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Halachot Uminhagim — Laws and Customs of Passover

Halachot Uminhagim — Laws and Customs of Passover


Month Of Nissan

1) Many have a custom not to eat matzah from Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The Chabad custom is not to eat matzah from thirty days before Pesach.

(באר היטב סי' תע"א, ה, אגרות כ"ק אדמו"ר ח"ח ע' שי"ט, אגרות משה או"ח ח"א סי' קנ"ה)

2) This stringency, however, does not apply to chameitz matzot.

(נטעי גבריאל הל' פסח ח"א פ"ב סעי' י"א בשם משנת יעקב ח"ג סי' תע"א, וכן מוכח משו"ע הרב סי' תע"א, ז)

3) Tachanun, “Laminatzei’ach Ya’ancha”, Av Harachamim,” and “Tzidkatecha Tzedek,” are omitted in prayers throughout the entire month.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תכ"ט:י"ב וסידור נוסח אר"י-חב"ד)

4) Fasting is not permitted during the entire month except in the following cases:

A) A bad dream (and it is not necessary to fast an additional day afterward to make up for fasting in Nissan; except if the fast was on Shabbat or Yom-Tov).

B) A firstborn male on Erev Pesach.

C) A chatan and kallah on the day of their wedding even when it is on Rosh Chodesh.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תכ"ט:ט-י"א)

5) In the wilderness the altar in the Tabernacle was dedicated on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. During the 12 day period commencing with Rosh Chodesh, the Nesi’im — leaders of the twelve tribes — brought their own personal offering in celebration of the momentous event.

In commemoration of this, from Rosh Chodesh to the 12th of Nissan, every morning after Shacharit, the Nasi is read by each individual. On Rosh Chodesh the first Nasi is read starting with, “Vayehi beyom kalot Moshe (Bamidbar 7:1).

(של"ה דף ק"מ ע"ב שו"ע הרב סי' תכ"ט:ט"ו)

6) On the 13th day we read from, “Zot chanukat hamizbei’ach” till “Kein asah et hamenorah” (ibid. 7:84 — 8:4) which corresponds to the tribe of Levi.

(שו"ע, שם)

7) After reading the Nassi corresponding to the day of the month, a yehi ratzon (see Nusach Ari siddur) is recited which is also said by Kohanim or Levi’im.

(היום יום ר"ח ניסן)

Blessing On Trees

One who goes out during the days of Nissan and sees trees in blossom says the following blessing:

Blessed are You Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who has not made His world lacking anything and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give pleasure to mankind.

(סדר ברכת הנהנין פי"ג - הלכה י"ד)

1) This berachah is said only the first time that one sees [this sight] each year.


2) The berachah is recited only over fruit producing trees.

(שו"ע סי' רכ"ו באר היטב ומ"ב, ועי' חזון עובדיה על הגש"פ, ושערי הלכה ומנהג ע' רי"ט)

3) Although the Kabbalists hold that it should be said only in the month of Nissan, halachically, when the trees blossom early or late, it may be said also in the months of Adar or Iyar.

(קצות השלחן ח"ב סי' ס"ו, ט, ועי"ש בבדי השלחן, ועי' שערי הלכה ומנהג ח"א ע' ר"כ)

4) Preferably it should be made when one sees two trees, but halachically it may be recited even over one tree.

(בדי השלחן)

5) In Australia where the trees blossom around Tishrei, or countries in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are “reversed” relative to North America or Eretz Yisrael, theberachah should be made during the season in which the trees blossom.

(שו"ת מנחת יצחק ח"י סי' ט"ז)

6) There are halachic opinions that women, too, should make this berachah when seeing trees in blossom.

(שו"ת הר צבי או"ח סי' רכ"ו ועי' בחזון עובדיה על הגש"פ)

Ma’ot Chitim

A long-standing tradition in all Jewish communities is to make a campaign for ma’ot chitim (Shulchan Aruch 429:1). Though ma’ot chitim literally means “money for wheat,” it is not limited to the expense of matzot only. The intention is to assure that every family in the community have all that it needs for them to have a kosher and freilach Pesach.

