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Weekly Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Chol HaMoed

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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 Ki Sisa

May one make tzitzis on Chol Hamoed?

As explained in last shiur, one may perform a meleches hedyot (non-professional craft) for a mitzvah, even for after Chol Hamoed. [1] Tying tzitzis onto a four-cornered garment is a meleches hedyot and permitted even for after Chol Hamoed. If one will have ample time after Chol Hamoed to fashion tzitzis one should avoid tying them during Chol Hamoed [2]

May one tie tzitzis at night or only during the day?

Tzitzis is a daytime mitzvah, as it says that one should “see” one’s tzitzis. (Although the Rambam and Rosh argue whether one is obligated to wear tzitzis on a daytime garment that is worn at night, it is nevertheless a daytime mitzvah). Consequently the question is whether tzitzis may be tied onto a garment at night, when it is not time for the mitzvah, or only during the day.

Several poskim wrote that daytime is preferred, [3] but the Chazon Ish, Ben Ish Chai and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach [4] wrote that one may lechatchila tie tzitzis onto one’s garment at night.

May one write a note advising the time of a b’ris that takes place a day after the last day of Yom Tov?

This question was posed to the gedolei hador a few years ago and the answer is not so simple. Based on the above it should be permitted because writing is a meleches hedyot and when done for a mitzvah it may be done even on Chol Hamoed for after Yom Tov. The point is how important is it to announce a b’ris when it is known that even without announcing the b’ris there will be a minyan of adult males. It is best to ask your rav.

May one pay bills and write checks on Chol Hamoed?

Although our writing is a meleches hedyot, to permit such writing there must be a tzorech moed – some necessity for Chol Hamoed.

For example, the Shulchan Aruch writes [5] that one may write a letter to a friend and relative on Chol Hamoed and the Mishna Berura explains [6] that writing to a friend is a necessity. The Rama however writes [7] that others prohibit writing a letter to a friend and the custom is to write implementing a shinui - either writing all the lines at a slant or at least the first line.

But the letter might only reach its destination after Chol Hamoed?

This is a very good point as raised by the Oruch Hashulchan, which  answers that the poskim omitted the requirement that the letter arrive on Chol Hamoed because writing a letter is effortless and performed in private. Consequently Chazal were not particular on this issue.

Accordingly, if necessary to pay bills and write checks on Chol Hamoed to prevent a loss or for another reason, one may do so.

But I cannot write a slanted check?

When writing for something necessary for the mo’ed one may do so even without writing at a slant, because our writing is accepted by most poskim to be a meleches hedyot and the slant is only a custom to be applied when possible. [8]

May I purposely set time for Chol Hamoed to write letters and pay bills?

Writing letters to friends and paying bills may only be done on Chol Hamoed when not purposely intending to do so. In other words, because people have extra free time on Chol Hamoed one might plan to use that time for writing letters and paying bills and this is not permitted. [9] One may pay bills and write letters if one did not have time to do so before Chol Hamoed or if the need arose on Chol Hamoed.

May one use a computer on Chol Hamoed?

Writing on a computer is not a meleches uman and is permitted on Chol Hamoed. [10] As stated above, even though it is not possible to write at a slant, it is unnecessary to do so when not possible.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach added that there is a problem to write and store information on a disk on account of boneh – construction. [11] He explained that a disk without information is worthless and by feeding it and storing information on it, one is ‘constructing’ it. Consequently, writing and storing unimportant information [12] or typing without storing information is not a problem.

May one print one’s work on Chol HaMoed?

Typing on the computer is one thing and printing is another. One may only print that which one may write. The problem is that printing is probably worse than writing because the printout is usually block letters, as opposed to handwriting which runs. [13] If necessary to print to avoid a loss, it may be performed.

May one use a rubber stamp on Chol Hamoed?

It is also a meleches hedyot and permitted when necessary for the mo’ed. [14]

[1] Simon 545:3.

[2] See SS”K 66:45 and footnote 189.

[3] Cited in Teshuvos Vahanhagos vol. II simon 13.

[4] Halichos Shlomo 3:23, see footnotes.

[5] Simon 545:5.

[6] Simon 545:30.

[7] Simon 545:5.

[8] See SS”K 66 footnote 209.

[9] M”B simon 545:31 and Sha’ar Hatsiun 31, SS”K 66:55.

[10] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in SS”K 66 footnote 209, and in the tikunim.

[11] SS”K 66 footnote 211.

[12] Based on the tikunim on the mentioned footnote.

[13] One of the factors to permit writing is that the letters are not block letters.

[14] SS”K 66:55.


Food for Thought

May one fold clothing on Chol Hamoed?

Is ironing permitted on Chol Hamoed?

May one fix plumbing on Chol Hamoed?

Answers coming BE"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Chazal tell us that the gates of tears are not sealed, but, asked the Kotzker Rebbe, why are there gates at all, what purpose do they serve?

He answered that the gates are closed to bar entrance to tears shed over nonsensical matters!


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.