When the First Day of Passover is on Sunday

There are numerous things that we must do on the day before Passover that we are not allowed to do on the Sabbath.

So what happens when the day before Passover is on the Sabbath?

The Bedikas Chometz — checking for the leavened bread and similar products, is done on Thursday night. It cannot be done on Friday night for a number of reasons. One of them is because we need to check the house for chometz using a lit candle. It is forbidden to move fire (or even an unlit candle) during the Sabbath. So instead of doing it the night before Passover, which is Friday night, we do it Thursday night, one night earlier. The procedure is exactly the same in all other respects.

The next morning, Friday morning, we burn the chometz. During the Sabbath it is forbidden to set a fire or to add anything to a fire, or to burn anything in a fire (or to extinguish a fire). When the day before Passover is on the Sabbath we could not possibly burn the chometz that day, as we would normally do. So instead, we do it Friday morning, two days before Passover.

However, at that time, we do not recite the Kol Chamira — the declaration of abandoning all chometz. We recite that on the Sabbath morning, after we have eaten our last bit of chometz.

For the Sabbath, we do not make anything that we could not keep in the house during Passover.Therefore, all Shabbos food should be free of chometz, and should be made in pots and pans that can be used during Passover. Ashkenazim, who may not eat kitniyos (legumes, peas, corn, soy, rice, string beans, mustard, beans, sesame or products containing any of these), may not cook them in Passover pots either. This means that if you usually make a Shabbos cholent with beans, it is best not to do so for that Shabbos.

In short, before the Sabbath, we cook a Passover meal in the Passover pots.

It is forbidden to at matzah on the day before Passover, so we must use challah during this Sabbath. However, we cannot leave any challah or challah crumbs in the house during Passover, so we must be very careful to eat
every last bit of the challah.

What is generally done is as follows:

Before the Sabbath, we buy very small challah rolls. Make sure to put them far away from anything to be used for Passover. And be sure to put them in a place where children or animals can’t get to them. You do not want them anywhere in the house during Passover!

On Sabbath, we are required to eat three meals: one at night, and two during the day. On this Sabbath, for each of the three Sabbath meals, we eat the challah in the hallway, or on the outside steps, or somewhere that we are allowed to carry the challah (i.e., not in another domain or property). We make sure to finish the challah entirely, leaving as few crumbs as possible. We brush ourselves off very carefully, so we do not bring any crumbs of chometzinto the house. We very carefully wash our hands and mouths in the bathroom, or anywhere that will not be near Passover food. (Toothpicks are often very helpful for this. If you want to brush your teeth, which is a good idea, you must make sure not to use toothpaste. It is forbidden to use toothpaste on the Sabbath. Mouthwash is permitted, but it won’t help against the chometz in your teeth and mouth.)

When we are sure we are as clean as we can make ourselves, we then return to the dining room, and eat the Sabbath meal using the Passover dishes. We do this process for all three meals of Shabbos.

Since it is still very difficult to ensure that we are completely free of chometz, especially in our mouths, many people use plastic dishes for the Shabbos meal. We can’t use the yearly dishes, since even before Shabbos we must put
those dishes and utensils away for Passover.

As I mentioned above, on the Sabbath we are supposed to eat three meals — one at night, and two during the day. However, it is forbidden to eat a meal in the afternoon before a Sabbath or Holiday. It is also forbidden to eat any chometz after a certain time of the day. That time of day is usually very early in the morning.

Let me discuss this a bit.

It is forbidden to eat chometz or to own chometz, or to even use chometz, past a certain time of the day on the morning before Passover. This time always takes place at a specific, calculated time, based on the length of the day in each area. In other words, it is dependent on locale.

If you travel often, you may have noticed that the daylight hours are longer in some parts of the world than in others, throughout the year.

You may have heard that at the North Pole there are six months of night and six months of day. During the summer months, there is no nighttime at all. During the winter, there is no daylight.

As you move a little more south, say to northern Greenland, or Svalbard, you begin to see a little nighttime, for periods as short as an hour in some areas. As you move more south, like in northern Norway, you get slightly longer nights. and so on, as you move south.

So, for example, on the day of August 1st, you will find some places that have no night at all, some places that have a little night, and some places that have six hours of night. At the South Pole, there is no night at all that time of year!

So, when it comes to the cutoff time for eating chometz, the time is calculated according to the individual locale. Therefore, each area has a slightly different time of day that is the cutoff time. (And no, I will not discuss at this juncture when the cutoff time is at the North Pole.)

You will have to either get a chart that lists the time in your area, or ask your Rabbi for the precise cutoff time. The time for your area might be posted in your synagogue. In New York it’s usually a little after 10:00 in the morning, most years (but it varies, so check the calendar). That should give you an idea of how early it becomes forbidden to own chometz that day.

So how do we eat the two meals on a Sabbath that is the day before a Holiday?

The answer is that the synagogues usually schedule an early prayer service, so that we can go home early and eat two meals.

There is another Jewish Law to keep in mind. After finishing one meal, and saying the Blessings After the Meal, we are required to wait at least one half hour before washing for another meal. So we must get in that first meal fairly early.

Most people wash to the first meal immediately after kiddush, after returning home. Some people wash for the challah, go through the cleaning process I mentioned above, eat one course of the meal in the dining room, and then say the blessings after the meal. We then wait one half hour.

After a half hour, we wash again, eat challah, clean up again, and eat the rest of the Sabbath meal. Some people feel this is too complicated and laborious, so they simply wash, say the Blessings After the Meal, wait half an hour, wash and eat challah again, clean themselves up, and then eat the entire Sabbath meal in the dining room.

As soon as we have finished eating our chometz, we recite the Kol Chamira, in which we abandon ownership of, association to, or desire for any chometz that may be in our house. (It is printed in most Hagadah publications.) Then we go to the dining room to eat the Sabbath meal.

We must stop eating chometz at the cutoff time. We can continue eating the Sabbath meal, but we must be finished with the chometz and have it gone by that time. This is so important, that if you have not yet had the chance to eat the Sabbath meals, you still can’t eat chometz, and therefore you may not eat your challah, once the cutoff time has passed.

This cannot be stressed enough. Not eating chometz past that time is more important than most other Jewish Laws (with the exception of saving a life, of course.)

When the day before Passover occurs on the Sabbath, it is also forbidden to move or use any chometz past the forbidden time. So it must all be gone by then.

All preparations for Passover must be completed before the Sabbath begins. All cleaning, arranging, cooking, or whatever else it may be, must be done before Shabbos. During Shabbos it is forbidden to prepare anything at all for the next day, even if the next day is a Holiday, such as Passover. Therefore, make the saltwater, boil the potatoes and the eggs, broil the shankbone, check the romaine lettuce, make the charoses, etc., whatever you need must be done before Shabbos begins.

We may not even clean our pots for Passover, so it is therefore forbidden to cook anything with chometz for Shabbos.

It is also a good idea to make sure your children get some sleep during that day, so they can stay awake for the Seder that night.

This has been rather hastily written and edited, so I hope I have not forgotten anything. Remember, if you have any questions, contact your Rabbi!

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