The Rambam in Hilchot Yom Tov (7,13) says that on Hol Hamoed it is Assur to write Tefilin or Mezuzah for others unless the Sofer needs the money for Tzorech Yom-Tov. Kesef Mishneh says that the Rambam does not count the writing of the Tefilin itself as a Tzorech Yom-Tov, because the Rambam holds that one does not put on Tefillin during Hol Hamoed. But Mezuzah surely is something that is needed on Hol Hamoed for someone who doesn't have a mezuzah!

Why isn't writing a Mezuzah for others a Tzorech of the Moed?

  • 2
    Seems more like a question on the Kesef Mishne than the Rambam. The simple answer is just the Rambam thought Tefillin should be worn on chol hamoed
    – Double AA
    Oct 7 '18 at 2:06
  • @DoubleAA Rambam differs from Rashi’s understanding of the Gemara (MK 19a); Rashi learns that כדי פרנסתו does not mean אין לו מה יאכל. From the fact that he doesn’t learn like Rashi, but rather learns that כדי פרנסתו does indeed mean אין לו מה יאכל, it would seem to indicate that he must fall back on that, that he doesn’t have an alternative reason (i.e. wearing tefillin on Chol HaMoed) to justify it as a צורך המועד. Thus, the Kesef Mishneh infers that the Rambam does not hold that we wear tefillin on Chol HaMoed. He pretty much spells this out in Beis Yosef OC 545.
    – DonielF
    Oct 7 '18 at 3:45
  • @user17880 ^^^ If you want to edit in these sources, it might help to strengthen your question a bit.
    – DonielF
    Oct 7 '18 at 3:45
  • @Doniel again all very consistently a problem for the Kesef Mishneh
    – Double AA
    Oct 7 '18 at 4:07
  • @DoubleAA What I mean to say is that based on the Rambam itself, the Kesef Mishnah’s approach is very logical. How else can you explain the Rambam? That Tefillin should be worn on Chol HaMoed? Then why did he not explain like Rashi?
    – DonielF
    Oct 7 '18 at 4:10

R. Shlomo Kluger in Binyan Shlomo (printed in the back of many editions of Rambam, and quoted by the Sefer HaLikuttim in the back of the Fraenkel edition Rambam) suggests two answers:

  1. Mezuzah is never a tzorech hamoed - one can gift one’s house to another and thus become exempt from having to place a mezuzah there.

  2. Mezuzah is not a mitzvah incumbent on one’s body. As such, if one is prevented from putting one up due to the prohibition against melachah, it’s as if he has fulfilled the mitzvah regardless. Writing a mezuzah is therefore not a tzorech hamoed. Tefillin, however, are incumbent on the body. If one was obligated to lay tefillin on chol hamoed, then being prevented from doing so due to the melachah involved would not make it as if he had fulfilled the mitzvah. So writing them would be a tzorech hamoed.

  • Gifting your house just makes it a Davar Haaveid which is an even stronger reason to do work than Tzorekh HaMoed.
    – Double AA
    Oct 8 '18 at 1:25
  • Is there any other precedent for treating oneis as stricter for mitzvot shebegufo? The whole line of thought reminds me of the discussion about wearing an invalid tallit on Shabbat when you can't tie the strings to fix it.
    – Double AA
    Oct 8 '18 at 1:26

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