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Chol Hamoed


  1. Someone was telling me that on Chol Hamoed if they don’t have enough Shabbos shirts/dresses they will wash them.
    According to what I have seen in the Mishna Berura this would be assur and it only clothing which gets soiled frequently would be mutar such as young children’s clothing, towels if one doesn’t have enough for Chol Hamoed or possibly undergarments.
  2. Additionally, I had another question about Chol Hamoed. Many big stores now have the option of doing self-service shopping with an automatic scanner. Is it preferable not to use one of these scanners on Chol Hamoed as one is doing unnecessary melacha or do we say that since it is for Tzorech Haguf it is “Hutra” and one does not have to minimize the melacha done. If it would be better to avoid using a scanner, would the same apply when one goes to a store which is owned by religious Jews. Since if one does not use the scanner the cashier will have to use one is there no preference who does the melacha?



Thank you for your question.

  1. What you heard from the other person seems to be a mistake. Exactly as you write, chazal only permitted washing soiled clothing, if the person only has one, since one garment is very difficult to make sure it stays clean. Additionally, small children’s clothing, since they are constantly dirtying their clothing, and towels, since it is meant to clean up other dirty things etc. However, if one has more than one garment, he/she has to make sure to stay clean. If a person feels that they can’t stay clean with the clothing that is available, more clothing should be bought before Yom Tov, (and it is considered hoztoas Yom Tov.
  2. It is preferable to minimize that amount of melachos done, however I don’t understand why using the scanner is different than the cashier scanning it, or manually ringing up the price. If anything, scanning the items is only one action and putting the price into the computer is a number of actions. Additionally, even if tzorech hamoed is hutra, it doesn’t mean that one can just do melachos for nothing, and if less melachos can be done without any bother, that is what should be done.


Shulchan Aruch O:CH 634-1, Chol Hamoed Khilchoso chap. 5 -1 based on Tosefos Moed Katan 14a D:H Vain, Poskim.


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