Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Rava said: Merchandising during Chol Hamoed is prohibited. Rabbi Yosi bar Avin says: If he is selling the merchandise in order to avoid a loss, it would be permitted.

The Rishonim cite several reasons for this prohibition. The Rosh states that there is a lot of bother involved in selling merchandise (the item must be carefully appraised) and exerting oneself during Chol Hamoed is forbidden. The Magen Avraham (539:1) and the Perisha both say that exerting oneself in regards to the selling of the merchandise will cause him to abstain from rejoicing on the festival. The Meiri adds that even a minor business transaction that does not involve much effort is forbidden.

The Teshuvos HaRosh (23:4) offers a different reason: The primary purpose in the festival is that Klal Yisroel should have an opportunity to eat, drink and study Torah. If merchandising would be permitted, people would be occupied with business matters and they would neglect to rejoice properly during the festival.

The Maggid Mishna states: The Chachamim decreed that it is forbidden to conduct business during Chol Hamoed because this will result in writing. This is the identical reason for Shabbos and Yom Tov.

The Rivash (355) offers an alternative reason: Being involved in commerce during Chol Hamoed is demonstrating that Chol Hamoed is an ordinary day and this is a disgrace to the festival.

Teshuvos HaRosh presents another reason: Sometimes the buyer might overpay (or the seller might undercharge) and they might become distressed during the festival.


David said...

You write in the name of the maggid mishna that one may not conduct business on Shabbos for fear he may come to write something down " and this is the identical reason for Shabbos".

I thought the reason we don't do business on Shabbos is not b/c of a fear of writing, but, rather, b/c of the verse in Isaih, "memtzo chaftzecah vidaber dovor"?

Avromi said...

Rashi and Tosfos in Beitza 37a brings both reasons. The Rambam 23:12 in hilchos Shabbos just says gzeira shema yichtov. Rashi in Beitza 27b brings the pesukim in nechemya 13 where he gives mussar regarding Shabbos. That's the famous Rashi which quotes Ezra 13, referring to Nechemya.

Anonymous said...

Rivash is similar to Rambam regarding prohibition of muktzeh.