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Weekly Halacha

Parshas Metzorah

Shabbos Eruv Pesach: Frequently Asked Questions

This year, Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, a fairly infrequent occurrence. While our lack of familiarity with observing Erev Pesach on Shabbos may catch us off-guard and cause some confusion, with the proper planning and know-how it need not be a difficult Shabbos to keep. Indeed, it actually gives us an opportunity to be well-rested for the seder and to be able to fulfill the mitzvos of Pesach in a more alert and dignified manner. The following are some of the frequently asked questions that deal with the special halachos of this Shabbos:

QUESTION: Why do we burn and sell the chametz on Friday morning when it is actually permitted to eat chametz until Shabbos morning?

DISCUSSION: Although Friday is not really "Erev Pesach," in certain respects we act as if it really is "Erev Pesach." This is done in order to avoid confusion in subsequent years when Erev Pesach does not fall on Shabbos. Thus any chametz which will not be consumed before Pesach is burned or sold(1) no later than 11:34 p.m.,(2) the time that would have been the deadline had this day truly been Erev Pesach(.3)

But concerning other halachos we do not treat Friday as Erev Pesach. Thus:

  • The paragraphs usually omitted from Shacharis on Erev Pesach are recited on Friday.

  • Kol Chamira, which is a statement that nullifies all of our chametz and is normally recited when the chametz is burned, is not recited this year on Friday. Instead, it is recited on Shabbos morning after the last remnants of chametz are gone.

  • The special Erev Pesach restrictions that apply to taking a haircut and doing laundry after midday, do not apply on Friday(4).

  • Dishes may be kashered until the onset of Shabbos.

    QUESTION: When should the marror and the other seder items be prepared?

    DISCUSSION: All seder preparations should be done on Friday, since it is prohibited to prepare anything(5) for the seder on Shabbos. While technically the preparations may be done after Shabbos ends and before the seder begins, this is not a good idea since it unnecessarily delays an already late start for the seder.(6) Thus the horseradish,(7) charoses, shank bone, roasted egg and salt water should all be prepared on Friday.(8)

    The romaine lettuce should also be washed and checked on Friday. Care must be taken, however, not to leave the lettuce soaking in water, as lettuce that was soaked in water for twenty-four hours may no longer be used for marror.

    QUESTION: How do we discard the chametz crumbs on Shabbos?

    DISCUSSION: Leftover crumbs on the table, dishes or floor should be swept, gathered together and then flushed down the toilet. Larger pieces of bread may be crumbled9 and then flushed down.

    If the Sanitation Department will not pick up the garbage before 11:30 a.m., do not place chametz in your trash can.

    If the floor needs to be swept,(10) one must make sure that no chametz crumbs remain on the broom. Since it is extremely difficult to adequately clean a broom on Shabbos, it is advisable to put away the broom with the chametz utensils which have been sold to a non-Jew.

    QUESTION: Some people use chametz rolls for lechem mishneh on this Shabbos, and then serve the rest of the meal with kosher for Passover foods. Which dishes should be used during those meals?

    DISCUSSION: The recommended method is to use disposable (paper or plastic) dishes only as long as any chametz is being eaten. After the chametz is gone, the rest of the meal may be served on Pesach dishes.

    QUESTION: In order to rid one's teeth of chametz, is it permitted to brush them on Shabbos, with or without toothpaste?

    DISCUSSION: The consensus of many contemporary poskim is that it is forbidden to use toothpaste on Shabbos.(11) Their main concern is that applying toothpaste to the teeth or the brush could result in a transgression of the prohibited Shabbos Labor of Memareiach, Smoothing.

    Brushing without toothpaste is permitted,(12) provided that the following conditions are met:

  • Use a toothbrush that is designated for Shabbos use only.(13) Some poskim require that the Shabbos toothbrush also look different from the weekday one, e.g., be of a different color or style.(14)

  • Use a soft brush so as not to irritate the gums and cause bleeding. [People with extremely sensitive gums who bleed whenever they brush their teeth may not use a toothbrush at all.]

