Halakhot of Hol Hamoed

 

I. OVERVIEW  

The intermediate days of Pesah and Succot, although not to the degree of Yom Tov, are days of sanctity and happiness and are to be honored and observed accordingly. Holiday prayers are recited and a number of holiday halakhot apply. Families should get together, parents should take children on outings and students should visit their rabbis. The grand concepts fostered by Pesah and Succot, the deliverance and providence of the Al-mighty, are to be more deeply implanted in the people by their living a full week with the special symbolism and procedures of these holidays.

II. GENERAL HALAKHOT 

Some types of work are permitted and some are prohibited on Hol Hamoed. In general, work is permitted if it is:

The modern world's economic system has rendered many if not most businesses into category a) above as they involve significant loss of capital when one closes. There are many fixed expenses, including rent, utilities and salaries. This is especially the case for Hol Hamoed, as it is attached to Yom Tov when it is mandatory to close. Such businesses need not close Hol Hamoed.  Men are to shave before the onset of Yom Tov so as to enter the holiday respectably. If one did not shave for Yom Tov he is not to shave Hol Hamoed. This is a penalty the rabbis placed on one who disrespected the holiday by not shaving beforehand. One who did shave for the holiday, and requires another shave during Hol Hamoed according to his regular schedule is permitted to shave.  This is especially the case when it involves the question of entering the concluding days of Yom Tov disrespectfully.

Haircuts are not permitted during Hol Hamoed.

The following are permitted on Hol Hamoed: creating and using fire or electricity, tape recording, playing musical instruments, taking photographs, ironing garments, cutting nails, and shining shoes.

To assure everybody cleans the clothing needed for the holiday beforehand so that they enter the holiday respectably, cleaning clothes during Hol Hamoed was prohibited. Also, people should not have to spend valuable holiday time in chores such as washing garments. This prohibition includes giving clothes to a commercial cleaner during Hol Hamoed.

It is permitted to wash certain items during Hol Hamoed, particularly garments that soil easily and are washed frequently, such as babies' garments. An Orthodox rabbi should be consulted for more specific details. Similar to other work, writing on Hol Hamoed is permitted in some cases and prohibited in others. It is permitted to write anything important that might be forgotten. Students in school are permitted to take notes from the teacher as without notes they may forget the lesson they have learnt. Writing homework is also permitted, as a class lesson or reading exercise is easily forgotten without the writing reinforcement. Letters to a friend, which are not written or typed in a careful or `professional' style are permitted.

III. PRAYERS

Yaale Veyavo is recited in each amida. If it was omitted one repeats the amida. If one realized the omission before concluding the amida, he returns to Rese and repeats from there. If one recited the Yom Tov amida during Hol Hamoed he does not fulfill his obligation as he didn't recite all the required berachot. Yaale Veyavo is included in bircat hamazon.

Hallel is recited after the amida of shahrit - during Hol Hamoed Pesah without a beracha, during Succot, with a beracha. Special selections from the Torah are read daily - there are four olim on Hol Hamoed. Musaf is recited daily. The holiday mizmor is recited before arbit and after musaf.