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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Shevitat Yom Tov - Chapter Seven

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Shevitat Yom Tov - Chapter Seven

1

Although Chol HaMo'ed is not referred to as a Sabbath,1 since it is referred to as "a holy convocation" and it was a time when the Chagigah sacrifices were brought in the Temple, it is forbidden to perform labor2 during this period, so that these days will not be regarded as ordinary weekdays that are not endowed with holiness at all. A person who performs forbidden labor on these days is given stripes for rebelliousness, for the prohibition is Rabbinic in origin.3

Not all the types of "servile labor" forbidden on a holiday are forbidden on it, for the intent of the prohibition is that the day not be regarded as an ordinary weekday with regard to all matters. Therefore, some labors are permitted on it, and some are forbidden.

א

חֻלוֹ שֶׁל מוֹעֵד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר בּוֹ (ויקרא כג כד) (ויקרא כג לט) "שַׁבָּתוֹן" הוֹאִיל וְנִקְרָא (ויקרא כג ז) "מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ" וַהֲרֵי הוּא זְמַן חֲגִיגָה בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ אָסוּר בַּעֲשִׂיַּת מְלָאכָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה כִּשְׁאָר יְמֵי הַחל שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן קְדֻשָּׁה כְּלָל. וְהָעוֹשֶׂה בּוֹ מְלָאכָה הָאֲסוּרָה מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאִסּוּרוֹ מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. וְלֹא כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבוֹדָה אֲסוּרָה בּוֹ כְּיוֹם טוֹב שֶׁסּוֹף הָעִנְיָן בַּדְּבָרִים שֶׁנֶּאֶסְרוּ בּוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה כְּיוֹם חֹל לְכָל דָּבָר. לְפִיכָךְ יֵשׁ מְלָאכוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת בּוֹ וְיֵשׁ מְלָאכוֹת מֻתָּרוֹת בּוֹ:

2

These are [the labors that are permitted]: Any labor may be performed if it would result in a great loss if not performed, provided it does not involve strenuous activity.

What is implied? We may irrigate parched land on [Chol Ha]Mo'ed,4but not land that is well-irrigated. For if parched land is not irrigated, the trees on it will be ruined.

When a person irrigates [such land], he should not draw water and irrigate [the land, using water] from a pool or rain water, for this involves strenuous activity.5 He may, however, irrigate it [using water] from a spring:6 whether an existing spring, or a spring that must be uncovered anew. He may extend the spring and irrigate [his land using this water]. The same applies in all similar situations.

ב

וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. כָּל מְלָאכָה שֶׁאִם לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה אוֹתָהּ בַּמּוֹעֵד יִהְיֶה שָׁם הֶפְסֵד הַרְבֵּה עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָהּ. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה בָּהּ טֹרַח הַרְבֵּה. כֵּיצַד. מַשְׁקִין בֵּית הַשְּׁלָחִין בַּמּוֹעֵד אֲבָל לֹא בֵּית הַמַּשְׁקֶה. שֶׁאִם לֹא יַשְׁקֶה בֵּית הַשְּׁלָחִין וְהִיא הָאָרֶץ הַצְּמֵאָה יִפָּסְדוּ בּוֹ הָאִילָנוֹת שֶׁבָּהּ. וּכְשֶׁהוּא מַשְׁקֶה אוֹתָהּ לֹא יִדְלֶה וְיַשְׁקֶה מִן הַבְּרֵכָה אוֹ מִמֵּי הַגְּשָׁמִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא טֹרַח גָּדוֹל. אֲבָל מַשְׁקֶה הוּא מִן הַמַּעְיָן בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה בֵּין שֶׁיָּצָא לְכַתְּחִלָּה מַמְשִׁיכוֹ וּמַשְׁקֶה בּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

3

A person may turn over his olives during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed,7 grind them, press them, fill jugs up with oil, and seal them as he does on weekdays. Whenever the failure to perform a labor would lead to a loss, one may perform the labor in its ordinary way without deviating from one's regular practice.

Similarly, a person may bring in his produce [to protect it] from thieves, provided he does so discreetly.8 A person may remove his flax from soaking so that it will not be spoiled, and one may harvest a vineyard during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed if the time to harvest it has come.9

ג

הוֹפֵךְ אָדָם אֶת זֵיתָיו בַּמּוֹעֵד וְטוֹחֵן אוֹתָן וְדוֹרֵךְ אוֹתָן וּמְמַלֵּא הֶחָבִיּוֹת וְגַף אוֹתָן כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה בְּחל. כָּל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ הֶפְסֵד אִם לֹא נַעֲשָׂה עוֹשֵׂהוּ כְּדַרְכּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ שִׁנּוּי. וְכֵן מַכְנִיס אָדָם פֵּרוֹתָיו מִפְּנֵי הַגַּנָּבִים וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיַּכְנִיסֵם בְּצִנְעָה. וְשׁוֹלֶה פִּשְׁתָּנוֹ מִן הַמִּשְׁרֶה בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁלֹּא תֹּאבַד. וְכֵן כֶּרֶם שֶׁהִגִּיעַ זְמַנּוֹ לְהִבָּצֵר בַּמּוֹעֵד בּוֹצְרִין אוֹתוֹ:

4

It is forbidden for a person to delay the performance of these or similar labors intentionally so that he will be able to perform them during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed when he has free time. Whenever a person ignores his work, leaving it for [Chol Ha]Mo'ed with the intention of performing it then, and actually [begins] to do so, the [Jewish] court must destroy [the fruits of this labor] and/or declare it ownerless, [free to be acquired] by anyone.10

If a person [delayed] his work, with the intention [of performing it on Chol HaMo'ed] and died, we do not punish his son, and cause him a loss. [On the contrary,] we do not prevent the son from performing the labor on [Chol Ha]Mo'ed so that he will not suffer a loss.

ד

וְאָסוּר לָאָדָם שֶׁיִּתְכַּוֵּן וִיאַחֵר מְלָאכוֹת אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וְיַנִּיחֵם כְּדֵי לַעֲשׂוֹתָן בַּמּוֹעֵד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא פָּנוּי. וְכָל הַמְכַוֵּן מְלַאכְתּוֹ וְהִנִּיחָהּ לַמּוֹעֵד וַעֲשָׂאָהּ בַּמּוֹעֵד בֵּית דִּין מְאַבְּדִין אוֹתָהּ וּמַפְקִירִין אוֹתָהּ לַכּל. וְאִם כִּוֵּן מְלַאכְתּוֹ וּמֵת אֵין קוֹנְסִין בְּנוֹ אַחֲרָיו וְאֵין מְאַבְּדִין אוֹתָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ. וְאֵין מוֹנְעִין הַבֵּן מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת אוֹתָהּ מְלָאכָה בַּמּוֹעֵד כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תֹּאבַד:

5

[The following rules apply when] a person must sew a garment or build a structure during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed: If he is an ordinary person and not skilled in the performance of that labor, he may perform it in his ordinary manner. If, however, he is a skilled craftsman, he [must deviate from his ordinary practice, and] perform the labor as an ordinary person would.

What is implied? When sewing, he should sew stitches as a weaver would.11 When building, he should place the stones down, but should not put mortar upon them. One may smooth [plaster over] cracks [in a roof] with a roller, with one's hands and with one's feet as one would do with a trowel.12 The same applies in other similar situations.

