Parshat Vayakhel – Pikudei
Chazzak / Shabbos Hachodesh/ Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Nissan
Erev Pesach on Shabbat
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In the beginning of the Torah portion of Vayakhel, Moshe instructs the Jewish people to keep Shabbat. Although the laws of Shabbat were mentioned many times earlier in the Torah (see Exodus 16:23, 20:8-11 and more), Moshe Rabeinu was teaching the Jewish people that the building of the Mishkan, which is the next section in the parsha, should not take place on Shabbat. This is the basis for the understanding of the rabbis that the types of labors done in the Mishkan are exactly the ones that are forbidden on Shabbat (see Shabbat 73a and in many places).
On this Shabbat, Parshat HaChodesh, we also read about the laws of Pesach. As such, it is appropriate to continue the laws of an Erev Pesach when it falls on Shabbat as it does this year. See here for last week’s article which covered the laws of the fast of the firstborn, bedikat chametz, selling and burning chametz, as well as some of the laws of the meals.
This article will focus on more laws of the Shabbat meals and other laws relating to Shabbat day.
How to Eat the Meals
As mentioned last week, it is best to prepare Kosher for Pesach (Kosher LePesach) food for this Shabbat. These should be cooked in Kosher LePesach pots and utensils. Unless one wishes to eat egg matzah for the meals (see last week’s article), one needs to eat challah at the beginning of these meals. Here are two practical ways one can do this:
- Eat, Clean, and Eat Some More
One may begin the meal in their regular place with only a tablecloth on the table. After kiddush the family should wash and eat the challah carefully so as not to spread any crumbs around the house. After everyone finishes their challah (at least an olive-size piece), the area should be cleaned. The tablecloth should be shaken off outside to get rid of crumbs, the floor should be swept and a new tablecloth placed on the table. Everyone should shake off their clothes, wash their hands and mouth, and then the table can be set for the rest of the meal which is Kosher LePesach and can be eaten on the Pesach dishes. After eating, one bentches (recites the Grace after Meals) as usual.
- Eat, Change Locations, Continue
One may make kiddush and eat the challah in one place (e.g., the front or back yard or a porch or balcony), and have the rest of the meal in another place. After completing that part of the meal, that area should be cleaned as per above (see below regarding sweeping), and the meal should continue at the regular table which is already Kosher LePesach.
When using this method, it is best to go back to the first location in order to bentch. In addition, it is best for one to eat more bread in that location before bentching (Piskei Teshuvot 444:13).
One may sweep a tile or wood floor inside a house on Shabbat (see Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchto 23:1).
One may not sweep an outside area on Shabbat even if it is paved as this can lead to sweeping a dirt (unpaved) floor which is forbidden (ibid 2).
Some permit sweeping a front or backyard that is paved if it is adjacent and attached to the house as they consider it to be a continuation of the house (ibid, note 10).
Others are not sure if this is permitted (Rav Nissim Karelitz, cited in note 21 of the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah 337).
It is proper to pray early on this Shabbat morning in order to have time to eat the first daytime meal before the final time to eat chametz (Mishnah Berurah 444:4). Some recommend that one should pray at sunrise (Netz) on this Shabbat (Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, quoted in the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah on ibid). The Chazan should not pray at length on this Shabbat morning (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 444:7).
The Shabbat Hagadol speech, in which the rabbi teaches the halachot (laws) of Pesach, is not given on this day due to time constraints. Instead it should be given the previous Shabbat (Mishnah Berurah 430:2).
Here are three options as to how to have the first meal of the daytime on this Shabbat:
1) Eat the entire meal (both the challah and the Kosher LePesach foods) before the last time to eat the chametz. This is the least complicated way.
2) Eat the challah before the final time to eat the chametz. Recite the Grace after Meals, make a small interruption, and then continue to eat the Kosher LePesach part of the meal even after the final time to eat Chametz.
(The reason it is recommended that one recite the Grace after Meals despite the fact that one wishes to continue eating is that there is a question as to whether one must say separate blessings on the food one eats during a meal when they are no longer allowed to eat bread. See Piskei Teshuvot 177:10.)
