Is it allowed to go to a non-Jewish college, university, trade school, or other training program on Chol Ha'moed? If so, why?

(Please ask your rabbi instead of trusting what you read here, for various reasons.)

  • 1
    Davar ha'avud, no?
    – Shalom
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 12:39
  • @Shalom Depends on the situation. Everything in chol hamoed depends on the situation.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 12:49
  • @DoubleAA agreed. Which is why nobody can, nor should, try to give a blanket answer to this question. Rabbi Willig shlit'a is on the record telling YU students to daven mincha bichidus (year-round) if there's no other way to attend all of their scheduled lectures. Could there be a situation where it can be missed, every so often? Yes, but the default policy is "assume you should go to class!"
    – Shalom
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 14:05
  • @DoubleAA: Might it be worthwhile to post your comment as an answer? Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 15:54
  • @Shalom: Might it be worthwhile to post your comment, too, as an answer? Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


The sanctity of Chol Ha'moed is well established in our sources. As it says in the Torah: "These are the appointed festivals of Hashem, which you shall proclaim as times of sacred assembly" (Vayikra 23:37). Chazal (our sages) expound upon this to discuss the unique character of Chol Ha'moed, which, while not carrying the full restrictions of Yom Tov, nonetheless retains a special sanctity. This sanctity requires us to avoid unnecessary work and engage in activities befitting the holiday spirit.

The primary issue at hand is the nature of melacha (work) on Chol Ha'moed. The Gemara in Moed Katan (12a) discusses various melachot and their permissibility during this period. One principle that emerges is that of "davar ha'avud" - a situation where a loss would occur if one abstains from a particular activity. In such cases, leniency is generally allowed.

Attending college or university classes, especially those which are essential for one's academic progress or are mandated by the curriculum, might be comparable to situations of "davar ha'avud". Missing crucial classes could result in academic or financial repercussions, which can be seen as a loss.

However, it's essential to differentiate between classes that are truly critical and those which are not. As Rashi notes on Moed Katan 12a, "any melacha that can be done after the festival without a loss should be postponed". If one can reasonably reschedule or make up for missed classes without detriment, it would be fitting to avoid attending during Chol Ha'moed.

Furthermore, the Rambam in Hilchot Yom Tov (7:1) discusses the prohibition of doing unnecessary work on Chol Ha'moed, emphasizing that the goal is to focus on the joy of the festival and not be preoccupied with mundane tasks. Thus, even if attending classes is technically allowed, the spirit of Chol Ha'moed should still be a consideration.

Yet, as the original post wisely noted, "Please ask your rabbi instead of trusting what you read here." Every individual's situation is unique, and only a competent halachic authority, familiar with the nuances of both the situation and the halacha, can provide a definitive answer.

  • 1
    Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 16:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .