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Pesach Guidelines 5775

04/02/2015 04:57:06 PM

Apr2

The following guidelines are for Pesach 5775 ONLY
 
בדיקת חמץ
When? After מעריב, at the time of צאת הכוכבים, this year that is about 8:03pm.  One may not sit down and have dinner first or get involved with anything else in the half-hour prior.
Where? Any room that חמץ is typically brought into or stored requires בדיקה.  This ends up being the entire house once one has children.
How? The מנהג is to use a candle so that one can see into cracks and crevices, I would recommend using a flashlight in addition, or after a few minutes of using the candle.  If it is helpful to turn the lights on in a room that is appropriate.
How? The מנהג is to put out 10 pieces of bread, each one less than a כזית, but adding up to at least a כזית so that when one burns them the next day, he is properly fulfilling ביעור חמץ.  One might want to wrap them to avoid crumbs or to put them in little cupcake cups or the like.
How? If one is doing the בדיקה at the proper time, the 13th of Nissan, he makes a ברכה before searching.  He should then begin to search immediately so that the ברכה is connected to the search.  After the ברכה is made, for the duration of the בדיקה, one should only speak if necessary to the checking, otherwise it is considered a הפסק between the ברכה and the בדיקה.  If one spoke unnecessarily, he should not make a new ברכה.
What for?  The בדיקה is supposed to be real, we are looking for חמץ, anything the size of a cheerio - smaller than that is not significant, especially if it is on the floor between slats of wood and the like.
Who? Technically, one can rely on a child who says he checked out a room - however, children tend to not do a very thorough job and one should not instruct them to check their own rooms לכתחילה.
 
תענית בכוֹרים
Any first-born child, even if born after a miscarriage is required to fast.
The מנהג is to avoid fasting by taking part in a סיום.
If one is not a first-born, but has a son who is, the father must fast or attend a סיום.
 
זמנים
One must not eat חמץ in Pomona after 10:28am מג“א or 10:52am גר“א
One must burn his חמץ in Pomona by 11:44am מג“א or 11:56am גר“א
The חמץ must be burned completely - a word of caution, toast is delicious, one must make sure that the bread is not still edible on the inside.
One should not pour lighter fluid directly on the חמץ to destroy it, because he is then making it inedible through the fluid and not the fire.
Even though one was מבטל his חמץ after searching at night, one must do so again after burning his חמץ.  If one does not understand Aramaic, he should say it in English, it is important to properly nullify the חמץ.
 
ערב פסח אסור במלאכה אחר חצות
In the times of the בית המקדש, may it be soon rebuilt, the 14th of Nissan was a holiday because the קרבן פסח was sacrificed and prepared.  It could not be prepared until a half an hour after midday, since it had to be brought after the תמיד של בין הערביים.  Therefore, like חול המועד, מלאכה is prohibited after midday.  One should therefore make sure to cut his hair and shave in the morning.  He should not get a hair cut or shave after 12:59pm.
Laundry should be completed before that time as well.  One may start the machine before that and let it run.
Fixing clothing, like sewing on buttons and the like is permitted even after midday.
 
מאכלות ערב פסח
One must not eat מצה on ערב פסח and that includes baked goods made from matzo meal, like matzo meal bagels and the like.  However, one may eat cooked matzo meal products like kneidlach. One may eat egg matzoh in the morning, but only during the time that חמץ may be eaten.  Egg matzoh should not be eaten after 10:28am.
 
מקוה
Even one who does not regularly טובל in a מקוה should do so ערב יו“ט.
 
בגדים
One should have nicer clothes for יו“ט than for Shabbos.
 
