What are the laws that define when should someone do only one day of Yom Tov (Shavuot for example) or 2 days?

For example, how long do you have to stay in Israel? Are there other factors?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1502/…
    – WAF
    Jun 5, 2011 at 14:59
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    @WAF, I don't think either of the questions you point to are 100% overlaps with this one, so I'm inclined to not close it.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 5, 2011 at 15:03
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    @IssacMoses The only real possible dup is this one: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7000/…, but this one is more specific so it's a keeper.
    – yydl
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:23
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    Just a note to @nute: If this is a question that is applicable to you in practice, then CYLOR instead of relying on the answers you get here.
    – msh210
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:59
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    @msh210 it is applicable to me in practice, and I've asked a Rabbi, but I'm still curious about the logic behind it (since the rabbi asked me a lot of seemingly random questions).
    – Nathan H
    Jun 7, 2011 at 6:52

7 Answers 7


Just to add to the many opinions already brought down, Hacham Ovadia Yosef, in Hazon Ovadia Hilchot Yom Tov footnote 22 of Hilchot Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galuyot (and likely elsewhere) writes that a single man or woman from Chutz La'aretz who is old enough to get married can keep one day while in Israel.

He combines the shita of the Hacham Tzvi and Shulchan Aruch Harav, which says that everyone keeps one day in Israel, with the logic that if one doesn't have a family, he isn't tied down to a single location. He says that since, hypothetically, if one would find a shidduch in Israel, a source of income, he would be willing to settle there, he is no longer considered 'tied down' to chutz la'aretz. Even if his parents would object, he argues that a child does not need to heed his parents when it comes to a shidduch.

There's a popular story that generally accompanies this pesak din: a young man once came to Hacham Ovadia and told him that he isn't ready to marry, and therefore should keep two days. Hacham Ovadia asked him, "What if you found the perfect girl, who was willing to marry you today? Wouldn't you marry her?" The boy asserted that he would not. He asked him, "What if I offer you my granddaughter? wouldn't you marry her??" Again, the boy asserted that he would not. Hacham Ovadia concluded, "in that case you're completely patur from all mizvot: you're a shoteh gamur!"

Many Sepharadic students who study in Israel after High School (who the footnote is actually addressed to) rely on this pesak din (but of course CYLOR).

  • I am unwilling to marry R'Ovadia's granddaughter so I can eat traif. Aug 4, 2022 at 17:34

Again, according to Rabbi Yaakov Emden, you keep 1 day if you're in Israel right now, no matter where you come from or where you intend to be. If you follow his opinion, this question is moot. The prevalence of this opinion has had a resurgence in recent years, especially as we all move around so much, no one really is "of" a specific place like they used to be. (Also, 300 years ago, you'd maybe have a small handful of non-Israelis visiting for yomtov. Today it's a giant industry; as Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach said, the walls of Jerusalem cry every time the non-Israelis make a second-day yomtov minyan here.)

But assuming we follow the somewhat more mainstream approach, that a non-Israeli keeps 2 days; ask a rabbi. But often the criterion is either:

  • Regularity with regards to yomtov: someone who has a house and job in America, but has gone to Israel for every yomtov for some time now.

  • Sincerity and commitment with regards to the move to Israel, generally by putting your money where your mouth is. Someone who just moved to Israel a few weeks ago, but has sold his American house, quit his American job, and moved his whole family to Israel and started a new job in Israel, new house, new bank account, new everything; Rabbi Moshe Feinstein allowed such a person to keep 1 day (and when visiting American relatives, attend their 2nd Passover seder only so as not to cause a scene).

The flipside is the sincere yeshiva boy who swears on a Bible (not literally) that he's never leaving Israel -- but keeps calling his parents in Cedarhurst for money, and if they put their foot down, he'd have to go home. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein told a young R' Asher Zelig Rubinstein that he should have kept 2 days in this case.


Read this moving story which I find very relevant to your question.

The story is told by a holocaust survivor who came to deeply regret not heeding to Rav Kook's begging of him to make Aliyah in the 20's.

The story suggests that the Halachic criterion for a Ben Eretz Yisrael is only the wholehearted decision to live in Eretz Yisrael.

As has been pointed out in the comments a story (even by the great Simchah Raz) is not a viable Halachic source. It is however something to start with to seek out the source for this opinion.

My assumption is that even those who hold this opinion would require a person who has made the decision to make Aliyah to actually be in Israel for the chag, but maybe not.

