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One of the challenges of living through a pandemic has been finding ways to mark time. Days seem like months, months like years. Last Passover feels like a different time and yet, a year has gone by and Pesach 5781 is quickly approaching. While much is the same, we have come a long way since Pesach 5780. We are grateful that our building has reopened for services and Nursery School; that we have become more adept at Zoom and live streaming; that we have found ways to stay connected despite the difficult circumstances. We hope this year’s Passover Guide will help you prepare for the unique challenges and opportunities presented by another Passover that will be different from years past. If you are reading this electronically and looking for something specific in this guide, you can search for a word or phrase to find it more easily.

Please visit www.bethelnr.org/passover2021 to see all of our Passover programming.

If you need help shopping for Passover or finding a Zoom seder to join (or if you have extra “space” at your Zoom seder for a guest) please let us know by emailing us here: bethelcares@bethelnr.org.

Your Beth El community is here for you. Please let us know how we can be there to support you this Pesach.
 

CONTENTS

I. Ritual Preparations

A. Mechirat Chametz / Sale of Leaven
B. Siyyum Bechorim / Fast of the First Born
C. Bedikat/Biur Chametz / Search for Chametz-Burning of Chametz
D. Maot Chittim / Passover Relief Fund
E. Shabbat when the first Seder falls on a Saturday night

II. Home Preparations

A. Shopping for Passover and Guide to Kosher for Passover Foods
B. Cleaning and Kashering for Passover

III. The Seder

A. When the Seder Falls on Saturday Night and Starting a Seder Early.
B. Resources for Your Seder
C. What do I need to have in my house for a Seder?

IV. During Pesach

A. How can I join Yom Tov services at Beth El this year?

V. After Passover

A. When do I get to have chametz again?

VI. Rabbi Schuck’s Additional Notes to the Rabbinical Assembly Passover Guide

RITUAL PREPARATIONS

Mechirat Chametz / Sale of Leaven: Friday, March 26th at 8:00am

Will there be a communal sale of chametz through Beth El this year like in prior years?

Many prefer to perform this ritual in person. A member of our clergy will be available for this purpose after morning minyan and before evening minyan for 30 minutes, beginning Monday, March 22. Please come masked and bring a new, clean pen. The sale of chametz will take place in the back of the sanctuary. Those who cannot tend to this matter in person may print and complete the form (available here) and return it to the main office. You can also sell your chametz online here. You must complete this before 8:00 am on Friday, March 26th.

Siyyum Bechorim / Fast of the First Born: Thursday, March 25th After Minyan, Which Begins at 6:30am

Because Pesach begins on Saturday night and we are prohibited from fasting on Friday and Shabbat, the fast is pushed up to Thursday. While first born children are obligated to fast the day before Passover, they may eat if they attend a celebration marking the completion of study of a tractate of Talmud. Please join the Mishnah Yomit group for a siyyum for their completion of learning Mishnah Shekalim following morning minyan. Minyan will begin at 6:30 am, which you can sign up for in person here or join on Zoom here. The meal eaten afterwards is considered a Se’udat Mitzvah for the person making the siyyum, as well as for all those listening/watching. Anyone attending in person should bring food to be eaten in their car after the siyyum.

Bedikat / The Search for Chametz:  Thursday, March 25th after nightfall

One should search their home for chametz on the evening of Erev Pesach by the light of a candle using a wooden spoon and a feather. Beth El has ordered kits for this if you would like. If you do not have a feather, just use something that can sweep the chametz onto the spoon. The chametz is then placed in a paper bag, or something similar, and kept aside to be burned the next day. For a complete guide for bedikat chametz (search for chametz) including its appropriate blessings click here

If one did not do bedikat chametz at night on the 14th, one may perform bedikat chametz during the day. A candle should also be used during the day and not rely on sunlight.

Biur Chametz / The Burning of Chametz: Friday, March 26th 8-10am at Beth El

This year we have organized an opportunity for the Beth El community to come together for a physically distanced biur chametz in the Beth El parking lot. Bring the chametz you found in your bedikat chametz search and (re)connect with Beth El friends on Friday, March 26th from 8am-10am. Sign up for a slot here If you choose to burn your chametz at home, take the chametz that you set aside during your search and recite the blessingbiur chametz” and then recite the traditional formula for the nullification of your chametz. Then light your chametz on fire in a safe place. This year, the absolute latest time to burn chametz is 11:57 am on Friday, March 26, 2021.

Maot Chittim / Passover Relief Fund

This Passover relief fund helps individuals who need financial assistance here and abroad celebrate the holiday. Money from the fund also provides youth scholarships to educational Jewish Summer Camps and Israel Programs. Please click here to donate to the Maot Chittim Fund.

Shabbat when the first Seder falls on a Saturday night

Kitchens should be completely switched over to kosher for Passover and we get rid of almost all of our chametz by burning or selling it by 11:57am on Friday, March 26th.

Food for Shabbat that is not chametz may be cooked on surfaces and with utensils that are already kosher for Passover. It is preferable to use disposable dishes since one should not take food from Passover pots and put it on chametz dishes and using Passover dishes is not advisable if you are eating challah at your meal.

The first issue has to do with making Shabbat meals. On Shabbat, we are obligated to have three meals at which we recite the HaMotzi blessing over bread. The problem is that HaMotzi may only be recited over bread made from the five species of grains that can become chametz (spelt, wheat, rye, barley, and oats). This creates a challenge when Passover begins as soon as Shabbat ends, since we will have already cleaned out our homes of all our chametz before Shabbat. While making HaMotzi over matzah would be a good solution for this dilemma, one may not eat matzah on erev Pesach leading up to the Seder. Thus, the rabbis offer us two possibilities for how to make HaMotzi on Shabbat. 

The first is to make challah for Shabbat and to have a hametz meal on both Shabbat evening as well as Shabbat morning. One would make HaMotzi over challah and eat a chametz meal on a tablecloth that should be taken outside after the meal ends and shaken out. Once all the chametz is cleared, we would then make the traditional hamira blessing over burning the chametz after lunch. We should also eat on throw away plates and use throw away cutlery to avoid the potential for making our Pesach dishes chametz. The second (and more preferable) option, is to use egg matzah (also known as matzah ashira) for Shabbat. Matzah ashira, while forbidden for consumption by Ashkenazi Jews at their sedarim, is not hametz and would be perfectly acceptable to use for one’s Shabbat meals. For a lengthier discussion on this issue please consult Rabbi Kass Abelson’s teshuvah here.

See more on this topic under “Considerations when the seder falls on Saturday night and starting a seder early.”

PREPARING FOR PASSOVER

Shopping for Passover

If you need help shopping because leaving your home is unsafe for you or others, please contact us at bethelcares@bethelnr.org. We and our core of volunteers will do the shopping for you. Please let us know ASAP so we are not overwhelmed by a last minute demand that we cannot meet.

May I eat kitniyot (legumes such as rice, beans, corn, peas, and lentils) if I am Ashkenazi?

A few years ago, when the CJLS ruled that eating kitniyot was permissible during Passover, the Beth El clergy team encouraged our community to maintain the traditional Ashkenazi custom to refrain from eating kitniyot even if it is halachically permissible to eat it (we did say that it makes sense for Ashkenazi Jews on a restricted diet to add rice, beans, and lentils to one’s diet on Passover). 

Because at this time, supply chain issues have not impacted supermarkets in Westchester (there is ample access to eggs, milk and other dairy products, kosher meat, fruit and vegetables), we recommend upholding the long held custom of refraining from kitniyot on Pesach.

For a more thorough explanation of what types of kitniyot are acceptable and what kinds are not, please consult the CJLS Passover guide here

****It is important to remember that kitniyot, while traditionally not eaten on Passover, are NOT chametz. There is no prohibition against owning kitniyot or having it accessible in one’s home during Passover and one need not throw it away or give it away prior to Pesach. One may also eat kitniyot on the Shabbat preceding Passover, March 26th/27th.****

Is there a kosher for Pesach food pantry?

There is a kosher food pantry through the Bronx Jewish Community Council. They should have Kosher for Passover food. Their hours are: Monday - Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. For more information about the BJCC food pantry, please call 718-828-1114.

Can I buy food now even though my house is not yet cleaned for Pesach?

