, one may repair the sefer torah if the minyan times clash. If the minyan times do not clash, one should bring the sefer torah from one minyan to another and not repair the posul sefer torah. [12]

What if the sofer is only required to separate letters?

Separating joined letters and writing over a faint letter is not a meleches uman (professional) and is permitted even on Chol Hamoed. [13]

May a sofer write tefillin and mezuzos on Chol Hamoed?

If the mezuzos are needed for Chol Hamoed the sofer may write them, but if he has ample funds for all his Yom Tov needs he must write the mezuzos at no charge. If he can use the earnings to enhance his Yom Tov, he may charge for the work. [14]

If the sofer needs them for his own house he may write them on Chol Hamoed even if he only needs them after the chag. This is because it is for a mitzvah and for ones personal mitzvah. [15] This does not mean that one may perform a professional melacha for the sake of a mitzvah, as we will learn beH.

If there is ample time to write mezuzos after Yom Tov, the sofer should not write them on Chol Hamoed. [16]

[1] Simon 541:4.

[2] Rama ibid.

[3] MB simon 534:15.

[4] See SSK 66 footnote 195 citing the Maamar Mordechai.

[5] SSK 66:53.

[6] Shaar Hatsiun simon 540:16.

[7] SSK 66 footnote 200.

[8] MB simon 540:19, SSK 66:54.

[9] Simon 540:19.

[10] Cited in SSK 66 footnote 203.

[11] SSK 68:10.

[12] Based on Biur Halacha simon 545:2 and SSK 68 footnote 37.

[13] MB simon 545:2.

[14] Simon 545:3 and SSK 67:38.

[15] SSK 67 footnote 169.

[16] SSK 67 footnote 170, based on Shaar Hatsiun 545:10.


Food for Thought

May one make tzitzis on Chol Hamoed?

May one pay bills and write checks on Chol Hamoed?

May one write a letter to family and friends on Chol Hamoed?

May one use a computer on Chol Hamoed?

Answers coming BE"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Chazal explain this to mean Torah, Yom Tov, B'ris milah and tefillin. Haman tried to sever the tie between Hashem and B'nei Yisrael, as Hashem is known as , and part of Hamans scheme was to prevent B'nei Yisroel from keeping those particular mitzvos, as these are signs that we are his chosen people.

When Hashem overturned his evil plan, B'nei Yisroel could once again rejoice with these signs.


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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.