Halacha L’Moshe Mi Sinai
Lessons in Memory of my brother Dale Alan Konigsburg
April 19, 2005 – Number 5765-28
When Passover Falls on a Saturday Night
On all other Passover nights we begin the Seder right after the Arvit (Evening) service, this year we have to wait.
Passover falling on a Saturday night is not common but it does occur from time to time. Some rituals of Passover are moved aside because of Shabbat and others can not be moved. Rituals associated with the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb take place even when the 14th of Nisan falls on Shabbat, but items related to later rituals must be done earlier so Shabbat will not be violated.
In a normal year, on the 14th of Nisan, in the evening, we search for Hametz with a feather and a candle in a ceremony called ABedikat Hametz. The next morning the Fast of the Firstborn is observed and a Siyyum is planned in order to cancel the fast. By 10 AM that morning the Hametz must be sold to a non-Jew and the crumbs that were searched out at night are burned before 11AM. After the Hametz is burned, one can not eat Hametz at all but one can also not eat Matzah until the Seder begins that night. This is to make sure that the first taste of Matzah for the season will be at our Seder. We spend the afternoon preparing for the Seder that begins when we light the festival candles after dark.
When the 14th of Nisan is Shabbat we have to rearrange the order of our preparations. On Thursday morning will be the Fast of the First Born, which will be interrupted, as usual by the Siyyum so that all will not have to fast. After the Siyyum, we will have a regular breakfast since eating Hametz will be allowed for quite some time.
Thursday night, after dark, will be ABedikat Hametz@ the Search for Hametz by candlelight with a feather. The crumbs collected will be sealed up for the morning.
Friday morning, at 10 AM we will sell the Hametz to a non-Jew. At Temple Sinai this means that once again we will sell our Hametz to our Chief of Police. While the contract will be signed that day, the sale will not be effective until 10 AM Saturday morning. We can not engage in signing and negotiating contracts on Shabbat so we have to do it on Friday morning. After the sale is signed, we will burn the Hametz that we sealed up the previous night. We will have a public burning of Hametz at about 10:45 AM so if you want us to add your Hametz to the fire. You must join us or drop off your Hametz before that time. 10 AM is the last time I can be appointed to serve as your Shaliach for the sale of Hametz. I have to execute the sale by 10 AM so you must designate me before that time in writing. Minyan that morning is at 8:00 AM and I will be there at that time. Remember to make your checks payable to me so I can deposit them in the Rabbi=s Fund so we can make our annual donation to the Police Athletic League. Hametz that is sold should be closed in boxes or in cabinets and sealed until after the holiday. It does not belong to you so you may not open it or use it during the holiday or you will be stealing food from the Chief of Police.
There are two options for Shabbat meals. We recommend that after 11AM on Friday, that all homes be Kosher for Passover and Hametz should no longer be eaten. Hamotzi on Friday Night and for Shabbat Lunch should be made over AMatzah Ashira@ AEnriched Matzah@ commonly known as Egg Matzah. One should not eat regular Matzah until Saturday night at the Seder. While there are some authorities that do not permit Hamotzi to be recited over Matzah Ashira, Conservative Judaism does not hold by that opinion and we follow the many other authorities that permit Egg Matzah and permit Hamotzi to be recited over it.
Another option permitted but not recommended, is to set aside just enough bread and Hametz food for Friday night dinner and Shabbat Lunch. Hametz may be eaten until 10 AM Saturday so Lunch will have to be rather early. Since the leftovers can not be burned on Shabbat they must be either crumbled up and strewn to the wind, or flushed away in the bathroom or taken out of the house as trash. It can no longer be used or maintained either on or after Passover. Cooking may not be done on Shabbat. Along side the Shabbat candles a 24 hour candle should burn. The flame from that candle should be used to light the Passover candles after Shabbat is over. Havdalah is part of the Kiddush at the Seder and is done over the Holiday candles so the candles should be lit close to the table. Other than Havdalah and the late start to the Seder, the Seder is done as usual.
For questions of Kashrut for Passover, consult your Rabbi. I wish all my on-line students a Kosher and Happy Pesach.
Next week: Taharat HaMishpacha