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Arriving on Yom Tov Sheini in the airport

Category: // By Rabbi: הרב ירון אשכנזי // Answer date: 05.01.2021

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Question:

HaRav, I live in Israel I just landed from Eretz Yisroel in the airport in Paris for business and I just realized that it is Yom Tov Sheini. I know that the airport is outside the city. Am I allowed to go to my hotel room or do I need to stay in the airport until after sunset? What should I do?

Answer:

It depends on where your hotel is. If your Hotel is in Paris itself then you are not allowed to go to your hotel and you should remain in the airport until after sundown because Pairs has a large Jewish community. If your hotel is near the airport then you may check-in a stay there.

Yom Tov Sheini was instituted in the time of Chazal when it was difficult to send messengers to all the Jewish communities in the Galut. The Gemara in Beitzah says that when the messengers stopped coming, they state keeping two days o Yom Tov out of doubt which day was correct. The Gemara asks though now that we have a calendar and we know why we continue keeping two days. Either because It was an ancient custom and so we keep it. The other was because during times of Gezeirot we might not have good calendars so we keep two days maybe we will heat Chametz on Peach accidentally.
The Rambam writes in Perek 5 in Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh: These days when there is no Sanhedrin and the Beit Din in Eretz Yisroel follows the calendar really everyone should only keep one day, even distant lands. However, the Chachamim ruled that we must keep our ancient customs.
However, Rav Hai Gaon writes that the custom of two was instituted by the Nevi’im for anyone who was not specifically notified by messengers of the Sanhedrin. “It is a decree from the time of the early Nevi’im. How could hey add another mitzvah to the Torah? Since they were Nevi’im, they were able to command us to do it, and this is what Yechezkel Hanavi did and Daniel.”
The Chachamim were very stringent about anyone violating Yom Tov Sheini and they made it punishable by putting one in Cherem. The Gemara in Pesachim writes: Rav Safra once he left Eretz Yisrael and arrive at a place with a Jewish community he kept Yom Tov Sheini. Just as the Mishna in Pesachim says one must follow the stringent customs of the place he arrives at. The Shibolei Haleket writes the reason is so the locals should not come to not keep Yom Tov Sheini themselves if they see another Jew doing Melachah and think that it is permitted. Therefore, if one does not arrive at a Jewish community the is no reason to keep Yom Tov Sheini. Therefore everyone, even one from Eretz Yisrael must be very careful in keeping the laws of Yom Tov Sheini.
Therefore, as long as the airport is not by a Jewish community nearby there is no reason to keep. Even though there are opinions like the Radbaz who are of the opinion that even if one arrives anywhere in Chutz La’Aretz, even without Jews, they must keep Yom Tov Sheini. They are only talking about if one moves to Chutz La’Aretz, not going on a business trip. If the Hotel is in Paris tough it would be forbidden.
One question remains maybe there are Jews who are not religious living in the vicinity of the airport? What about any workers or other travelers in the airport? would they require you to keep Yom Tov Sheini? Won’t they also think dong Melacha on Yom Tov Sheni is permitted if they see a religious Jew violating it?

R SZ Auerbach said that if it is in a city where there was a Kehilla and they fell apart or they became not religious, it would still count as a Jewish community and one should keep. However, the airport and hotels one does not have to worry that other Jews are floating around since most travelers are and workers are not Jewish. Chazal only required one to follow the customs of a new place but an airport has no customs. Therefore, you will be allowed to go to your hotel room.

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