ה

מִי שֶׁצָּרַךְ לִתְפֹּר לוֹ בֶּגֶד אוֹ לִבְנוֹת לוֹ מָקוֹם בַּמּוֹעֵד. אִם הָיָה הֶדְיוֹט וְאֵינוֹ מָהִיר בְּאוֹתָהּ מְלָאכָה הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָהּ כְּדַרְכּוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה אֻמָּן מָהִיר הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָהּ מַעֲשֵׂה הֶדְיוֹט. כֵּיצַד. בִּתְפִירָה מַכְלִיב וּבְבִנְיָן מַנִּיחַ אֲבָנִים וְאֵינוֹ טָח בְּטִיט עֲלֵיהֶן וְשָׁף סִדְקֵי הַקַּרְקַע וּמַעֲגִילָהּ בַּיָּד וּבָרֶגֶל כְּעֵין שֶׁמַּעֲגִילִים בְּמַחְלָצַיִם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

6

[The following rule applies when] a person has grain that is still growing in the ground, and he has no other food to eat except this [grain]:13 Although he would not suffer a loss [if he did not harvest the grain], we do not require him to buy what he needs at the marketplace and [wait] until after the festival to harvest.

Instead, he may harvest [the grain] he needs,14 collect it in sheaves, thresh it, winnow it, separate it, and grind it, provided he does not thresh it with oxen.15 For any labor performed [during Chol HaMo'ed] that does not involve a loss must be [performed] in a manner departing from the norm. The same applies in other similar situations.

ו

מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה לוֹ תְּבוּאָה מְחֻבֶּרֶת לַקַּרְקַע וְאֵין לוֹ מַה שֶּׁיֹּאכַל בַּמּוֹעֵד אֶלָּא מִמֶּנָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין כָּאן הֶפְסֵד אֵין מַצְרִיכִין אוֹתוֹ לִקְנוֹת מַה שֶּׁיֹּאכַל מִן הַשּׁוּק עַד שֶׁיִּקְצֹר אַחַר הַמּוֹעֵד אֶלָּא קוֹצֵר וּמְעַמֵּר וְדָשׁ וְזוֹרֶה וּבוֹרֵר וְטוֹחֵן מַה שֶּׁהוּא צָרִיךְ. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יָדוּשׁ בְּפָרוֹת. שֶׁכָּל דָּבָר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ הֶפְסֵד צָרִיךְ לְשַׁנּוֹת. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

7

[Food]16 that one desires to pickle that can be eaten during a festival may be pickled [during Chol HaMo'ed]. If, however, the pickled food will not be ready until after the festival, it is forbidden to pickle it [during Chol HaMo'ed].

One may catch as many fish as one can17 during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed and salt them all, for it is possible for him partake of them during the festival if he squeezes them many times by hand until they become soft.

ז

כְּבָשִׁים שֶׁיָּכוֹל לֶאֱכל מֵהֶן בַּמּוֹעֵד כּוֹבְשָׁן. וְשֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיִין אֶלָּא לְאַחַר הַמּוֹעֵד אָסוּר לְכָבְשָׁן. וְצָד אָדָם דָּגִים כָּל שֶׁיָּכוֹל לָצוּד וּמוֹלֵחַ הַכּל בַּמּוֹעֵד שֶׁהֲרֵי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיֹּאכַל מֵהֶן בַּמּוֹעֵד אִם יִסְחֹט אוֹתָן בְּיָדוֹ פְּעָמִים רַבּוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּתְרַכְּכוּ:

8

One may set beer to ferment during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed for the sake of the festival. If it is not for the sake of the festival, it is forbidden. This applies both to beer made from dates18 and beer made from barley.

Even if a person has aged beer, he may act with guile and [prepare fresh beer to] drink, for the guile of this act would not be noticeable to an observer.19 The same applies in other similar situations.

ח

מְטִילִין שֵׁכָר בַּמּוֹעֵד לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד. וְשֶׁלֹּא לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד אָסוּר. אֶחָד שֵׁכָר תְּמָרִים וְאֶחָד שֵׁכָר שְׂעוֹרִים. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ יָשָׁן מַעֲרִים וְשׁוֹתֶה מִן הֶחָדָשׁ שֶׁאֵין הַעֲרָמָה זוֹ נִכֶּרֶת לָרוֹאֶה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

9

Whenever labors that are necessary for the festival are performed [during Chol HaMo'ed] by professionals, they must be performed in a private manner.20 What is implied? Hunters, millers, and grape-harvesters, whose intent is to sell their products in the marketplace, must perform these activities in a private manner for the sake of the festival. If these activities are not performed for the sake of the festival, [the products] are forbidden. If they perform these activities for the sake of the festival and the products remain afterwards, they may be used.

ט

כָּל מְלָאכוֹת שֶׁהֵן לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד כְּשֶׁעוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן אֻמָּנֵיהֶן עוֹשִׂין בְּצִנְעָה. כֵּיצַד. הַצַּיָּדִים וְהַטּוֹחֲנִין וְהַבּוֹצְרִין לִמְכֹּר בַּשּׁוּק הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ עוֹשִׂין בְּצִנְעָה לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד. וְאִם עָשָׂה לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד וְהוֹתִיר הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר:

10

We may perform [any labors that are] necessary for the sake of the community at large during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.21

What is implied? We may fix breaches in waterworks in the public domain; we may fix the highways and the roads; we may dig cisterns, trenches, and grottos for the public;22 we may dig rivulets so that they will have water to drink; we may store water in cisterns and grottos belonging to the public and may fix the cracks [in their walls];23 we may remove brambles from the roads; and we may measure mikvaot.24 When the amount of water in a mikveh is lacking, we may direct water to it to complete its measure.

י

עוֹשִׂין כָּל צָרְכֵי הָרַבִּים בַּמּוֹעֵד. כֵּיצַד. מְתַקְּנִים קִלְקוּלֵי הַמַּיִם שֶׁבִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. וּמְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַדְּרָכִים וְאֶת הָרְחוֹבוֹת. וְחוֹפְרִים לָרַבִּים בּוֹרוֹת שִׁיחִין וּמְעָרוֹת. וְכוֹרִין לָהֶן נְהָרוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשְׁתּוּ מֵימֵיהֶן וְכוֹנְסִים מַיִם לְבוֹרוֹת וּמְעָרוֹת שֶׁל רַבִּים וּמְתַקְּנִין אֶת סִדְקֵיהֶן. וּמְסִירִין אֶת הַקּוֹצִין מִן הַדְּרָכִים. וּמוֹדְדִין אֶת הַמִּקְוָאוֹת וְכָל מִקְוֶה שֶׁנִּמְצָא חָסֵר מַרְגִּילִין לוֹ מַיִם וּמַשְׁלִימִין לוֹ שִׁעוּרוֹ:

11

The agents of the court may go out to declare ownerless fields that contain a mixture of species.25 We may redeem captives [taken by gentiles], endowment evaluations,26 entitlements,27 and consecrated articles.28

We may have a woman suspected of adultery drink [the required mixture],29 we may burn a red heifer,30 we may break the neck of a calf,31 we may pierce the ear of a slave,32 and we may purify a leper.33 We may also designate the site of graves whose markings were washed away by rain, so that the priests will not walk there.34 All these are activities necessary for the community at large.

יא

וְיוֹצְאִין שְׁלוּחֵי בֵּית דִּין לְהַפְקִיר אֶת הַכִּלְאַיִם. וּפוֹדִין אֶת הַשְּׁבוּיִים וְאֶת הָעֶרְכִין וְאֶת הַחֲרָמִים וְאֶת הַהֶקְדֵּשׁוֹת. וּמַשְׁקִין אֶת הַסּוֹטוֹת. וְשׂוֹרְפִין אֶת הַפָּרָה. וְעוֹרְפִין אֶת הָעֶגְלָה. וְרוֹצְעִין עֶבֶד עִבְרִי. וּמְטַהֲרִין אֶת הַמְצֹרָע. וּמְצַיְּנִין עַל הַקְּבָרוֹת שֶׁמִּחוּ גְּשָׁמִים אֶת צִיּוּנָן כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּפְרְשׁוּ מֵהֶן הַכֹּהֲנִים. שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ צָרְכֵי רַבִּים הֵן:

12

Similarly, we may judge monetary disputes,35 cases involving the punishment by lashing, and capital cases during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. When a person does not accept a judgment, a ban of ostracism may be issued against him during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. Just as cases may be judged during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, we may write court documents and any similar articles during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.

