Laws and Customs of Pesah
What is Hames?
Hames is the leavened foods that are forbidden for Pesah. These foods and drinks contain grain or grain by-products. Some Sephardim (including our community) use legume products such as rice, beans, peas, corn etc. These items must be checked three times before Passover to insure that no hames are mixed together with them. All packaged items and groceries should be under reliable supervision, especially marked for Passover, to be sure that the product does not contain hames or come into contact with any hames. Whenever there is a doubt – ask! And you will be blessed.
Search for Hames
On Thursday evening April 21, the head of the household is commanded to search for hames. This is done with the aid of a single kosher candle. The custom is to leave ten small pieces of wrapped hames throughout the house. Before checking he recites the blessing "Baruch ata Hashem Elokenu Melech Haolam, asher kideshanu bemisvotav vesivanu al Biur Hamess". The search should be done at 8:10 pm in Deal (8:08 p.m. in Florida) or thereafter. One should eat dinner either before sunset or after the search. When the bedika is complete the head of the household nullifies any and all remaining hames, by saying: Kal hamira: "All the hames that is in my possession that I have not seen and not removed, I declare annulled and worth no more to me than the dust of the earth." These pieces and any other hames left over from breakfast should be saved and burned the next morning by 11:08 a.m. (12:02 a.m. in Florida) after the Biur say: Kal hamira: "All the hames that is in my possession that I have seen or that I have not seen, that I have removed or that I have not removed, I declare annulled and worth no more to me than the dust of the earth."
Have you checked?
Here is a list of some frequently overlooked places where one should check for hames:
School bags, Strollers & carriages, Books used while eating, Garage, Vacuum cleaner bags, Pockets, Koracha, Purses, Suit cases, Toy chest, Car trunk & glove box, Briefcases, Garbage, Crib, Basement, Medicine chests.
Sale of Hames
Anyone who does not want to throw away any hames must sell it to a gentile. This may be done by contacting the Rabbi before Sunday morning. All hames should be gathered together and preferably locked up.
Dishes and Utensils
Dishes, pots, pans and silverware that is used throughout the year must not be used for Pesah , it is best to have dishes special for Passover if anyone wants to kosher their utensils they should contact the rabbi for instructions.
Fast of the First Born
To commemorate the miracle that occurred to the first born Jews who were saved from the plague. The custom is to break the fast by attending a Siyum or the completion of a Talmudic tractate. The Siyum will be on Friday at 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. in Florida) after Shahrit at 7:00 a.m. (8:00 a.m. in Florida).
Since the first day of Pesah is on Shabbat, all preparations and Candle Lighting time for the 1st night of Pesah, needs to be done early, before Shabbat begins as stated in the schedule. Additionally, preparations and Candle Lighting time for the 2nd night of Pesah can only be done upon the conclusion of Shabbat. - Ladies to recite - Baruch Hamabdil ben Kodesh Le’Kodesh - prior to start preparations for the second Seder. – Habdalah for the second Night of Pesah will be recited as part of the Seder. Carefully inspect all leafy vegetables to be used for the Seder. Remember to leave a fire on for the 2nd night of Pesah, as well as for next Ereb Shabbat, the last night of Yom Tob, for Candles & Cooking.
Necessary only for the 2nd part of the holiday, The Erub allows us to cook on Friday for Shabbat. When a holiday occurs on Thursday or Friday, one should make an Erub Tabshilin on the day preceding the festival. That is, to take a matzah as well as a cooked food, such as hardboiled egg, and place it together. The one who makes the Erub says: I hereby grant a share in this Erub, to anyone who wishes to participate in it and to depend on it. Then he recites the following blessing: Blessed are YOU L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of Erub. And continues, "With this Erub, it will permit us to bake, cook, to light a flame and to do all of our needs on Yom Tob for Shabbat. - (The Erub should be eaten on Shabbat.)
Hag Kasher VeSameah!