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Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?

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And would it make a difference if the words are being transmitted, as by email or SMS? –  Tzvi Sep 27 '10 at 1:58

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Shiras Shabbos k'hilchasa [II 68:(125)] quotes R' SZ Aurbach that writing on a blackboard is permitted for the following reasons:

  1. It stands to be erased and is very easily erased (true on a computer when the file gets closed or the screen gets turned off or the email gets sent. The fact that it is stored in memory is not an existence of writing).

  2. Since we aren't makpid to write nicely it's only maase hedyot (and so is pushing keyboard buttons).

Others argue with point 1 since the writing will not erase by itself similar to the Rema's wax tablet.

However, if you agree with point 2, you can certainly send an email that is necessary for the moed.

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What about if it is known that it will be printed after sukkos (eg editing for a newspaper) –  yydl Sep 27 '10 at 20:16
Then, only if you follow R'S.Z. on point 1. –  YDK Sep 27 '10 at 21:48

I heard a shiur given by Rav Moshe Heinemann of Baltimore (probably about 15 years ago) in which he mentioned that typing on Chol HaMoed is permitted. The sevara he gave was that the act of typing is not a Ma'aseh Uman as just about anyone is capable of typing. Rabbi Heinemaan pointed out that although the results of something typed by an expert typist versus that of by a single-finger-typist are the same, this is irrelevant as the skill itself -- i.e., pressing keys on a keyboard -- is not itself a Ma'aseh Uman.

(For example, even someone illiterate can type by matching/copying characters off of another typed or written source. Note: This specific point/example is my own extrapolation that Rabbi Heinemann did not mention (to my recollection) but which I think prooves this sevara that typing is not a "skill of expertise", aka Ma'aseh Uman.)

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It may not be a maseh uman, but it may still be forbidden. If it's a melacha, its only allowed if its l'tzorech ha'moed or a davar ha'aved –  Ariel K Oct 17 '11 at 0:05

Typing isn't a maseh uman, but many consider to at least be a melacha. If that is the case, it would only be allowed if it was l'tzorech ha'moed or a davar ha'aved.

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