Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Erev Pesach on Shabbos, First Seder Saturday Night

[A late link to Haveil Havalim; and I trust that counts for "Link to Jack" day...]

I distributed the following article to my shul, covering the nuances of observing Pesach in this year's calendar - Erev Pesach being Shabbos, the first Seder being Saturday night. Note that all times are Allentown, PA-specific.

Note, as well, that I did not offer the Egg Matzah solution for the Shabbat meals. The reasons are beyond the scope of this post.

Pesach 2008/5768
Frequently Asked Questions

This year, 2008 / 5768, Pesach begins on a Saturday night. This creates a whole slew of questions, some more obvious than others. When do we prepare the Seder? When do we burn the Chametz?
Here is a primer on Pesach 2008/5768, handling some of the issues which arise. Of course, please call me (610-433-6089) or email me ( if you have any questions which this FAQ does not clarify. Note that all times mentioned are appropriate only for Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Section 1: When is our Chametz sold?

Chametz is sold with a sale which takes effect on the morning before Pesach.

This year’s problem:
We cannot sell our Chametz in the normal manner, since we don’t arrange sales to take place on Shabbat.
If we were to sell our Chametz on Friday, we would run into a different problem – if we were to then have leftover Chametz from our Shabbat meals, we could not add Chametz and Chametzdik utensils to the area containing the pre-sold Chametz.

Two solutions:
1. The sale is contracted before Shabbat, stipulating that the sale includes Chametz located in the pre-designated sites on Shabbat morning at a time right before ownership of Chametz becomes prohibited.
2. Many authorities do not accept the idea of a sale which becomes binding on Shabbat. Therefore, they create sales that are effective before Shabbat, and they do not permit Chametz to be added to those sold areas during Shabbat.

Section 2: When do we search for Chametz?

We search for Chametz on the night before Pesach.

This year’s problem:
We cannot conduct the search on Friday night, since the search involves moving a light from room to room in conducting the search.
We cannot conduct the search on Friday morning, either; the sages interpreted biblical verses to indicate that the search should be conducted by candlelight, which is most effective at night.

The solution:
We search on Thursday night, April 17th, when the stars emerge, at 8:26 PM. Before searching we recite the blessing of “Al Biur Chametz,” and the “Kol Chamira;” these may be found in the standard Artscroll Siddur on pg. 655. The blessing marks the beginning of our destruction of Chametz; the “Kol Chamira” paragraph (the first of two printed in the Siddur) annuls our ownership of any Chametz which has escaped our notice.

Section 3: When do we burn Chametz?

We burn our Chametz on the day before Pesach, before the 6th hour of the day. “Hours” are determined by dividing the time between sunrise and sunset into twelve equal parts; each part is an “hour.”

This year’s problem:
We cannot burn Chametz on Shabbat.
Technically, one may destroy Chametz by other means, even on Shabbat, but we would like to preserve the practice of burning Chametz.

The solution:
To preserve the practice of burning Chametz, we burn our Chametz on Friday, April 18th, at the normal time – before 11:28 AM. We do not recite any blessing at that time.
On Shabbat, after we finish eating Chametz, we dispose of the remaining Chametz in the manner recorded in Section 7 below.

Section 4: When do we say “Kol Chamira,” annulling our ownership of Chametz?

In an ordinary year, we recite one version of the “Kol Chamira” paragraph when searching for Chametz at night, and a second version when burning the Chametz on the next morning. (Both versions may be found in the standard Artscroll Siddur, page 655.) The language we use in the nighttime paragraph allows us to save some Chametz to use at breakfast. The language we use in the second paragraph, when we burn the Chametz, states that we annul our ownership of all Chametz.

This year’s problem:
We cannot recite the second version of “Kol Chamira” when burning our Chametz on Friday, because we are keeping some Chametz for use on Shabbat.

The solution:
We do not recite the second “Kol Chamira” when burning our Chametz. We recite the first version when we search for Chametz, on Thursday night. We recite the second version of “Kol Chamira” on Shabbat morning, before 11:27 AM, after having disposed of Chametz as described in Section 7 below.

