The Three Days Yom Tov Challenges

Three Days Yom Tov Challenges

As I was sitting with my kids in the Sukkah on the first day Yom Tov, they remarked that having two days of Rosh Hashanah followed by Shabbos, was difficult enough. How in the world does the rest of world Jewry (outside of Israel) cope with three sets of Three Days Yom Tov [3DYT]  including first day Sukkos and Shmini Atseres/Simchas Torah?

Three Days Yom TovI did some research and collected all the problems and challenges I could find about 3DYT.

Food: Planning interesting menus and cooking for seven meals, heating and reheating, leaving on fires, setting timers and of course having enough fridge and freezer space.

Dishes & Table Setting: When you have a houseful of guests and very few in-house unofficial dishwashers and table setters, that is a sticky issue. “Again it’s my turn??? But I washed the dishes/set up the table yesterday!! Why can’t ______ do it this time???”.

You know what I mean. The usual chorus…and that’s just the beginning…

Showers: Yes shower, no shower for three days? Hot water or cold? Solar heater or electric heater? Liquid or solid soap? Shampoo hair or not? Dry hair with towel or not? Adults or only kids?

For those who answer a definitive NO to all the above, there are some personal consequences of Oneg Yom Tov, even if it means only feeling sticky for a few days…

Makeup: For the ladies, what about putting on or maintaining makeup for three days? Is there a way to put on makeup which will last throughout a 3DYT and are there types of makeup one can apply on Yom Tov or Shabbos?

Mikva:  What about going to the Mikva when one is rather restricted on pre-Mikva preparations?

Eiruv Tavshilin: Remembering to prepare it 3 times in 3 weeks.

Safety: Including carbon monoxide poisoning from stoves.

Legal issues: Religious rights in the non-Jewish workplace.

Three Days Yom Tov Solutions

I won’t write detailed instructions for every point because this post will then be 10000+ words long and never end and besides, the original authors of the various solutions know their stuff far better than I do. I’ll just write a few points and send you the links.

Three Days Yom TovFood, Dishes & Table Setting:

  • Plan everything before you shop and clear out your fridge and freezer from anything you don’t intend to use in the next few days.
  • Use disposable dishes and cutlery. Pay a bit more and get fancier disposable sets that look good for Yom Tov.
  • Set up the dish-washing and table-setting roster before Yom Tov (Using disposable doesn’t mean no pots or trays).
  • Keep it as simple as possible (but no simpler than that).
  • Serve a very light menu for the 3rd day (there’s nothing wrong with cold-cuts with salads on Shabbos instead of a traditional Chollent and by now everyone is over-stuffed)

And for some real professional advice:


Three Days Yom TovThere are differing opinions among Rabbi’s about washing and showering on Shabbos and Yom Tov in general and when it fall on a 3DYT in particular. In any case one should take the following points in account:

  1. Washing on Yom Tov is a lesser evil than on Shabbos.
  2. Washing in cold water is less of a problem than in hot.
  3. Using water from a solar heater is far better than from an electric or gas water heater.
  4. One may be more lenient with kids, pregnant woman or the ill.
  5. One can be more lenient in hot climates (like Israel) then in cold climates (like the Arctic Circle).
  6. If you decide not to wash at all, please use plenty of deodorant, change your clothes every day and stay inside an air-conditioned room…nobody else has to pay the price. 🙄


I know NOTHING about makeup, so I’ll leave it to the ladies to elaborate. After you get the gist of the topic and decide what’s best for you, go ask a qualified Posek, to be sure it’s Halachicaly viable.

How to Keep Make-Up Lasting All Shabbos Long

Three Day Yom Tov & Your Makeup


First and foremost consult with your Rav. Here are the basic guidelines from Nishmat – Women’s Health & Halacha:

Eiruv Tavshilin

Before the first day Yom Tov you need to make an Eiruv Tavshilin to cook and prepare food on the second day Yom Tov for Shabbos.

If you want an email reminder, register HERE:


Three Days Yom TovKeeping a gas or electric fire going for three days can be dangerous. Equally so for an electric water heater. Therefore check that all the equipment is functioning properly and all heating elements are away from little fingers. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be an issue too as in the following article:

Carbon Monoxide a Deadly Danger Over 3-Day Yom Tov

Legal Rights

three days yom tovLast but not least for employees working in a non-Jewish company, there can be employment issues about being absent so much from work. In anticipation of a potentially challenging workplace situation due to this year’s unique Yom Tov calendar, Agudath Israel of America has released a guide to religious rights in the workplace. Click HERE for the full pdf guide.

In conclusion and as my kids say, it’s easier living in Israel 🙂

Gut Yom Tov & Guten Kvitel !