Chol Hamoed

Can I use a highlighter and colored tabs (similar to post-it’s) to mark and take notes on a book that I’m reading during Chol Hamoed? And in general, what melachot are and are not allowed? People seem to act like Chol Hamoed is a regular day, are we more lenient in any way?

You are correct that Chol Hamoed is by no means a regular day. The Sages made certain decrees as to what is not permitted.
As to your specific question it would be permitted. The reasoning is that the sages permitted a melacha that is termed “hedyot”. That is, simplistic as opposed to a professional sort of melacha. Therefore in your case a simple highlighter is not a problem, but a painting would be. Another example would be putting air in your car tires as opposed to changing the brakes, which require a certain level of expertise.

Of course there are many Halachot involved and perhaps at later date we can expound on it, but for now keep asking. Chag Sameach.

Would exercising on Chol Hamoed be an issue because it is strenuous activity or is that permitted as well?


Would brushing hair and wringing it out be permitted?

And generally speaking, would any prohibited melacha be permitted on Chol Hamoed if it is a “simple task” and does not require skill?

Yes that’s fine.

As to your second point, that could be somewhat of a safe guide line assuming the action done was for the sake of chol Hamoed or yom tov, and not a preparatory action for after Yom tov.

But to be safe just ask.

Chag sameach

Thanks so much for all the quick replies, it’s been a great help!

Just a few more arbitrary questions about Chol Hamoed:
-Would typing be allowed, even if it is not for the purpose of Chag (like typing a fictional story or old memories, etc.)?
-Is there an issue with purchasing new things on Chol Hamoed that may or may not be used on the chag, but certainly aren’t NEEDED for the chag?

Again, thanks so much!

Typing would be okay
No purchasing unless needed for Chag

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I’m looking to replace my thermostat with a new one that I purchased a while back, but this requires some wiring and electric work. Would it be ok to work on the phone with customer service guiding me through it, or would this be considered craftsmanship even if someone is helping on the phone?

That’s correct. It would be considered craftsmanship and it wouldn’t be allowed