Halacha of shaving on chol hamoed and exceptions dating

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This article was initially printed in slightly different form in “Shaving on the Intermediate Days of the Festivals,” Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 33 (1996), 71–94.

Given the Rav’s landmark work in matters of hashkafa, it is easy to overlook his contributions to contemporary halacha, and I hope that this piece, and the few that I hope will follow (one on the unique view of the Rav concerning a missed yaaleh veyavo) will do a bit to share my view of the Rav as an innovative halachic authority.

However, I did see something that changed my orientation to life and its struggles: I watched the Rav struggle with his illness and labor to compose himself every day to give shiur, struggle every day to learn more and struggle every day to examine and re-examine the complex, even when he found it difficult to do so.

To me, someone for whom Torah learning never came easily and always entailed lots of hard struggle to understand just what the complex material said, watching the Rav struggle allowed me to understand that Torah learning was going to be difficult.

They are based on my understanding of the aforementioned texts through the teachings of my Rebbeim.

As individual circumstances are often important in determining the psak in specific cases, and as there may be different approaches to some of the issues, one should always check with one’s Rov first. As in other instances, some Melachos are permissible to do on Chol Hamoed while others are forbidden.

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