3) This meal can be divided into two meals in order to fulfill the mitzvah of having three (bread) meals on Shabbat. One should eat the minimum amount of challah, bentch, and then make a small interruption and walk outside for a little bit. One should then wash again and have another minimum amount of challah followed by the Kosher LePesach food as above (see note 13 in the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah). Others recommend that one eat the Kosher LePesach dishes in the first meal and that the second meal should consist of only challah (Piskei Teshuvot 444:5). Either way the second meal is considered to be the third meal (seudah shlishit). All of this should be finished before the latest time to eat chametz.
The reason for the interruption between the meals is that otherwise the two meals are considered one, and the bentching as well as the second HaMotzie blessing are considered to be in vain. (See Mishnah Berurah 444:8 based on Magen Avraham 444:1.)
The reason why some say to have the cooked food in the second of these meals is to ensure that one still has an appetite for that meal. The reason others say to have the cooked food in the first meal is that the first meal of Shabbat day is the most important meal of Shabbat and should therefore include many fine foods (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 271:8).
Many Ashkenazim have the custom not to eat lettuce or horseradish on erev Pesach in order not to ruin their appetite for the maror that will be eaten that night (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 471:11). One who follows this custom should take care not to eat lettuce or horseradish on this Shabbat day.
In addition, some do not eat the foods used in the charoset on Erev Pesach (Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad page 37). Those who follow this custom should not eat apples, pears, and walnuts (and any other ingredients used in the charoset) on this day. Wine is the exception as one may drink wine and grape juice on this day.
Don’t Forget to Sing
Whenever and however one has this meal, one should make sure that it has the proper atmosphere of a Shabbat meal, which means singing Shabbat songs and sharing words of Torah (see Piskei Teshuvot 444:5).
How to Eat Se’udah Shelishit?
As mentioned above, one may divide the morning meal into two and the second of those “meals” is considered a “third meal” (the Friday night meal being the first). However, some say that this does not fulfill the obligation of the Se’udah Shelishit as they hold that this meal must be eaten in the afternoon. (See Sha’ar HaTziyun 291:7.) It is noteworthy that the Shulchan Aruch HaRav does not quote the opinion that one should divide this meal into two.
On the other hand, one may not wash and have Hamotzei on this afternoon as one may not eat Chametz or matzah at this time. (But see last week’s article that Sefardim can have egg matzah.)
As such, in the afternoon one should have one of the following types of foods for this meal.
The following list is in order of preference (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 291:7) .
- One who eats gebrochts (matzah mixed with water) may eat matzah balls or other mezonot for this meal. One should not eat this during the last three hours of the day as this can diminish one’s appetite for the matzah at the seder.
- Meat, fish or other cooked dishes
The Zohar writes (cited in Magen Avraham 444:2) that on this kind of Shabbat, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai would fulfill the mitzvah of the third meal by studying Torah.
If one eats this meal during the last three hours of the day, one should not eat too much even if the food is not mezonot so as not to ruin one’s appetite for the matzah at the seder (Mishnah Berurah 444:8).
Some have the custom of davening an early mincha and eating a seudah shlishit with hot Kosher LePesach food (with singing and words of Torah) after that (Mishnah Berurah ibid, 14).
What to Do with the Leftover Chametz?
One should sweep any crumbs from the challah of these meals and flush them down the toilet. If one has significant leftover chametz, one may give it to a gentile as a gift, and the gentile may take it to his house.
One who sold his chametz to a rabbi who has stipulated to the gentile that the sale is not effective until Shabbat late morning, may put any leftover chametz into the area that he is selling to the gentile.
One should say the Bitul Chametz (nullification of chametz) before the final time to own chametz on Shabbat morning.
Taking a Nap
One may take a nap on this Shabbat afternoon in order to be well rested for the Seder. But one should not explicitly say that this is their intent as one must not prepare for after Shabbat in an obvious way (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 306:2).
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom Umevorach and a Chodesh Tov!
Copyright 2021 by Rabbi Aryeh Citron