What is implied? The judges may write an account of the evaluation of [a debtor's property] for his creditor, a statement of the property sold to feed a person's wife and daughters,36 and a bill of chalitzah37 and of miyyun.38 Similarly, we may write any legal document that the judges require to remind them - e.g., a record of the claims of the litigants, or a statement of the concessions they made - e.g., that so and so is acceptable [to testify regarding] my case, that so and so may serve as a judge.39

When a person requires a loan and the lender will not grant him the loan on a verbal commitment alone, it is permitted to have a promissory note written. Similarly, a bill of divorce,40 a bill of marriage, a receipt [for payment of a debt], and a deed [recording a present may be written during Chol HaMo'ed], for all these resemble matters necessary for the community at large.41

יב

וְדָנִים דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וְדִינֵי מַכּוֹת וְדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת בַּמּוֹעֵד. וּמִי שֶׁלֹּא קִבֵּל עָלָיו הַדִּין מְשַׁמְּתִין אוֹתוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁדָּנִין בַּמּוֹעֵד כָּךְ כּוֹתְבִין מַעֲשֵׂה בֵּית דִּין וְכָל הַדּוֹמֶה לוֹ. כֵּיצַד. כּוֹתְבִין הַדַּיָּנִין אִגְּרוֹת שׁוּם שֶׁשָּׁמוּ לְבַעַל חוֹב וְאִגְּרוֹת שֶׁמָּכְרוּ בָּהֶן לִמְזוֹן הָאִשָּׁה וְהַבָּנוֹת. וְשִׁטְרֵי חֲלִיצָה וּמֵאוּנִין. וְכָל הַדּוֹמֶה לָהֶן מִדְּבָרִים שֶׁצְּרִיכִים הַדַּיָּנִין לְכָתְבָם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּזְכְּרוּם. כְּגוֹן טַעֲנוֹת בַּעֲלֵי דִּינִין אוֹ דְּבָרִים שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ עֲלֵיהֶן כְּגוֹן אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי נֶאֱמָן עָלַי. אוֹ אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי יָדוּן לִי. מִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לִלְווֹת בַּמּוֹעֵד וְלֹא הֶאֱמִינוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה בְּעַל פֶּה הֲרֵי זֶה כּוֹתֵב שְׁטַר חוֹב. וְכֵן כּוֹתְבִין גִּטִּין וְקִדּוּשֵׁי נָשִׁים וְשׁוֹבְרִין וּמַתָּנוֹת. שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ כְּצָרְכֵי רַבִּים הֵן:

13

It is forbidden to write [professionally] during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed; this includes even Torah scrolls, tefillin42 and mezuzot. Nor may one check [the letters of a Torah scroll],43 not even a single letter in the scroll kept in the Temple courtyard,44 for this is not a labor that is necessary for the sake of the festival.45

A person may, however, write tefillin or mezuzot for himself, or spin purple cloth for his garment.46 If he has nothing to eat,47 he may write and sell to others for his livelihood.

יג

וְאָסוּר לִכְתֹּב בַּמּוֹעֵד אֲפִלּוּ סְפָרִים תְּפִלִּין וּמְזוּזוֹת. וְאֵין מַגִּיהִין אֲפִלּוּ אוֹת אַחַת בְּסֵפֶר הָעֲזָרָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁזּוֹ מְלָאכָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד. אֲבָל כּוֹתֵב אָדָם תְּפִלִּין וּמְזוּזָה לְעַצְמוֹ וְטוֹוֶה תְּכֵלֶת לְבִגְדוֹ. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ מַה יֹּאכַל כּוֹתֵב וּמוֹכֵר לַאֲחֵרִים כְּדֵי פַּרְנָסָתוֹ:

14

It is permitted to write social correspondence during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. Similarly, one may make a reckoning of one's budget and costs. For a person does not take much care when writing these matters, and this is thus like the performance of a task by an ordinary person.48

יד

וּמֻתָּר לִכְתֹּב אִגְּרוֹת שֶׁל שְׁאֵלַת שָׁלוֹם בַּמּוֹעֵד. וְכוֹתֵב חֶשְׁבּוֹנוֹתָיו וּמְחַשֵּׁב יְצִיאוֹתָיו. שֶׁכְּתִיבוֹת אֵלּוּ אֵין אָדָם נִזְהָר בְּתִקּוּנָן מְאֹד וְנִמְצְאוּ כְּמַעֲשֵׂה הֶדְיוֹט בִּמְלָאכוֹת:

15

We may take care of all the needs of a corpse during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.49 We may cut its hair, wash its shrouds, and make a coffin for it. If there are no boards available, we may bring beams and cut boards from them in a discreet manner inside a building.50 If [the coffin is intended for] an important person, it may be made in the marketplace.51

We may not, however, cut down a tree from the forest to cut boards for a coffin, nor may we quarry out stones to build a grave.

טו

עוֹשִׂין כָּל צָרְכֵי הַמֵּת בַּמּוֹעֵד. גּוֹזְזִין שְׂעָרוֹ וּמְכַבְּסִין כְּסוּתוֹ וְעוֹשִׂין לוֹ אָרוֹן. וְאִם לֹא הָיוּ לָהֶם נְסָרִים מְבִיאִין קוֹרוֹת וְנוֹסְרִין מֵהֶם נְסָרִים בְּצִנְעָה בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת. וְאִם הָיָה אָדָם מְפֻרְסָם עוֹשִׂין אֲפִלּוּ בַּשּׁוּק. אֲבָל אֵין כּוֹרְתִין עֵץ מִן הַיַּעַר לִנְסֹר מִמֶּנּוּ לוּחוֹת לָאָרוֹן. וְאֵין חוֹצְבִין אֲבָנִים לִבְנוֹת בָּהֶן קֶבֶר:

16

We may not inspect leprous blotches during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed,52 lest the person be declared impure and his festival be transformed into a period of mourning.

We may neither marry, nor perform the act of yibbum53 during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, so that the happiness of the festival will not be obscured by the happiness of the marriage. One may, however, remarry one's divorcee, and one may betroth54 a woman during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, provided one does not make a feast for the betrothal or the wedding,55 so that no other rejoicing will be combined with the rejoicing of the festival.

טז

אֵין רוֹאִין אֶת הַנְּגָעִים בַּמּוֹעֵד שֶׁמָּא יִמָּצֵא טָמֵא וְנִמְצָא חַגּוֹ נֶהֱפָךְ לְאֵבֶל. וְאֵין נוֹשְׂאִין נָשִׁים וְלֹא מְיַבְּמִין בַּמּוֹעֵד כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּשְׁתַּכֵּחַ שִׂמְחַת הֶחָג בְּשִׂמְחַת הַנִּשּׂוּאִין. אֲבָל מַחֲזִיר אֶת גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ. וּמְאָרְסִין נָשִׁים בַּמּוֹעֵד. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשֶׂה סְעֻדַּת אֵרוּסִין וְלֹא סְעֻדַּת נִשּׂוּאִין. שֶׁלֹּא יְעָרֵב שִׂמְחָה אַחֶרֶת בְּשִׂמְחַת הֶחָג:

17

We may not cut hair,56 nor may we launder clothes during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. [This is] a decree, [instituted] lest a person wait until [Chol Ha]Mo'ed and enter the first day of the holiday unkempt.57 Therefore, anyone who was unable to cut his hair or launder his clothes on the day before the commencement of the holiday may launder his clothes and cut his hair during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.

