By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
In Shulchan Aruch, Even Hoezer, siman samech bais, seif zayin and ches it says that one does not say the Sheva Brachos after bentching unless there is a panim chadashos (new person) who was not at the wedding. Some say that on Shabbos and Yom Tov panim chadashos are not needed since Shabbos and Yom Tov themselves bring the simcha of a panim chadashos. This applies to the meal at night and in the morning, but does not include seuda shlishis.
The following interesting question arises regarding a couple that got married before Yom Tov. Is panim chadashos needed if there is sheva brachos on Chol Hamoed? Is Chol Hamoed considered a simcha that would be sufficient or not?
The Sefer Yofo Lalev in chelek daled of Even Hoezer, siman samech bais, ois chof daled says that Chol Hamoed is considered like panim chadashos. The reason Shabbos and Yom Tov are exempt from panim chadashos are not because of the holiness and sanctity of the day, but rather because of the simcha that is observed on that day. The Bais Yosef writes that there is a special inyan to increase the simcha and eat bigger portions lichvod the simcha of
The sefer Shailos Utshuvos B’tzeil Hachochma argues with the above position and says that yes, it is true that on Chol Hamoed there is an inyan of simcha, but it would not suffice as panim chadashos for the seven brachos after bentching. The Gemara in Ksubos daf ches, amud alef recounts the story that Rav Illa attended the sheva brachos of Rav Kahane. All seven brachos were said on the first day and from there onward they were only said if there was panim chadashos. We see from this that the panim chadashos of the day before is still a partial simcha, but not sufficient in order to make the seven brachos. The panim chadashos of the day before is only a hemshech (continuation) of the simcha. Similarly, Chol Hamoed is just a hemshech of the simcha of Yom Tov.
The Sefer Avodas Yisroel from the Kozhnitzer Maggid on inyanei Sukka writes a huge chiddush on this topic. If a sheva brachos falls out during Chol Hamoed Sukkos, then every day of Chol Hamoed would be considered like a panim chadashos since there is a different Ushpizin each day, so it is considered like a new guest for every day.
The Shailos Utshuvos of Rav Wosner in Shevet Halevi, chelek ches, siman resh peh writes that from Shas and the Poskim it is clear that on Chol Hamoed one would require panim chadashos. This would include Chol Hamoed Sukkos where we have Ushpizin; nevertheless, panim chadashos would be required during Chol Hamoed Sukkos. Practically speaking, since we don’t actually see or enjoy the Ushpizin, it would be very hard to consider them panim chadashos.
Let us hope to see the face of Mashiach Tzidkeinu which would definitely bring a tremendous unprecedented simcha to all of Klal Yisroel.