Section 5: When do the first-born sons fast?

The first-born sons fast on the day before Pesach, commemorating the fact that they were saved from the plague of the first-born in Egypt.

This year’s problem:
We do not fast on Shabbat. We do not fast on Friday, either, since fasting would cause people to enter Shabbat in discomfort.

The solution:
The fast is conducted on Thursday.
Attending a celebration honoring a Mitzvah exempts one from fasting. One popular option is to attend a “Siyum” celebrating completion of a course of Torah study.

Section 6: How do we serve Chametz food on Shabbat, April 19th?

Utensils which are used with Chametz may not be washed on Shabbat. This is because rinsing the utensils of Chametz would be an act of preparation for Pesach, and one may not prepare for Pesach during this Shabbat.
Therefore, one should use paper and plastic utensils, and dispose of them in the manner described in Section 7 below.

The table:
One who is eating Chametz should eat at a table which will not be used for food on Pesach. The requirements for cleaning a surface which will not come into contact with food on Pesach are relatively lax; one need only clean off all visible Chametz, and the job is done.
Alternatively, prepare the table for Pesach before Shabbat and cover it with a disposable plastic cover. After the meal, dispose of the tablecloth in the manner described in Section 7 below. (Remember to place the Shabbat candlesticks somewhere other than this table before lighting Shabbat candles.)

Hot foods:
All hot foods should be prepared before Shabbat as Pesach foods, with Pesach utensils, which should be kept apart from Chametz and from Chametz utensils.

Section 7: What do we do with Chametz which remains after the Shabbat meals?

Chametz and Chametzdik utensils which remain may be disposed of in one of four ways, before 11:27 AM:
1. Allow someone who is not Jewish to remove it for himself.
2. Very small quantities may be flushed down the toilet.
3. One may dispose of Chametz in a trash can or bag, assuming that he declares the can or bag “ownerless,” and he leaves it outside his property, and he will not go near it during Pesach.
4. If one used “Solution 1” in Section 1 above, then he may put Chametz in the area in which he stores the Chametz he is selling.

We wash out our mouths and dental apparatus in the same way we do before Pesach every year, but we follow the Shabbat rules regarding how to brush/floss.
We then recite the “Kol Chamira” paragraph, as explained above in Section 4.

Section 8: Does Chametz become Muktzeh on Shabbat afternoon?

Actual Chametz becomes Muktzeh at 11:28 AM, when one is no longer allowed to benefit from Chametz. If you find Chametz after 11:28 AM:
1. Find a non-Jew who will dispose of it, or
2. Cover it with a vessel until Chol haMoed, and dispose of the Chametz on Chol haMoed.

Section 9: When do we eat Seudah Shlishit (the 3rd Shabbat meal)?

The problem:
We are faced with competing mandates governing our Shabbat meals:
A. On one hand, many authorities rule that the third meal of Shabbat must be bread-based, like the first two meals.
B. On the other hand, the third meal is ideally eaten on Shabbat afternoon, at which time Chametz is forbidden!
Why not simply eat Matzah for the third meal? Because we do not eat Matzah on the day before Pesach, lest that diminish our appetite for Matzah at the Seder.

Two solutions:
First, arrange an early Shacharit service, and then eat lunch as breakfast.
1. Finish the Chametz “lunch” before 10:10 AM. During the afternoon (after 1:31 PM) eat a third meal of matzah balls, meat, fish or fruit. Note that one may not start a meal including mezonot-based foods, like matzah balls, after 4:23 PM.
2. The first solution does not satisfy the view that the 3rd meal must be bread-based. Those who wish to satisfy this view should split their “lunch” into two parts, reciting the “blessing after meals” and then taking a twenty minute break before starting to eat again, and completing both meals before 10:09 AM. This solution will not satisfy the view that the third meal should be after midday.

Section 10: May we make any preparations on Shabbat for the Seder?