Yes, Kosher for Passover food may be purchased, remain sealed, and then stored in a separate location away from all other food. To avoid confusion, Kosher for Passover food that needs to be stored in the refrigerator should be stored on their own shelves that were cleaned thoroughly for Passover and then marked FOR PASSOVER USE ONLY. 

Certain items MUST be purchased before Passover in order to be consumed throughout Passover. Please see the next item on this FAQ for a complete list.

What Food/Non-Food items DO NOT REQUIRE a Kosher for Passover Heksher (certification)?

Non-food: aluminum products • ammonia • baby oil • bleach • candles • contact paper • charcoal • coffee filters • fabric softener • isopropyl alcohol • laundry and dish detergent • oven cleaner • paper bags • paper plates (with no starch coating) • plastic cutlery • plastic wrap • polish • powder and ointment • sanitizers • scouring pads • stain remover • water with no additives • wax paper

If purchased BEFORE Passover: all pure fruit juices • filleted fish • frozen fruit (no additives) • non-iodized salt • pure white sugar (no additives) • quinoa (with nothing mixed in) • white milk • Some products sold by Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chocolate

Can be purchased without a Kosher for Passover Heksher during passover: baking soda • bicarbonate of soda • eggs • fresh fruits and vegetables • fresh or frozen kosher meat (other than chopped meat) • Nestea (regular and decaffeinated) • pure black, green, or white tea leaves • unflavored tea bags • unflavored regular coffee • olive oil (extra-virgin only) • whole or gutted fresh fish • whole or half pecans (not pieces) • whole (unground) spices and nuts

What items ALWAYS require a Kosher for Passover Heksher (certification)?

all baked goods • farfel • matzah • any product containing matzah • matzah flour • matzah mea • Pesach cakes • all frozen processed foods • candy • canned tuna • cheeses • chocolate milk • decaf coffee • decaf tea • dried fruits • herbal tea • ice cream • liquor • Butter • oils • soda • vinegar • wine • yogurt

How do I kasher my kitchen and utensils for Passover?

Generally speaking, one should not cook for Pesach before their kitchen has been fully kashered for Pesach. If one must cook for Pesach prior to turning over his or her kitchen, the following instructions should be followed:

Prepare a separate space (like a covered counter or folding table) to set up a Pesach preparation area. If you will be using it for hot food, clean it and wait 24 hours. If it is for cold food, then you do need to wait that period of time.

Make sure your sink, stove top, and oven are clean and free from any chametz particles to the best of your ability. 

The best practice would be to kasher your oven with self-cleaning, or at least kasher your oven and stove top through libbun kal -- turning the clean stove top on long enough to boil a kettle of water and your clean oven at 550F for 45 minutes and then broil for 15 minutes.

Do not put any of the used items into the sink for washing; wash over the sink (without touching the bottom of the sink) with lukewarm water.

You should use a Kosher for Passover pot and utensils. In a very pressing situation, if you are unable to kasher, you may use a completely clean pot and utensils that have not been used for 24 hours. This is only acceptable until the morning of erev Pesach. 

Once you are able to kasher your entire kitchen and cooking equipment, you can find instructions for doing so here

The main principle in kashering dishes and utensils for Pesach is “כבולעו כך פולטו k’volo kach polto” “[The way utensils] absorb [food] is how it can be purged [of food]”. There are three main ways to kasher utensils/cooking surfaces: heating an object with fire until it glows red (libbun), immersion in boiling water (hag’alah), and pouring boiling water over surfaces (irui). Please see Rabbi Schuck’s additional comments about kashering for Passover at the end of this document.

Here is a list of the most common kitchen utensils and the way one can kasher them. (Kitchen items should sit unused for 24 hours before you begin kashering)

- Hag’alah: Metal pots, metal silverware, glass cookware* (*see Rabbi Schuck's notes below), heavy duty plastic that can withstand high temperatures 
- Libbun: Metal cooking sheets/bakeware used in a fire or oven
- Rinsing: Glassware 
- Cannot be kashered for Pesach: Glass bakeware, ceramics, microwaves with a browning element
- Ovens and convection ovens: clean thoroughly and put on a self-cleaning cycle
- Non-convection microwaves  (without a browning element): thorough cleaning, plus heating an 8 oz. cup of water until most of the water disappears

For those who do not have access to a blow torch, which can heat metal pans hot enough to glow red, placing cooking pans into a self-cleaning oven during its cleaning cycle is sufficient to kasher pans for Pesach. However, this process often warps pans that are not sturdy enough to withstand the heat. If you are worried about the financial burden associated with potentially warping your pans, you can always use disposable aluminum foil pans. 