Since it is customary to conduct appeals for this purpose, the following are some thoughts on the subject:

One Erev Pesach in the afternoon, a man asked Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveitchik of Brisk, Poland whether it is permissible to use four cups of milk instead of wine at the Seder. The rabbi told him that he had asked a difficult question and that time did not permit him to look into it immediately. He then gave him 100 rubles and wished him a happy Yom Tov. The rabbi’s wife, who observed this, asked, “Why did you give him so much money? Couldn’t he buy wine for much less than that?” The Rabbi explained, “If he considered using milk, obviously he also does not have meat for the festive meal, and perhaps he is missing many other things also. Therefore, I gave him enough money to ensure that he and his family will have all their needs.”

* * *

It is the custom in many congregations for the Rabbi to deliver a scholarly derashah on Shabbat Hagadol. The learned people of the city look forward to this event and immensely enjoy the Rabbi’s erudition. One year a certain Rabbi stunned his listeners by telling them that he had been unable to sleep for the past week due to an exceptionally difficult Rambam he had come across.

The town scholars were eager to hear what was puzzling their Rabbi. The Rabbi went on to explain that the word "רמבם" (“Rambam”) is an acronym for ראזינקעס (raisins), מצה (matzah), בולבעס (potatoes), and מרור (maror). During Pesach we need raisins for wine, matzah and maror to perform the mitzvot, and potatoes are a staple food on Pesach.

He continued, “As Rabbi of this city, I know that we have many needy people and families who are suffering from the recession; I cannot determine how they will deal with this difficult 'רמבם' on Pesach. If anyone has an answer, please come forth.”

The people were dumbfounded and unable to solve their Rabbi’s dilemma. Finally, the Rabbi said, “Last night I managed to find a solution. When I opened my Rambam I noticed that the most popular commentary is the Kesef Mishneh, which literally means ‘double money.’ If the rich will double their contribution of last year, it will be easy for everyone to tackle this difficult Rambam and enjoy a kosher and freilachen Pesach.”

(שמעתי מהרב רפאל ע"ה שטיין)

* * *

In 1930 many religious families were unfortunately affected by the depression. The Young Israel of Brooklyn, on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, was giving out Pesach packages for needy families, and anyone who came and stood in line would receive one. My grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi z”l HaKohen Kaplan, was raising money to help a prominent needy family. Knowing that they would not stand on line he sent his oldest son, Shimon, to stand in line and get a package which he would give to the family. The line was very long, and after Shimon had stood there a long time, he felt very uncomfortable, and he went home.

When my grandfather asked, “Where is the package?” he responded, “The line was very long and I felt embarrassed, so I left.” My grandfather said to him, “I do not understand you. You are a yeshiva bachur and you have already learned about a ‘kal vechomer’ (a conclusion inferred from a lenient law to a strict one). If you are embarrassed, knowing it is not for you, how much more embarrassment would it be for them to stand in line for their own need. Go back and bring home a package so that we can help them for Yom Tov.”

(שמעתי מדודי ר' שמעון הכהן שי' קאפלאן)

“The Great Shabbat”

QUESTION: Why is the Shabbat before Pesach called Shabbat Hagadol” — the great Shabbat?

ANSWER: Per Hashem’s instructions, on the tenth of Nissan, which was Shabbat (Gemara Shabbat 87b), the Jews prepared lambs to be used as Pesach-offerings. When the Egyptian firstborn visited Jewish homes and asked what they were planning to do with the lamb, the Jews replied that they were preparing a Pesach-offering to G‑d, who would kill the Egyptian firstborn. Upon hearing this they went to their parents and to Pharaoh begging them to send out the Jewish people. When they refused, the firstborn declared war against their parents and killed many of them, as it is written in Psalms (136:10), “Lemakeh Mitzrayim bivchoreihem” —“Who struck Egypt through its firstborn.”

