Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Erev Pesach
that Falls
on Shabbos

In some communities, the Rav delivers the Shabbos ha'Gadol D'rashah the week before, in order to cover the following issues before they fall due


1. The Fast of the Firtborn

When Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, the first-born must fast on Thursday, 12th Nisan, unless they attend a siyum on a Masechta of Gemara or a Seder Mishnayos.


2. Bedikas Chometz

Bedikas Chometz (searching for chametz) takes place on the night of the 13th (on Thursday night). After the search, one nullifies the chometz and recites the first 'Kol Chamiro ...', as one does every year.


3. A First-born may not Eat before the Bedikah

If a first-born fasted on the 12th, and finds it difficult to search for chometz before breaking his fast, he may have a snack first. This could be up to a ke'beitzah (an egg-volume) of bread or cake, a small portion of a wheat or barley dish, or other food. If he insists on eating a full meal, he should appoint an agent to search on his behalf.



4. Davening on Friday Morning

On Friday morning, davening is as usual, including 'Mizmor le'sodoh' and 'Lam'natzei'ach'.


5. Biy'ur Chametz

Biy'ur Chametz (destroying the chametz [except for the chametz that one intends to eat on Shabbos]) must be performed, like it is every year, by the end of the fifth hour (11:16), though there is no need to say 'Kol Chamiro', since chametz is still permitted.


6. The Sale of Chometz

The sale of Chometz to a gentile (which should preferably) be carried out by latest Friday morning), should take effect as from Friday (and it is correct to date the document of sale accordingly, to clarify that the sale was not made on Shabbos).


7. Avoid Cooking Sticky Dishes

For this Shabbos, one avoids cooking sticky dishes (particularly chometz ones) that will leave the pots dirty, as one may not wash them on Shabbos. If one cooked chometz food, he should get a gentile to wash the pot if possible. If this is not practical, the Jew must wash only as much as is required to remove the chometz. Remember that any pot made of metal or glass etc. that requires tevilah, will need to be toveled without a b'rachah if it is sold to a gentile for the duration of Pesach (something which may not be practical or even possible).

Consequently, one is advised to prepare Pesach food in Pesach dishes (or on paper plates) to avoid these problems, but at all costs, not to prepare hot chometz food in metal or glass dishes. In fact, these should be cleaned and put away before Shabbos.


8. Baking Matzos shel Mitzvoh

Those who are particular to bake matzos for the Seder on the afternoon of Erev Pesach, must bake them this year on Friday afternoon. One should take special care to separate 'chalah' from the matzos before Shabbos, since failure to do so will present a problem regarding eating them on Yom-tov, particularly in Eretz Yisrael (see paragraph 10).


9. Biy'ur Ma'asros

The fourth year of Sh'mitah is the time of Bi'ur Ma'asros, which is brought forward to Friday, since it cannot be performed on Shabbos. One transfers the kedushah of Ma'aser-Sheini coins on to a small coin or onto fruit which one then destroys. The latest time to perform this Mitzvah is Erev Shevi'i shel Pesach.


10. Taking 'Chalah' from the Chalos before Shabbos

Similarly, one should take great care to ensure that 'chalah' has been taken from the Shabbos chalos. Should one discover on Shabbos that it has not, one is faced with the problem that one may neither take 'chalah' on Shabbos nor may one leave the chometz chalos until after Shabbos.

The 'Magen Avraham' contends that the only way out of the dilemma is to give all the chalos to a gentile as a gift. Other poskim give different options, so it is best to avoid the problem altogether and ensure that 'chalah' has been taken before Shabbos.


11. Preparing the Seder-Table

Since it is forbidden to prepare anything for the Seder on Shabbos, some of the items for the Seder must be prepared on Friday. Boxes of matzos and bottles of wine must be opened before Shabbos if there is any problem in opening them on Yom-tov. Selecting the matzos for the Seder-plate however, can wait until the Seder-night.


12. The Bone

Since cooking on Yom-tov is permitted only if one actually has in mind to eat the food, one should roast the bone on Friday (to avoid having to roast it on Yom-Tov), unless there is meat on it and one intends to serve it for Yom-tov lunch.


