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What is Chol Hamoed?

by Mrs. Dinka Kumer

  

Library » Holidays » Sukkot » Chol Hamoed | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Chol Hamoed (literally, "the weekdays of the holiday") are the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot. They are the days sandwiched between the beginning and end holy days of both festivals.


For example, Passover is eight days long. The first two days and last two days are full fledged holy days. The middle four days, are Chol HaMoed. (In Israel, Passover is seven days long with the middle five being Chol HaMoed.)


Many activities which are forbidden on the festival days, are permitted on the days of Chol HaMoed (except if it is also Shabbat), such as using electricity or driving a car. However, we should try to avoid going to work, doing laundry, writing, and certain other activities (see What types of labor are permitted on Chol Hamoed?).


The special mitzvahs of the holiday are still relevant during Chol HaMoed; for example, we may not eat Chametz during Chol HaMoed Passover, and we eat in a Sukkah and shake the Lulav and Etrog on Chol HaMoed Sukkot. The days of Chol HaMoed include the Mitzvah to be joyous and celebrate.


Special prayers and Torah readings are read during Chol HaMoed, and in many communities men do not put on Tefillin (see Are Tefillin worn during Chol Hamoed?).


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Passover » Chol Hamoed

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chametz
Any leavened product which is produced from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. This includes bread, cake, cereals, crackers, biscuits, yeast, pasta and whisky. It is forbidden for a Jew to possess or consume Chametz throughout Passover.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Tefillin
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
Sukkah
The temporary structure in which we are required to dwell for the duration of the holiday of Sukkot. The Sukkah must have at least three walls and its roof consists of unsecured branches, twigs or wooden slats.
Etrog
A citron; a greenish-yellow citrus fruit. We are required to take an Etrog on the holiday of Sukkot and shake it together with a palm branch, a myrtle and a willow.
Chol Hamoed
(lit. "mundane [days] of the festival"), the intermediate days of the Festivals of Passover and Sukkot. On these days many of the holiday work restrictions are lifted.
Lulav
A palm branch. One of the Four Species we are required to take on the holiday of Sukkot. We shake it together with a citron, myrtle, and willow.