05. Laws of Yom Tov Sheni

The laws pertaining to the second day of Yom Tov are the same as those pertaining to the first day, as everything the Sages ordained was patterned on Torah law. Therefore, all the prohibitions – including rabbinic ones – which apply to the first day of Yom Tov apply to the second as well. Similarly, all the prayers of Yom Tov Sheni are the same as the prayers of the first day. Kiddush is made on wine, and the berakha of She-heḥeyanu is recited, just as it is on the first day (SA 661:1). A Seder is held on the first two nights of Pesaḥ, and both include all the berakhot and mitzvot. A case could be made that since Yom Tov Sheni is observed as a result of uncertainty (safek), berakhot should not be recited. After all, there is a principle that when there is a doubt pertaining to the recitation of a berakha, one does not recite it. Nevertheless, in the case of Yom Tov Sheni, the Sages instructed us to recite the berakhot. They were concerned that if people did not make the same berakhot as they did on the first day, they would not take Yom Tov Sheni seriously (Shabbat 23a).[4]

Care should be taken not to prepare food or set the table on the first day of Yom Tov for the second day (SA 503:1; see 2:12 above). Similarly, it is proper to light candles for Yom Tov Sheni after tzeit, in order to avoid preparing on the first day of Yom Tov for the second day. One who lights candles before bein ha-shmashot has an opinion to rely on, since she will get a little enjoyment from the light of the candles on the first day of Yom Tov.[5] (On Yom Tov Sheni, the Sages allowed Jews to bury the deceased in order to accord proper dignity to the dead, as explained above in 7:5.)


[4]. On Shemini Atzeret, those in the Diaspora sit in the sukka, as it may be the final day of Sukkot. At the same time, they do not recite the berakha on sitting on the sukka, because the day is primarily treated as the Yom Tov of Shemini Atzeret rather than Sukkot. If people recited the berakha, they would be contradicting their own practice (Sukkah 47a; SA 668:1). Additionally, this might lead people to be disrespectful toward Yom Tov prohibitions in general (Ran). Some have a custom to eat only the beginning of the meal in the sukka. Poskim are also divided about whether to sleep in the sukka that night. The custom is not to do so (MB 668:6). The lulav is not picked up on Shemini Atzeret, because the mitzva of lulav after the first day is completely rabbinic, and the Sages did not ordain that it be done on Shemini Atzeret (Ran; see Yom Tov Sheni Ke-hilkhato 1:91 with note 280).

An egg that was laid on the first day of Yom Tov may not be used then, but may be used on the second day of Yom Tov. As we have seen, the halakhic rationale for ordaining the second day of Yom Tov is due to the uncertainty about the date of the holiday. Therefore, if the first day is Yom Tov, the second day is a weekday and the egg is permitted. And if the first day is in fact a weekday, an egg laid then was never forbidden in the first place. However, on Rosh Ha-shana, when the two days are treated as one long day, an egg that is laid on the first day is prohibited on both days (Beitza 4b; SA 513:5).

[5]. Gittel Falk (whose husband Rabbi Yehoshua Falk wrote the Derisha and Sema commentaries) is cited by her son as saying that it is proper to light candles after tzeit so as to avoid preparing on the first day of Yom Tov for the second day (see the Harḥavot 2:2 n. 2). This is indeed the custom, as we see in Mishnat Ya’avetz, OḤ §34; Piskei Teshuvot 514:19; and Yom Tov Sheni Ke-hilkhato 1:14. However, many write that one may light before shki’a, including Shlah, Eliya Rabba, and MB 514:33. They maintain that this is not preparation for the second day, as the person who lights will immediately enjoy the light from the candles.

See 2:12 above, where we explain that when Yom Tov starts on Saturday night, ideally one should not eat se’uda shlishit during the last three hours of Shabbat. Nevertheless, if he did not eat it earlier, he may eat it then, keeping the meal to a minimum. In contrast, on the first day of Yom Tov one is not required to eat less because of the upcoming second day, as Yom Tov Sheni does not negate any of the mitzvot of the first day. This is the approach of Hitorerut Teshuva 2:53 and BHL 529:1 s.v. “ba-erev.” Magen Avraham 529:1 and those who follow its rulings disagree and are stringent in this matter.

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