In this article, continuing our series on Yom Tov Sheni (the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora), we will begin to discuss cases where a resident of Israel is in the Diaspora for Yom Tov. The Shulchan Arukh writes (Orach Chaim, 496:3):

Residents of the Land of Israel who visit the Diaspora are forbidden to work (la’asot melakhah) on Yom Tov Sheni in inhabited areas, even if they intend to return to Israel. As long as they have not reached an inhabited area, they may work even if they do not intend to return to Israel, since they have not yet taken on the status of locals. But if they have reached an inhabited area and do not intend to return to Israel, they are considered locals, and are forbidden to work anywhere.


There are two criteria introduced here:

1. Is the resident of Israel in a neighborhood with a Jewish population?

2. Is he planning to return to Israel or not?


The Shulchan Arukh rules that all types of work prohibitions, whether from the rabbis or the Torah, apply to a resident of Israel spending Yom Tov in a Jewish neighborhood in the Diaspora, even if he intends to return to Israel. The Mishnah Berurah (496:9) explains the reason: “We require him to follow the stringencies of the place where he arrived. Even in private he is prohibited from doing any work.” In other words, as the Talmud explains in the fourth chapter of Pesachim, a person must accept upon himself the customs of the place where he is currently located. This is the law too with regards to one who is spending Yom Tov Sheni in the Diaspora, as we have written previously in part 3 of this series.

Based upon this, the Mishnah Berurah elaborates in the next paragraph: “If he left the inhabited area and came to the desert, he does not have to follow the custom of the Diaspora, since he does not intend to settle there” (496:10). Since he is no longer in the Jewish neighborhood, by definition there is no reason to require him to observe Yom Tov Sheni. I feel it necessary to add a caveat. This work permit (outside of inhabited areas) is relevant only if he was already there before the holiday began. However, if a resident of Israel was in an inhabited area on the first day of Yom Tov, he is forbidden to leave in the middle of the night following the first day. This is because such a departure would be considered “public,” as the community members already saw him there on the first day of the holiday. In my opinion, the shlichim (emissaries) of Torah MiTzion must act accordingly. A proof for this position is found in Iggerot Moshe (Orach Chaim 3:92):

May a resident of Israel who is in the Diaspora recite the Yizkor memorial prayer on the last day of Pesach and Shavuot? . . . It is clear that he is certainly permitted to recite Yizkor, and the fact that it is not Yom Tov for him is irrelevant. Furthermore, if he is known as a regular in this shul, then he is obligated to go to shul so as not to publicize his different status. He must make it seem to people as if he is davening, so by definition he recites Yizkor. Even though in your case you are not obligated to go to shul because you are in a place where there are several shuls, and no one will notice that you are not attending, if you wish to say Yizkor you may do so. You would show up and sit there while everyone is davening, and pretend that you are davening as well.

This means that in a place where the absence in shul of the resident of Israel will be noticed, it is forbidden for him to leave the neighborhood.

The law regarding the observance of Yom Tov Sheni based on the principle of “We require him to follow the stringencies of the place he is located” applies only to which actions are prohibited, but not to which prayers to say, whether to put on tefillin, and similar issues. The Mishnah Berurah explains (496:13):

The decisors have written that a resident of Israel who is visiting the Diaspora over Yom Tov but intends to return is not obligated to make an eruv tavshilin when the second day of Yom Tov is on Friday. Since it is a private observance, he does not have to follow the “stringencies of the place he is located,” since he is planning to return. For this reason, on the second day of Yom Tov he is obligated to put on tefillin in private and recite the weekday shemoneh esrei silently. Since he intends to return to Israel, he is required to follow the stringencies of the place he left (as we wrote in 468). Nevertheless, he is obligated to wear Yom Tov clothing, because that is a public observance.

All of this pertains to a resident of Israel who intends to return there. However, if he does not intend to return, then immediately upon arrival in the Jewish neighborhood he is obligated in Yom Tov Sheni, as a resident of the Diaspora. This status is allinclusive. He must make an eruv tavshilin, recite the holiday prayers, not put on tefillin, etc. Even his leaving the area would not exempt him from observing Yom Tov Sheni.

After all we have said, we still need to discuss in greater detail the parameters of the category of “he intends to return.” It is clear that if a resident of Israel travels to the Diaspora for Yom Tov for a family visit or a vacation, he observes Yom Tov Sheni as a stringency of the place he is currently located, as we have explained.

On the other hand, the Arukh HaShulchan (496:5) rules:

If a husband and wife move from Israel to the Diaspora, they are considered residents of the Diaspora even if ultimately they plan to return. Since they have come with their family, the move is considered permanent. It also seems to me that even if one came on his own, if he intends to stay for more than a year he is classified as one who does not intend to return.

According to the Arukh HaShulchan, the concept of “he intends to return” is not simply a subjective state. It can be measured objectively. The criteria are the type of departure (with family or alone), and the length of the stay. The claim of the Arukh HaShulchan is that when a person moves with his family, people interpret this to mean that he is leaving Israel, even if he personally plans to return. Similarly, we find that for certain purposes, staying in a place for a year gives the person resident status. (See Bava Batra 7b.) Therefore, remaining in the Diaspora for a year means that the resident of Israel no longer observes Yom Tov Sheni as a stringency of the place he is in, but rather because he is halakhically obligated to do so.

This approach of the Arukh HaShulchan has been adopted by some of our generation’s decisors as well. The Tzitz Eliezer (9:30) writes:

Therefore, in your case, which meets both criteria – you intend to stay for two years, and you did not travel alone, but with your wife and children (which is the main factor) – as long as you are in an alien land it is considered your permanent dwelling for purposes of Yom Tov Sheni, and your obligation is identical.