One may not prepare on Shabbat for events occurring after Shabbat. One may nap with the intent that this will help him at the Seder, though, because that is a normal part of Shabbat activity. One should not state that the purpose of his nap is to prepare for that night.
After Shabbat is over (8:31 PM), one may prepare for the Seder.
Before beginning the preparations, one should recite the Maariv prayer, or at least recite this abbreviated version of Havdalah, in Hebrew or English: Baruch haMavdil Bein Kodesh leKodesh (Blessed is the One who distinguishes between one type of sanctity and another).
The full Havdalah is recited during the Seder Kiddush; see Section 12 below.

Section 11: How does one light candles for Pesach night?

We wait to light candles until Shabbat is over (8:31 PM), and we light from an existing flame: We light a 24-hour candle before Shabbat, which we then use as the fuel for the Yom Tov candles. We also light candles on the second night of Yom Tov, after the first day has ended (8:32 PM), from an existing flame.

Section 12: How does one perform Havdalah on Pesach night?

Havdalah is recited as part of Kiddush at the Seder, before the “Shehechiyyanu” blessing. The Yom Tov candles double as the Havdalah candle.
Some people remove two Yom Tov candles from the candlesticks and place them side-by-side, to simulate a multi-wicked Havdalah candle. Others simply leave the candles in the candlesticks. People should follow family custom on this issue.

For your information: I used a number of resources in writing this, but one exceptional resource was R’ Shimon Eider’s “Halachos of Pesach,” published by Feldheim. I highly recommend this encyclopedic work.


  1. RE: section 2 -
    given that we're now on Daylight Savings Time, when baby Chalal wakes us up (usually around 6) it's often still dark out. Not just a slight lightening of the sky (as that would be a prohibited time for searching for chametz) but full dark.

    Hypothetically, would it be permissible to do bedikat chametz early on Friday morning, before first light? Or is there some quality of "night" that requires it to be before sleeping, instead of after waking?

  2. Tzipporah-
    Ideally, we search at the beginning of the night, out of love for the mitzvah and out of concern for possibly oversleeping or becoming caught up in other activities.
    However, one who missed searching in the beginning of the night could actually search at any point before first light.

  3. As an Oregonian (land of the green), the tendency toward using disposable plates, utensils, table coverings, etc., strikes me as violating our charge to steward the earth, even though we must still fulfill the mitzvot.

    If a Jew were to use biodegradable utensils and plates on the Shabbat before Pesach, and then add them to a compost bin, instead of throwing them away, would that be permissible? Or is it only possible if it's given to a non-Jew to compost, so that you are not benefiting from the traces of chametz on those items?

  4. Even here in the Land of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (our new AAA baseball team), we do go for recycling/composting as our first option.

    I'd suggest you use compostables, if you have someone who isn't Jewish who wants to come take them in time.

  5. re composting - place the pieces of bread that you plan to make hamotzi on in a plastic baggie. Go outside. make kiddush with a pesachdik cup and set it aside when you go in to wash. Eat all bread. throw plastic baggie in the trash.

    Even the most eco-friendly of us can deal with a single plastic bag per meal per family.

    Interesting TRH, that you don't mention the option of matza ashira, which many people here in E"Y use instead of being stuck with some bread on Shabbat.

  6. Hi triLcat,

    Thanks for commenting. I didn't mention it (other than in my introductory note) for two reasons-

    1) The debate about how much you need to eat in order for it to qualify as bread (as opposed to פת הבאה בכיסנין);
    2) Those who need to use מצה עשירה at the Seder may not eat it on Erev Pesach (barring extenuating circumstances).

  7. Are there any shittos who prohibit eating matzah ashira on erev pesach mishum matzah (i.e., bo'eil arusaso)?


  8. Josh-
    R' J. David Bleich, in an article that appeared in advance of Pesach5761, cited a Rav Moshe Rosen who wrote in a 1954 issue of HaPardes (I think I actually have it somewhere around here; I have a whole bunch of old HaPardes journals I've never gotten around to reading...) that one may not use egg matzah all day, for the reason you cite. He connected it to the Rambam, Hilchos Chametz UMatzah, who permits egg matzah at the seder - so that it becomes a בועל ארוסתו issue.