ד‘ כוסות
The four cups of wine required for the סדר is a Rabbinic requirement and one may therefore be lenient in the amount one must drink.  Therefore, one may use a cup that holds no less than 3.3oz, and while preferably he should drink the whole cup, he is יוצא as long as he drinks a full cheekful.
Non-מבושל, red wine is preferred.  However, if there will be non-Jews or even Jews who are not שומר שבת at the סדר the non-מבושל wine is likely to be compromised and become forbidden to drink.  Be aware that some large bottles of Kedem wine and even grape juice are not מבושל.  You should check.
If one needs to dilute wine, one may dilute it with either water or grape juice, but not to the extent that it loses the alcoholic flavor.  Taking allowed liquid sugar content into account, one may add up to 3.5 cups of water or grape juice to 1 cup wine. So the general ratio to keep in mind is 1:3, one part wine and three parts grape juice or water.
 
מצה
מצה however is דאורייתא and one must be מחמיר in terms of the amount, and therefore one should consume a half of a hand matzo for both מוציא מצה and אפיקומן and one needs only 1/4 for כורך since it is a זכר למקדש.  It should be noted that one who is making המוציא on two מצות, one whole and one broken, should eat a כזית from BOTH the top and the bottom one (an entire hand matzo) - but one who is receiving מצה from someone else need only have one כזית total.  If one cannot consume a full half of a hand matzo for אפיקומן he may be lenient and eat 1/4.
The כזית of מצה for מוציא מצה and אפיקומן should be eaten in two minutes if possible, but for כורך one may be lenient and eat it in 9 minutes.
 
מרור
One must consume a כזית of מרור for both מרור and כורך.  The size of leaf necessary is approximately 8x10 inches.
The מרור should not be cooked, which includes any form of pickling - so if one is using Romaine lettuce and wants to soak it in vinegar, he should NOT allow it to soak overnight, or it will invalidate it from being used for מרור.
 
הסבה
Men must recline when eating מצה and drinking the four כוסות.  If one did not, he should eat at least one more כזית of מצה (preferably two) again but not drink another כוס.  The מנהג אשכנז is that women do not recline.
 
הגדה
We have a very special opportunity סדר night to be בעלי מסורה and pass on all previous generations to our children. The goal is to feel like we left מצרים ourselves.
The first part of the הגדה is the הלכות of סיפור יציאת מצרים. It might be better to run through this section in order to discuss what it must have been like to be slaves in מצרים and the נסים through which הקב“ה saved us. You have to know your kids, but the focus should be the kids. When the night is over, they should feel like הקב“ה loves them and takes care of them, just like He did in מצרים.
It is appropriate to stay up and relate the miracles of יציאת מצרים until one is falling asleep at the table. We often reminisce with our friends about our past, this should be viewed as no less than one of those conversations.
 
קריאת שמע על המטה
Because it is ליל שימורים, we only say the first paragraph of שמע and the ברכה המפיל (for those who say it).
 
שלוש סעודות
One should have שלוש סעודות on the first day of פסח this year, which is שבת, but eat earlier than unsual. One may not eat מצה after the end of the 9th hour, so that he is hungry for מצה (and food) at the second סדר. One should not eat מצה after approximately 4:12pm in Pomona, NY.
 
Second Seder
Preparations for the second seder should not begin before Shabbos is over (three stars emerge). This year (5775) the זמן is approximately 8:07pm in Pomona, NY. The reason is that one may not prepare for the second day of יו“ט on the first.
 
Salt Water
Salt water was historically used for preservation and tanning and one therefore may not prepare it on שבת or יו“ט. If one forgot to prepare the salt water before שבת or יו“ט he may prepare it on שבת or יו“ט but (a) only enough for that night’s seder, and (b) it cannot be too salty to drink.
 
ביטול
The laws of ביטול like בטל בס‘ do not apply to חמץ on פסח. One must be very careful about this. If even the smallest crumb gets into a food on פסח, the food is prohibited.
 
קטניות
The מ“ב in סי‘ תנג ס“ק ז writes that we do not observe the חומרא of קטניות for a חולה, even שאין בו סכנה. Therefore, if a person is sick in bed and the only medicine available contains קטניות (e.g. corn starch, etc.) he may take it.
  18 Iyyar 5779