יז

אֵין מְגַלְּחִין וְאֵין מְכַבְּסִין בַּמּוֹעֵד גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יַשְׁהֶה אָדָם עַצְמוֹ לְתוֹךְ הַמּוֹעֵד וְיָבוֹא יוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן וְהוּא מְנֻוָּל. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל מִי שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְגַלֵּחַ וּלְכַבֵּס בְּעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְכַבֵּס וּלְגַלֵּחַ בַּמּוֹעֵד:

18

What is implied? The [following] individuals are permitted to cut their hair and launder their clothes during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed: a mourner whose seventh day of mourning falls on [the first day of] a holiday58- or even if [his seventh day] falls on the day before the holiday, but it is a Sabbath, when it is forbidden to cut hair, a person who returns from an overseas journey - provided he did not travel for pleasure, but rather for business purposes and the like - a person who is freed from captivity, or freed from prison,59 a person who was under a ban of ostracism60 that was not lifted until [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, a person who took an oath not to cut his hair, or not to launder his clothes and did not ask a wise man to abrogate his oath61 until [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.62

יח

כֵּיצַד. אָבֵל שֶׁחָל שְׁבִיעִי שֶׁלּוֹ לִהְיוֹת בְּיוֹם טוֹב אוֹ שֶׁחָל לִהְיוֹת בְּעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב וַהֲרֵי הוּא שַׁבָּת שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְגַלֵּחַ. וְהַבָּא מִמְּדִינַת הַיָּם וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא לְהִטַיֵּיל אֶלָּא לִסְחוֹרָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ. וְהַיּוֹצֵא מִבֵּית הַשִּׁבְיָה וּמִבֵּית הָאֲסוּרִים. וּמִי שֶׁהָיָה מְנֻדֶּה וְלֹא הִתִּירוּהוּ אֶלָּא בַּמּוֹעֵד. וּמִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא לְגַלֵּחַ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְכַבֵּס וְלֹא נִשְׁאָל לְחָכָם לְהַתִּיר נִדְרוֹ אֶלָּא בַּמּוֹעֵד הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְגַלְּחִין וּמְכַבְּסִין בַּמּוֹעֵד:

19

In all the above situations, if any of the persons had the opportunity to cut their hair before the festival but failed to do so, they are forbidden from doing so [during Chol HaMo'ed].

In contrast, when the time for a nazarite or a leper to shave has already arrived,63 whether it arrived during the festival or before the festival, they may shave during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, even if they had the opportunity [to shave their hair before the holiday], so that they will not delay the offering of their sacrifices. [Similarly,] anyone who terminates a state of ritual impurity and becomes pure is permitted to cut his hair during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.64

We may cut a child's hair during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed,65 whether he was born during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed or before [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.66

The members of the priestly watch serving in the Temple who completed [their week of service]67 during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed may cut their hair. For the members of the priestly watch may not cut their hair during their week of service.68

יט

וְכֻלָּן שֶׁהָיָה לָהֶן פְּנַאי לְגַלֵּחַ קֹדֶם הָרֶגֶל וְלֹא גִּלְּחוּ אֲסוּרִין. אֲבָל הַנָּזִיר וְהַמְצֹרָע שֶׁהִגִּיעַ זְמַן תִּגְלַחְתָּן בֵּין בְּתוֹךְ הַמּוֹעֵד בֵּין קֹדֶם הָרֶגֶל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיָה לָהֶם פְּנַאי מֻתָּרִין לְגַלֵּחַ בַּמּוֹעֵד שֶׁלֹּא יַשְׁהוּ קָרְבְּנוֹתֵיהֶן. וְכָל הַיּוֹצֵא מִטֻּמְאָתוֹ לְטָהֳרָתוֹ מֻתָּר לְגַלֵּחַ בַּמּוֹעֵד. וְקָטָן שֶׁנּוֹלַד בֵּין בַּמּוֹעֵד בֵּין לִפְנֵי הַמּוֹעֵד מֻתָּר לְגַלְּחוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד. וְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר שֶׁשָּׁלְמָה מִשְׁמַרְתָּן בְּתוֹךְ הַמּוֹעֵד מֻתָּרִין לְגַלֵּחַ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר אֲסוּרִין לְגַלֵּחַ בְּשַׁבָּת שֶׁלָּהֶן:

20

It is permitted to cut one's mustache during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed and to cut one's nails,69 even using a utensil.70

A woman may remove the hair from her underarms and her pubic hair by hand, or with a utensil.71 Similarly, she may undergo all cosmetic treatments during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed: [e.g.,] she may paint her eyes, part her hair, apply rouge to her face, and apply lime to her skin72 and the like, provided she can remove it73 during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.

כ

מֻתָּר לִטּל שָׂפָה בְּחֻלּוֹ שֶׁל מוֹעֵד. וְלִטּל צִפָּרְנַיִם וַאֲפִלּוּ בִּכְלִי. וּמַעֲבֶרֶת הָאִשָּׁה שֵׂעָר מִבֵּית הַשֶּׁחִי וּמִבֵּית הָעֶרְוָה בֵּין בַּיָּד בֵּין בִּכְלִי. וְעוֹשָׂה כָּל תַּכְשִׁיטֶיהָ בַּמּוֹעֵד. כּוֹחֶלֶת וּפוֹקֶסֶת וּמַעֲבֶרֶת סְרָק עַל פָּנֶיהָ וְטוֹפֶלֶת עַצְמָהּ בְּסִיד וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁתּוּכַל לְקַפְּלוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד:

21

A zav,74 a zavah,75 a niddah,76 a woman who gave birth,77 and all those who emerge from a state of ritual impurity during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed are permitted to launder their garments.78

A person who has only one garment should79 wash it during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. Hand towels, barber's towels,80 and bathing towels are permitted to be laundered. Similarly, undergarments81 are permitted to be laundered during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed,82 because they must continually be laundered, even if they were laundered on the day preceding the holiday.

כא

הַזָּבִים וְהַזָּבוֹת וְהַנִּדּוֹת וְהַיּוֹלְדוֹת וְכָל הָעוֹלִים מִטֻּמְאָה לְטָהֳרָה בְּתוֹךְ הַמּוֹעֵד הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין לְכַבֵּס. וּמִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא חָלוּק אֶחָד הֲרֵי זֶה מְכַבְּסוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד. מִטְפְּחוֹת הַיָּדַיִם וּמִטְפְּחוֹת הַסְּפָרִים וּמִטְפְּחוֹת הַסְפָג הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין לְכַבֵּס בַּמּוֹעֵד. וְכֵן כְּלֵי פִּשְׁתָּן מֻתָּר לְכַבְּסָן בַּמּוֹעֵד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצְּרִיכִין כִּבּוּס תָּמִיד אֲפִלּוּ נִתְכַּבְּסוּ עֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב:

22

One may not become involved in commercial enterprise during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, whether one sells or purchases.83 If, however, the matter is one that involves the loss [of an opportunity] that is not always available after the festival84 - e.g., ships or caravans that have arrived or that are preparing to depart and they are selling their wares cheaply or purchasing dearly - it is permissible to sell and to purchase from them [during Chol HaMo'ed].

We may not purchase buildings, servants, and animals that are not necessary during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed.85

כב

אֵין עוֹשִׂין סְחוֹרָה בַּמּוֹעֵד בֵּין לִמְכֹּר בֵּין לִקְנוֹת. וְאִם הָיָה דָּבָר הָאָבֵד שֶׁאֵינוֹ מָצוּי תָּמִיד לְאַחַר הַמּוֹעֵד כְּגוֹן סְפִינוֹת אוֹ שַׁיָּרוֹת שֶׁבָּאוּ אוֹ שֶׁהֵם מְבַקְּשִׁים לָצֵאת וּמָכְרוּ בְּזוֹל אוֹ לָקְחוּ בְּיֹקֶר הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לִקְנוֹת אוֹ לִמְכֹּר. וְאֵין לוֹקְחִין בָּתִּים וַעֲבָדִים וּבְהֵמָה אֶלָּא לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד:

23

Merchants selling produce, garments, and utensils may sell them discreetly for the sake of the festival.86 What is implied? If [the merchant's] store opens to a corner or to a lane, he may operate it in his ordinary manner. If it opens into the public thoroughfare, he should open one door and close the other. On the day before Shemini Atzeret,87 one may take out one's produce and adorn the marketplace with it, as an expression of honor for the holiday.

