By: Rabbi Menashe Sasson
Reporting from Jerusalem, Israel
This year, 5781, 2021 on the secular calendar, Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat, which means the Pesah Seder will be held Saturday evening, following the conclusion of Shabbat. This infrequent occurrence somewhat complicates our usual preparations for Pesah; thus, the special laws which apply when Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat should be reviewed.
Ta’anit Bechorim (The Fast of the Firstborn)
Ta’anit Bechorim [תענית בכורים], the Fast of the Firstborn, commemorates the saving by Hashem of all the first-born of Israel from the Plague of the Firstborn in Egypt. Thus, bechorim [בכורים] are required to fast on Erev Pesah.
However, bechorim [בכורים] are exempt from fasting if they participate in a Se’udat Misva [סעודת מצוה] (meal involving a Misva), such as a Siyum (completion of a Talmudic tractate). Many synagogues hold a Siyum and Se’udat Misva on Erev Pesah, after Shaharit [שחרית].
This year, because Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat, Ta’anit Bechorim [תענית בכורים], is observed on either Thursday or Friday; most communities will observe Ta’anit Bechorim [תענית בכורים] on Thursday. As always, check with your rabbi to determine what the schedule your community will be following.
Bediqat Hames (The Search for Hames)
Bediqat Hames [בודקית החמץ], the search for Hames, is usually conducted Erev Pesah. When Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat, Bediqat Hames is performed on Thursday night. One follows the same procedure as in regular years, including the recitation of the Beracha.
Bi’ur Hames (The Burning of Hames)
Bi’ur Hames [ביעור חמץ], the burning of the Hames, is normally performed on the morning of Erev Pesah. However, when Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat, Bi’ur Hames [ביעור חמץ] is performed on Friday morning.
One omits the “Kol Hamira [כל חמירא]” declaration which is normally recited when burning Hames, whereby one renounces ownership over any remaining Hames, because one will still eat Hames on Friday night and, possibly on Shabbat morning. Thus, one cannot renounce his ownership over his Hames on Friday morning.
The Kol Hamira [כל חמירא] declaration is made on Shabbat morning, after one has eaten all the Hames he plans to eat before Hames becomes forbidden.
Hames becomes forbidden at the end of the 4th halachic hour of the day (sof zman achilat hames [סוף זמן אכילת חמץ]). This year that time will be 10:41 a.m. in Jerusalem; check myzmanim.com for the time in your location.
Candle Lighting before Shabbat
In addition to regular Shabbat candles, ladies should light a candle that will continue to burn through, and until after the conclusion of, Shabbat.
Se’uda Rishona and Se’uda Sheni
All meals for Shabbat Erev Pesah should be kosher l’pesah. Consider using disposable dishes and utensils. Bread should be eaten at Se’uda Rishona, the Friday evening meal and, if possible, at Se’uda Sheni, the Saturday morning meal. Pita bread, which does not produce as many crumbs as regular bread, or small rolls may be used.
Use a disposable plastic table cover to cover the table for Ha’mosi [המוציא]. After saying Ha’mosi [המוציא] and eating the required amount of bread, discard the plastic table cover, along with any remaining bread or crumbs, and then continue with the meal.
Recite Minha as soon as possible after the time of Minha Gedola [מנחה גדולה].
Eat Se’uda Shelishit [סעדה שלישית], the third meal, after Minha. As an alternative to bread, egg masa or rice, fish, fruits, kosher l’pesah Shehakol cakes (cakes made only from potato starch), and the like may be eaten.
Se’uda Shelishit [סעדה שלישית] should be concluded no later than the 10th halachic hour of the day.
Seder Korban Pesah
On the afternoon of Shabbat Erev Pesah one should recite the text of “Seder Korban Pesah [סדר קרבן פסח]” which is printed in many Siddurim and Haggadot. This text consists of passages from the Humash and the Mishna which outline the procedure for the Korban Pesah — the paschal offering that was brought on Erev Pesah during the times of the Bet Ha’mikdash. Nowadays, when we cannot actually perform this Misva, we commemorate the Korban Pesah by reciting this text, so that through our study it will be considered as though we actually brought the sacrifice. One should recite this text on Shabbat Erev Pesah after Minha, either before or after Se’uda Shelishit.
Mosa’e Shabbat [מוצאי שבת], after Shabbat has concluded, women should recite, “Baruch Ha’mavdil ben Kodesh Le’kodesh” [המבדיל בין קדש לקדר], not Ha’mavdil ben Kodesh L’hol [המבדיל בין קדש לחול], as we usually say at the end of Shabbat, and then light Yom Tov candles from an existing flame.
Because Halacha forbids kindling a new flame on Yom Tov, one must light Yom Tov candles from a preexisting flame.
When lighting the candles, a woman should recite the Beracha, “Asher Kideshanu Be’misvotav Ve’sivanu Le’hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov [אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר של יום טוב].” Our practice is to not recite “She’he’heyanu [שהחינו]” at the time of Yom Tov candle lighting, as “She’he’heyanu [שהחינו]” will be recited later, during the Seder.
After a woman lights the Yom Tov candles, she may begin making the preparations for the Seder.
Shabbat Shalom! Hag sameah!
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Menashe Sasson is a Sephardic rabbi and American attorney who resides in Jerusalem, Israel.