Because of the “neis gadol”“great miracle” that occurred on this Shabbat day, the Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat Hagadol — the great Shabbat.

(שו"ע הרב סי' ת"ל:א)

What is so unique about this miracle that it should be described as a “neis gadol“great miracle”?

Throughout history the Jewish people have been confronted with numerous enemies. Fortunately, Hashem comes to our salvation and miraculously our enemies are destroyed. The uniqueness of the miracle of Shabbat Hagadol was that while Egypt and Pharoah were still in their fullest strength and glory, their own firstborn demanded compliance with G‑d’s will, and when they refused, an internal war erupted, fought on behalf of the Jewish people. Thus, the Egyptians killing Egyptians on behalf of the Jewish people was equivalent to “ithapcha chashocha lenehora” — “transforming darkness to light” — and the greatest miracle that the Jewish people have witnessed.

(לקוטי שיחות חלק י"ב)

* * *

Alternatively, on the 10th day of Nissan, which was a Shabbat, the Jewish people prepared lambs for the Pesach-offering as Hashem had commanded and tied them to the foot of their beds (Tur Orach Chaim 430). On Wednesday afternoon, the 14th day of Nissan, the Jews slaughtered the Pesach-offering, andleft Egypt the following morning (Thursday), the 15th day of Nissan (Shabbat 87b).

The Egyptians visited the homes of their Jewish slaves and were horrified to see how the Jews were treating the lambs, which they worshipped as their god. The Egyptians asked, “What is the purpose of this, what are you were doing with the lambs?” The Jews did not try to evade the question and proudly proclaimed, “We have a G‑d Who commanded us to slaughter these as an offering to Him.”

A major difference between a katan — minor — and a gadol — adult — is that a minor is frequently timid and likely to obscure the truth with excuses. On the other hand, an mature adult, is not ashamed to forthrightly proclaim his convictions. On this Shabbat the Jews acted as gedolim — mature adults — and unhesitatingly proclaimed their allegiance to Hashem. Since they acted like gedolim, this Shabbat is known as Shabbat Hagadol.

* * *

Alternatively, after the first day of Pesach, the mitzvah of counting the omer commences. In commanding this mitzvah, the Torah writes “Usefartem lachem mimacharat haShabbat” — “You shall count for yourself from the morrow of the day of rest” (23:15).

In the days of the Talmud there was a sect known as the Tzedokim” — “Sadducees/Boethusians.” They believed in the Written Torah but did not accept the Oral Torah, and hence they interpreted the Torah literally. Thus, “mimacharat haShabbat” according to them means Sunday, and the omer is brought on “the morrow of Shabbat” — the first Sunday following Pesach.

The Sages of theTalmud vehemently opposed this view, and in the Gemara (Menachot 65a) they disproved their theory. Consequently, according to our authentic interpretation, when the first day of Pesach falls in the middle of the week, the omer is offered the following day.

Since the Torah refers to the day the omer is brought as “macharat haShabbat” — “the morrow after Shabbat” — i.e. the Yom Tov of Pesach, which is a day of rest — the Shabbat before is called Shabbat Hagadol — the great Shabbat — to indicate that during this week there is also another Shabbat (Yom Tov) which takes place, and Shabbat is greater and holier than Yom Tov.

(שו"ת שמן המור יו"ד סי' סט"ו בשם ר' מרדכי נאב ז"ל הספרדי והובא בבני יששכר מאמר שבה"ג סעי' ב')

* * *

Alternatively, the first mitzvah the Jewish people were commanded prior to their leaving Egypt was to prepare the lamb for a Pesach-offering and other details pertaining to celebrating the Pesach Yom Tov. Our patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov fulfilled all the mitzvot of the Torah (see Yoma 28b), and undoubtedly they, too, made a Pesach-offering on the fourteenth of Nissan and celebrated Pesach.