Spice merchants88 may sell their wares in their ordinary manner, in public [during Chol HaMo'ed].

כג

מוֹכְרֵי פֵּרוֹת כְּסוּת וְכֵלִים מוֹכְרִין בְּצִנְעָה לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד. כֵּיצַד. אִם הָיְתָה הַחֲנוּת פְּתוּחָה לְזָוִית אוֹ לְמָבוֹי פּוֹתֵחַ כְּדַרְכּוֹ. וְאִם הָיְתָה פְּתוּחָה לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים פּוֹתֵחַ אַחַת וְנוֹעֵל אַחַת. וְעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת מוֹצִיא וּמְעַטֵּר אֶת הַשּׁוּק בְּפֵרוֹת בִּשְׁבִיל כְּבוֹד יוֹם טוֹב. מוֹכְרֵי תַּבְלִין מוֹכְרִין כְּדַרְכָּן בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא:

24

Whatever is forbidden to be done during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, one may not instruct a gentile to do [on one's behalf].

If a person does not have food to eat,89 a person may perform any task that is forbidden during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed or involve himself in any commercial enterprise to earn his livelihood.90

It is permissible for a rich man to hire a poor employee who does not have food to eat to perform tasks that are forbidden during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed, so that the worker will be paid a wage with which he can purchase his sustenance. Similarly, we may purchase articles that are not necessary for the festival, because the seller is in need and lacks food.

כד

כָּל שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד אֵינוֹ אוֹמֵר לְנָכְרִי לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ. וְכָל שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד אִם אֵין לוֹ מַה שֶּׁיֹּאכַל הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹשֶׂה כְּדֵי פַּרְנָסָתוֹ. וְכֵן עוֹשֶׂה סְחוֹרָה כְּדֵי פַּרְנָסָתוֹ. וּמֻתָּר לֶעָשִׁיר לִשְׂכֹּר פּוֹעֵל עָנִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ מַה יֹּאכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלָאכָה שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה בַּמּוֹעֵד כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּטּל שְׂכָרוֹ לְהִתְפַּרְנֵס בּוֹ. וְכֵן לוֹקְחִין דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָם לְצֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹעֵד מִפְּנֵי צֹרֶךְ הַמּוֹכֵר שֶׁאֵין לוֹ מַה יֹּאכַל:

25

We may hire a worker during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed to perform a task after the festival, provided he does not weigh, measure, or count [the amount of work he must perform] as he would on an ordinary day.

When a gentile has been contracted to perform a task for a Jew,91 [the Jew] should prevent him from performing it during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. [This applies] even if the gentile [works] outside [the city's] Sabbath limits.92 For the people at large know that this task [is being performed] for the sake of a Jew and they will suspect that he hired the gentile to perform it for him during [Chol Ha]Mo'ed. For not all people are aware of the distinction between a hired laborer and a contractor. Therefore, [lest a mistaken impression arise,] it is forbidden.

כה

שׂוֹכְרִין הַשָּׂכִיר עַל הַמְּלָאכָה בַּמּוֹעֵד לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ לְאַחַר הַמּוֹעֵד וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁקל וְשֶׁלֹּא יִמְדֹּד וְלֹא יִמְנֶה כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה בְּחל. נָכְרִי שֶׁקִּבֵּל קִבּלֶת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה חוּץ לַתְּחוּם אֵינוֹ מַנִּיחוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד. שֶׁהַכּל יוֹדְעִין שֶׁמְּלָאכָה זוֹ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיַחְשְׁדוּ אוֹתוֹ שֶׁהוּא שָׂכַר אֶת הַנָּכְרִי לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ בַּמּוֹעֵד. שֶׁאֵין הַכּל יוֹדְעִין הַהֶפְרֵשׁ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בֵּין הַשָּׂכִיר וּבֵין הַקַּבְּלָן וּלְפִיכָךְ אָסוּר:

Footnotes
1.

Which, as mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 2, is the proof-text requiring us to cease the performance of work on the holidays.

2.

As evident from the continuation of the Rambam's statements, here the definition of labor is not - in contrast to the Sabbath and holidays - the 39 labors necessary to build the Sanctuary, but rather labor in the conventional sense: mundane activity that will prevent one from appreciating the festive mood of the holidays.

3.

There are several Talmudic passages (e.g., Jerusalem Talmud, Pesachim 4:1) that quote verses from the Torah prohibiting the performance of work on Chol HaMo'ed. Nevertheless, according to the Rambam (and his position is shared by the Tur, Orach Chayim 530), these verses are merely asmachtot, allusions cited by the Rabbis as support for the decrees they instituted. [Significantly, however, the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Mo'ed Katan 1:1) contains an expression that indicates that he conceives of the prohibition against work on Chol HaMo'ed as part of the Oral Tradition given to Moses on Sinai.]

There are, however, other authorities [Yereim (the conclusion of section 304), the Ramban, and the Rashba] who maintain that the prohibition against work on Chol HaMo'ed is Scriptural in origin. The Be'ur Halachah 530 quotes the opinions of many authorities who accept this view.

The difference between these two perspectives is not merely theoretical in nature. One of the basic principles of Torah law is that when there is a doubt with regard to a question of Scriptural law, the more stringent view must be adopted. When, by contrast, there is a doubt with regard to a question of Rabbinic law, the more lenient view may be adopted. If the prohibition against working on Chol HaMo'ed is Scriptural in origin, then the more stringent view must be adopted in cases of doubt. Should, however, the prohibition be Rabbinic in origin, a lenient view may be adopted.

4.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 537:1) rules more stringently, stating that this is permitted, only when one had already begun irrigating the land before the commencement of the holiday.

5.

For he will have to carry water in buckets continually to irrigate the entire field [Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Mo'ed Katan 1:1)].

6.

For the water in the spring flows on its own accord (Ibid.).

7.

This and the other activities mentioned in this halachah are phases in the process of extracting oil from olives.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam on this point and allows the olives to be turned over only if they have been turned over once before. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 538:1) follows the Ra'avad's view.

8.

E.g., at night (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.:2). It is necessary to do this in a discreet manner, rather than publicly, for one cannot be sure that thieves will come. Thus, the loss is not inevitable (Maggid Mishneh, citing the Ramban). If, however, it is impossible to bring the produce in discreetly, one may do so in a manner that will attract attention (Ramah).

9.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the new dimension contributed by this law is that the grapes in question are still attached to the ground, and they may nevertheless be harvested.

10.

Rav Moshe HaCohen and others have objected to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that the court does not have the right to declare a person's property ownerless. He interprets Mo'ed Katan 12b, the source for the Rambam's statement, differently, stating that the passage gives the court license to prevent the person from carrying out the labors that he had postponed, thus causing the produce to be ruined.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 538:6) follows the Rambam's ruling. The Ramah adds that if a person performs work with property belonging to others - e.g., a tailor or a scribe - and thus this punishment cannot be administered, he should be placed under a ban of ostracism and/or giving stripes for rebelliousness for working on Chol HaMo'ed.

11.

Our translation is taken from Rav Kappach's edition of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Mo'ed Katan 1:8). Others interpret this term to mean "sew the stitches far apart." The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 541:5) interprets the phrase to mean "like a dog's teeth."

In his notes, the Ramah states that most ordinary people may be regarded as skilled with regard to sewing. Hence, everyone should employ this stringency.

12.

One may not, however, use a trowel.

13.

This ruling is based on a narrative in Mo'ed Katan 12b concerning Rav, who harvested his field during Chol HaMo'ed because he did not have any flour. From the Rambam's wording, it appears that he allows this leniency even when the person has financial resources at his disposal; he lacks merely the grain itself.

Rav Moshe HaCohen differs with the Rambam's ruling, stating that if the person possesses money and can buy flour in the marketplace, he is not allowed to harvest his field. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 537:15) quotes the Rambam's decision.

14.

The Mishnah Berurah 537:52 states that one is allowed to perform only that labor which is necessary to provide him with grain for the holiday. He is not allowed to do any more. Nevertheless, in his Sha'ar HaTziyun 537:49, he brings other opinions that would allow a person to do more work if no additional expense is required.

15.

From the Rambam's wording, it appears that the reason it is forbidden to use oxen is that it is necessary to depart from one's ordinary routine. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo offers a different rationale - that using oxen will make the matter public knowledge.

The difference between these two views is not only theoretical. According to the Rambam, it would be permitted to use other animals - e.g., horses or donkeys - to thresh, for this would also represent a departure from one's ordinary practice. According to Rav Yosef Karo, this would be forbidden because this would also become public knowledge. The Mishnah Berurah 537:52,53 quotes Rav Yosef Karo's view.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) also states that if one is threshing the grain for others as well as for oneself, it is permitted to use oxen.

16.

Mo'ed Katan 11a mentions this concept with regard to pickling fish. The same principle can be applied to pickling vegetables, except that with regard to vegetables the pickling process usually takes longer and the vegetables will not be ready to be eaten during the festival if the pickling process was begun during Chol HaMo'ed. [See Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 533:3) and commentaries.]

17.

I.e., even if one catches far more than one needs for the festival itself. The rationale is that since some fish taste better than others, one can explain that one is continuing to fish to catch an especially tasty fish for the festival (Mishnah Berurah 533:18).

18.

As was customary in Babylonia in Talmudic times.

19.

For he can explain to others that he prefers fresh beer over aged beer (Mo'ed Katan 12b). Moreover, the observers may not even know that he possesses aged beer (Mishnah Berurah 533:9).

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, stating that it follows only a minority opinion in Mo'ed Katan 12b. In support of the Rambam, the Or Sameach cites a passage in Shabbat 139b, which follows the same rationale. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 533:1) quotes the Ra'avad's view, while the Mishnah Berurah (loc. cit.) states that one may rely on the Rambam's view.

20.

These and other professionals perform a large amount of work at one time. Therefore, even when such a professional is in fact preparing this work for the purpose of the holiday, an observer might not appreciate this and might think that he is producing work for after the holiday. A private individual, by contrast, does not perform a large amount of such work at one time, and an observer will realize that his intent is for the festival (Mishnah Berurah 533:22.)

21.

Rabbenu Asher (in his gloss on Mo'ed Katan 2a) gives one reason for this leniency: during the year, all the members of the community are involved in their own affairs and do not have the time to concern themselves with the public welfare. On Chol HaMo'ed, when people are freed from their own concerns, they can turn their attention to the needs of the community at large. Another reason is obvious from the quote from the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah cited in the notes on the following halachah.

22.

With regard to cisterns and trenches belonging to a private individual, see Chapter 8, Halachah 4.

23.

The Kessef Mishneh emphasizes that this applies to cisterns or waterworks that are not necessarily needed for the holiday itself. Even though they will not be needed until afterwards, they may be fixed during Chol HaMo'ed because they are for the benefit of the public.

24.

To be acceptable for the immersion of a man or woman, a mikveh must contain at least 40 se'ah. In contemporary measure, certain authorities maintain that this figure is equivalent to approximately 250 liters. Shiurei Mikveh mentions many views, concluding that the minimum acceptable figure is 454 liters, and that one should try to reach 921.6 liters. The Chazon Ish cites a figure of 573.3 liters.

25.

It is forbidden to sow two types of produce without adequate distinction in the same field (Leviticus 19:19). This prohibition is called the prohibition of kilayim.

In the beginning of the month of Adar (early spring), the court would send agents to notify farmers about this prohibition. From the fifteenth of Adar, they sent agents out to check if there were kilayim in the fields. Originally, the court's agents would remove the kilayim from the fields. The farmers then became lax, and left this work to the court's agents. Therefore, the Sages declared that whenever kilayim are found in a field, the court's agents should declare the field ownerless. During Chol HaMo'ed Pesach, when the crops bloom, the court would send agents out again (Hilchot Kilayim 2:15-17).

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Mo'ed Katan 1:2), the Rambam explains the reason why this activity was performed during Chol HaMo'ed: The wages for the court's agents were paid from the Temple treasury (terumat halishcah). Since there was very little other work available during Chol HaMo'ed, it would be easy to find people willing to work for low wages, and thus the Temple treasury would save.

26.

The Hebrew term ערכין is discussed in Leviticus 27:1-8 and Hilchot Arachin VaCharamin, Chapter 1. It involves giving a specific sum to the Temple treasury for a person, depending on a person's age. In some contexts, the term ערכין is also used with regard to fields and animals consecrated to the Temple treasury.

27.

This term is used to refer to the Hebrew חרם, a term implying that a person renounces his ownership of his property and dedicates it either to the Temple treasury or to the priests. (See Leviticus 27:28-29, Numbers 18:14; Hilchot Arachin VaCharamin 6:1.)

28.

This refers to an article consecrated to the Temple treasury. In all three instances, the sum the person who made the dedication is required to pay may be evaluated during Chol HaMo'ed.

29.

A woman suspected of adultery (a sotah) is brought to the Temple and required to drink a mixture of water, dust, and ink from a scroll containing a curse. (See Numbers 5:23-24; Hilchot Sotah, Chapter 3.)

30.

A person who became ritually impure through contact with a human corpse must be purified by having the ashes of a red heifer sprinkled upon him (Numbers, Chapter 19). The slaughter of the red heifer and the preparation of these ashes is described in Hilchot Parah Adumah, Chapter 3.

31.

When a corpse is found outside a populated area and the killer's identity is unknown, Deuteronomy 21:4 specifies a process of atonement that involves decapitating a calf. (See Hilchot Rotzeach, Chapter 9.)

32.

A Hebrew servant sold by the court who desires to remain in servitude rather than regain his freedom must have his ear pierced. (See Exodus 21:6; Hilchot Avadim 3:9.)

33.

A leper becomes ritually impure. The purification ceremony is discussed in Leviticus, Chapter 14; Hilchot Tum'at Tzara'at, Chapter 11.

34.

Priests are forbidden to contract the impurity that stems from a human corpse. One of the ways of contracting such impurity is by standing over a grave. For this reason, graves would be marked with lime. During the rainy season, the lime might wash off. (See Hilchot Tum'at Meit 8:9.)

35.

The Jewish court does not summon litigants during Nisan and Tishrei (Hilchot Sanhedrin 25:9). Nevertheless, should they come on their own accord, sessions may be held during Chol HaMo'ed (ibid., 11:1, 13:5)

36.

This refers to a legal record of the sale of property from a deceased person's estate to provide for the support of his wife and daughters, or alternatively, a similar record required when a person goes on a journey and leaves his wife without support. (See Hilchot Ishut, Chapters 18 and 19.)

37.

A childless widow is required to marry her deceased husband's brother. She is released from this obligation through a ritual act referred to as chalitzah. (See Deuteronomy 25:7-10.) After this ritual is performed, the court composes a legal record for the woman. See Hilchot Yibbum UChalitzah 4:29.

38.

When a girl's father dies before she reaches the age of majority, our Sages gave her the opportunity to marry on a conditional basis. If upon attaining the age of majority, or beforehand, she no longer desires to continue her marriage, she does not require a formal divorce. All she need do is state her desire to terminate the marriage. Should she do this, a legal record is composed and granted to her. (See Hilchot Gerushin, Chapter 11.)

39.

Although the Torah and the Sages disqualified certain individuals from serving as witnesses or judges, a litigant may, nevertheless, agree to allow such an individual to serve in this capacity (Hilchot Sanhedrin, Chapter 7). The judges may desire to have a written record of the commitment the litigant made.

40.

Rashi (Mo'ed Katan 18b) states that this leniency is granted because the person desires to depart on a journey, implying that if that is not the case, a bill of divorce may not be composed. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 545:5) quotes the law without qualification, reflecting the Rambam's position. Note, however, Mishnah Berurah 545:20.

41.

Although these are all personal matters, since they represent the ongoing needs of a community they are considered to involve the interest of the community at large (Mishnah Berurah 545:20). The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the reason is that the person may suffer a loss if these documents are not composed.

42.

The Kessef Mishneh interprets this ruling as an indication that the Rambam maintains that one should not wear tefillin on Chol HaMo'ed. Significantly, in his gloss on Hilchot Tefillin 4:10, the Kessef Mishneh focuses on the latter half of this halachah and interprets it as an indication that one must wear tefillin at this time. (See the notes on that halachah for a more detailed discussion of this matter.)

43.

This refers to an instance in which there is a scroll available for the communal Torah readings. If there is no scroll available, a Torah scroll may be checked and corrected (Kessef Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 545:2). Following this line of thinking, all texts that are required to be studied on the holiday may be written.

44.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 2:6) relates that since a Torah scroll must be checked for accuracy against an existing scroll, a scroll was kept in the Temple Courtyard for that purpose. (See Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:2.)

45.

There is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis with regard to texts that are needed for the community at large, but are not required for the festival itself. From the Rambam's wording, it is clear that he would forbid writing such texts. There are, however, more lenient opinions, and they are favored by the Ramah (loc. cit.:1).

46.

This purple thread was used for tzitzit in Talmudic times.

47.

According to the Rambam, there is no difference between writing tefillin and mezuzot, and other professions. Only when the wages he earns are required for his livelihood is he allowed to work.

The Ramah (loc. cit.:3) expresses a more lenient view. Since writing tefillin is a mitzvah, it is allowed on Chol HaMo'ed, provided the profits from one's work will enable one to celebrate the holiday in a more lavish manner.

48.

The Rambam is explaining that since one is not performing a skilled task, there is no prohibition against this labor. The Ra'avad and Rav Moshe HaCohen differ with the Rambam's rationale and maintain that one is allowed to write social correspondence on Chol HaMo'ed because it is possible that after Chol HaMo'ed, one will have difficulty finding a person with whom to send the letter. One may keep one's accounts, because this is necessary in order to be able to know how much to spend on the holiday.

Although most Sephardic authorities (including the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 545:5) follow the Rambam's view, the Ashkenazic authorities tend towards the Ra'avad's explanation and forbid writing on Chol HaMo'ed unless a loss is involved. The Ramah thus states that it is customary not to write on Chol HaMo'ed. Nevertheless, the Mishnah Berurah 545:35 states that the more lenient view is generally followed. When writing on Chol HaMo'ed, many do so in a slightly irregular manner, thus adding more halachic weight to the lenient position.

49.

Even those that involve the performance of labors that require professional expertise (Mishnah Berurah 547:19).

50.

Discretion is necessary, for if the boards are made in public, a passerby might not realize that they are intended for a corpse.

51.

For if the deceased's identity is well known, everyone will realize that the boards are for his coffin. In later generations, the Ashkenazic custom was to cut the boards and make the coffin in the courtyard of the synagogue. For most people in a community are aware of a person's death and the fact that the work is carried out in the synagogue courtyard indicates that it is not being performed for a private matter (Hagahot Maimoniot). (See also Mishnah Berurah 547:20.)

52.

Although leprosy conveys ritual impurity, that status must be established through the inspection of the suspect portion of the body by a priest. (See Leviticus 13:2.) For the reason explained by the Rambam, the priest should delay his inspection until after the conclusion of the holiday.

As the passage in Leviticus continues, there are times when a person who is suspected of having leprosy must undergo a second (or third) inspection, and carrying out this inspection may be to his benefit. In the Mishnah (Mo'ed Katan 1:5), there is a difference of opinion concerning whether these inspections are carried out during Chol HaMo'ed. Rabbi Meir maintains that they are. If the ruling is lenient, it is delivered; if it is stringent, it is withheld. The Sages maintain that no inspections are carried out during Chol HaMo'ed. Although it appears that the Rambam accepts their view, other opinions explain that he follows Rabbi Meir's view.

Significantly, in Hilchot Tum'at Tzara'at 9:7, the Rambam states, "We inspect leprous blotches every day, with the exception of the Sabbath and yom tov." The latter term does not usually include Chol HaMo'ed.

(We have translated tzara'at as leprosy for this is the common practice. In fact, the Biblical condition described by this Hebrew term differs from the disease known as leprosy today.)

53.

The marriage of a person to his brother's childless widow (Deuteronomy 25:5).

54.

Torah law defines matrimony as a two-stage process involving betrothal (erusin) and marriage (nisuin). Betrothal establishes the husband-and-wife bond. From that time onward, a woman may not marry anyone else, but neither may the couple live together. Marriage, by contrast, signals the consummation of this relationship, the beginning of the couple's life as a single unit. Today, the common Jewish practice is to complete both stages of the wedding bond in a single ceremony under the wedding canopy.

55.

This refers to the remarriage of one's divorcee. The act of remarriage is permitted during Chol HaMo'ed; a feast is not.

56.

This refers both to cutting one's hair and - for those who are accustomed - to shaving.

57.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 531:1) states that it is a mitzvah to cut one's hair on the day prior to a holiday.

58.

A mourner is forbidden to cut his hair or launder his clothes. Indeed, the prohibition against cutting hair continues throughout the thirty days of mourning (Hilchot Eivel 6:2). On this basis, the commentaries question the Rambam's statements. And although the commencement of a holiday nullifies the need to keep the prohibitions of the thirty days of mourning, this is true only when a person has observed a full seven days of mourning before the commencement of the holiday (Ibid. 10:5-6).

For this reason, the Kessef Mishneh and the Radbaz (Vol. VI, Responsum 2164) interpret the leniency mentioned by the Rambam here as referring only to laundering. In his Shulchan Aruch, when mentioning the leniencies regarding cutting hair, Rav Yosef Karo makes no mention of a mourner.

59.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 531:4) states that this applies even when a person had been imprisoned by Jews who would have allowed him to cut his hair before the holiday. Since he was upset because of his imprisonment, he did not desire to cut his hair (Mishnah Berurah 531:9).

60.

For while under a ban of ostracism, it is forbidden to cut one's hair or launder one's clothes (Hilchot Talmud Torah 7:4).

61.

The authority of a wise man to abrogate an oath is discussed in Hilchot Sh'vuot, Chapter 6.

From the wording of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Mo'ed Katan 3:1), it would appear that this leniency applies only when one did not have the opportunity of approaching a wise man with this request before Chol HaMo'ed. Accordingly, if one had such an opportunity, it would appear that the vow cannot be abrogated until after the holiday. See Mishnah Berurah 531:11.

62.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 531:3) mentions that a person who was prevented from cutting his hair or laundering his clothes by forces beyond his control - e.g., he was detained by contractual negotiations, or he was sick - is not given the opportunity to perform these activities during Chol HaMo'ed. The Mishnah Berurah 531:5 mentions the reason for this stringency: In these instances, the factor holding the person back from cutting his hair or laundering his clothes is not publicly known. In contrast, in all the instances mentioned by the Rambam, the reason why the person did not cut his hair or launder his clothes is common knowledge.

63.

After completing the term of his vow, a nazarite must shave his head and bring several sacrifices (Numbers 6:18; Hilchot Nezirut 8:2-3). Similarly, as part of his purification process a leper must shave off all the hair of his body twice (Leviticus 14:8-9; Hilchot Tum'at Tzara'at 11:1-2).

64.

A person who is impure may not take part in the festive sacrifices of the Temple. Therefore, it is possible that he did not prepare himself for the holiday. Some also cite Sefer HaMitzvot (Positive Commandment 112), which states that every person who is ritually impure must inform others about his state and make this evident from his physical appearance. One of the ways of doing this would be not to cut one's hair (Rambam La'Am).

65.

For the reason for the decree - that one cut one's hair before the holiday - is not relevant for a child, who is not responsible for his conduct.

66.

From the Rambam's wording, it appears that he is speaking about an extremely young infant. Nevertheless, the Pri Megadim interprets this as referring to any child under Bar Mitzvah age. (See Mishnah Berurah 531:16.)

67.

The prophet Samuel and King David divided the priests into 24 watches, which rotated in the performance of the Temple service. Each watch would serve in the Temple for a week at a time. (See Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 4:3.)

68.

This prohibition was instituted for a reason similar to the prohibition against cutting one's hair during Chol HaMo'ed: By preventing the priests from cutting their hair during the week they served in the Temple, the Sages insured that they came to the Temple with their hair already cut (Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 1:12).

69.

Both fingernails and toenails (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 532:1).

70.

Although the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) quotes the Rambam's ruling, the Ramah states that it is customary not to cut nails with a utensil during Chol HaMo'ed. [Significantly, the Rambam's ruling with regard to Chol HaMo'ed differs from his ruling regarding the mourning rites (Hilchot Eivel 5:2).]

71.

Women are, however, forbidden to cut the hair from their head, as men are (Mishnah Berurah 56:16).

72.

This was done to remove hair and make the woman's complexion ruddier (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah; Mo'ed Katan 1:7).

73.

Our translation is based on the Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah and the citation of this law in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 546:5).

74.

A male with a condition resembling gonorrhea, which causes a discharge from his organ other than semen or urine. Such a discharge renders him ritually impure. (See Leviticus 15:2-3; Hilchot Mechusarei Kapparah, Chapter 2.)

75.

A woman who experiences vaginal bleeding at times other than when she expects her monthly period. This discharge renders her ritually impure. (See Leviticus 15:25, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, Chapter 6.)

76.

A woman who becomes impure because of her monthly menstrual bleeding. (See Leviticus 15:19; Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, Chapters 4 and 5.)

77.

The impurity of a woman who gives birth is mentioned in Leviticus, Chapter 12; Hilchot Mechusarei Kapparah, Chapter 1.

78.

In the era when all the aspects of the laws of ritual impurity were observed, those who were ritually impure could not participate in the festive celebrations as others could. Therefore, they were not required to launder their clothes. Moreover, at times, these garments were themselves impure and required ritual immersion and laundering.

The Shulchan Aruch does not mention these laws. Although there are certain dimensions of the ritual impurity associated with a zavah, a niddah, and a woman who gives birth that are observed in the present era - e.g., the prohibitions against intimacy - since we are all ritually impure, these individuals' state of impurity does not preclude them from joining in our festive celebrations. Hence, they must prepare their garments before the commencement of the holiday.

79.

Our translation is based on the notes of Rav Kappach, who interprets this ruling as not merely a leniency allowing the person to launder his garment during Chol HaMo'ed, but as a charge obligating him to do so, so that he will not wear a soiled garment during the festival season.

80.

Others interpret this term as referring to the coverings of sacred texts. (See Maggid Mishneh.)

81.

The Hebrew phrase כלי פתשן literally means "linen garments." We have translated the term according to the function these items served in the Talmudic era.

82.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 534:2) states that although this is the law, it is customary to be stringent and forbid this. The Mishnah Berurah 534:14, however, mentions certain leniencies - e.g., having them laundered by a gentile. At present when laundering clothes has become a much easier process, the Rabbis have granted greater leniency.

83.

The Magen Avraham 539:1 explains that the rationale for this prohibition is that commercial activity involves much effort, and this runs contrary to the atmosphere desired by the Sages for Chol HaMo'ed.

84.

As the Maggid Mishneh mentions, there is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis whether the loss of opportunity mentioned refers to a loss the person will suffer - he will either have to pay more for an article that he needs or will not be able to sell an article that he wishes to sell - or if it includes also the opportunity to realize a greater profit. In his Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 539), Rav Yosef Karo explains that the majority of the Rabbis follow the more lenient view, and he rules accordingly in his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 539:5).

The Rabbis also ruled with regard to a situation that does not involve a departure from the norm - i.e., as opposed to the instance mentioned by the Rambam, no special situation like visiting merchants arose - but the situation is nevertheless such that were the person not to sell his goods during Chol HaMo'ed, he would not profit to the same degree as if he sold them afterwards. In such a situation, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 539:4) rules that one may sell the goods during Chol HaMo'ed, provided that he uses a portion of the profit he makes to enhance his celebration of the festival. Moreover, the Shulchan Aruch restricts this license to a person of moderate means. If the person is affluent and would celebrate the festival amply regardless, he is not allowed to sell his goods during Chol HaMo'ed, unless he will be forced to sell them for less than the principal afterwards.

85.

The laws regarding the sale of these entities are more stringent than those involving other items, because the sale of these entities becomes public knowledge quickly.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 539:10) also mentions that these entities may be sold if their sale is necessary for the livelihood of the seller (as mentioned in Halachah 24). The Mishnah Berurah 539:40 adds that one may buy such entities from a gentile. (With regard to the purchase of land from a gentile in Eretz Yisrael, see Hilchot Shabbat 6:11) Others discuss whether it is permissible to buy such an entity during Chol HaMo'ed, if it is likely that a similar entity will not be available after Chol HaMo'ed.

86.

All three items mentioned by the Rambam refer to articles that can be stored, and it is thus not directly obvious that one is purchasing the article for use during Chol HaMo'ed (Mishnah Berurah 539:34). If produce will not last beyond the festival, it may be sold during Chol HaMo'ed with no restrictions.

87.

Shemini Atzeret, in contrast to the last days of Pesach, is considered a holiday in its own right. Therefore, it is proper to adorn the marketplace with produce in its honor. Although this expression of honor is not allowed with regard to the last days of Pesach, it is permitted to sell one's wares openly, without any restrictions, on the day preceding those holidays (Mishnah Berurah 539:37).

88.

Or anyone else whose wares testify to the fact that they will be used during Chol HaMo'ed (ibid.:33).

89.

There are two interpretations of the expression "does not have food to eat." The Magen Avraham 542:1 understands this simply; a person may not hire himself to perform labor unless he has no food whatsoever to eat. The Eliyahu Rabba, however, maintains that this refers to a person who possesses the minimum necessary for subsistence, but lacks the means to celebrate the festival in an ample way. As indicated by the Sha'ar HaTziyun 542:12, it appears that the authorities follow the more stringent view. Neither view, however, requires a person to pawn his household goods to purchase food instead of working to earn his livelihood.

See also the Mishnah Berurah 542:7, which states that even according to the more lenient views, an effort should be made to perform the labor discreetly. For an observer may not realize that the person performing the labor is doing so out of necessity.

90.

See the Mishnah Berurah 542:8, which states that it is preferable for a person to sell merchandise instead of working during Chol Hamo'ed. Also, as reflected in the Sha'ar HaTziyun (loc. cit.), even the more stringent views that prevent a person from hiring himself out as a laborer if he possesses his minimum necessities grant him the leniency of selling merchandise in order to celebrate the festival in comfort.

91.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this applies only to a building project that all know belongs to a Jew. It is, however, permissible for a gentile to take work home and perform it on a Jew's behalf if he is hired as a contractor and not as a laborer. This conception is also borne out by the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 543:2).

92.

In this regard, the laws regarding Chol HaMo'ed are more stringent than those applying to the Sabbath and the holidays. Since on the Sabbath and the holidays it is forbidden to go beyond the city's Sabbath limits, the gentile's performance of the task will not become public knowledge. On Chol HaMo'ed, by contrast, there are no restrictions on travel, and it is possible that many people will become aware of the gentile's activities (Maggid Mishneh). (See also Hilchot Shabbat 6:14-15.)

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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