Dear Rabbi
I would like ask what the halocho is in regards to a physician working on chol hamoed in his own private practice. Do the usual restrictions of dovor haoved apply or is a physician allowed/obliged to continue working? Does the type of medicine practiced make any difference?
Thanking you for your response.

Answer:

It is generally permitted for a doctor or physician to work on Chol HaMo’ed.

The reason for this is that it is permitted to provide those services and goods that are required for Yom Tov itself. Just as it is permitted to sell food on Chol HaMo’ed because this is a requirement of the festival, so keeping in good health is an immediate requirement and it is therefore permitted to work as a doctor.

This will not apply to all fields, and for instance an orthodontist cannot work on Chol HaMoed more than anybody else. The same will apply to other non-immediate medical fields such as plastic surgery. For such occupations, it will only be permitted to work in cases of a davar ha’aved, such as an important client who is not prepared to wait for after Yom Tov.

Best wishes.

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2 Responses to “Physician Working on Chol HaMoed”

  1. Thank you for your prompt response! Can I be more specific. I work in a skin cancer clinic , mostly screening people for skin cancer . On the occasion I find anything I provide treatment usually within a week. Most of this treatment is non urgent and can be done a week later. Is this considered a “non immediate medical field ” ? Also I work in chutz la’aretz and most people treated are not Jewish although there is a sizeable Jewish patent load also . Thanking you again
    Mark Franck

    • Although this is not so clear cut, I would still say that it is permitted to work, since this remains a matter of healing, and it is always possible that an urgent case will arise.

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