Chapter: 12 – When Work Is Permitted on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed

01. A Laborer with Nothing to Eat

One who cannot put food on the table for the festival may work on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed. The point of forbidding melakha on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed is to relieve people of work and worries, freeing them to enjoy the festival through festive … Continue reading

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02. Davar Ha-aved (Preventing a Loss)

It is obvious that a person loses income by not working on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, as every day on which he does not work he loses the earnings of that day. This is not truly a loss (davar ha-aved), though. Rather, … Continue reading

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03. Not to Plan Work for Ḥol Ha-Mo’ed

If pests have begun to attack a field on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed and are likely to cause significant damage, one may spray them. However, if he knew before the start of the festival that the field needed to be sprayed, but … Continue reading

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04. Various Laws of Davar Ha-aved

What if it is unclear whether a loss will be sustained? For example, it may be unclear whether pests will seriously damage a field. If the concern is great enough that people would normally cut short their vacation to deal … Continue reading

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05. Employers and Employees

Some types of work are permitted le-khatḥila on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, including those activities done to provide food (as we explained above in 11:3), for bodily needs and healing (11:5-6), and for communal needs such as public transportation (11:15), road maintenance … Continue reading

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06. Grocery Stores and Other Stores

The owner of a grocery store must open up on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed to provide his customers with food for the festival. Since it is clear that this serves a festival need, he need not be discreet about it. He may … Continue reading

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07. Keeping Businesses Open to Prevent Loss

If one owns a store in a non-Jewish neighborhood and is afraid that staying closed on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed would cause him a serious long-term loss (as his customers would get used to buying from his competitors), he may open his … Continue reading

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08. Communal Needs

On Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, one may take care of communal needs, since they are considered mitzva needs and thus festival needs as well. This is true even if there will be no actual benefit seen on the festival itself. However, this … Continue reading

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09. Communal Needs Nowadays

The permissibility of doing melakha for communal needs on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed still applies in areas where the government is weak and thus unable to collect taxes and enforce the law. However, if the government is able to take care of … Continue reading

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10. Unskilled Labor for Mitzva Needs

In order to fulfill a mitzva on the festival, whether it is incumbent upon an individual or a group, unskilled labor may be undertaken. A mitzva need is comparable to other festival needs for which it is permitted to do … Continue reading

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11. Time-Sensitive Mitzva Needs

Permissible melakha for a mitzva need is normally limited to unskilled labor. However, if the mitzva involved is a time-sensitive one, meaning that if it is not observed immediately the opportunity to do so will be lost, then even skilled … Continue reading

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12. Building Synagogues, Schools, and a Ma’akeh

One may not build a synagogue on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed even if the community has nowhere nice to pray, and even if by building on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, they will be able to complete the building in time to use it during … Continue reading

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13. Rabbinic Courts and Documents

Rabbinic courts do not convene on Shabbat or Yom Tov out of concern that the court would need to write down the claims of each side, thus transgressing a Torah prohibition (Beitza 37a). However, courts do convene on Ḥol Ha-mo’ed, … Continue reading

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