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Many years ago, my principal told us before succos bein hazmanim,

One who does not wear shabbos clothing (i.e. a white shirt, suit and tie etc.) on Chol HaMo'ed - specifically when he comes to shul - has disgraced the festival (i.e. Succos) has no share in the World to Come.

I never understood where my principal got this from. However, a few weeks ago I was looking in Avos and where the mishnah says (3:15),

One who disgraces the festivals... has no share in the World to Come.

What I want to know is, how did my principal come to the conclusion that if one doesn't wear his shabbos clothing when he comes to shul on chol hamo'ed, he has disgraced the festival?

Is this connection between shabbos clothing and "disgracing the festival" brought down in any halacha sefarim? (i.e. Mishnah Berurah, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch or Shulchan Aruch)

  • Not sure if this is an answer or a non-answer, but: Rav Herschel Shachter frequently mentions before yom tov that one should dress nicest for Yom Tov, nicer for Shabbat than chol hamoed and nicer for chol hamoed than for a weekday. He notes that most people don't have 4 or more sets of nicer and nicer clothing, so they dress for chol hamoed, yom tov and Shabbat the same. He also mentions that Rav JB Soloveitchik used to wear a top hat on Yom Tov, but stopped at some point when it stopped being socially acceptable. – Ze'ev Felsen Apr 9 '15 at 19:04
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Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104:2 says that one should wear "Begadim Mechuvadim" appropriate clothing on Chol Hamoed, if not he is disgracing it.

  • Would you please translate "Begadim Mechuvadim"? – Mike Sep 10 '14 at 1:14
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    @Mike, "honored clothes", literally, I'd say. I'll let GershonGold edit in whatever translation he likes. – msh210 Sep 10 '14 at 3:16
  • That doesn't tell us what is appropriate for Chol Hamoed. Maybe jeans and a tshirt are appropriate like any other weekday. – Double AA Sep 10 '14 at 15:16
  • DoubleAA: I think it would depend on the norms of the community. If one is in a Yeshiva community where the normal mode on Shabbos is a suit and white shirt then that would be considered Begadim Mechuvadim for him. If one lives in a community where a dress shirt and long pair of pants is the normal mode on Shabbos then that would be considered Begadim Mechuvadim for him. – Gershon Gold Sep 10 '14 at 16:24
  • @GershonGold How do you know? You just quoted to wear "appropriate clothing". Maybe it means appropriate for any other Tuesday. Where do you see anything about Shabbos? – Double AA Sep 10 '14 at 17:05
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I am excerpting from pp. 236 - 240 of this long article

Seforno’s commentary continues: hsgun ov vk t - These are the mo’adim: This way, as My moa’adim, is how you must relate to them. If, however, you don’t relate to them as mikra’ei kodesh, but as mikra’ei chol (weekday-style gatherings) that revolve solely around mundane pursuit of fleeting pleasure, then they are not My moa’adim. Rather, they are to be thought of as solely your mo’adim. This is reminiscent of the verse (in Yeshiyahu 1:14), My soul detests your mo’adim (This is Yeshiyahu’s expression of Hashem’s detesting the offerings brought by His people, because they persist in their improper conduct.)

While I know of no specific source that mentions clothing with Hol Hamo'ed davening, I surmise that your rebbi included proper clothing as part of the genral behavior and demeanor that one must have during Hol Hamo'ed. In other words, we don't treat Hol Hamo'ed like we treat weekdays, which includes not wearing "weekday" clothes.

One part that is missing from your rebbe's comment, which I hope and assume was implied is that the nice non-weekday clothes should be worn all day and are not restricted to just davening. On 2nd reading, I see that you mentioned "specifically", so I guess he did imply all day long.

  • On Yom Tovim or Shabbosos, we wear are best clothing (i.e. a nice white shirt, suit, tie and shoes). What I meant to say was that since chol hamo'ed is a semi-yom tov, one should wear the clothing that he usually wears on shabbos or yom tov. Do you understand whatI mean? – Chiddushei Torah Sep 9 '14 at 21:20
  • @ChiddusheiTorah Most Jews would never wear such things, let alone consider that their best clothing. – Double AA Sep 10 '14 at 15:17
  • What do you mean? – Chiddushei Torah Sep 10 '14 at 19:10
  • @ChiddusheiTorah - I think I understood what your question meant, and I think that I thoroughly answered it. Have I missed something? By using the term "non weekday clothes" I mean the Shabbat / Yom Tov clothes, exactly as you describe. – DanF Sep 12 '14 at 2:57

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