By Rabbi Herschel Welcher
When Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos, it is necessary to observe a number of the Mitzvos in an unconventional manner. This letter as a guide to practical observance, based on zmanim for Queens, NY.
1. Bedikas Chometz should be conducted on Thursday evening, April 17.
2. The first Bittul Chometz should be done immediately after the Bedika.
3. Biur Chometz should be done on Friday morning, April 18 before 11:48 A.M. If the Biur was not done before this time, it may be done at any time before Shabbos. The second Bittul Chometz is not done on Friday.
4. Preferably, we should finish eating Chometz before 10:16 A.M. on Shabbos morning, April 19. We must finish eating Chometz before 10:40 A.M.
5. The second Bittul Chometz must be done on Shabbos after we have finished eating Chometz. Preferably, it should be done before 11:36 A.M. It must be done before 11:48 A.M.
6. There are two basic approaches to fulfilling the mitzvah of Seudas Shabbos. Some make Hamotzi on Challah and eat the Challah in an area of the house that is not adjacent to the table where the actual meal will be conducted. After each person eats the equivalent of a large slice of Challah, the crumbs should be cleaned away, the clothes should be shaken clean, and the tablecloth should be removed. Then the hands should be washed and the mouth should be rinsed. Then the actual meal should be eaten; it should consist of Pesach foods, served on Pesach dishes.
Some use egg matzos, instead of Challah. If egg matzoh is used it may be eaten at the same table where the meal will be conducted. Even though we don’t eat egg matzoh on Pesach, it isn’t considered Chometz. It is permissible to keep egg matzoh in our home on Pesach. If egg matzoh is used, the Hamotzi is recited on two egg matzos. Preferably, each person should eat two egg matzos at each meal. The minimum amount of egg matzoh is one egg matzoh per meal.
7. The most significant difficulty with the Shabbos meals concerns the Seuda Shlishis. It is appropriate to recite the Hamotzi for this meal. However, on this Shabbos afternoon it is not permissible to use bread or matzoh.
Preferably, one should divide the morning meal into two parts. One should make the Hamotzi and eat the first course of the meal. Then the Birchas Hamazon should be recited. After the Birchas Hamazon, it is preferable to take a fifteen minute break which should be used for learning, strolling or any other activity. Then, one should wash again and recite the Hamotzi. After finishing the Challah (by 10:16 A.M. or 10:40 A.M.–see # 4), the main Shabbos meal should be eaten.
If egg matzoh is used it may be eaten until Chatzos (12:54 P.M.).
During the afternoon, it is preferable to eat a piece of meat or fish (or at least a fruit) to fulfill the view that this Seuda cannot take place before Chatzos.
Those who wear braces on their teeth should only use egg matzoh, on this Shabbos. (Such a person should not eat solid Chometz or liquid Chometz which is hot or sticky after 10:40 A.M. on Friday morning.)