  • This is a nice story and underscores the fact that desperate times call for interesting legal decisions and emotional interactions. If the p'sak of Rav Kook was not unique to the extraordinary circumstances, it seems to be that his p'sak was that there is no lower limit: entering the land at all renders one an inhabitant since it would be unreasonable to expect to ever leave. Please consider summarizing and linking the story, pointing out the most relevant part in answer to the question.
    – WAF
    Jun 6, 2011 at 13:55
  • Thanks @WAF for your comments. I'll try to find the time. I think the Rav's p'sak has to do with intent and not action. The idea being that Aliyah is usually a deep internal motion and the geographic movement is only secondary. Jun 6, 2011 at 14:17
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    I think Rav Kook here meant this as a general view, that as long as a person's intent is to live in Israel, he is an Israeli, even if you made aliya only shortly before yom tov. Going back to chutz l'aretz to get your possessions and relatives is still permitted within that "I am now an Israeli" paradigm.
    – Ze'ev
    Jun 24, 2011 at 18:26

To clarify AviD's answer above - R Shlomo Zalman Auerbach says if you are in Israel for the 3 festivals (that's not just pesach and sukkot) you take on the customs of a person from Israel. So as soon you commit you will keep one day. The Chocham Zvi holds that even passing through Israel you would keep one day, but he asks many questions on this opinion, but since he said it, there is room to be lenient in the matter.

If however you cannot make it to Israel because of circumstances out of your control, you have to keep the full 2 days, and do not put tephilin on 2nd day etc, because you do not become a 1 day person through this, just that you are not relevant to keeping 2 days, because you are never out of Israel for the festival.

51% of days of year will decide if you live in Israel or not for being a 1 day person or not.

Look up Hilchos Shlomo for Yomtov....


I've seen so many different variations on this halacha, some that border on the absurd. On one hand, on the second day of Shavuot I once ate by a family who had lived in Jerusalem for 8 years, kept intending to leave, but had never quite managed to do it -- nevertheless, their rav told them to keep 2 days. On the other hand, I've met people who lived in chutz l'aretz for just as long (or longer) and only kept 1 day of Yom Tov.

I'll try to post the psak found in Yalkut Yosef in another answer, but this really is a question where you need to consult your rav, even if you think you know the answer.

  • You can't keep one day of Yom Tov in Chutz L'aretz! Possibly, an Israeli man visiting chu"l for yom tov might pray a chol ha moed (not yom tov) prayer service on day 2, or put on tefillin (ONLY IN PRIVATE) and pray a weekday prayer service on day 8, but melacha, even in private, is forbidden because it goes against what everyone else does. (Tefillin is different, because safek d'oraisa l'chumra).
    – user1095
    Feb 21, 2012 at 7:02
  • @Will, I agree, but since there's so much variation in the halachot of the 2nd day of Yom Tov, I'm not willing to go so far as to say that some poskim couldn't legitimately be meikil about melacha too.
    – Chanoch
    Feb 21, 2012 at 14:50
  • I'm really do not mean this in a defiantly challenging way, but in sincere intellectual curiosity - do you know of any well-respected posek today who allows any Jew to do melacha on Yom Tov Sheni in chu"l?
    – user1095
    Feb 21, 2012 at 16:17

Sorry, I can't find the source right now, but I'll try to come back and fix this up later...

But the defining requirement here is 3 regalim in a row - Sukkot-Pesach-Shavuot. (I think there might be a sub-requirement that they start in the right order, e.g. not starting from Shavuot-Sukkot-Pesach, but if/when I find th source I'm sure that will clear up.)

There is also an opinion that it is based on the source of your income - e.g. even if you live in U.S. "temporarily", but e.g. your parents live in Israel and are financing you whil you're in college, or something - then you'd still keep only 1 day (with certain restrictions on the 2nd day, different question).

However, as others have said - consult with your own Rav.

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    That second opinion (source of income defines residency) is brought down in Igros Moshe, but he varied on this point in different t'shuvos.
    – WAF
    Jun 6, 2011 at 14:01

In the beginning of the sefer "Yom Tov Sheini K'hilchasa", Rav Shlomo Zalman and the Chazon Ish are both quoted as saying that if someone who is not Israeli is in Israel on Yom Tov and makes a totally concrete decision to move to E"Y, then that establishes his status as a ben E"Y, and they even consider whether he would have to make havdallah in the middle of the day if he did this on the second day.

The Aruch Hashulchan (O"C siman 496:5) says that if one does not plan to leave for one year then he is already considered "ein da'ato lachzor".

The Piskei Teshuvos (siman 496 os 12-14) brings down a lot of information about this.

  • Thanks for your well-sourced answers, but please be careful to use English as many readers of the site don't understand Hebrew or yeshivish. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help.
    – mbloch
    Aug 5, 2022 at 3:34
  • @mbloch Sure, thank you! Good to know. Aug 7, 2022 at 21:24

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