Nevertheless, there is a big difference between us and them in regard to performing mitzvot. The Gemara (Kiddushin 31a) says that “Gadol hametzuvah ve’oseh mimi she’eino metzuvah ve’oseh” — “The one who is commanded and fulfills is greater than the one who fulfills without a command.” The reason is that the one who is not commanded has the option of not performing the precept at all, while the one who is commanded is worried and under pressure due to his obligation (see Tosafot).

Thus, on this Shabbat the Jews exhibited the greatness of one who is commanded, and therefore this Shabbat is called Shabbat Hagadol” — “the great Shabbat.”

(עוללות אפרים)

* * *

Alternatively, the Pesach-offering and the Yom Tov of Pesach emphasize the mitzvah of ve’ahavta le’rei’acha kamocha” — “Love your fellow as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18). The Pesach-offering is a communal get-together. Not only does the family share, but also neighbors gather to partake in the offering, as the Torah says “He and a close neighbor shall take according to the number of people; everyone according to what he eats shall be counted for the lamb” (Shemot 12:4). Ahavat Yisrael is also demonstrated by the special mitzvah of ma’ot chitim — extending financial assistance for Yom Tov to enable everyone to celebrate the holiday properly.

Regarding themitzvah of “Love your fellow as yourself” Rabbi Akiva says, “Zehu klal gadol baTorah” — “This is a great (major) rule in the Torah” (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9:4).

In Egypt, the taking of the lambs for the Pesach offering was on Shabbat, the tenth of Nissan (Shemot 12:3, Shabbat 87b). Hence, the Shabbat before Pesach is called “Shabbat Hagadol” — the great Shabbat” — because it is associated with the Shabbat prior to the redemption, when the Jews prepared for the first Pesach and thus emphasized the greatmitzvah of “loving your fellow as yourself.”

(עיטורי תורה – ויקרא, שבה"ג)

* * *

Alternatively, the Jews were liberated from Egypt in the year 2448 after creation. They had their first real taste of freedom and felt great about being Jews on the Shabbat before Pesach, when they prepared the sheep for the Pesach-offering. The words "שבת הגדול" remind us lamb of the momentous Shabbat of the redemption: "ש" stands for Shabbat, "ב" = 2,000, "ת" = 400, and the word "הגדול" has the numerical value of 48.

The Sale Of Chameitz

The prohibition against possessing chameitz on Pesach applies only to chameitz which is owned by a Jew. It is permitted to have chameitz owned by a gentile in one’s home, provided it is kept in a closed place which is set aside for that purpose. Based on this principle, one may sell any chameitz which one desires to keep to a gentile and purchase it back after the holiday. Because of the intricacies involved in making such a sale, it has become customary for the Rabbis of the community to act as agents and sell the chameitz on behalf of those who desire to do so. The sale becomes effective by the conclusion of the fifth seasonal hour on the 14th of Nissan.

It is advisable that one not wait until Erev Pesach to make these arrangements. The Rabbi should be contacted a few days before Pesach, either in person, by telephone, or in writing.

Since the sale takes effect at the conclusion of the fifth seasonal hour, if one who lives in the United States is going to Israel for Pesach, or if a resident of California is coming to New York for Pesach, he should arrange with the Rabbis in the place where he is spending Pesach for the sale of his chameitz.

It is highly advisable to encourage people to sell their chameitz, so that they will thus avoid violating two Biblical transgressions. Even when, G‑d forbid, one who sold his chameitz should use it during Pesach, it does not invalidate the sale.

In fact, when the Rabbi negotiates the sale to the non-Jew, he should tell him, “If anyone of the people involved in this sale uses any of the chameitz during Pesach, it shall not invalidate this sale, and the cost will be deducted from whatever you will have to pay for the chameitz when the accounting will be made. In the event anyone sells or gives away any of the chameitz, he will be acting as your agent, without any remuneration whatsoever, and it shall not invalidate the sale in any way.”

