PESAH EVE: Preparations for today and tomorrow


SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 2017.

As we have explained before (see this) one of the biblical prohibitions of Pesah is to own Hamets, to keep hamets in our possession during Pesah. To avoid this, we clean our houses and other properties (car, office, etc.) before Pesah and take out all the Hamets food that we found. Then, tonight, when the first stars come out (in NY at 8.00pm), we do the Bediqat Hamets, that is, the last inspection to look for any Hamets food that could have been left in our property after cleaning. Remember that we have to get rid of edible Hamets, suitable for human or animal consumption. Medical pills or pills that are swallowed with water, perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning supplies or any inedible item, may remain in our possession during Pesah, regardless of its composition.

Hamets utensils, clean of any visible Hamets, should be stored in a closed place until after Pesah. There is no need to include them in the selling of the Hamets or get rid of them.

BEDIQAT HAMETS: How do we do the Bediqat Hamets? With the help of a candle or a flashlight, we search in our home every place where we could have brought, eaten or stored food. We should look especially in the kitchen and all food storage spaces, such as the pantry, refrigerator, freezer and places where food is usually stored. Remember that our mission is to look for “food” Jamets: sweets and candies with Hamets, cookies, pastries, frozen foods, protein drinks, cereals, and alcoholic drinks made from grain (beer, whiskey, most vodkas, etc).

Before beginning the bediqa we say this berakha (blessing)

“Barukh Ata A- donay, E-lohenu Melekh ha’Olam Asher Quiddeshanu beMitSvotav veTsivanu Al Bi’ur Hamets”

At the end of the bediqa we keep in a safe place the Hamets that we are going to “eliminate” tomorrow morning,  and the Hamets that we will consume tomorrow at breakfast.

And then we say the first Kal Hamira, the formula to renounce to the possession of any Hamets that belongs to us and we have not found in the Bediqa.


“All Hamets or leavening substance that belongs to me, that I have not seen or eliminated, should be considered ownerless as the dust of the earth”

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017

BIUR JAMETS (Getting rid of the Jamets). In the morning, we can only eat Hamets until the fourth hour of the day (in NY approximately, until 10.00am). Once we finish eating the Hamets, we pick up the remains of the Hamets and put it together with the Hamets that we found yesterday, and we proceed to “eliminate / dispose of it“ . This can be done by throwing the Hamets to the birds, or to the fish or throwing it in a public garbage. The classic way of disposing of the Hamets is by burning it. According to the Rabbis of the Qabbala this represents  that we are willing to overcome our arrogance and purify our souls from any traces of pride.

When finishing the elimination of the Hamets we proceed to its last annulment (= to declare it without owner). And once again we pronounce the statement “Bitul Hamets”, but in more detailed:


“Any Hamets or leavening substance that belongs to me, that I have seen or have not seen, that have eliminated or that I did not removed, should be considered without owner as the dust of the earth”

The elimination, in any of its forms, and this declaration to renounce to our Hamets has to be done until the fifth hour of the day. In New York that’s about 11:00 in the morning. The selling of the Hamets must be done before the fourth hour of the day as well. For more information on the selling of Hamets seehere. After 11.00am NYT,  we can no longer consume or make any sale or cancellation of the Hamets.


AKHILAT MATSA: On the eve of Pesah we should not eat Matsa. We reserve the flavor of the Matsa for its ideal moment: the night of the Seder. We can eat Matsa ‘ashira, also known as Egg Matsa or sweet Matsa (Ashkenazi Jews do not consume Egg Matsa on Pesah eve).Tomorrow we should not eat a meal in the afternoon, to reserve our appetite for the night of the Seder.

TA’ANIT BEKHOROT: On the eve of Pesah we observe the fast of the firstborn. Firstborn men should fast as a recognition of the protection of HaShem, when in the last plague all the firstborn of Egypt died, and the firstborn of Am Israel were saved. However, since this is not a mandatory fast (it was not promulgated by the Torah or by the Rabbis of the Gemara) it is customary to avoid this fast by participating in a festive religious ceremony. For example a Berit Mila or a Pidion. But since these occasions cannot be anticipated, it is customary for the communities to organize a Siyum Masekhet, a conclusion of a Talmudic treatise, an event considered festive and meritorious enough to avoid this fast. After participating in this fast the first-born may eat on the eve of Pesah normally.

To See More Halakhot and Ideas for Pesah see  HERE