[Avodah] Q. What types of melachos (activities) must women refrain from on Rosh Chodesh?

Professor L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Thu Aug 9 05:43:22 PDT 2018

The following is from today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.  UL

Q. What types of melachos (activities) must women refrain from on Rosh Chodesh?

A. It is clear that the custom that women refrain from doing melacha on Rosh Chodesh is more lenient than the requirement not to do work on Chol Hamo’ed. Whatever one can do on Chol Hamo’ed, one can do on Rosh Chodesh as well. This allowance would include davar ha’aved –work that is performed to avoid a financial loss (see Eishel Avrohom [Buchatch] Tinyana 417). The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 417:10) writes that women who are employed outside the home, and cannot take off Rosh Chodesh, are exempt from this custom while they are working. When they are home, they should refrain from all melachos as on Chol Hamo’ed. The Rema (OC 417:1) writes that the custom of each community determines which melachos are prohibited. The Mishnah Berurah (Beiur Halacha 417, s.v. Vehanashim) writes that if a woman does not have a communal or personal custom, she must accept upon herself some melacha that she will refrain from doing on Rosh Chodesh, as a fulfillment of her observance of this holiday. Rav Yaakov Emden writes in the Mor U’ketziya that only a melacha that involves effort is prohibited on Rosh Chodesh. For example, many women have the custom not to sew or do laundry on Rosh Chodesh. Nonetheless, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l writes that nowadays, women may wash clothing in a washing machine, since it is a simple task.

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