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Is it permissible to take pictures/videos on Chol Hamoed? 

The Rebbe maintained that in general terms one may not take pictures on Chol Hamoed. Indeed, many Poskim write that pictures or videos are forbidden on Chol Hamoed due to the Issur of writing.

Some maintain that digital cameras are different. This is far from certain and a matter of debate amongst contemporary Poskim.

There is also the issue of Tircha, doing extra work on Chol Hamoed, even when not a melacha, as well as disgracing Chol Hamoed. Furthermore, saving the first picture on a SD card can be an Issur even according to those who maintain digital pictures aren’t considered writing.

Therefore, in practice, one should only take pictures or videos if it is necessary for Yom Tov itself – Tzorech Hamoed, or if its a Davar Haaved, an unusual opportunity which won’t easily repeat itself.

Obviously, pictures and videos are almost always of situations which are happening at the moment. However, the guideline for Davar Haaved is an unusual situation, and not a license to take a large amount of shots or from a wide range of angles and/or ranges.

Side note: Chassidim in particular should be extra cautious, based on the Rebbe’s harsh words on the matter.



משנ״ב תקמה, ל. חוה״מ כהלכתו ע׳ רכח ובהערה רכו. שם הוספות ותיקונים ע׳ תמו. שמירת המועד כהלכתו ח הע׳ 36. שם הע׳ 113

.מילואים לשם סימן י. משפט המועד יא הע׳ נד. שם הע׳ ס
וראה אג”ק כג ע׳ שפה. יג ע׳ יד. התוועדויות תשד”מ א ע’ 486

.וראה קובץ מבית לוי א עמ’ נו

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