Rabbi Shlomo Sobol
Former Rosh Kollel in Detroit


Thursday, 12 Nissan

Taanit Bechorot:

  1. The Fast of the Firstborns is advanced to Thursday, 12 Nissan.
  2. According to Sephardim who follow the Shulchan Aruch, one who cannot fast and did not participate in a siyum does not necessarily have to fast.
  3. Some hold that fathers do not have to fast in lieu of their eldest sons in years such as this one.

Bedikat chametz:

  1. Bedikat chametz is advanced to Thursday night – i.e. the eve of Friday, the 13th of Nissan. One should begin thebedikah at tzait hakochavim and recite the standard blessing of al biur chametz (even though chametz may still be consumed on Friday and also on Shabbat morning).
  2. After the bedikah, one should recite kol chamira as one does during a regular year.
  3. One may not eat or learn prior to the bedikah. If one cannot do the bedikah while hungry, one may have a light snack or some fruit.
  4. One should be careful to hide the ten “crumbs” – as well as any remaining chametz which is to be consumed through Shabbat morning – all together in one place. If this chametz is scattered, a second bedikah must be performed.
  5. When feeding bread to children on Friday or on Shabbat morning, one must ensure that they do not make crumbs or scatter chametz throughout the house.
  6. If one did not perform the bedikah during the proper time, one should do so on Friday morning – albeit without a blessing. If one failed to do so on Friday morning, one should do so on Motzai Shabbat (Seder night). If one “voided” (bitell) one’s chametz on Shabbat before the sha’ah chamishit, one should do the bedikah after yom tov.

Friday, 13 Nissan

Biur chametz:

  1. In the morning, one must eliminate the ten “crumbs” as well as any chametz which was found during the bedikah. One should retain only the limited amount of chametz needed for the first two Shabbat meals as well as any chametzwhich is to be consumed on Friday.
  2. Ideally, the chametz should be burned in the morning – i.e. until the end of the sha’ah chamishit, as in a regular year. However, if one did not do so, the chametz may be burned until the Shabbat candles are lit.
  3. After the biur, one should NOT recite “kol chamira”. Instead, one should do so on Shabbat.
  4. One should carefully conceal the chametz needed for the Shabbat meals.
  5. Chametz utensils should be stored in a designated space on Friday. If necessary, they – as well as any chametz utensils used on Shabbat – may be stored on Shabbat before the z’man biur.

Preparing for Shabbat and the chag:

  1. On Friday, all melachot are permitted – just as on a regular Friday.
  2. It is recommended to purchase small rolls or pitas – which do not leave crumbs – for the Shabbat meals and for lechem mishneh.
  3. One who does not use bug-free lettuce or karpas should check, wash and rinse the maror and karpas before Shabbat. The vegetables may not be checked on Shabbat. Hence, if one did not check them before Shabbat, one should do so onMotzai Shabbat (Seder night). In such a case, it is preferable to use only the lettuce stalks or stems and not the leaves.
  4. The zero’a should be prepared on Friday and may be placed in the refrigerator or freezer until Shabbat ends. If one did not do so, the authorities disagree whether or not one may roast the zero’a on Motzai Shabbat (because one may not eat roasted meat at the Seder). Therefore, if one did not prepare the zero’a on Friday, one should do so on the Seder night with the intention either to eat it during the day or to feed it to a child.
  5. Those who customarily bake their matzot on Erev Pesach should do so on Friday after chatzot. Those who grind their own spices for the charoset should do so before Shabbat. Otherwise, the ingredients should be chopped with a shinuion Motzai Shabbat.
  6. Since this is a shmitah year, one must perform biur ma’asrot. Ideally, this biur should be done on Erev Pesach, but if not, one should do so on Erev Shvi’i Shel Pesach. Therefore, one should perform this biur on Friday.
  7. If one customarily prepares the candles by melting the bottoms, one should prepare two sets of candles – one for Shabbat and one for yom tov – before Shabbat. If the yom tov candles were not prepared before Shabbat, one must place them in their candlesticks without melting.
  8. One must light a 26-hour candle before Shabbat – in order to have a flame for Motzai Shabbat.
  9. The Shabbat candles should be lit in the place where the family is to eat. However, if the family is going to eat on the porch [see below] or in a windy place where the candles are likely to be extinguished, the candles should be lit – with the blessing – inside.
  10. Ideally, large candles – which will last until the conclusion of the Hagadah – should be used for the Seder night. However, b’di’avad (post factum), one may use regular candles.

