May a chassan drive during the week of Sheva Brachos?

May a chassan drive during the week of Sheva Brachos?

A chassan (groom) during his shivas yemai hamishteh (the seven days of celebration after his wedding)—and according to many opinions, his kallah (bride) too—is banned from melachah (work). These restrictions pertain because he is domeh l’melech (compared to a king—and she is domah l’malkah, a queen), and also in order that he be available to be mesamaiach (make happy) his wife.

There are many classes of melachah categorized in halachah; some poskim suggest that “work” in this case refers to those types forbidden on Chol Hamo’ed (the intermediary days of the holiday); m’leches ochel nefesh (work involving food preparation) is certainly permitted, as it is on Yom Tov.

These restrictions would include types of melachah that are less limited in other circumstances: light work (even though it is not taxing), work done in the privacy of the home, and even work that his kallah (new wife) is mochel (sanctions). However, melachah shel simcha (work that is associated with joy) is permitted—as well as certain situations where more than one exception applies (for example, work that is done privately and is sanctioned by his kallah).

Washing and ironing clothing is permissible in a pinch, as well as haircuts and nail-trimming. Many poskim maintain that writing is permitted as well; so is driving a car—with his kallah’s consent—though in their status as domeh l’melech/malkah, perhaps arrangements should be made to chauffeur them around for the duration of shivas yemai hamishteh.

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.