16 Mar GETTING READY FOR PESACH 2021 WITH R’ ELEFANT FROM THE OU
This year, erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, as it does approximately once every nine years. With proper planning, it need not be a difficult Shabbos. If anything, it gives us an opportunity to come to the Seder well rested and relaxed, and affords us the opportunity to fulfill the mitzovs of the evening with more feeling and greater enthusiasm.
Following are some questions and answers that are unique to erev Pesach this year:
Q. Why do we burn the chametz by the end of the fifth hour on Friday morning, when it is permitted to eat chametz until Shabbos morning?
A. This is done to avoid confusion in subsequent years when erev Pesach does not fall on Shabbos. Nonetheless, Kol Chamira , (a statement of nullification for our chametz) which is normally said when burning the chametz, is not said on Friday, but rather Shabbos morning before the end of the fifth hour.
Q. Must all chometz be burned on Friday?
A. No. One need not burn chometz that was sold and put away in designated areas, as well as chametz that will be needed for Shabbos.
Q. When erev Pesach falls on a weekday, Mizmor li’todah and Laminatzai’ach are omitted from Shacharis, laundry and haircuts are not permitted after chatzos (midday), and pots and pans cannot be kashered after chatzos. Do these halachos apply this year on Friday?
A. They do not, since Friday is not erev Pesach.
Q. When does the first born fast this year? When is the Siyum?
A. In other years, the first born is required to fast on Erev Pesach. This year the custom is to fast on Thursday (Rema O.C. 470.2). The reason they do not fast on Friday is to avoid starting Shabbos while fasting (Aruch HaShulchan 470.4). Bedikas Chametz (search for the chametz) is performed Thursday evening. If it is too difficult to fast until after Bedikas Chametz, one may snack before beginning the bedikah (M.B.470.6). As in other years, the first born may participate in a siyum (a completion of a tractate of the Talmud) on Thursday, which would exempt him from fasting (M.B.470.10).
Q. When should the preparation of the shank bone, charoses, marror, roasted egg, salt water and checking the romaine lettuce take place?
A. Seder preparations should be done on Friday, as it is prohibited to prepare on Shabbos for the next day. (This is known as hachana. One may not even nap on Shabbos and say, “I am resting now to be alert at the Seder”. See M.B. 290.4.) While it would be permitted to prepare some of these items on Saturday night, it would delay the start of the Seder. Much of the seder focuses on the children, and it important to start the seder as soon as possible before the children fall sleep (M.B.482.1). According to the Vilna Gaon, horseradish should always be grated immediately before the seder so that it will be sharp. Others say it should be grated before Shabbos and stored in a sealed jar to maintain the sharpness as much as possible. If one forgot to prepare horseradish before Shabbos, the grating should preferably be done with a shinui (deviation, such as grating on a paper towel or turning the grater upside down). Romaine lettuce that requires checking for infestation should be checked before Shabbos. One must be careful to drain the lettuce very well. Otherwise, water might accumulate in the bags, and any parts of the lettuce that soaks in water for more than twenty-four hours may not be used for maror (M.B. 473.38). If salt water was not prepared in advance, it can made on Yom Tov (implication of Mishna Berurah 473:21), though some recommend using a shinui by putting the water in the vessel before the salt (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 118:4). If charoses was not made before Shabbos, the fruit may be grated on Yom Tov, but the nuts should be prepared with a shinui (Shemiras Shabbos Kihilchoso 7:4) (such as crushing in a bag). No deviation is needed when adding the wine (see M.B.495:8).
It is preferable to roast the shank bone and egg before Shabbos. If roasted on Yom Tov, they must be eaten on that day of Yom Tov. Since one may not eat roasted meat or chicken at the seder, the shank bone or egg that were prepared Saturday night must be eaten at the Sunday daytime meal (MB 473:32). In general, one may not prepare food on the first day of Yom Tov if the intention is to consume it on the second day or after Yom Tov. (This would constitute hachana, which is forbidden.) As such, another shank bone and egg will have to be roasted Sunday night for the second seder, and the same is true for the preparation of marror, charoses and salt water.
Q. How do we dispose of crumbs and left over chametz on Shabbos?
A. Leftover crumbs from the dishes, table or floor should be swept and flushed down the toilet before the end of the fifth hour. If the floor needs to be swept, one should make sure the broom is free of crumbs. Larger pieces of chametz may be broken into smaller pieces and flushed down the toilet. Alternatively, large pieces of chametz may be placed in outdoor garbage pails, provided there is an eruv, but the chometz must be rendered inedible by pouring bleach or ammonia over the entire surface of the chometz. One must be certain that the bleach or ammonia saturates the entire piece of chometz. These fluids must be designated for that use before Shabbos. Otherwise, they would be muktzah.
Q. Is it permitted to brush one’s teeth on Shabbos to rid one’s teeth of chametz?
A. One may brush with a dry toothbrush that was designated for Shabbos use. Toothpaste may not be used because of memareich (smoothing). Wetting the toothbrush with water before brushing is an issue of sechita (squeezing). However, it is permissible to rinse one’s mouth with water and then brush the wet teeth. The toothbrush should not be rinsed after brushing, unless it will be used later on Shabbos. (See Igros Moshe OC 112)
Q. Some people will use chametz rolls for lechem mishneh on this Shabbos, while the rest of the meal will be Pesach food. Which dishes should be used during this meal?
A. The recommended method is to use disposable dishes whenever chametz is present. When the chametz is no longer on the table, Pesach dishes can be used. One should wash his hands and rinse his mouth in a bathroom sink before bringing Pesach dishes to the table.
Q. Some people do not want to have any chametz on the table this Shabbos. Can kosher for Pesach egg matzos be used for lechem mishneh?
Ordinarily, if one eats egg matzah the bracha is borei minai mezonos, unless it is part of a substantial meal. Nonetheless, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:122) writes that if egg matzah is used for lechem Mishnah for a Shabbos meal, the bracha is hamotzi. One should make sure to eat at least a kibaiya (a little more than 2 fl. oz) of egg matzah, in addition to other foods that will be served at the meal. The egg matzah can only be eaten as long as chometz can be consumed, which is the end of the fourth hour. (Igros Moshe O.C. 1:155)
Q Is there a way to eat Seudas Shelishis when erev Pesach falls on Shabbos?
There is no perfect solution. Some Poskim hold that Seudas Shelishis should be eaten after midday, and some Poskim hold that bread must be eaten at Seudas Shelishis. It is not possible to satisfy both requirements for Seudas Shelishis (to eat bread and eat after chatzos) on erev Pesach. Nonetheless, we try to fullfill the mitzvah of Seudas Shelishis as best as we can. First, we divide the morning meal into two parts. One should recite kiddush and hamotzi, eat one course and then bench. After a break of a half hour, we wash again, say hamotzei, eat the rest of the meal and bench once again. (The challah or egg matzah that is used for lechem mishneh should be consumed before the end of the fourth hour, the time when chametz can no longer be consumed). By doing this, we fulfill the mitzvah of Seudas Shelishis according to the Poskim who allow the meal to be eaten in the morning. In addition, it is best to eat fish, meat or fruit in the afternoon, as some say these foods are sufficient to fulfill the mitzvah of Seudas Shelishis even without eating bread at the meal. However, one should not overeat, so that the matzah at the seder will be consumed with an appetite.