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Shabbat Parashat Vayikra 5783

Ask the Rabbi: Melacha Done on Yom Tov Sheni in Chutz Laaretz

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: We (Israelis) will be spending Pesach at my parents’ home in chutz la’aretz. They keep the basics of the chag, especially when we are there, but do not observe Yom Tov Sheini (=YTS). May we benefit from forbidden melacha (ed. note – e.g., turning on a flame or electricity for cooking; turning on lights) they will do on YTS? (They are respectful of our shemirat mitzvot, but we do not want to make unnecessary issues.)


Answer: Do not encourage your parents to do melacha; if you know they will do so on your behalf, ask them not to, due to lifnei iver (not facilitating aveirot). It is best to discuss this in advance, after which you need not “police them.”

The main gemarot (see Ketubot 34a) forbidding the result of a Jew’s melacha refer to Shabbat (ma’aseh Shabbat). A gemara (Beitza 17a) examines whether one who cooked on Yom Tov for Shabbat without an eiruv tavshilim (=et) may eat the food. The gemara (ibid. 17b) deflects a proof from the halacha that one who cooked on Shabbat may not eat the food by saying Shabbat is different. Rashi contrasts – chillul Shabbat is a Torah-level, capital offense; cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbat without an et is a Rabbinic prohibition. Since Yom Tov has elements of each – a Torah violation but no capital offense, it makes sense that we find a machloket if there is a prohibition on ma’aseh Yom Tov (Taz, Orach Chayim 502:1) or not (simple reading of Shut Harashba V:8).

According to some (see Rav SZ Auerbach in Yom Tov Sheini K’hilchato, p. 369), for Torah-level violations of Yom Tov, ma’aseh Yom Tov is forbidden; for Rabbinic violations, the result is permitted. That aligns well with the Magen Avraham (538:2), who says regarding the result of forbidden work on Chol Hamoed, that its status depends if melacha on Chol Hamoed is forbidden from the Torah or Rabbinically. If something is forbidden on the first day of Yom Tov, it widely has the same status on the Rabbinic-level second day.

We can, then, claim that your parents’ Torah-level violations will be forbidden and the Rabbinic ones will not. The cooking process, including burning to fuel it (including glowing filaments) should be included in ochel nefesh and permitted on Yom Tov and thus the prohibition of creating a new fire, forbidden because of molid (Beitza 33b), is likely a Rabbinic prohibition (see Shevet Halevi VI:68). The Taz (ibid.) views it as a Torah prohibition and forbids not only using the resulting flame but also eating the food it cooked. However, this is not the accepted ruling (Mishna Berura 502:4). Some say a new flame has special leniency because it has no substance and/or it keeps on replacing itself (see Aruch Hashulchan, OC 502:4; Dirshu 502:3). Most of the violations you would use are likely Rabbinic on Yom Tov.

Does it help on YTS that you are Israeli? While you may not do melacha in a Jewish community abroad even privately (Mishna Berura 496:9), this is due to concern over discord; it is not an intrinsic violation. Therefore, for example, an Israeli may cook without an et, as a bystander for the cooking will not know he does not have an et (ibid. 13). Arguably, then, ma’aseh Yom Tov should only be forbidden for one for whom melacha is innately forbidden, especially considering it is unclear to a ben chutz la’aretz seeing the benefit what the history of the object is.

This claim may depend on the reason to prohibit ma’aseh Shabbat for people other than the violator (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 318:1). If it is considered enjoyment of a Shabbat violation, it should not apply on YTS to one for whom it is not intrinsically Yom Tov. If it is part of the penalty on the violator, it likely follows the status of the violator, for whom YTS applies intrinsically. Further analysis is beyond our scope. However, since many poskim treat the violator’s household as “him” and not “others” (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata, 5770 ed. 1:34), this leniency will not help here.

In conclusion, it is permitted to benefit from Rabbinic Yom Tov violations; regarding Torah-level ones, this would require significant need.
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