Sukkot

Questions About Chol Hamoed

Is it forbidden to launder clothes on chol hamoed, or maybe it is just a custom? Is it forbidden the entire week or is it permitted on Friday?

Laundering is forbidden on chol hamoed by law and not because it is a custom. There is no permit to launder on chol hamoed in honor of Shabbat.

I wanted to know several things. 1. Is it permitted to buy clothes on chol hamoed? 2. If my parents buy me clothes (for a gift) and want me to come with them, is it permitted? 3. Can I buy clothes on chol hamoed having in mind that I will wear them during the holiday?

1/3. If it’s to get clothes to wear on chol hamoed, it is permitted. If there is a special sale, you can likewise buy them on chol hamoed. 2. If your parents want to get you clothes now, it is permitted.

I am learning Torah and am writing everything down in a notebook so I will understand it better. On chol hamoed it is forbidden to write and it’s affecting my learning. Can I write down my Torah studies?

One may write on chol hamoed to facilitate one’s Torah study.

A family relative asked me why it’s forbidden to write on chol hamoed but it’s permitted to put on the light and travel. I didn’t know what to answer him. What’s the answer? Thanks.

The legal experts are divided on the matter. Some think that the prohibition to do some work is rabbinical. The Rambam in the Laws of Festivals 7:1 writes: “Even though the Torah does not call chol hamoed a ‘sabbathical’, since it is called a ‘holy convocation’ and it was a festive time in the Temple, it is prohibited to do work on it so it will not be like other weekdays which have no holiness. One who does work on it gets a sentence of lashes because it is a rabbinical prohibition. Not every kind of work is forbidden on chol hamoed as is the case with the first and seventh days of Sukkot. In conclusion, many things were forbidden so it would not become like a regular weekday. Therefore some kinds of work are forbidden and others permitted.”
Many legal authorities believe that the prohibition against work on chol hamoed has its origin in Torah but the sages were lenient in several things based on the authority that was given to the sages by the Torah to permit whatever was necessary on chol hamoed.

I wanted to ask which prohibitions apply to chol hamoed. Is it possible to do everything like on the weekdays, or are there certain prohibitions like during festivals and Shabbat?

It is forbidden to do work on chol hamoed but cooking and cleaning the house is permitted. Likewise for any work that entails a loss, i.e. if someone wouldn’t do that work and the result would be something would get ruined or lost, then it is permitted to do it on chol hamoed. One may also repair vital systems in one’s home without which one cannot manage, such as fixing a fridge, plumbing, etc.

1. Can one develop pictures on chol hamoed? 2. Is it permitted to type a letter on a computer without printing it?

One should be stringent and not develop pictures. Typing is permitted on chol hamoed.

2. May one put tefillin on during chol hamoed and the festival days?
No, because our very keeping of the holiday is the sign between G-d and us that we are His people. There is no need for the sign of the tefillin. Therefore, one should keep the festival and chol hamoed properly.

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