Friday, April 10, 2009

Chol HaMoed, Those In Between Days

I've mentioned it before that I wasn't fully "mentored" when becoming religious and there are all sorts of "cracks" in my knowledge. At least it took me decades to sort a lot of things out, and I'll always remain with a feeling that I'm missing something, not doing something important or doing it a little "wrong."

Chol Hamoed, the "in between days" of Passover and Succot, between the first day/s of the holiday and the last were among the things I've only recently observed.

Apparently, they are of a "holiday" status, but for years I never knew it. I'd do my crafts and laundry as if they were regular weekdays. In recent years, some of the jbloggers have announced planned chag/chol hamoed breaks from blogging, considering it a "forbidden melacha." Melacha is a forbidden on Shabbat type of work; the list is derived from the "creative" crafts needed to build the Mishkan, The Tabernacle, which served originally as a mobile prayer building, which the Jewish People, newly freed from slavery in Egypt, transported while wandering the desert. It was then installed in Shiloh, the First Capital of the Jewish Nation. It was here in Shiloh for 369 years.

On Jewish Holidays, most of the 39 melachot are forbidden. On Chol Hamoed fewer are forbidden. So now, I try not to do any laundry, unless very necessary items are needed or the wet towels will go moldy. And if I do launder, I dry the items in the house. Please, don't take this as officially rabbinically sanctioned.

As far as I know, hair-cutting is forbidden, and men aren't supposed to shave during Chol Hamoed. In Israel, it's much more accepted for men to, even work in the public sector, without shaving. You'll see TV announcers, politicians etc, even those not normally identifiably dati, religious, unshaven for Halachik, reasons to do with Jewish Law.

Chag Kasher v'Sameach!

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