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Pesach - Erev Pesach

1. SEARCHING FOR CHAMETZ - Ideally, the search of chametz should begin immediately after nightfall (8:09 p.m.).   If one finds chametz in his/her home on erev Pesach after the 5th hour, since this chametz was included in the sale to a non-Jew, it should be stored with the other "locked up" chametz that was sold to the non-Jew.

2. EATING CHAMETZ - One may eat chametz until the end of the "4th halachic hour" of the day. There are different opinions in calculating the length of the day and halachic hour. Ideally, one should use the following calculation: One may eat chametz until the end of 1/3 of the "day". For this application the "day" begins 72 minutes before sunrise and ends 50 minutes after sunset - this year - 10:20 a.m.

3. BURNING AND SELLING CHAMETZ - Chametz must be disposed of by burning or selling it before the end of the "5th halachic hour" - 5/12 of the day - this year - 11:37 a.m. (Please note: Once "kol chamira" [the formula for the nullification of chametz] is recited by the head of the household, no chametz may be eaten by any member of that family - even if it is BEFORE the latest time for eating chametz!).

4. KASHERING UTENSILS - Ideally, all kashering should be completed by the end of the 4th halachic hour. If one forgot to kasher before this time, one may kasher the vessel until candle lighting time on Erev Pesach with the following condition: that the vessel did not come in contact with anything hot (whether Kosher l'Pesach or not) within the past 24 hours.

5. MATZA ON EREV PESACH - One may not eat even Kosher for Passover matza on erev Pesach. This prohibition begins at dawn (72 minutes before sunrise - 5:15 a.m.). There are individuals who have the custom not to eat matza from Rosh Chodesh Nisan or even from Purim.

Products containing matza meal that are baked (e.g. matza meal cake) may not be eaten all day erev Pesach. Kosher for Passover matza meal products that are cooked (e.g. knaidlach) may be eaten until the beginning of the 10th halachic hour of the day - three halachic hours before sunset. (Of course, one who does not eat gebrokts on Pesach, may only eat knaidlach and other cooked matza meal products until the latest time for eating chametz.)

Matza made with fruit juice, including Kosher for Passover egg matzas, grape matzas, chocolate matzas and Passover Tam Tams, etc. may be eaten until the end of the 4th halachic hour (same as the latest time for eating chametz). The sick or elderly who can not eat regular matza and have consulted with their Rav may eat Pesach egg matzos.

Meat, fish, salad, cheese, eggs, horseradish, fruits, vegetables, and potato starch cakes may be eaten until sunset. However, one should not fill up with these items to ensure a hearty appetite at the seder. One may drink wine or grape juice on erev Pesach in quantities that will not affect his or her appetite at night. 

6. TAANIT BECHORIM - All first born males must fast on erev Pesach. A father must fast in place of his first born child who is between the age of thirty days and bar mitzvah. The custom is to end the fast by partaking in a siyum. There will be a siyum this year following both Shacharit services (6:15 & 7:00 a.m.). 

7. PREPARATIONS FOR THE SEDER - including roasting the shankbone, cooking and roasting the egg, mixing the saltwater, grinding the nuts (and other items) for the charoset, grating the horseradish and all other necessary preparations should preferably be done before Pesach as special restrictions apply to preparing these items on Yom Tov.

8. WORK AFTER MIDDAY - During the time of the Beit Hamikdash, the korban Pesach was brought on erev Pesach after chatzot [midday]. Therefore, various things are prohibited during this time. The following is a list of those activities that are prohibited on erev Pesach after chatzot - this year - 12:53 p.m.

a. GENERAL WORK - A "maasseh hedyot" [lit. simple work], may be performed only if it is for the sake of the holiday. For example, one may fasten a hook to the wall to hang up a picture to beautify one's home for Yom Tov. However, under normal circumstances, one may not perform a "maasseh hedyot" if it is not needed for the holiday.   A "maasseh uman" [lit. skilled labor] that typically requires a craftsman should not be done on erev Pesach. However, exceptions to this rule include: "tzorech ochel nefesh" [lit. needed for food]   (e.g. repairing an oven); avoiding major financial loss (e.g. repairing a roof to avoid structural or flood damage); and in certain cases "tzorech haguf" (e.g. fixing the only pair of a person's glasses). 

b. LAUNDRY, DRY CLEANING, HAIRCUTS & SHAVING: In general, these four activities may not be performed after chatzot on erev Pesach, and should all be taken care of earlier in the day. However, after chatzot Pesach, one may ask a non-Jew to perform these tasks - if needed for Yom Tov. Therefore, if one forgot to get a haircut or wash or wash clothing, one may ask a non-Jew to do so (i.e. one may go to a non-Jewish barber of dry cleaner). Drying clothes in a dryer & ironing clothes are classified as a "maasseh hedyot "and are permissible on erev Pesach after chatzot under the conditions listed above. 

9. SPECIAL STUDY - Some people have the custom of studying the laws and reciting the order of the haggadah on Erev Pesach.

Sat, September 23 2023 8 Tishrei 5784