What to do when Passover comes after the Shabbat

    April Passover 2005 Edition            
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What to do when Passover begin on the night after Shabbat

By Avi Lazerson

This year, 2005, Passover which is a fairly complicated holiday without outside intervention, gets more complicated. Since Passover falls on Sunday this year, many of the activities that we perform on the day before Passover must be changed because of the stringent rules of the Shabbat. Another of the complications is that it is customary not to eat matzo on the day before Passover which in this case complicates the Shabbat meal.

The first change that will occur will be in those communities in which the Rabbi of the synagogue gives a special speech concerning the various laws of the Passover holiday. This special speech will be given not on the Shabbat preceding Passover, since it is the day before Passover. It will be advanced a week earlier so that the congregants may have time to implement the instructions of the Rabbi's speech.

The next change is that the Fast of the First Born will be pushed ahead to the Thursday before Passover, April 21. Normally it is on the day before Passover, but since this year it is the Shabbat, we can not fast on the Shabbat. Like all other years, if the man who fasts participates in the ceremony at the conclusion of a Tractate from the Talmud or similar book, since it is a Mitzvah to eat there, he may break his fast there.

The traditional search for Chametz, (leavened bread) with the candle is pushed ahead to Thursday night, since this type of activity is forbidden on the Sabbath. This requires the home to be relatively free from Chametz by Thursday evening.

Before the search the blessing on the search which is found in most Haggadahs is made. After the conclusion of the search, the traditional recitation of Kol Chamira (meaning: all leavened bread) which is also found in most Haggadahs is said.

If someone forgot to search on Thursday night for Chametz he may do it on Friday up until the beginning of the Sabbath.

On Friday we do Biur Chametz, (disposal of the leavened bread). We take all of the Chametz that we are not selling and are not eating on the Sabbath and we burn it. Although every year we must do it early in the morning, this year we can do it later since it is not the day before Passover. However it is recommended that it be done early in the day.

It is permissible to eat Chametz the entire day on Friday. However, it is highly recommended that it be done outside or in a guarded area.

By Friday night the house must be close to 99% Chametz free since cleaning on the Shabbat is forbidden. Remember that it is necessary to cook for the Shabbat food that is not Chametz since we will have no opportunity to wash the pots prior to Passover. Also we must not have leftovers that are Chametz; therefore, we cook only foods that do not create potential problems. A tip: Legumes (beans, peas, etc.) are not Chametz even though we do not eat them on Passover. They may be used on the Shabbat and disposed of later. However many families do not use them on this Shabbat.

The real test of one's ingenuity comes with the Shabbat meals. Remember we are eating bread, the arch enemy of Passover, and our house is clean for Passover! What will we do? We must eat bread! Arrrgh! Crumbs!!!

Well some people solve this problem by eating their Sabbath meals with disposable plates, cups, plastic knifes and forks, and use a disposable covering on the table. They are very careful that there are no crumbs on the furniture and floor – a bit difficult with small children. Others eat the bread outside the house either on the balcony or an out door patio reasoning that any crumbs that are generated will be eaten by the birds. The bread is eaten outside, but the meal is eaten inside. Some people say the blessing after the bread outside and the meal inside becomes "just a snack". Other more hardy stock eat the entire meal outside. This is a good answer during mild weather, but cold weather or rain is problematic!

Another problem is the Seder preparations. It is forbidden to prepare on the Sabbath for the next day. Many of those important parts of the Seder should be prepared in advance, like the salt water, the roasted bone, the Charosets (the mixture that resembles mortar), checking and preparing the bitter herbs, horseradish, etc. Much of the Passover food can be done in advance and put in the refrigerator and heated up so that the time to begin the Seder will be a minimum.

Remember that the bread portion of the meal must be finished early in the day. Check your local Jewish papers for the latest time that it is permitted to eat bread.

What are we to do with the leftovers of bread and the crumbs from the Shabbat meal that it is forbidden to have on the Sabbath? There are several methods of ridding oneself from them. One manner is to flush them down the toilet. Another solution is to make them into tiny crumbs and leave them outside for the birds. If none of these are practical, a final but extreme solution is to pour some bleach or kerosene on them to render them inedible.

We must check our clothing, our pockets and our cuffs for traces of the dreaded Chametz. The floor should be swept and the area given a visual inspection. Check your broom and dust pan for Chametz. Afterwards the mouth should be rinsed.

After all of the precautions have been taken to rid yourself from the Chametz, we say the "Kol Chamira" (disassociation of the Chametz from our possession) as it is printed in most Haggadahs.

Eating after this time is permitted even in the afternoon, but only of course with food that is permitted for Passover. Many people eat fruits or vegetables or kosher for Passover cookies.

Don't forget that the Kiddush for Passover is a different one than is regularly said. This Kiddush includes the Havdalah, (the separation from the Sabbath prayer) as well as the normal Kiddush for Passover.

A bit of work, eh? Just remember Passover is the holiday of our liberation!


from the April Passover 2005 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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