Melacha on Erev Pesach: work, Haircut, cutting nails, mending clothing, writting

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Doing work on Erev Pesach: [1]

The prohibition:

On Erev Pesach, beginning from midday, it is Rabbinically forbidden to perform [certain] Melacha/work [as will soon be defined].[2] One who transgresses and performs Melacha is excommunicated and will not see any profit from his work, as whatever he profits from this work he will lose from another area.[3] Nonetheless, the prohibition of performing Melacha applies even if one does so for free, not in exchange for payment.[4]

Before midday:[5] Some communities are accustomed to not do certain melachos even prior to midday, beginning from Alos Hashachar. Other communities are not accustomed to prohibit any work prior to midday. Practically, each community is to follow his custom. [Today, all communities are accustomed to perform Melacha before midday.[6]


Definition of Melacha/work:[7]

In general, all Melacha that is forbidden to be performed on Chol Hamoed, is likewise forbidden to be performed past midday, and all Melacha that is permitted to be done on Chol Hamoed is likewise permitted to be done past midday, if those same circumstances apply.[8] However, being that Erev Pesach is more lenient than Chol Hamoed, as it does not have any holiness of Yom Tov at all, therefore there are certain cases of exception, as will be explained below.

Working without pay:[9] As stated above, the prohibition of performing Melacha applies even if it is done for free, without pay. 

Gentile:[10] It is permitted to have a gentile perform any Melacha on one’s behalf, even if it is not for a need of the Holiday.[11]

Haircut:[12] It is forbidden to cut hair past midday even for the sake of Yom Tov. This applies in all cases; whether it is done in exchange for pay, or whether it is done for free, or even if one is doing so to one’s own hair. It is, however, permitted for a gentile to cut one’s hair past midday.

Cutting nails:[13] It is disputed amongst the Poskim as to whether one may cut nails past midday.[14] Practically, one is initially to cut his nails prior to midday, although if one did not do so, then he may be lenient to cut them after midday. 

Fixing an item\and mending clothing:[15] It is forbidden to fix any item past midday in exchange for payment. Thus a tailor may not fix a garment and a technician may not fix a machine past midday for exchange of payment This applies even if it is necessary for the sake of the Holiday and is a job that does not require professional skills [i.e. Maaseh Hedyot]. However, if one is not taking money for the job, or one is doing so on his own behalf, then it is permitted to fix any item for the sake of the Holiday even if it involves professional work. Thus, one may sew a tear in his clothing and fix a broken machine for the sake of the Holiday. Nevertheless, to do a complete work, such as to make a clothing or vessel from scratch, remains forbidden to be done on Erev Pesach past midday even for the sake of the Holiday.

Writing:[16] It is permitted for one to write past midday on one’s own behalf, for the sake of the Moed. Likewise, one may write words of Torah while learning, for the sake of remembering.[17] Other forms of writing, however, such as for the sake of others, of for non-learning purposes that are not for the sake of the Moed, follow the same regulations as on Chol Hamoed itself.[18]


May one print papers after midday?

One must beware to print prior to midday all papers that one will need during the duration of Pesach. If one did not print the papers before midday, then one may do so after midday for the sake of the Moed, or for the sake of learning Torah.[19]


May one shine his shoes after Chatzos?[20]

Initially, it is best to do so before midday, however, if one did not6 do so beforehand, he may do so after midday.[21]


May one practice Safrus after Chatzos?[22]



May one bathe after Chatzos?

Yes. However, those who are accustomed not to shower with a bar of soap on Chol Hamoed are to try o bathe prior to midday.[23]

May one do laundry after midday?[24]

No, with exception to those cases that it is permitted to do so on Chol Hamoed. One may place clothing into the washing machine before midday even though the laundering will continue past midday.


May one iron clothing past midday?[25]




[1] Admur 468

[2] Admur 468:1-2; Michaber 468:1; Mishneh Pesachim 52

The reason: As Erev Pesach was a Holiday, as on this day they brought the Pesach sacrifice as an offering to the Temple. [Admur 468:1] Now, although after the destruction we ceased to bring the Pesach offering, nonetheless, the Rabbinical decree remains in place until, as is true of all Rabbinical decrees that even if their reasons become no longer relevant the decree still applies until it is properly overturned. [Admur ibid]

[3] Admur 468:3

[4] Admur 468:4 and 18

[5] Admur 468:9; Michaber 468:3; Mishneh Pesachim 50a

[6] Aruch Hashulchan 468:5

Regarding Yerushalayim: See Peri Chadash 468 who writes that the custom was to do Melacha before midday; However, see Yechaveh Daas 4:20 that it is proper to be stringent.

[7] See Admur 468:5-6

[8] Admur 468:5

[9] Admur 468:4

[10] Admur 468:5

[11] The reason: As Erev Pesach after midday does not have any holiness of Yom Tov at all, and is hence more lenient than Chol Hamoed. [Admur ibid]

[12] Admur 468:4

[13] Admur 468:6

[14] Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to do so, just as is the ruling on Chol Hamoed. [1st opinion in Admur ibid; M”A 468:13; Maharil] Other Poskim rule that since even on Chol Hamoed there are Poskim who permit, therefore, certainly one may be lenient to cut nails after midday. [2nd opinion in Admur ibid; Elya Zuta 468:4]

[15] Admur 468:7; Michaber 468:2

[16] Admur 468:8

[17] The reason: As writing for oneself does not appear like a complete Melacha, as he certainly is not particular that the writing come out in perfection, and it is thus viewed like fixing an item, which is permitted past midday for the need of the Holiday, and the same applies for the sake of remembering Torah. [Admur ibid]               

[18] The reason: As when writing for others, the writing is considered a complete Melacha. Likewise, even when writing for oneself, it is only permitted for the sake of the Moed or for the sake of remembering Torah. [Admur ibid]

[19] As even on Chol Hamoed there is reason to permit using a printer today as it does not involve any actual work but just simply the press of a button.

[20] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 468:4

[21] The reason: As there are Poskim who rule that it is forbidden to shine shoes on Chol Hamoed, and the same would apply after midday. [Kitzur Shlah] Nonetheless, since many Poskim permit shining shoes even on Chol Hamoed, one may therefore do so after midday if he did not do so beforehand. [Yabia Omer 1:32]

[22] See Admur ibid

[23] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 468:4

[24] Piskeiy Teshuvos 468:6

[25] Piskeiy Teshuvos 468:6

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