13. The Egg

The egg, on the other hand, may be prepared on Seider-night


14. The Moror

and the Moror too, may be grated then, provided it is done 'ke'le'achar yad' (e.g. holding the grater upside down).


15. The Lettuce

Lettuce which needs bedikah should be washed and examined on Friday. Ensure that the leaves remain fresh for the Seder, since withered leaves may not be used, but do not leave them in water for 24 consecutive hours. The stalks, incidentally, neither contain worms, nor can they become disqualified through withering.


16. The Charoses

The Charoses may be prepared on Seder night, but the apple and the nuts should be grated 'ke'le'achar yad'. However, it is advisable to prepare it on Friday in order to begin the Seder promptly.


17. The Salt-Water

This too, may be prepared on Seder-night.



18. Kashering Glass

Remember that if you intend to kasher glassware that has been used exclusively for cold food or drink (which requires 3 x 24 hours in cold water), you must begin by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.


19. Daven early on Shabbos Morning

On Shabbos morning one davens early in order to finish eating chometz and clear away the remnants in good time. Some communities who would otherwise recite 'Yotzros' omit them for this reason.


20. Se'udah Shlishis

Some have the minhag to divide the Shabbos meal into two parts, benching in the middle and going for a stroll, or speaking Divrei Torah for a while, before washing again and continuing with the next course in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Se'udah Shlishis with bread.

Nevertheless, because the correct time to eat Se'udah Shlishis is later in the afternoon, most people wash and eat bread and cold chometz dishes in the morning, and meat, fish or egg dishes in the afternoon.


21. Final Time for Eating Chometz

One may no longer eat chometz after 9.52.


22. Shaking out the Tablecloth

After the meal, in a place where there is an Eiruv, one shakes out the tablecloth thoroughly, in an area that is 'hefker'. Otherwise, one throws all the remains of the chometz into the toilet. The cloth is put in a room or locked cupboard together with the chometz dishes that will not be used on Pesach. If any bread remains, one has the option of either giving it to a non-Jew (bearing in mind the laws of the Eiruv) or to a dog, or to flush it in small quantities down the toilet.


23. Sweeping the Floor

One then sweeps the floor, taking care not to contravene the laws of Shabbos, and gets rid of all final traces of chometz. All this must be completed by the end of the fifth hour, leaving sufficient time to make Biy'ur chometz (and recite the second 'Kol Chomiro') before 11:15.


24. Avoiding Problems

Many people avoid most of the above hassles by eating a 'ke'zayis', or preferably a 'ke'beitzah' of chalah (or of pittot, reducing the incidence of leftover crumbs) and then, after removing all traces of chometz, they serve only Pesach foods on Pesach dishes, or on paper plates.


25. Brushing One's Teeth

One must remember to brush one's teeth and clean one's dentures before the time of biy'ur chometz.


26. Eating Matzah on Erev Pesach

One may not eat matzah all day, and some poskim even forbid cooked matzah (e.g. kneidlach).


27. The Matzos are Muktzeh

The 'Matzos shel Mitzvah' are muktzeh on Shabbos (P'ri Megodim).



28. Minchah and the Seder Korban Pesach

In the afternoon, one Davens Minchah as usual, except that one includes the Seder Korban Pesach. In the rush that is part and parcel of every regular erev Pesach, it is not always easy to fit in the full text of 'Korban Pesach' as is printed in every good Hagadah.

But this year is different. There is plenty of time to say the full Seder, both the excerpts from the 'Torah she'biksav' and from 'Torah she'be'al peh'. It is worth using the opportunity and saying it with kavonoh. Chazal explain the Pasuk "And we will pay the bulls with our lips" to mean that whenever we cannot actually bring sacrifices, we should learn about them, and that this is considered as if we had actually brought them.

One should therefore recite the relevant sections from the Chumash and the Mishnah at the appropriate times. The sections dealing with the sacrificing should be recited on erev Pesach afternoon when the Korban Pesach was sacrificed, and the sections dealing with the eating should be recited at the Seder table.


29. Reading the Hagadah at Minchah

Most communities in Chutz la'Aretz read the Hagadah (from 'Avodim hoyinu' until 'le'chaper al kol avonoseinu'), but this is not the minhag of Eretz Yisrael.

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