  • To avoid the prohibition of Sechitah, Squeezing, a dry toothbrush should be used. It is, however, permitted to rinse the mouth with cold water first and then use the toothbrush.(15)

  • The toothbrush should not be rinsed off after it is used unless it is going to be used again this Shabbos.(16)

    QUESTION: Many people do not want to have any chametz in their home on Shabbos. Instead, they use egg matzah(17) for lechem mishneh at both the Friday night and Shabbos morning meals and recite ha-motzi over the egg matzah. Is this permitted?

    DISCUSSION: Yes, it is.(18) In fact, this is the preferred method for homes with little children who may scatter chametz crumbs around the house. This is also recommended for hotels, for large gatherings where Shabbos meals are being served, or for anyone who feels more secure with having no chametz in the house on Shabbos.

    Although usually the proper blessing over egg matzah is mezonos, when egg matzah is eaten during a full-course meal and substitutes for bread, ha-motzi is recited.(19) One should eat at least a k'zayis(20) (about 1 fl. oz.) of egg matzah for each meal in addition to the other foods served at the meal.

    Even when egg matzah is eaten for lechem mishneh one should finish eating it no later than 10:15 a.m.(21) The other foods served at the meal may be eaten later.

    QUESTION: When is seudah shelishis, the third Shabbos meal, eaten on this Shabbos?

    DISCUSSION: Scheduling the third meal on this Shabbos is difficult, since the third meal is supposed to be eaten after midday. At that time, we may no longer eat chametz, matzah or egg matzah. Thus, there is no perfect system for the third meal on this Shabbos.(22) Instead, the poskim offer two alternatives, neither of which is ideal:

    1. Divide the morning meal into two parts - i.e., wash, recite ha- motzi, eat a meal,(23) recite Birkas ha-Mazon, take a break (15-30 minutes),(24) wash again, recite ha-motzi, eat a meal and recite Birkas ha-Mazon. The chametz or egg matzah(25) which is used for lechem mishneh at the second meal, the seudah shelishis, must be consumed before 10:15 a.m.

    2. Eat a meal consisting of "other foods," such as cooked matzah- meal(26) balls (knaidelech27), meat, fish(28), fruit(29) or a kosher-for-Passover cholent(30) any time after one-half-hour after chatzos (approx. 1:30 p.m.) until the begining of the tenth hour of the day (approx. 4:30 p.m). After that time, one is required to minimize his intake of food so as not to ruin his appetite for the seder.

    Since both of these options are halachically problematic, some people have the custom of following both procedures, i.e., they split the morning meal, and then eat a meal of "other foods" after 1:30 p.m.

    Points to remember...

  • Although we do not eat matzah on this Shabbos, the matzos are not considered muktzeh, since it is permitted to feed small children matzah on Erev Pesach. It is permitted, therefore, to use a matzah for lechem mishneh on this Shabbos. Care should be taken that no chametz crumbs attach themselves to the matzah.(31)

  • On Shabbos, it is advisable not to cast chametz crumbs to the winds even within an eiruv, as some poskim hold that this may be a violation of the Shabbos Labor of Zoreh, Winnowing.(32)

  • The challos which are designated for lechem mishneh should be left in a safe place where children cannot reach them.(33)

  • A small child who will not participate in the seder may eat regular matzah this Shabbos.(34)

  • Before the women begin to prepare for the seder after Shabbos is over, they should recite Boruch hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.(35)

    FOTNOTES:

    1 There are different customs concerning when exactly the chametz is sold this year, since many people eat chametz and use chametz dishes until Shabbos morning.

    2 All times are for New York City.

    3 This custom is only l'chatchilah. If the chametz was not burned by this time, it may be burned anytime prior to the onset of Shabbos.

    4 See Beiur Halachah 468:1.

    5 Even a "verbal preparation," such as stating that the Shabbos nap is for the purpose of being well-rested for the seder, should be avoided; see Mishnah Berurah 290:4.

