Guide to Erev Pesach on Shabbos 5781 / 2021

Guide to Erev Pesach on Shabbos 5781 / 2021

This year, 5781 / 2021, Pesach begins on a Motzei Shabbos / Saturday night. This will involve a bit more pre-Pesach planning than usual. I hope you will find these guidelines helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. — Rabbi Ze’ev Smason.

* Please note that all times below are only applicable to St. Louis, MO

Question 1: When do we search for Chometz?

This year, we search for Chometz on Thursday night, March 25th, after 8:03 P.M. Before searching, we recite the beracha of “Al Biur Chometz”. Following the search, we say the paragraph of “Kol Chamira”.  The beracha marks the beginning of our destruction of Chometz; the “Kol Chamira” paragraph annuls our ownership of any Chometz which has escaped our notice.

Question 2: When do we burn our Chometz?

So as not to create any confusion, we burn our Chometz on Friday, March 26th, at the normal time that we would on a regular Erev Pesach –before 12:06 P.M. We do not recite any beracha or Kol Chamira.

Question 3: When do we recite “Kol Chamira” annulling our ownership of Chometz?

We do not recite the second “Kol Chamira” when burning our Chometz on Friday. We recite the first “Kol Chamira” when we search for Chometz on Thursday night. We recite the second “Kol Chamira” on Shabbos morning, before 12:04 P.M.

Question 4: When do the first-born sons fast?

This year, the fast is observed on Thursday, March 25th. Attending a Siyum exempts one from fasting. Shacharis at NHBZ that Thursday morning will be at 7:00 A.M. –and it will be followed by a Siyum.  All first-born adult males are urged to attend the Siyum in person or by Zoom.

Question 5: What food items should be served at the Shabbos meals this year?

In order to avoid any possible problems, all Chometz products and utensils should be put away by the time the Chometz is burned on Friday. There should be absolutely no Chometz served at any of the Shabbos meals. These meals should be 100% kosher for Pesach and prepared using Pesach utensils. Although the meals are kosher for Pesach, since this Shabbos is also Erev Pesach, no Matzah products should be served at the Shabbos meals. (Note: Many recommend using disposable tablecloths or large napkins since as we will see below–non-Pesach Hamotzi items will need to be part of our Shabbos meals.)

Question 6: If one cannot serve Chometz or Matzah at the Shabbos meals, what should be used for Hamotzi?

Option A: Use small fresh soft Challah rolls (to produce as few crumbs as possible), that can be consumed without leaving anything left-over. Eat the rolls carefully over disposable tablecloths or large napkins — so that any remaining crumbs can be wrapped in the tablecloths or large napkins and flushed. Care should be taken that no Pesach utensils be brought to the table until after the Challah has been consumed, and the crumbs have been discarded. Once the Challah has been eaten, and the crumbs have been discarded, the meal can continue. (Some may choose to eat this part of the meal outside the house and the rest of the meal inside the house.)

Option B: Challah can be substituted with Pesach certified egg Matzah. This avoids the concern of real Chometz crumbs.

(Note: Normally, we are not allowed to eat Matzah on Erev Pesach, but that only applies to Matzah which can be used to fulfill our obligations at the Seder. Since egg Matzah cannot be used for the Seder, it can therefore be used on Friday night and Shabbos morning for Hamotzi. Please remember, according to Ashkenazic practice, except for the sick, elderly, or small children, egg Matzah should not be eaten at all during Pesach.)

Important: In both options, A and B above, on Shabbos morning, the Hamotzi items (Challah or egg Matzah) can only be eaten until the time that Chametz may be eaten (11:02 A.M). We will need to nullify our Chometz by reciting the second “Kol Chamira” on Shabbos morning, before 12:04 P.M. Davening at NHBZ on Shabbos morning will be earlier than usual (7:00 A.M.) to make sure everyone has enough time to eat their Hamotzi for lunch.

Question 7: How do we eat Shalosh Seudos this Shabbos?

Option A: The morning meal can be split into two parts. After the first part, say Birkas Hamazon and take a break (go for a short walk, learn, etc.). Then return, wash for Hamotzi, and eat another meal with Challah rolls or egg Matzah, before 11:02 A.M. According to some, this fulfills one’s “third-meal” obligation. (Note: One will really have to keep an eye on the clock to pull this all off before 11:02 A.M.)

Option B: Just eat one lunch meal (consuming the required Hamotzi segment before 11:02 A.M.). Later in the afternoon, one should eat some meat, fish, fruits, etc. (and no Hamotzi) for Shalosh Seudos. If one chooses this option, one should eat only moderately at Shalosh Seudos–in order to eat the Matzah at the Seder with a hearty appetite.

Question 8: May we make any preparations on Shabbos for the Seder?

One may not prepare on Shabbos for events occurring after Shabbos. After Shabbos is over (8:05 P.M.) one may start preparing for the Seder. Before beginning the preparations, one who did not recite Maariv should say this abbreviated version of Havdalah, in Hebrew or English:  “Baruch HaMavdil Bein Kodesh leKodesh” (Blessed is the One who distinguishes between one type of sanctity and another).

The full Havdalah is recited during Kiddush at the Seder. (Likewise, one may not prepare for the second Seder on Sunday night until after 8:06 P.M.)

Question 9: How does one light candles for Pesach night?

Please prepare by lighting a candle on Friday afternoon that can remain safely lit for longer than two days (as this candle will be needed to light Yom Tov candles on Motzei Shabbos and again on Sunday night). We wait until after Shabbos has ended (8:05 P.M) to light Yom Tov candles (from an existing flame) for the first night of Pesach. We also light candles (from an existing flame) on the second night of Yom Tov (Sunday night), after the first day of Pesach has ended (8:06 P.M.).

Dates / Times to Remember –Pesach 5781 / 2021*

* Please note that all times below are only applicable to St. Louis, MO

Taanis Bechorim: Thursday, March 25th, Shacharis at 7:00 A.M. followed by a Siyum

Bedikas Chometz: Thursday night, March 25th after 8:03 P.M.

Burning of Chometz: Friday, March 26th by 12:06.P.M.

Shabbos Candles: Friday, March 26th, 7:00 P.M.

Chometz may be eaten until 11:02 A.M. on Shabbos, March 27th

Chometz must be flushed and annulled by 12:04 P.M. on Shabbos, March 27th

Candle Lighting (1st night of Yom Tov), and Seder preparations: on Motzei Shabbos, March 27th, after 8:05 P.M.

Afikoman should be eaten by 1:06 A.M. (both nights)

Candle Lighting (2nd night of Yom Tov), and Seder preparations: on Sunday, March 28th after 8:06 P.M.