Related to the topic of tircha (exertion), this siman discusses another prohibition similar to the one in the last siman (i.e. picking up repaired items from the shop) – namely, moving one’s household or transporting (a.k.a. “shlepping”) furnishings from one house to another on Ch”H. Besides the issue of undue tircha, there is the additional concern of a public action which could arouse suspicion that one is toiling not l’tzorech hamoed (for the sake of the festival). As with other Ch”H prohibitions, there are exceptions to this one as well. For example, if the move was indeed l’tzorech hamoed – and obviously so to the observer – it may very well be permissible. Likewise, in the case of ‘davar ha-aveid’ (necessity to avoid loss or damage), moving may be permissible as well. Here is one interesting leniency mentioned in the Mishnah Berura: If a person had been temporarily living in someone else’s home, and he has the opportunity to move into his own quarters, there is strong grounds for a heter (halachic permit) to relocate and/or move furniture on Ch”H. The rationale is that the Rabbis considered independent living to be a basic element in man’s happiness and well-being! Cool?! (Note: We must always bear in mind the following principle which governs all melacha on Ch”H: “In general, one is not permitted to purposely schedule a melacha project for the moed (e.g. He thinks he will have more time to do it then), when it is reasonable to have done it beforehand. This is known as ‘mechavein melachto l’moed’.”) (MBY 533:1-5)
Before leaving this siman, we would like to excerpt a few important notes related to melacha and tircha on Ch”H, and to the idea of exceptions from prohibition. We quote from Hilchos Chol Hamoed ‘Zichron Shlomo’, by Rabbis Zucker and Francis, pp. 24-25. Some of their words encompass what we have just learned.
“Why is melacha prohibited on Ch”H? Restrictions on melacha are necessary to preserve the sanctity of the festival. In addition, the tircha, physical or mental exertion, often associated with melacha detracts from Simchas Yom Tov, holiday rejoicing. By refraining from work, one is able to enjoy the festival more fully and to engage freely in spiritual pursuits…”
“Just as melacha is prohibited because of tircha, many exertive types of activities are also forbidden even if no melacha per se is involved. Strenuous tasks, since they entail tircha, are often deemed an obstacle to Simchas Yom Tov. For example, generally, on Ch”H one may not move from one residence to another. Transporting heavy furniture and other belongings involves much physical exertion and mental strain. In extenuating circumstances, such as when present living conditions are intolerable or a loss of money is involved, moving may, at times, be permissible. A Rabbinic authority should be consulted.” (See? I told you!)
“With an awareness of the underlying rationale for the prohibition of melacha on Ch”H, it becomes clear why certain exceptions were made. In some instances, permitting a melacha will enhance Simchas Yom Tov rather than detract from it…”
I don’t think there is a set of halachos quite like those of Chol Hamoed. Do you?