Pesach 2021 Halachic Guide
Following closely on the back of a long winter of Covid-19 lockdowns, Pesach 2021 is already an unusual year. But what makes this Pesach truly unique is the incidence of Shabbos Erev Pesach along with the changing of the clocks on the first night of Seder.
Here are the Federation Beis Din’s instructions and guidance for this special Pesach.
Cleaning for Pesach
I AM UNABLE TO CLEAN THE HOUSE AS I NORMALLY WOULD BECAUSE THE KIDS ARE AROUND AND DISTURBING – HOW CAN I LIMIT THE AREAS THAT NEED TO BE CLEANED?
The most detailed attention should be focused on areas of the house used for eating and for food preparation to ensure that Pesach food will not come into contact with Chometz. Other areas can be cleaned to a more basic level.
Cupboards which you cannot clean or check should be taped up and sold for the duration of Pesach.
Make sure to retain access to toys and other items that the children will need.
Remember there is no need to remove dirt or dust; a quick look through these areas is halachically sufficient, as long as items will not make it to the food areas.
I AM CONCERNED THAT THE CHILDREN WILL EAT CHOMETZ AROUND THE HOUSE; HOW SHOULD I ENSURE THAT THE HOUSE REMAINS PESACHDIG AFTER CLEANING?
Though it is very difficult to stop children eating around the house, you can minimise the Pesach concern by substituting Kitniyos foods for some of the Chometz foods you would normally serve. This will be particularly useful over the last few days before Pesach. Rice cakes, bamba and corn chips, even if crumbled around the house, do not need to be cleaned away before Pesach.
Toiveling Utensils (Tevilas Keylim)
Pesach is a time of year when many new utensils are purchased, and the Keylim Mikva is needed now more than ever. Even during Covid, wherever possible Tevilas Keylim should be undertaken as normal. If necessary, one should ask a neighbour or family member to toivel items where leaving the house is not possible.
If you are unable to access a Keylim Mikva, the Federation’s Mechiras Keylim service is still online and available. Click here https://www.federation.org.uk/mechiras-keylim/ to access this service and to read further details.
Pesach 2021 – timeline
1. Mechiras Chometz
- The Federation’s Mechiras Chometz form can be filled in online at https://www.federation.org.uk/mechiras-chometz-2021/.
- The form should be filled in by Thursday 25th March at 10pm. After this time, the form will no longer be available.
- Forms can also be sent by email to email@example.com.
2. Thursday Morning – Ta‘anis Bechorim – Fast of the Firstborns
- This year, Ta’anis Bechorim moves earlier to Thursday 12th Nissan. The siyum which is customarily held to allow bechorim (firstborns) to break their fast will be held on Thursday morning.
3. Thursday Night – Bedikas Chometz
- Bedikas Chometz takes place 24 hours earlier than usual, on Thursday evening 12th/13th Nissan after ma’ariv.
- For those who have the minhag to do so, ten pieces of bread are hidden around the house as usual.
- The Brocho is recited as though the search was taking place at its usual time.
- After the bedika, כל חמירא is recited.
- Food and dishes needed for Friday and Shabbos should be set aside in a secure location.
4. Friday Morning – Burning Chometz
- Chometz that will not be eaten over Shabbos is burned on Friday morning at the same time as one would usually do so on Erev Pesach (before 10.45 am in London).
- כל חמירא is not recited at this time.
- Although one should burn the Chometz on Friday morning, if this is not possible it may be burned at any time until the onset of Shabbos.
5. Friday – Planning for Chometz/Pesach Shabbos Meals
Food for this Shabbos should be planned carefully. The following points are relevant:
- Hamotzi must be made at the first two Shabbos meals. Since regular Matza is prohibited on Erev Pesach, there are two ways to proceed:
- Make Hamotzi on bread and ensure that every last bit is finished or destroyed.
- Using Hamotzi pita bread is advisable as this will minimise the risk of crumbs.
- If Challah is used, it is advisable not to use one with seeds.
- Make Hamotzi on egg matza.
- Like Kitniyos, egg matza is prohibited on Pesach according to the Ashkenazi minhag. Since it is entirely unfit for use in the Mitzva of eating Matza, egg matza may be eaten on Erev Pesach before zman achila.
