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As a continuation to my question regarding why the Beit Yosef apparently deviated from his normal method of ruling in the case of laying teffilin on Chol HaMoed, I'm curious what the practice was prior to the Sh"A?

I don't mean immediately prior, but in earlier generations, the Rishonim, Geonim, etc...

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What's wrong with the people on this site? What in the world could possibly be wrong with this question that people would mark it down? – Robert S. Barnes Oct 15 '13 at 6:54
don't take it personally, the down voting on this site is vicious, compared to other SE sites. (I didn't down vote). – Yishai Oct 15 '13 at 13:22
@Yishai, I agree that Robert should not take it personally, but I strongly disagree with you about our downvoting being vicious - especially when compared to other SE sites. It's always best to leave a comment explaining the downvote, but it's done overwhelmingly because of some flaw with the premise or some other issue that can be corrected or fairly easily addressed. – Seth J Oct 16 '13 at 15:58
It's possible that other users have grown tired of some users' apparent desire to undermine several hundred years' worth of established Halachah because they appear to suggest they know better. As a consequence, users like Robert, who by and large seems to want to learn more than he wants to undermine, might bear the brunt of some distaste. I would opine that some adjustments to the language used in certain questions (not this one) could improve the situation. (I did not downvote, FWIW.) – Seth J Oct 16 '13 at 16:00
@SethJ, I will have to disagree about the down voting, but that is a subject for meta or chat, and I don't have the time to engage in that now. Perhaps another time. – Yishai Oct 16 '13 at 16:17

According to R. Yosef Karo's uncle, R. Yitzchak Karo, the Sephardic practice prior to the Zohar was like the Rosh, to wear tefilin with a bracha (quoted in שו"ת בית יוסף, תש"כ, עמ' שפה). The Beit Yosef (או"ח סי' לא) cites the Rashba in addition to the Zohar, as the source for the change in Sephardic practice. It isn't clear what Sephardic practice was prior to the Rosh, however it seems likely that it was not to wear. The Otzar ha-Geonim (Eruvin 192-193) forbids tefilin. The BeHaG cites R. Yaakov ben Haviv as prohibiting (Hildesheimer ed., pp. 482-483). The Sefer ha-Ittim also prohibits wearing tefilin (cited by the Rosh, Halakhot ketanot, tefilin 16). The Meiri cites the Sephardic practice as not to wear tefilin (Moed katan 18b).

On the other hand, the sources to wear tefilin are Ashkenazi. The Sefer haTerumah proves from the fact that one can write tefilin on chol hamoed that it is a zman tefilin (hilkhot tefilin 213). The Hagaot Maimoniot says וכן הנהיגו כל רבותינו להניח תפילין בחול המועד. The Raavad (תמים דעים מ) says one is not obligated but if you want to wear, you should do so without a bracha. The Semak says to wear without a bracha (mitzva 150). The Rosh cites the Maharam as making a bracha.

All these sources are from Jacob Katz's article about the topic in הלכה וקבלה.

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You neglect to mention the Yerushalmi (MK 3:4) which makes it abundantly clear that Tefillin were worn on Chol HaMoed in Israel at that time. – Double AA Oct 16 '13 at 16:34
No, I mention the Sefer ha-Terumah's proof from said Yerushalmi. Take it easy. – wfb Oct 16 '13 at 16:36
I am taking it easy: I gave you links and +1'ed your post. You don't mention the Yerushalmi though. Your quote of the SHT (which I haven't checked) is not quite the proof of the Yerushalmi, as there could be other reasons why one would write tefilin on chol hamoed (eg to wear them after chol hamoed). – Double AA Oct 16 '13 at 16:37
Thanks. It would be assur to write tefillin for after Yom Tov. Jacob Katz points out that the proof from the tannaim is not conclusive, because they are of the opinion that Yom Tov is zman tefillin. – wfb Oct 16 '13 at 16:48
Sorry, no--I did find this article though orot.ac.il/publications/oreshet/oreshetpdf/4-8.pdf – wfb Oct 17 '13 at 14:29

The Ba'al Halochos Gedolos (a Gaon) is quoted as being of the opinion that Tefilin should not be worn on Chol Hamoed (I don't know off hand if that is found in the surviving versions of Halachos Gedolos, but it is quoted in Tosfos, referenced in the comments). So clearly (according to Tosphos) it is a practice that goes back to that time, different in different communities.

See here for some further discussion on why they couldn't just look at the previous generation's practice and determine what the Halacha was. The upshot is that the author proposes that wearing Tefilin in past generations was more fluid, ideally worn all day, but with different circumstances requiring their removal. So seeing someone without Tefillin at a given time didn't settle the matter.

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not wearing tafillin on 7ol hamoe3dh is from zohar. beith yosef held like the zohar on this over common day halochoth and thats his problem. most rishonim held to indeed wear it. – MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Oct 14 '13 at 20:50
@MoriDoweedhYa3gob, um, although it is true that the Zohar says it, and that influences the Beis Yosef's Psak Halacha, the Zohar is not a Da'as Yochid in this area. See the linked reference here: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/31653/440 – Yishai Oct 14 '13 at 21:12
@MoriDoweedhYa3gob, I actually brought the Ba'al Halochos Gedolos, the Rashba and the Ri. – Yishai Oct 14 '13 at 21:38
@DoubleAA, לא בשוטפי עסקינן, if Tosfos quotes it, they had it and found it reliable. That is at least as clear for me as a surviving manuscript. I changed your edit because I don't know that it is not there, as I have never read through the whole Hilchos Gedolos, that Tosfos is just the place that is generally referenced. – Yishai Oct 15 '13 at 1:08
@SethJ, I think it very nicely puts together the point that the practice of Tefillin is quite different when you wear it all day - as there are many times when you just won't be, vs. if you limit yourself to an hour a day. It makes the point that you can't interpose our practice of Tefilin exactly neatly on previous generations, making the determination of what they used to do harder. – Yishai Oct 15 '13 at 1:12

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