(אגרות כ"ק אדמו"ר חי"ט ע' רמ"ו - מענה לשאלת אחי הרב שמואל פסח שי' באגאמילסקי)

Erev Pesach — The 14th Day Of Nissan

The dates which follow are based on the Hebrew calendar. Each year, the corresponding dates of the secular calendar will vary. The hours mentioned with regard to the morning of the 14th of Nissan are “sha’ot zemaniot” — “seasonal hours.” This term refers to one twelfth of the period from the beginning of the day (sunrise) until its conclusion (sunset). Thus, these times vary from year to year and are dependent on the latitude in which one lives and the date of the solar calendar. For example, if on the 14th of Nissan the sun rises at 5:42 and sets at 6:19, each seasonal hour would be 63 minutes. Hence, the conclusion of the fourth seasonal hour is 9:54 and the conclusion of the fifth seasonal hour 10:57.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תמ"ג:ד)

1) Upon tzeit hakochavim — nightfall — of the 14th day of Nissan we do Bedikat Chameitz — the search for chameitz. See page 47 for detailed instructions.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תל"א:ה)

2) If Erev Pesach is on Shabbat, it is done on Thursday night.

(או"ח סי' תמ"ד:א)

3) On the 14th day of Nissan, all firstborn males must fast or participate in a se’udat mitzvah, e.g. asiyum mesechta — a meal in honor of concluding a Talmud tractate.

(שו"ע הרב סי' ת"ע:א,ח)

4) It is forbidden to eat matzah onErev Pesach.

(או"ח סי' תע"א:ב)

5) It is forbidden to eat any chameitz after the conclusion of the fourth seasonal hour.

(או"ח סי' תמ"ג:א)

6) There is a custom to eat chameitz on Erev Pesach before the conclusion of the fourth seasonal hour.

(עי' באוצר מנהגי חב"ד ע' צ"ב, ומהרב משה דובער ע"ה ריווקין שמעתי שכן מוכח משו"ע הרב סי' תכ"ט, ט"ז)

7) Kashering utensils should be done before the conclusion of the fourth seasonal hour.

(או"ח סי' תנ"ב:א)

8) The sale of chameitz must take place before the conclusion of the fifth seasonal hour.

9) Prior to the conclusion of the fifth seasonal hour, one must burn the chameitz found in the search as well as all chameitz in one’s possession not included in the sale and nullify all undiscovered or un-removed chameitz which is possibly in one’s possession. See detailed instructions on page 47.

10) From the morning of Erev Pesach until after Koreich (matzah and maror sandwich) of the second Seder, it is customary not to eat any maror or any of the ingredients of the charoset.

(שו"ע הרב תע"א: י"א, י"ב, ספר המנהגים - חב"ד)

11) From one half hour after chatzot — noonday (approximately 12:30 PM E.S.T.) — one may recite the Minchah services and afterwards one should study the Seder karban Pesach. (See p. 49.)

12) When the first day of Pesach is on a Thursday or a Friday, an Eiruv Tavshilin must be made on Erev Pesach. (See p. 31.)

13) When preparing food for the Seder meal, bear in mind that no roasted or broiled meat or chicken, or even pot roast, is to be eaten on the two Seder nights.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תע"ו:ג - ד')

14) It is customary not to perform work on Erev Pesach in the afternoon if it is not something required for the Yom Tov. One may do any work that is permissible to do on Chol Hamo’eid. Work that a Jew is prohibited from doing in the afternoon may be done for him by a non Jew.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תס"ח, ה)

15) The items necessary for the Seder plate and the salt water should all be prepared before Yom Tov.

(קיצשו"ע סי' קי"ח, ד. ועי' במסגרת השלחן)

16) The Seder table (except theke’arah and matzot) should be set before Yom Tov.