- Egg matza must be treated as Chometz and may only be eaten before zman achila. After this point, it should be put away with the Chometz.
- There is some benefit to using egg matza as its ownership is not strictly-speaking forbidden on Pesach.
- Make Hamotzi on bread and ensure that every last bit is finished or destroyed.
- Care should be taken when making Hamotzi to avoid dispersing crumbs.
- Chometz should be eaten in a napkin or tissues.
- Food for Shabbos should be cooked in Pesach utensils, but care needs to be taken to ensure that the utensils and food leftovers do not become contaminated with Chometz. It is therefore advisable that the table be cleared after eating Chometz and before bringing any other utensils to the table.
- Kiddush and Hamotzi can be made in the garden or another location to avoid Chometz being introduced to Pesach dining areas and to avoid contaminating Pesach food/dishes. If you will move during the meal, you should have this in mind when you make Hamotzi.
6. Friday Afternoon – Preparing the Seder Foods
- Open Matza and wine
- Wash lettuce for Maror
- Prepare Charoses
- Roast Zero’ah (bone) and egg for Seder plate
- Prepare salt water
7. Friday Afternoon – Permitted Activities
- Although on Erev Pesach afternoon, haircuts and cutting nails are usually forbidden, this year these Halochos do not apply. Hair and nail cutting are permitted on Friday afternoon as they are on a regular Erev Shabbos.
- Ironing and laundry are similarly permitted as on a regular Erev Shabbos.
8. Friday Night & shabbos day Meals
- As above, Hamotzi should be made over two small Challos (ideally without seeds), pita breads or egg matzos.
- These should be eaten carefully ensuring to facilitate removal of any remaining chometz.
- Any crumbs should then be flushed down the toilet.
- The rest of the meal should then take place on Pesach utensils or using disposables.
9. Shabbos Morning – Finish Eating Chometz
- Sof zman achilas Chometz is at 9.25 am GMT in London. After this time, Chometz, Kitniyos and egg matza may not be eaten.
- Davening should be finished with enough time to allow Chometz Shabbos meals to be concluded and cleaned up by sof zman achilas Chometz.
- Some people who are particular to wash for Seudah Shlishis every week, will also be machmir to wash again for another seudah before sof zman achilah. There should ideally be a 30-minute gap between the two meals, or one should go for a walk. Since the mainstream opinion is that Seudah Shlishis must be eaten in the afternoon, everyone should eat another meal in the afternoon without washing.
- Before sof zman achila, one should wash and clean out their mouth. Flossing is permitted if you will not bleed; eating something hard will also be helpful to clean out the mouth.
10. Shabbos Morning – Destroying Chometz
- Zman biur Chometz (last time for destroying Chometz) is at 10.45 am GMT in London.
- Before this time, you should:
- Wipe-off any remaining Chometz from any utensils or disposables
- Flush away left-over Chometz down the toilet
- Recite כל חמירא
- After this time Chometz is muktze.
- If Chometz is accidentally left over, it should not be removed but should be covered until Chol HaMo’ed, when according to many opinions it should be burned.
11. Shabbos Afternoon – Seudah Shlishis
- Some will have eaten a second Hamotzi meal in the morning. Nonetheless, a seudah should still be eaten in the afternoon.
- In order to retain an appetite for the Seder, care should be taken to avoid over-eating. Seudah Shlishis should be started before Sho’oh Asiris (3.15 pm GMT London).
- For those who eat gebrocks, matza-meal cakes are forbidden (as every year on Erev Pesach). Kneidels may be eaten (for those who eat gebrocks).
- Fruit and vegetables, or fish, chicken or meat can be used for Seudah Shlishis.
12. First Night Pesach
- Preparations for the Seder may not commence until nightfall on Motsei Shabbos 7.17 pm GMT in London.
- Before beginning preparations, one should say ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לקודש.
- As per the relevant text in the Haggodo, Havdolo should be recited as part of Kiddush at the first Seder night, and a candle should be used.
13. British Summer Time – CHANGING THE CLOCKS
- British Summer Time commences at 2am on the first Seder night.
- Clocks may not be adjusted on Shabos or Yom Tov in most circumstances.
- Members of the Kehilla are advised to carefully check their Yom Tov timetable to ensure that they correctly read the times for davening, the time for סוף זמן קריאת שמע and the time for חצות הלילה.