Passover is an eight-day holiday. The first two days are considered full festivals and no servile work is performed on those days. These days are for prayer, family and of course the Passover Seder. The last two days are also festival days. Except for the fact that there is no Seder on those days, they are very much like the first two days in our observance.
The four days in the middle of the holiday are called the Intermediate Days of Passover, Chol HaMoed Pesach in Hebrew. These days are partially holidays and partially regular days. They are holidays in that we continue to observe the dietary laws of Passover and we continue to read special prayers and Torah readings in synagogue. But these days (except Shabbat) are work days. People can go to business and carry on their usual daily routines.
Although these days are sometimes seen as lesser in importance in comparison with the first and last days, the Intermediate Days have an importance all their own. In a practical sense, besides enabling us to go to work, these days give us a chance to prepare for the end of the holiday. It is time to restock our homes with enough food for the end of the holiday. Though many supermarkets will have already taken away their Passover displays they will still have produce and other permissible products available and the kosher stores will still have lots of Passover provisions.
In the spiritual sense, these days give us a chance to review the experience of the first two days and process what we have encountered. Did you discover anything new about the Seder or Passover or even about yourself on this holiday? Did attending a Seder sensitize you to the needs of the underprivileged? Many people provide for the needy before Passover. If you haven’t, or even if you have, Chol HaMoed is a wonderful time to do so. It may be too late for you to provide someone with a Seder, but there are people who struggle to provide themselves with food every day.
Thursday through Sunday of this week are Chol HaMoed Pesach. May these Intermediate Days of Passover be for you days of joy and fulfillment.