Chol HaMoed is a period of time that lies between Yom Tov and Chol. It is important to recall that many people do not wear Tefillin on Chol HaMoed because of its elevated stature – that it is Yom Tov. Gardening is forbidden during this time as well. On Chol HaMoed, one should wear better clothing then they do during the week. One should eat meat and drink wine during these times too.
MALACHA ON CHOL HAMOED
Malacha work on Chol HaMoed is forbidden unless it fits into certain parameters. Unfortunately, the laws of Chol HaMoed are not well known. If any question comes up, a Rav should be consulted. There are essentially only five heterim for work to be done on Chol HaMoed. They are:
1] Tzorchei HaMoed – for the needs of Yom Tov
2] Davar Ha’Aved – If something will be ruined or destroyed if the work is not done. Permanent damage to a business is included under this heter.
3] Tzorchei Rabim – A great communal need, such as a broken Mikvah, Eruv, street, sewage pipe.
4] Poel V’ain Lo Mah L’echol – If someone has no food to eat and requires to make money in order to buy food.
5] Maaseh Hedyot – If it is an amateur action as opposed to a Maaseh Uman – a professional action. Repairing a car, for example, is generally a Maaseh Uman and is forbidden. Changing a tire is a Maaseh hedyot. Ironing pleats on a skirt is a Maaseh Uman. Tailoring and dressmaking is a Maaseh uman and forbidden. Sometimes a temporary hem can be sewn very unprofessionally and that is a Maaseh hedyot. Driving a car would be a Maaseh uman but since everyone does it, the Poskim have explained that it is now considered a Maaseh hedyot.
A Rav should always be consulted whenever any question arises regarding Chol HaMoed.
THE MITZVAH OF HAKEL
On the first day of Chol HaMoed Sukkos every seven years, in the times of the Bais HaMikdash a special Mitzvah took place. All Jewish men, women, and children who were Oleh Regel would gather in the Chatzer of the Bais HaMikdash to hear the Jewish king read certain sections from the Torah. The Torah commands this Mitzvah in Sefer Dvarim ( 31:10-13) and it was done in the year following the Shmita year. After the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash the Mitzvah was discontinued.