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Thought for the Day: Permitted Actions on the First Day of Yom Tov That Benefit the Second

One of my most pleasurable preparations on erev Shabbos is to receive a d'var torah from my eldest granddaughter (2nd grade).  This last week I was treated to a more interactive than usual conversation, as the d'var torah included a quiz; she described a Yom Tov, and I had to guess it.  Of course when she described Yom Kippur, I said, "Purim!"  (המבין יבין; of course she just thought I was being funny).  When she started describing Sukkos, I started right away saying, "Oh!  Oh!  I know! I know!"  She replied that I needed to wait till she finished the question.  Of course, I didn't; but started right away saying I knew.  This time, with her best serious teacher voice, she told me, "Zeidy; you need to work on your self-control."  (Apparently she had come home from school the previous week with two new vocabulary words: self-control and impulsiveness; המבין יבין.)

Granted, one is not permitted to prepare on the first day of Yom Tov for the next (or even Shabbos), but that does not mean that one must be zealous to curtail his activities on the first day in order that no tangible benefit will be realized on the second.  Since I am taking the mussar from my granddaughter, I shall attempt to relay the information regarding permitted and forbidden actions in an orderly manner.

There are two basic sorts of activities permitted on the first day that may yield a benefit on the second.  The first sort is those activities that produce a tangible benefit for the day itself, but have a larger yield than is required for today.  For example, if one needs even just a small amount of meat, then he may slaughter an entire cow.  That's obvious: the only way to get meat is to slaughter a cow; whether you need an ounce or 100 lbs is entirely irrelevant.  (Assuming, of course, you really need the ounce of meat; more on being sneaky later.)  Another example is adding more meat to stew.  This is a little more subtle: the Mishna Brura explains that adding some meat to the stew I am preparing for the morning meal improves the entire stew.  I end up with more stew, which makes me happy because I'll now have dinner tonight, but it is permitted because I got a benefit that morning.  Adding more beans to vegetable soup, however, does not improve the whole soup; it just gives you more soup.

The second sort of activity that is permitted is anything that is no discernible bother.  For example, when I am making shish kabobs, I am allowed to put as much stuff on the skewer as I like, even though I may only need half that much for today's meal.  On the other hand, to take an already roasting skewer of meat and veggies off the barbie (that's short for a grill, not a doll) to add more meat and veggies is most decidedly forbidden.  The additional meat and veggies will not improve the meat and veggies already skewered and roasting, so it is an effort that provides no benefit other than preparation for the next day.

What about being sneaky and and only saying you need more for today or you need an ounce of meat?  What about blatantly transgressing and making food on the first day for the second?  Those are quite interesting topics; we should talk about that some time.  Show some self-control.


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