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The Zohar (quoted here), says that the souls that are undergoing the painful cleansing process of Gehenom (purgatory, hell, see here), are given respite during the 24 hours of Shabbat.

This idea is brought in Halacha as well.

Does the same apply to proper Jewish Holidays (i.e. when work is forbidden), such as Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot?

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I recommend you ask this question in Hebrew here- rabimeir.weebly.com/151314931514.html because once in a speech I heard he explained this. –  Hacham Gabriel Nov 25 '11 at 1:26
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Chid"a, in his Sefer Midbar Kedemot (Letter Gimmel, Section 12), brings R' Eliezer Nachman Pu'ah (also brought by the Chid"a in his Birchei Yosef O"C 419) who says that Gehenom does not rule on Shabbat, and Rosh Chodesh, but does rule on Yom Tov.

The Chid"a then says the he found a Mordechai on Tractate Pesachim who says the same thing.

The Chid"a does parenthetically point out that the Zohar quoted in @zaq's answer (Terumah 150B) disagrees.

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@HachamGabriel: Do you know that it is Medabar and not Midbar? I don't, but I figured it was taken from the Torah (Devarim 2:26) mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0502.htm#26 –  Menachem Jan 29 '12 at 5:06
    
Interesting, I thought I remembered 2 huge Sefardic Gedolim say Medaber. But the Pasuk don't lie. Edited. –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 29 '12 at 5:08
    
@HachamGabriel: It's quite possible that the Chid"a was making a "play on words" with the title, instead of directly quoting the passuk, it's just hard to tell without Nekudot. –  Menachem Jan 29 '12 at 5:10
    
In the book "faith and folly" translated from the original "Tamim Tihye" by R' Yaakov Hilel Shelit"a it says "Midbar Kedemot." –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 29 '12 at 5:12
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Yes,

  • Shabbat,
  • Rosh Chodesh
  • Chagim
  • Holy Days

However, people who desecrated Shabbat don't have any rest in Gehenom.

Here's Zohar page that discusses it. (section 450-451) (Zohar Parshat Terumah, 150B)

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What about those Jews who never had a serious religious education, and violate shabbat out of ignorance, and not malice? (i.e. the vast majority of Jews alive today)? –  user1095 Jan 29 '12 at 9:54
    
I believe this passage is only talking about someone classified as a Rasha (wicked person), and not an Am Ha'aretz (ignorant). –  zaq Jan 30 '12 at 16:54
    
Someone asked Rav Chaim in Shailos Rav if a rasha returns to gehenom on yom tov sheni and would it make a diff if he lived in E''Y or not. Rav Chaim answerd yitachein. –  sam Aug 20 '12 at 23:13
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Based on the Rekantti commentary, Breshit 19:27, towards the end. We say during the weekdays at night "Vehu rachum..." because at that time of day the Din starts at the Gehenom. He then says that for that reason we don't say it in Erev Shabat. Can we assume that whenever we don't say it, it means that there is no Din?

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Not seeing it there. –  msh210 Nov 9 '11 at 18:36
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@msh: Rony must have meant 19:27. It's here, second column. –  Alex Nov 9 '11 at 20:19
    
On one hand, he breaks down the parts of the prayers we do and don't say on Shabbat, and how it is connected to the judgment of Gehenom (which would seem to prove that any time we pray the same way we do on Shabbat (i.e. Yom Tov) it is because the same status applies. On the other hand, he says explicitly that Shabbat is the king that prevents the punishment (which seems to imply that it is something special about Shabbat). –  Menachem Nov 9 '11 at 20:39
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Shabat is used sometimes to mean Yom Tov: We start to count the Omer "lemochorat hashabat" which actually means the day following Yom Tov. –  rony Nov 10 '11 at 15:59
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