The Way of G-d
Part 4: "Divine Service"
Ch. 7: "Intermittent Observances"
We're so blessed, you and I. For not only have we been granted the sheer
and brimming gift that is Shabbat week after week, we've also been
allotted other days rich in holiness (though mostly to a lesser degree
than Shabbat's). And all so that we can bask in holiness more and more.
Now, in keeping with the holy nature of such days, we're asked to
differentiate them from others. And the way to do that is to allot little
time to worldliness on those special days. In fact, the holier the day,
the less we're expected to engage in the mundane.
Thus since, for example, it's the holiest day of the year, we're asked to
refrain from doing many worldly things on Yom Kippur (even more than on
Shabbat). Because the festivals of Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Succot, and
Shavuot are of a lesser degree of holiness, they call for less restraint.
And since the festival's intermediate days (Chol HaMoed) are less holy
yet, as are New Moons, Chanukah and Purim, they require even fewer
At bottom, each day's measure of holiness (and worldliness) is rooted in
the amount and degree of light that shines in the course of it.
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.