Shabbat, 14 Nissan

The Shabbat meals:

  1. Chametz cooked cereals and similar food items should not be prepared for this Shabbat. After all, these types of foods get stuck on to the dishes, and washing the pots and plates would involve preparing on Shabbat for another day.
  2. Ideally, the Shabbat food should be kasher l’Pesach and prepared in utensils which are kasher l’Pesach. However, one must ensure that these utensils do not come in contact with any chametz.
  3. One must not pour from a kli rishon (loosely, a pot which is still hot from direct contact with a heating element) which is kasher l’Pesach into a chametz dish – even if the dish is empty. However, b’di’avad, if there was no chametz food in the chametz dish, it may be used.
  4. Some people refrain from consuming matzah for thirty days before Pesach, and others do not eat matzah from Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Nevertheless, me’hadin, the actual prohibition applies only from Erev Pesach in the morning, but the custom is to extend the prohibition to the night before. Therefore, matzot should not be used at the Shabbat meals. (Another issue is that some people recite the mezonot blessing over matzah before Pesach.)
  5. The Shabbat meals should be eaten in a special place – such as a yard or tiled porch. A plastic tablecloth should be used, and the bread should be covered with a paper cover – lest chametz crumbs adhere to the cloth cover. Care should be taken that no crumbs fall on the floor, and one should not eat over a rug.
  6. Given the choice between a paved and an unpaved spot, one should choose the paved spot, which can be easily swept after the meal.
  7. Disposable serving platters, dishes, silverware, and plastic tablecloths should be used – in order to avoid the necessity to wash out the chametz.
  8. After the meal is over, one should shake out one’s clothes and refrain from touching the Pesach dishes until one has washed one’s hands.

Shabbat morning:

  1. One should get up early and daven shacharit and musaf promptly – in order to have time to finish the second Shabbat meal.
  2. Chametz may not be consumed after the sha’ah rivi’it.
  3. After the meal is concluded, the tablecloth should be shaken out, and the dishes should be wiped and placed with thechametz utensils. In addition, everyone should wash their hands and brush off their clothes. Also, the towels should be changed.
  4. Adults – and certainly children – should change their clothes if there is a chance that chametz crumbs may have adhered to the clothes. If chametz crumbs are, in fact, found, one should shake out the clothes and place them together with the chametz utensils before the z’man biur.
  5. One should rinse out one’s mouth and brush one’s teeth. (Even those who normally refrain from using toothbrushes on Shabbat may brush their teeth on this Shabbat. Furthermore, they do not have to make a hatarat nedarim – even if they had not specified “bli neder” initially. After all, in general, they still will not brush their teeth on Shabbat; they are making an exception this week in order to avoid transgressing the prohibition of chametz. Also, by definition, one who undertook to refrain from using a toothbrush on Shabbat did not intend to include this Shabbat in the undertaking.)
  6. Dentures should be kashered on Friday, and denture wearers should attempt to avoid eating overly hot or spicy food on Friday night and Shabbat morning. After the Shabbat morning meal, the dentures should be cleaned, and hot water from a kli sheni should be poured over the dentures, with the intention to clean – rather than immerse – them.
  7. One should purchase only the amount of challah needed for the Shabbat meals. Ideally, rolls or pitas – which do not make a lot of crumbs – should be used.
  8. Pots containing any leftover chametz should be wiped. If wiping is ineffective, the pots should be lightly washed to remove the chametz.
  9. Chametz utensils should not be rinsed in a kasher l’Pesach sink. Rather, the chametz utensils should be rinsed in a sink (e.g. a bathroom sink) which will not be used for Pesach dishes.
  10. Remaining pieces of chametz which are larger than a kizayit must be broken up into pieces which are smaller than akizayit and then must be flushed or thrown into the trash.
  11. One should “void” (yevatel) any visible remaining chametz which cannot be discarded in a permissible manner. Thechametz should then be covered and burned after yom tov. Chametz which is found after the sha’ah chamishit must not be moved; instead, it should be covered and burned after yom tov.

