The Importance Of Chol HaMoed

The Daily Halacha Moment - Chol HaMoed ✡️


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן ‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

What's the importance of Chol HaMoed?


Answer:

The Rambam explains that Chol HaMoed is called a holy gathering and is the time when the Korban Chagigah was brought in the Bet HaMikdash. Melachah, therefore, is prohibited so that everyone may understand that the days of Chol HaMoed are unlike other ordinary days that are devoid of sanctity. However, not every form of labor is forbidden on Chol HaMoed, as it is on Yom Tov, since the primary objective of the prohibitions is to prevent the day from resembling a weekday. Therefore, some melachot are prohibited, while others are permitted. (As will be discussed bzh in future Halacha Moments) [1]

The Gemara says, “One who treats the festivals with scorn is comparable to an idol worshipper.” [2] Similarly, the Mishnah states, “One who treats the festivals with scorn has no share in the World to Come.”[3] Rashi explains that this is referring to one who profanes Chol HaMoed by performing melachah, or treats those days as he would a weekday regarding eating and drinking. Since one thinks these days are not as stringent as Yom Tov, one is not careful to heed them.[4]

It is incumbent on us, as Bnei Yisrael, who have been given these very special days of rejoicing with Hashem, to treat these days with proper respect, and realize their great gift and potential.[5]


Sources:

[1]. Rambam, Hilchot Yom Tov 7:1.

[2]. Makkot 23a; Pesachim 118a. See also Chiddushei Maharal as to why this is compared to idol worship.

[3]. Avot 3:11. See also Sanhedrin 99a.

[4]. See also the Me’iri on Makkot 23a and the Zohar, Tzav 29b, which state that one who profanes the moadim is as if he denied one of the main beliefs of Judaism. The Midrash in Vayikra Rabbah, Behar 34 adds that observing the days of Chol HaMoed is included in the words of the pasuk in Yeshayah 58:13 of me’asot derachecha, honoring the day by not engaging in one’s own affairs.

[5]. Most importantly, one should set aside time to learn Torah on the days of Chol HaMoed, since this is the reason why Hashem set aside these days for Bnei Yisrael (see above). See also Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 172, which cites the Yerushalmi, which implies that one who wastes his time during Chol HaMoed is worse than one who performed melachah. See also Pele Yoetz, “Chol HaMoed,” which criticizes very strongly those who waste their time on Chol HaMoed.

See Laws Of The Holidays - Nacson


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