Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: The "Ordinary" Days of Chagim -- Not So Ordinary

Rosh HaShana can fall on a Shabbos and there are places in the davening where whole paragraphs are different.  My machzor had those differences marked as "Shabbos" and "Chol".  I found it a little jarring to think of any aspect of Rosh HaShana as "Chol" (ordinary).  Of course Rosh HaShana is anything but an ordinary day.  Compared to Shabbos, however, it can be called chol.  Something like the dark areas on the sun are "cool" relative to the surrounding area. (Sun spots are only 5,000° F, while the surrounding area is 10,000° F).

That is how we need to view Chol haMo'ed; not regular weekdays, but compared to the intense k'dusha of the surrounding days, the intermediate days can be referred to as "chol"; that is, chol compared to yom tov, but anything but ordinary.  In light of that, I thought it was worth sharing part of the Mishna Brura's introduction to hilchos chol ha'mo'ed. Siman 530, mishna brura there.  I am not coming, chas v'shalom, to pasken halacha l'ma'aseh, only to raise the importance of the issue in our outlook on Chol HaMo'ed.

There are five categories of malacha that are permitted on Chol HaMo'ed:
  1. Malacha that will cause a loss if not done now.
  2. Malacha done for the needs of the mo'ed.
  3. Malacha done by a worker who would not otherwise have enough to provide for basic living expenses.
  4. Malacha done on behalf of the community.
  5. Malacha done for an individual that does not require a craftsman.
There is a malachlokes rishonim whether malachos other than above are forbidden by Chazal, or if really all malacha is forbidden by the Torah, but the Torah gave permission to Chazal to permit these five categories. (The latter is the opinion of the Rema.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…