(או"ח סי' תע"ב, א)

When The 14th Of Nissan Falls On A Shabbat

When the fourteenth of Nissan falls on Shabbat, the practices regarding the search for the destruction of chameitz differ from those observed when this date falls on a weekday because it is forbidden to search for or burn chameitz on Shabbat. Instead of the search being held on the night of the 14th of Nissan, it is held on Thursday evening, the night of the 13th. The chameitz found in the search is burnt on Friday morning, the 13th of Nissan, at the same seasonal hour as it would be burnt in other years.

The accepted custom is that the entire house is prepared for Pesach on Friday, and the Shabbat meals are cooked in Pesachdike pots and pans and served in Pesachdike dishes. There is one exception: It is forbidden to eat matzah on the day before Pesach, but we are required to eat bread at our evening and morning Shabbat meals. Therefore, two small challot are used at the beginning of both the evening and morning meals. Generally, the practice is to eat them in a place slightly removed from the dinner table so that no crumbs will fall on thePesachdike dishes.

We are forbidden to eat chameitz after the conclusion of the fourth seasonal hour on Shabbat morning. Hence, we must conclude eating the challot of the morning meal by that time. This may require starting the Shabbat morning services earlier in certain communities. Afterwards, before the conclusion of the fifth seasonal hour, the crumbs and any remaining chameitz should be disposed of by flushing it down the toilet or similar means and the nullification statement is recited in regard to all undiscovered and un-removed chameitz which is possibly in one’s possession.

After the conclusion of Shabbat, the preparations for the Seder and the Pesach meal should not begin until the appearance of three stars. Before beginning these preparations, the women must recite the phrase “Baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lekodesh” — “Blessed is He Who made a distinction between the holy and the holy.”

After this time, and after the recitation of this phrase, the women should light the Yom Tov candles.

The items necessary for the Seder plate and the salt water should all be prepared before Shabbat.

The Fast Of The Firstborn

In commemoration of the miracle that the Jewish firstborn sons were spared while the Egyptian firstborn were slayed, our Sages require that every firstborn son of either parent, including firstborn of Kohanim and Levi’im, fast on the day preceding Pesach from alot hashachar — the rising of the morning star — until nightfall.

(שו"ע הרב סי' ת"ע:א, ואו"ח סי' תקס"ד)

If a woman has a miscarriage and then her first child after that is a boy (and the father has no firstborn from another marriage), the boy is considered a firstborn for the laws of inheritance and thus must fast Erev Pesach.

(שם, ב)

When a firstborn son is below the age of 13, his father is required to fast on his behalf.

(שם, ג-ד)

If Erev Pesach is on Friday, the fast takes place that day.

(שם, ז)

If Pesach begins Saturday night, the Fast of the Firstborn is held on the preceding Thursday.


A fast of this nature may be broken for a se’udat mitzvah — a feast held in celebration of a mitzvah — e.g., a brit — circumcision — or a siyum — conclusion of a Talmud tractate. Once a person participates in such a feast, he may continue eating for the entire day. The popular practice is that the firstborn, or the father of the firstborn, attend a siyum which is usually held in shul after the morning services.

(עיי"ש, ח)

Eiruv Tavshilin

While it is permitted to cook and bake on Yom Tov, it is forbidden to do so on the first day for the second day, even if the second day is Shabbat. If, however, preparations were started beforeYom Tov began, they may be continued on Yom Tov, and an Eiruv Tavshilin (lit. “mixture of cooked dishes”) constitutes this preparation. Thus, when the first day of Yom Tov is either on a Thursday or a Friday, it is necessary to make an Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Yom Tov in order to be able to cook and bake for Shabbat.

The following procedure should be followed. One should take an entire shemurah matzah (which is the equivalent in measure to an egg, i.e. two ounces), as well as a highly regarded cooked food, e.g., meat or fish (in the quantity of a kezayit, i.e. one ounce). He should hand the matzah and the cooked food to another person who is not a member of his household and say:

I hereby grant a share in this eiruv to anyone who wishes to participate in it and rely on it.

