- Most olim continue to abstain from eating kitniyot during Pesach under pretense of following "Minhag Avoteinu", commonly understood as the custom of their parents, rather than the local custom.
- Most olim adopt what they believe to be the local custom despite the fact that their Fathers wore tefillin during Chol HaMoed.
- And this is the really interesting part--wearing tefillin is not actually a Minhag (custom), but a Mitzvah D'Oreitah, a commandment dictated by HaShem in the Torah.
Ironically, the first source in the Torah that commands us to wear tefillin has a Pesach theme:
And it shall be for a sign for you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the law of HaShem may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand did the HaShem bring you out of Egypt. (Exodus 13:9)The Rambam writes that tefillin are not worn on Shabbat since they too are called a "sign":
And the children of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations, for an ever-lasting covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days HaShem made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested." (Exodus 31:16-17)Regarding Yom Tov, the Rambam writes that there are six days--and only six days--in which tefillin are not worn: the 1st and 7th days of Pesach; Shavuot; the 1st and 8th day of Sukkot; and Rosh HaShana. (Yom HaKippurim is considered like Shabbat and is called "Shabbat Shabbaton" in the Torah (Leviticus 31:16)).
Chol HaMoed is not included in this list.
So what's the bottom line? If you have an established track record for adopting local customs in Eretz Yisrael, why hold onto what Rabbenu Yeruham called a "foolish custom"?
But seriously, we all need to realize that kitniyot are indeed "little things." Putting on tefillin during Chol HaMoed is a big thing. So is bringing a Korban Pesach. May we all merit both.
P.S. To make your holiday a really special holy day, check out the Pesach shiurim of Rav David Bar-Hayyim on the Machon Shilo website.