    6 For the sake of the children, who are a primary focus of the seder, the seder should begin as promptly as possible once Shabbos is over.

    7 The horseradish should be ground and stored in an airtight container until the seder.

    8 When feasible, even the seder table should be set on Friday.

    9 Mishnah Berurah 321:30.

    10 A soft-bristled broom should be used. A carpet sweeper should not be used on Shabbos.

    11 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:112; Seridei Eish 2:28; Minchas Yitzchak 3:48; Shevet ha-Levi 5:45; Tzitz Eliezer 7:30. [Although a minority opinion permits using toothpaste - see Ketzos ha-Shulchan (Badei ha-Shulchan 138:31), Yabia Omer 4:28 and Nefesh ha-Rav, pg. 168 - it is generally accepted not to do so.]

    12 See Minchas Shelomo 2:35:3.

    13 Based on Mishnah Berurah 327:10.

    14 Minchas Yitzchak 3:50.

    15 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:112; Shevet ha-Levi 5:45.

    16 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:112.

    17 Although egg matzos contain some eggs, they are mainly kneaded with either apple cider or grape juice.

    18Igros Moshe O.C. 1:155. There is, however, a minority view that objects to eating egg matzah on Erev Pesach; see Nezer ha-Kodesh 52 and Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 2:211-23 for an explanation of this view. [To satisfy this view, it is preferable to use egg matzah which is kneaded with grape juice.]

    19 Mishnah Berurah 168:24; Igros Moshe O.C. 1:56; 3:32; 4:41. See explanation in Pirkei Moed on Pesach (Harav M. Gifter), pg. 17-19.

    20 According to some poskim, it is preferable to eat a k'beitzah (about 2 fl. oz.) of egg matzah, since Al netilas yadayim is only recited over a k'beitzah or more; see Mishnah Berurah 158:10 and Igros Moshe O.C .4:41.

    21 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:155, based on Rama 444:1.

    22 Indeed, some poskim hold that there is no mitzvah to eat seudah shelishis at all on this Shabbos, and that none of the following options should be employed; Aruch ha-Shulchan 444:6.

    23 The more important Shabbos foods should be served during the first morning meal, as the second Shabbos meal is considered more significant than seudah shelishis.

    24 If time allows, taking a short walk outside between the meals is recommended.

    25 When using egg matzah at this meal, other foods must also be served;

    otherwise ha-motzi and Birkas ha-Mazon cannot be recited.

    26 Although it is prohibited to eat matzah on Erev Pesach, cooked or boiled matzah-meal products are permitted according to all of the poskim.

    Fried matzah-meal products, however, should be avoided (see Sha'ar

    ha-Tziyun 444:1). Baked matzah-meal products, such as cakes or cookies, are prohibited; Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Erev Pesach Shechal b'Shabbos, pg. 207); Shevet ha-Levi 8:117.

    27 For those who eat gebrokts. Some people eat gebrokts on Erev Pesach even if they do not do so on Pesach; She'arim Metzuyanim b'Halachah 115:7.

    28 Even if they were prepared with matzah-meal. A shehakol is recited over them.

    29 When possible, eating matzah balls - whose blessing is mezonos - is preferable to eating meat or fish. Eating meat or fish is preferable to eating fruit; O.C. 291:5.

    30 Mishnah Berurah 444:14.

    31Igros Chazon Ish 1:188, quoted by Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 55:14.

    32 Magen Avraham 446:2; Shulchan Aruch Harav 446:5-6; Maharsham(Derashah to Shabbos ha-Gadol, 76). Mishnah Berurah, however, is not concerned with this; see Beiur Halachah 319:17 (s.v. efazer).

    33 Mishnah Berurah 444:3

    34 Rama 471:2.

    35 Mishnah Berurah 299:36.


    Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright 2005 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Torah.org. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr. Jeffrey Gross jgross@torah.org.

    Rabbi Neustadt is Rav of Young Israel in Cleveland Heights. He may be reached at 216-321-4635 or at jsgross@core.com.


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