The person to whom the matzah and the cooked food was given raises them a handbreadth (in order to acquire a share in it for anyone else who may wish to rely on this eiruv) and then returns them to the person making the eiruv, who then says:

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of eiruv.

“Through this it shall be permissible for us to bake, to cook, to kindle a light, and prepare and do on the festival all that is necessary for the Shabbat. [This dispensation is also granted] for all Israelites who dwell in this city.”

* * *

1) With the eiruv one is permitted to cook or bake for Shabbat. However, all cooking or baking must be done only on Friday and completed while there is still much of the day left.

(שו"ע הרב סי' תקכ"ז: ח, כ"ג)

2) It is customary that the eiruv matzah (if whole) be used on Shabbat as lechem mishnah and eaten in the afternoon at the Seudah Shelishitthird meal.

(שם סעי' כ"ה והובא בבאר היטב סק"ב בשם מהרי"ל)

3) If one forgot to make an eiruv tavshilin or if it was eaten up before Shabbat, a competent halachic authority must be consulted.

Eiruv Chatzeirot

Although it is permitted to carry in one’s private apartment or private home, Rabbinic law prohibits carrying from the apartment or private home into an enclosed area to which more than one apartment or home have access, such as a common hallway, lobby, or courtyard, if no Eiruv Chatzeirot (lit. “mixture of courtyards”) was made. The reason for this injunction is concern that people might erroneously think that it is also permissible to carry from one’s private apartment or home to a real public domain or an unenclosed courtyard.

The eiruv is accomplished through collecting a loaf of bread before Shabbat from each of the dwellings and placing it in one of the dwellings. Thus, all the residents, so to speak, establish their residency in one dwelling and the common area is therefore the province of only one dwelling (where the bread is deposited). Carrying is now permitted since it is permissible to carry from one’s private dwelling to one’s private hallway or courtyard.

In lieu of collecting loaves of bread from all the residents, one may make the eiruv with his own food and be mezakeh — give a share in it — to all the other residents.

1) An eiruv can be made with either bread or matzah equivalent to six eggs — approximately 12 ounces — (some require eight eggs — approximately 16 ounces).

(שו"ע הרב סי' שס"ח:ג)

2) If the breads or matzot are collected from each of the dwellings they must be whole.

If one is being mezakeh his food to all the residents, the bread or matzah need not be whole.

(שם, סי' שס"ו:י)

3) Because of matzah’s resistance to spoilage, it is common to use it to make the eiruv. If one made aneiruv with chameitz matzah, a new one must be made before Pesach. Even if one made one last year with Pesach matzah, it is customary to make a new one before Pesach, since the old one may become rancid and inedible and since it was not protected from chameitz during the year.

(שם, סי' שס"ח: ד. ואגרות כ"ק אדמו"ר חי"א ע' מ)

4) If the area is shared by non-Jews, a competent halachic authority should be consulted.

The following procedure should be followed. The person takes a pound of shemurah matzot and hands it to another person who is not a member of his household and says:

I hereby grant a share in this eiruv to anyone who wishes to participate in it, and rely on it.

The person to whom the matzot were given, raises them a handbreadth (in order to acquire a share in it for anyone else who may wish to rely on this eiruv) and then returns them to the person making the eiruv. That person then says:

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of eiruv.

Through this it shall be permissible for us to take out, to bring in, to carry from house to house, from courtyard to courtyard, from house to courtyard, from courtyard to house, and from area to area, whether on this Shabbat or on any other Shabbat of the year — for us and for all who live in this neighborhood. (Another version: city.)

Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky has been a pulpit rabbi for over thirty years, and is author of more than ten highly acclaimed books on the Parshiot and holidays. His Parshah series, Vedibarta Bam, can be purchased here.
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