You are here
What is Chametz? Passover, the Festival of Freedom, begins on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nissan (Friday, April 3rd) at sunset, and ends 1 hour after sundown 8 days later (Saturday, April 11th). Throughout these eight days of the festival, we abstain from eating any chametz. Foods made from wheat, rye, barley, oats, and all grain products are subject to the laws of chametz. All food and drink for Passover require endorsements from a reputable traditional rabbi.
Dishes, Utensils, & Stove: Since we are not permitted to have even a trace of chametz during Pesach, special attention must be given to the use of pots, pans, dishes and utensils. Since these laws are varied, your rabbi should be consulted.
Selling the Chametz: The Bible prohibits possession of chametz during Passover. Therefore, one must arrange for a formal “Mechirat Chametz”, sale of chametz to a non-Jew. Since this Bill of Sale must be done in accordance with proper legal phraseology, this transaction is arranged by a rabbi, who acts as an agent. Chametz that is sold must be stored away in closets or cabinets that are locked or taped.
Search for Chametz: The household should be thoroughly cleansed of chametz during the week before Passover. The final and formal search “B’dikat Chametz” is conducted two days before the eve of Pesach (Thursday, April 2nd). We recite the following blessing before the search (which is done by candlelight): Boruch Atoh Hashem Elohkenu Melech Ho-olom al be-or chometz. “Blessed art Thou O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has commanded us to remove leaven.” When the search is completed, we recite the following: “All leaven, or anything leavened which is in my possession, which I have neither seen nor removed, and about which I am unaware, shall be considered naught and ownerless, as the dust of earth.”
Burning the Chametz: All chametz in one’s possession that has not been sold must be burned no later than 11:37 am on Friday morning April 3rd. No chametz may be eaten after 10:04 am on Friday morning until the conclusion of the festival 8 days later. These times are for New York, for other locations consult your local rabbi. After the chametz has been burned, repeat the above prayer: “All leaven or anything leavened, etc.”
THE SEDER TABLE
1) Roasted Bone - stands for the Paschal lamb which our ancestors offered as a sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem.
2) Roasted Egg - stands for the special festival offering which was offered on all holidays.
3) Bitter Herbs - to recall the bitter days our ancestors endured while they were slaves in Egypt.
4) Parsley - a symbol of the coming of the Spring.
5) Charoses - a mixture consisting of ground apples, nuts, cinnamon, raisins and wine. It represents the mortar with which our ancestors were forced to make the bricks used to build Pharoah’s cities and pyramids.
6) Wine - Four cups are drunk during the course of the Seder to symbolize the four expressions of the Almighty’s promise to redeem the Children of Israel. The number four also reminds us of our matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.
7) Three Matzohs - representing the “bread of affliction” eaten by the Jews in Egypt. These matzohs represent the three classes of Jews: Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites, and the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
8) Salt Water - Symbolizes the salt waters of the Red Sea crossed by the Jews during their exodus from Egypt, and the tears our people shed.
9) Cup of Elijah - is filled with wine in honor of the Prophet Elijah who visits every home and is the harbinger of Messiah.
Before we light the candles we recite the following blessings:
I. (On Friday night) Boruch Atoh HaShem Elokenu Melech Ho-olom, asher kidishanu bemitzvosov, vitzivonu l’hadlik nehr shel Shabbat V`Yom Tov.
(On Friday night) Blessed art Thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light of Shabbat and the Festival lights.
II. Boruch Atoh HaShem Elokenu Melech Ho-Olom, shehecheyonu, vikimonu, vi’higiyonu lazman hazeh.
Blessed art Thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has kept us in life and has sustained us and enabled us to reach this season.
Friday, April 3 (Passover Eve) Candle lighting 7:04pm NYT
Saturday, April 4 (1st day Passover 2nd Seder) Candle lighting 8:04pm NYT
Sunday, April 5 (2nd day Passover) Chag ends 8:06pm NYT
Thursday, April 9 (6th day of Passover) Candle lighting 7:10pm NYT
Friday, April 10 (7th day of Passover) Candle lighting 7:11pm NYT
Saturday, April 11 (8th day of Passover) Chag ends 8:12pm NYT
ORDER OF THE SEDER
1. Kadesh - Kiddush:
The first cup of wine is filled and every member of the family chants Kiddush holding his cup of wine in his hand.
2. Urchatz - Washing:
We wash our hands in the usual proscribed manner of washing before the meal, but without the customary blessing.
3. Karpas - Appetizer:
We dip a spring of parsley into salt water and before eating it recite the following blessing: “Boruch Atoh HaShem, Elokenu Melech Ho-olom, borei p’rei ho-adomeh. - Praised be Thou, Our G-d, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the earth.”
4. Yachatz - Breaking the Matzoh:
The master of the house breaks the middle matzoh in the plate, and leaving half of it there, he hides the other half for Afikomen (dessert). The Afikomen is hidden by a child and ransomed for a prize after dinner.
5. Magid - Telling the Story:
We begin to recite the Hagadah (story of Passover) as we lift up the matzoh with the following words: “Ho Lachmo Anyo”- “This is the bread of affliction which our Forefathers ate in the land of Egypt.” We invite the poor and the needy to join us. We pour a second cup of wine and the children are invited to ask the time honored questions of “Ma nishtana” - “Why is this night different fromall other nights?”
6. Rochtzoh - Washing before the meal:
We wash our hands before the meal reciting the following blessing: “Boruch Atoh HaShem Elokenu Melech HaOlam, Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvosov Vitzivanu Al Nitilas Yadaim.”
7-8. Motzi - Matzoh - Eating the Matzoh:
Take hold of 3 matzohs, the broken one placed between the 2 whole ones and recite the following blessings: “Baruch Atoh HaShem Elokenu Melech Ho-Olam, Hamotzei Lechem Min HaAretz. Baruch Atoh HaShem Elokenu Melech Ho-Olam, Asher Kidishanu B’mitzvosov Vitzivanu al Achilas Matzoh.”
9. Morror - The Bitter Herbs:
Take the morror, dip it into the charoses and recite the following blessing: “Baruch Atoh HaShem Elokenu Melech HaOlam, asher kidishanu B’mitzvosov Vitzivanu al Achilas Morror.”
10. Korech - The “Sandwich”:
In keeping with the tradition of the great sage, Hillel, we eat a sandwich consisting of matzoh and marror, saying, “Kein asah Hillel” “This is what Hillel did at the time that the Temple was still standing.”
11. Shulchan Orech - The Feast:
The holiday dinner is now served. Commence with the hard boiled eggs.
12. Tzofun - Bringing the matzoh out of hiding:
We eat the afikomen (the ½ matzoh which had been set aside as dessert). After eating the afikomen, there is no further eating or drinking except for the two remaining cups of wine.
13. Bairach - Grace after the Meal:
Fill the third cup, recite grace. After grace, recite the blessing over the wine. Fill the cup of Elijah and all other cups. Open the door for the Prophet and recite the appropriate prayer from the Hagadah.
14. Hallel - Song of Praise:
We sing G-d’s praises. After Hallel we recite the blessing for wine and drink the 4th cup. Boruch Atoh Adonei, Elokenu Melech HaOlam, Borei P’ri Hagoffen.
15. Nirtzoh - Acceptance:
Having fulfilled our responsibilities, we pray that G-d receive our service and conclude with “L’Shana Ha’Ba’ah B’Yerushalayim” – “Next year in Jerusalem”.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Yizkor is recited in Synagogue on the last day of Pesach, Saturday, April 11.
Please wait until 9:45pm before eating Chometz sold for you by your Rabbi.