I read in one of your recent emails that the Ran questions the assertion that the Issur Melacha on Chol HaMoed is a Torah Issur. He asks why would none of the compilers of the 613 Mitzvos list Chol Hamoed.
I don't understand this proof. Are there not many Mitzvos that are unquetionably Torahic in origin but nevertheless are not among the 613? For example, Tzaar Baalei Chaim, or Yichud? Why not then Chol Hamoed?
Dov Frank, Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
The Ran/Nimukei Yosef in Moed Katan deals primarily with the Gezeiras ha'Kasuv in Chagigah (18a) "Es Chag ha'Matzos Tishmor" -- "the Yom Tov of Pesach you should guard" (Shemos 23:15) which, Rebbi Yoshiya states, teaches us that it is forbidden to do Melachah on Chol ha'Moed. If this was a straight out Gezeiras ha'Kasuv, indeed it should be listed in the counting of the Mitzvos. Being that this is not included, it appears that this Pasuk is not a Gezeiras ha'Kasuv but rather an Asmachta. Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim and Yichud are different in that they are categories unto themselves, unlike Melachah on Chol ha'Moed, where we find similar prohibitions on Shabbos and Yom Tov. If there is an explicit Torah prohibition regarding Shabbos and Yom Tov and those are listed in the counting of the Mitzvos, then if this was a bonafide Gezeiras ha'Kasuv it should also be listed in the counting of the Mitzvos! Additionally, Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim and Yichud are the exception, not the rule. The Ran/Nimukei Yosef might say that although it is possible, it is less likely than its being mid'Rabanan and the Pasuk an Asmachta (admittedly, these are not watertight proofs, which is how there can be Rishonim who argue).
All the best,