Bitul chametz:

  1. After discarding any remaining chametz, one must “void” (yevatel) the chametz by the sha’ah chamishit, as is done during a regular year. After completing the morning meal, one should perform the bitul chametz and recite, “d’chazitai u’d’lo chazitai d’vi’artai u’d’lo vi’artai,” before the end of the z’man biur.

Mincha and seudah shlishit:

  1. Ideally, one should daven mincha gedolah. After mincha, some customarily recite the seder korban Pesach.
  2. One may eat fruit after the sha’ah assirit, but Chazal stated that one should “starve” oneself on Erev Pesach in order to “have an appetite” for the matzah. On Shabbat Erev Pesach, if one feels hungry after the sha’ah assirit, one may eat some fruit or vegetables but should not sate oneself. Therefore, seudah shlishit should be eaten before the beginning of the sha’ah assirit.
  3. For seudah shlishit before the sha’ah assirit: After mincha gedolah, Ashkenazim may eat kasher l’Pesach dumplings, fried matzah, or matzah which was cooked in a kli rishon – but not matzah ashirah. However, there are those who are stringent and do not eat dumplings and similar foods the entire Erev Pesach. Meanwhile, Sephardim may eat matzah ashirah.
  4. For seudah shlishit after the sha’ah assirit: One may eat only meat, fish and fruit and should not overindulge.
  5. Ideally, according to the Gra, one should wash netilat yadayim, eat a kibeitzah of bread, and recite birkat hamazon. Then, one should either wait half an hour or go out for a short walk and then eat another kibeitzah for seudah shlishit. In any event, Sephardim wait until after mincha gedolah to eat seudah shlishit.
  6. On Shabbat, one should not move the matzot which are to be used for the Seder. Also, these matzot should not be used for lechem mishneh.

Preparing for the Seder on Shabbat:

  1. One must not begin preparing for the Seder – including setting the table or anything else – until Shabbat has ended, because it is forbidden to prepare for yom tov on Shabbat.
  2. Since hand matzot shmurah are expensive, important, and cannot be used on Shabbat, they are muktzeh and must not be moved on this Shabbat. This prohibition applies even at home and even in a city which has an eruv (and certainly in a city which does not). However, machine matzot – even matzot shmurah – may be moved, because they are fed to children (i.e. they are not considered to be very valuable).
  3. Therefore, one who is spending Shabbat at home but going out for the Seder and wants to use one’s own hand matzot shmurah should drop off the matzot at the Seder location either on Friday or after Shabbat. Otherwise, one may rely on those who permit moving matzot shmurah on Shabbat, as long as they were prepared with the intention of giving some of the matzah to young children.
  4. One may – and should – rest on Shabbat in order to be awake and alert at the Seder. In particular, children are encouraged to take naps. However, one should not specify aloud that the nap’s purpose is to have strength on Motzai Shabbat.

Motzai Shabbat, 15 Nissan

Seder night

  1. The yom tov candles must not be lit until Shabbat has ended and hamavdil bein kodesh l’kodesh or vetodi’aynu (inmaariv) has been recited. The candles must be lit from an existing flame, and care must be taken to avoid extinguishing the match or candle.
  2. During maariv, vetodi’aynu should be recited in the third blessing after atah bechartanu.
  3. During kiddush, five blessings should be recited in the so-called yaknehaz order: yayin, kiddush, ner (the me’orei ha’aish blessing), havdalah (using the unique formulation found in siddurim and in the Hagadah), and z’man (theshehechiyanu blessing).
  4. At the Seder, during the go’al yisrael blessing which precedes the second cup, some Ashkenazim say, “v’nochal sham min haz’vachim u’min hap’sachim” (i.e. the regular order is reversed). The reason for the switch is that when the 14thof Nissan fell on Shabbat, the korban chagigah was not offered on Shabbat.