Chapter: 11 – Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed

01. The Basic Prohibition of Melakha

The days of Ḥol Ha-mo’ed are neither weekdays nor Yom Tov, but something in between. Thus, some melakhot are permitted on them, while others are prohibited. The Torah emphasizes that the first and last days of Pesaḥ and Sukkot are … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 01. The Basic Prohibition of Melakha

02. General Rules

The prohibition of melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed is meant to allow us to enjoy the festival through Torah study and festive meals. Therefore, the basic rule is that melakha involving tirḥa is prohibited. There are two ways in which an … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 02. General Rules

03. Food Preparation

Since we fulfill the mitzva to rejoice on the festival through festive meals, on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed it is permitted to do any melakha necessary to prepare food. This permission includes both skilled labor and demanding work. True, on Yom Tov … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 03. Food Preparation

04. Makhshirei Okhel Nefesh

One may fix makhshirei okhel nefesh on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. Makhshirei okhel nefesh are appliances or utensils needed to prepare food. These include stovetops, ovens, mixers, knives, and skewers. Even if fixing them will require a professional and be time-consuming, even … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 04. Makhshirei Okhel Nefesh

05. Bodily Needs

Just as it is permitted to do any melakha necessary to prepare food, so too it is permitted to do any melakha necessary to care for the body on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. One may even pay a professional to do the … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 05. Bodily Needs

06. Medical Needs

Just as one may do any melakha necessary to prepare food or to take care of the body on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, so too one may undergo any medical treatment that is meant to relieve pain, as this too is a … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 06. Medical Needs

7. Mending Clothes

As we have seen, even skilled labor may be done to meet bodily needs (such as food and medicine), and when necessary one may even pay for it. However, when it comes to other festival needs, only unskilled and unpaid … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 7. Mending Clothes

08. Holiday Needs

Floors may be washed on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed using a squeegee stick and a rag. However, one may not give the floors an extra-thorough cleaning and polish, because that is skilled labor. Additionally, on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed one should not do the … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 08. Holiday Needs

09. Shaving and Haircuts

Since there is a mitzva to shave and to have one’s hair cut before the festival, the Sages forbade shaving or getting haircuts during Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. Therefore, even though the general rule on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed is that it is permissible … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 09. Shaving and Haircuts

10. Cutting Nails

One whose nails are overgrown should cut them before the festival. However, according to most poskim, if he did not do so, he may cut them be-di’avad during Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. It is permitted as it is considered a bodily need, … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 10. Cutting Nails

11. Laundry

It is a mitzva to launder one’s clothing before the festival. In order to make sure that people would not be lazy about it, the Sages prohibited washing clothes on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. That is, although based on the halakhic principles … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 11. Laundry

12. Clothing That May Be Washed

Clothes that get dirty frequently, such as those of babies and small children, may be washed on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed for festival use. The Sages prohibited washing clothes during Ḥol Ha-mo’ed in order to encourage people to wash them before the … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 12. Clothing That May Be Washed

13. Writing

Writing is prohibited on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, just as other melakhot are. Therefore, one may not write even just a single letter of a Torah scroll, a mezuza, or tefilin. It is also prohibited to draft legal documents, do paperwork for … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 13. Writing

14. Playing and Creative Activities

Although writing, drawing, cutting, gluing, and sewing are included among the prohibited melakhot of Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, young children may engage in them while playing. Since they cannot study Torah the way adults can, and playing is something they enjoy as … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 14. Playing and Creative Activities

15. Traveling, Outings, and Entertainment

On Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, one may drive a car for the purpose of an outing, as anything that we generally do for fun and which is not demanding is considered a festival need. However, if the driving does not serve a … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 15. Traveling, Outings, and Entertainment

16. Business and Purchases

Business is prohibited on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. Buying, selling, renting, and hiring are included in this prohibition. For the festival was given to the Jews to enable us to eat, drink, and study Torah. Business is generally burdensome and worrisome, and … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 16. Business and Purchases

17. Moving Items When It Requires Effort

The Sages prohibited doing anything very labor-intensive in public that is not necessary for the festival, even when there is no technical melakha involved, in order to encourage people to enjoy the festival and avoid belittling it. Therefore, the Sages … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 17. Moving Items When It Requires Effort

18. Jews and Non-Jews on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed

Just as on Shabbat the Sages prohibited a Jew from asking a non-Jew to do melakha for him, so too on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed they prohibited a Jew from asking a non-Jew to do melakha for him that he would not … Continue reading

Posted in 11 - Melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed | Comments Off on 18. Jews and Non-Jews on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed