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Hol Hamoed and Work, Part 2

April 18, 2014

See here for part 1.

I received this question yesterday via email:

Why are people so concerned regarding writing (even signing receipts) on chol hamoed whereas they will readily use a computer, drive a car, etc?

To which I first responded:

Why aren’t people concerned regarding using computers and driving on Hol Hamoed like they are with regards to writing?

Here now, is the longer, proper answer:

See TY Moed Qatan 2:3. There, Rabbi Abba bar Mamal is quoted as saying that if he could, he would repermit whatever labor the sages had prohibited on Hol Hamoed because their intent was to facilitate proper celebration and increased Torah study, but instead people party too much and end up doing wrong. This teaches us that the point of the rabbinical institution of issur melacha on Hol Hamoed is to allow for time off to celebrate in the spirit of the Torah. That’s why, if you study Shvithath Yom Tov, chapters 6-8, you will see that there are so many things that are permitted because they allow for greater enjoyment, and those matters that are prohibited have this one thing in common: they do not facilitate having free time. 

And by the way, Maimonides permits writing; he only forbids professional scribal work and caligraphy.


see shvitat yom tov, chaps 6-8.


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