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Tefilim and Tzitzits during Chol Hamoed


Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 17, 5773
Dear rabbi, can you tell me if I can wear Tefilim and Tzitzits during Pesach (Chol Hamoed)? Can someone perform Bar Mitzva that day, (17 of Nissan)? Thank you. Yitzhak
Shalom, First of all a big Mazal Tov to the Bar Mitzvah boy! You are correct in thinking that the intermediate days of the festival (Chol HaMoed) have special laws attached to them. Even though they are not Yom Tov - i.e. you can drive and perform labor on them - they do have a special holiness which applies to them. Tzitzit and the Tallit must be worn then as normal, however in relation to Tefillin there are several different customs. Here in Israel we do not wear Tefillin during the intermediate days of the festival. (Of course because there are so many Jews here I am sure there are those who have a different custom - but by in large the practice is not to put on Tefillen during Chol HaMoed). Outside of Israel there are those that do not put them on, but by in large Tefillin are worn in the morning service as usual. Even then there are different customs concerning saying the blessing over them, with some saying the blessing (but quietly so as not to cause an argument) and some not saying the blessing at all. If you have no custom, or local Rabbi to ask, my advice is not to put them on if you are in Israel, and to put the on without a blessing outside Israel - but above all you should follow local custom. You may certainly have a Bar Mitzvah during these days (my son had his then). Apart from the difficulties of getting kosher for Passover catering, it is a wonderful time to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah boy's becoming an obligated member of the Jewish people, just as the entire people of Israel became a Nation in these days. May you have only joy and blessings.
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