A Guide to Shabbos Erev Pesach

Note: This article was written for Kashrus Kurrents 2001 and revised for the 2008 Passover Guide. The halachos apply to any year when Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos (e.g. 2021 and 2025).

Many of us are quite familiar with the regular Erev Pesach routine: The bechorim go to a siyum, the chometz is burned, and we prepare for the seder. However, every so often,1 Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos and we must modify this routine. Let us review the halachos of Shabbos Erev Pesach:

Thursday – Taanis Bechorim/Bedikas Chometz
On a regular Erev Pesach the first born males (bechorim) are obligated to fast. This year the fast is pushed back to Thursday. Those bechorim who do not wish to fast should attend a siyum. Thursday night after tzais hakochavim (when it gets dark), one should immediately perform bedikas chometz. A bracha and kol chamira (same as usual) are recited.

Friday – Erev Shabbos
Chometz which is necessary for Friday night and Shabbos morning meals should be placed in a disposable container away from all Pesach food. Although chometz may be purchased and eaten all day Friday, the custom is to sell and burn the chometz before the sof zman biur chometz had this day been Erev Pesach (end of 5th halachic hour of the day). Burning it later could lead to confusion in subsequent years. Kol Chamira is not recited at the time of burning. All keilim should l’chatchila be kashered by this time. B’dieved one could kasher keilim until candle lighting on Friday.

The following preparations for the seder should be made on Erev Shabbos: Roast the egg and zroah, check and clean lettuce leaves, chop the nuts for the charoses, and grate the horseradish. Food cooked for Shabbos and Yom Tov should be kosher L’Pesach and cooked in Pesachdik pots.

After chatzos on a regular Erev Pesach, one may not perform various melochos (e.g. shave, do laundry, etc.).2 These halachos do not apply this year for Erev Shabbos is not Erev Pesach.

Friday Evening and Shabbos Day
Except for hamotzi, all meals should be eaten on Pesachdik utensils. These utensils should not be brought to the table until after all crumbs are cleared away. Alternatively, one may use disposable utensils. The procedure for hamotzi for all Shabbos meals is as follows: Use small fresh rolls for lechem mishnah (there are less crumbs with fresh rolls). Lechem mishnah should be placed on tissues on the table. Nothing Pesachdik should be on the table with the rolls. All the rolls should be eaten carefully over tissues, so that any remaining crumbs can be wrapped in the tissues and flushed. The table should then be cleared of all chometz. All disposable items (e.g. plastic tablecloth, plates, etc.) used with chometz should be discarded in a trash can. The rest of the Pesachdik meal should be served on Pesachdik or disposable dishes. For children who may leave crumbs, egg matzoh may be substituted. Because the brocha on egg matzoh is a matter of dispute, adults should use rolls for lechem mishnah. After making hamotzi and eating a k’zayis of the roll, adults may eat egg matzoh until the sof zman achilas chometz. On Shabbos Erev Pesach, regular matzoh may not be eaten by anyone except children under six.

If one is concerned with eating any bread inside, one may eat outside on the porch or the backyard (if it is permissible to carry – i.e. within a reshus hayachid). Recite hamotzi, eat the rolls then sweep the crumbs off the table and off the porch. One may not sweep the crumbs into the wind or out of an Eruv. One may finish the meal inside. Birchas Hamazon should l’chatchila be recited where the bread was eaten.

Shacharis on Shabbos morning should be scheduled earlier than usual because one must recite hamotzi on lechem mishnah before the sof zman achilas chometz (end of 4th halachic hour of the day). After disposing of all chometz, one must recite the same kol chamira that is usually said when burning the chometz. This must be done before the sof zman biur chometz (end of 5th halachic hour). It is recited even if it was already recited by mistake on Friday at the time of biur chometz. One may continue his Pesachdik meal and recite Birchas Hamazon after these times.

During Seudah Shlishis on an ordinary Shabbos one must have lechem mishnah and l’chatchila eat more than a k’baya (more than two k’zaysim) of bread after the time of mincha gedola (1/2 halachic hour after chatzos/midday). On this Shabbos, one may not eat bread or matzoh at this time. What is the solution? One must eat “other foods” during the afternoon including fish, fruit or potato starch cake any time between mincha gedola and sunset. However, if one eats these foods after the begining of the tenth hour, one should be especially careful not eat too much and thereby curb his appetite at the seder. For those who follow the custom of eating gebrokts on Pesach, products containing matzoh meal that were cooked (e.g. knaidlach) may be eaten if they are consumed before the 10th hour of the day. Baked matzoh meal products, including cakes, may not be eaten all day.3

If time permits, it is preferable to also “split the morning meal” in the following manner: Recite hamotzi and eat rolls, recite Birchas Hamazon and take a walk outside. Then, wash for Seudah Shlishis and recite hamotzi. One must be careful to finish the bread and dispose of the crumbs by the times indicated above. If one does this, one should still eat something after mincha gedola as described above.

Motzai Shabbos & The Seder
All preparation for Yom Tov and the seder may not begin until Shabbos is over (tzais hakochavim). As previously indicated, some preparations should be done before Shabbos. One may also wish to set the seder table before Shabbos and eat in the kitchen on Shabbos to allow the seder to begin as early as possible after Shabbos.

Kiddush and havdalah are recited together at the seder as printed in the Hagaddah. One should recite borei meorei ha’aish using the Yom Tov candles, putting them together side by side while upright. They should not be tilted to touch each other. Alternatively, one may recite the brocha using a non-frosted incandescent light bulb which was turned on before Shabbos (or was turned on by a timer set before Shabbos). At the seder there is one change to the Hagaddah. In the brocha of asher g’alanu prior to the second cup of wine we reverse the order and say min hapesachim u’min hazevachim (instead of the opposite order). This is due to the change in the order of korbanos when Pesach occurs on motzai Shabbos.

When Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos it affords a rare opportunity to rest on Erev Pesach. When I was a student in yeshiva, I once commented to Mr. Hyman Flaks z”l, the Executive Director of the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis, that when Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos preparations are so difficult. He answered, “This type of year is my favorite year. My work in the field of kashrus is so hectic before Pesach – with a Shabbos to rest, I can come to the seder feeling like a mentch!” Today, I understand exactly what he meant. As we all prepare for Pesach, amidst the hectic frenzy, we can look forward to the rare4 Erev Pesach which is on the Yom Menucha.

1. This occurs on average approximately once every 9 years, as frequently as every 3 years (2005 and 2008), and as infrequently as every 20 years (it did not occur between 1954 and 1974 and is not scheduled to occur between 2025 and 2045).

2. For a complete discussion, see “The Busiest Day of the Year: The Laws of Erev Pesach“.

3. Whether or not one eats gebroks, baked (and certainly cooked) matzoh meal products may be eaten Friday night.

4. All the following events are unique to the rare year during which Erev Pesach is Shabbos. Purim and Lag B’Omer are on Friday. Fast of B”HB falls on Pesach Sheni. We recite the Slichos before Rosh Hashana for 8 days, the most days possible. During the following Tishrei we read the Torah for 11 days in a row, from Monday, Eruv Sukkos, through Thursday, Isru Chag, more than is done at any other time.