You can find detailed instructions for kashering utensils using the CJLS Pesach guide here.

Do I have to clean my car?

Yes, one should clean any space in which there may be chametz. If you do not feel safe taking your cars to a carwash this year, do the best that you can to remove all chametz and whatever may remain will be nullified when you recite the nullification formulation.

I have food in my office. Can I sell that chametz, too?

Yes. Write the exact address of your office space and its precise location in addition to your home when you fill out the form for selling your chametz.

PASSOVER SEDERS

Considerations when the first seder falls on Saturday night and starting a seder early.

This year, since Passover begins Motzei Shabbat, there are a few halakhic considerations as we prepare for both our Shabbat meals and our Passover sedarim

One should prepare all of the items needed for the seder prior to Shabbat, including roasting the shank bone, making the salt water, preparing the charoset, etc. A flame (such as a yahrzeit candle) should be lit in order to transfer flames for Yom Tov and Havdalah. If you are grating your own maror, this should be done Saturday night after Shabbat has ended.

Another issue is starting Yom Tov early. Many like to hold their sedarim at relatively early times. On Saturday night, this presents a challenge since many of the Seder traditions must take place at nightfall, including havdalah and candle lighting. While it is possible to begin Yom Tov early, even when it follows Shabbat, it is not preferable to do so since one would detract from the sanctity of Shabbat in the process. 

That being said, if one were to start their Seder early, there are a few things to consider. Since Kiddush for Yom Tov includes Havdalah to end Shabbat, and one would ideally have already recited Ma’ariv before the meal, one may recite weekday Maariv (and even recite havdalah over wine, without the candle) before the conclusion of Shabbat while it is still daylight.

The classic order of blessings when Shabbat runs into Yom Tov is best remembered by the acronym “Ya-K-Ne-Ha-Z”: “Yayin (wine-borei p’ri hagafen), Kiddush (for the festival), ner (candle-borei me’orei haesh), Havdalah, and zman (the “Shehekheyanu” blessing). If we start our Seder early, we recite the Yom Tov Kiddush and omit the blessing over the candle during havdalah. We would then light Yom Tov candles after dark and recite the blessing lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov. It’s also important to be mindful of how we prepare for our sedarim. It is problematic to prepare on one holy day for a day of different or lesser sanctity, and certainly no cooking should be done on Shabbat for the next day. Ideally, our Seder table should be prepared before Shabbat begins so that we do not run the risk of preparing for the weekday on Shabbat. 

For a more in-depth discussion about all of the halakhic considerations involved in beginning Yom Tov early, especially when it begins Motzei Shabbat, please see Rabbi Joshua Heller’s teshuva here.

If you are going to start your seder early, you should save the following until nightfall (7:57 pm): Kiddush, washing, Karpas, and Maggid highlights: including the four questions, Avadim Hayinu, the analysis of Arami Oved Avi, the 2nd cup, and Rabban Gamliel’s presentation of the meaning of the ritual foods. The actual consumption of matzah and maror should take place after dark, as well.

Resources for your Seder

  • You can find premade Haggadot or create your own at Haggadot.com
  • This article has some overarching guiding points to facilitating a seder
  • Hadar’s 5781 Pesach reader, “With insights from Hadar faculty and activities for children and families, Hadar’s 5781 Pesah Reader will be your guide to finding new meanings and messages in this upcoming holiday.”
  • Pardes's Interactive Seder Experience
  • Resources for Pride Passover
  • Lab/Shul’s Sayder, “Featuring Haggadah highlights structured around a new version of the Four Questions, Sayder preserves the drama of storytelling, rituals of retrospection, depth of conversation, and courage of optimism found in the traditional Seder, re-mixed and adapted for this generation.
  • PJ Library Interactive Haggadah, “This Haggadah is designed to help families with young children enjoy a Passover seder together. All of the core elements of a seder are included, in a form that is shortened and explained to make it easy for everyone to participate — even if it is their first seder.”
  • PJ Library Haggadah Cheat Sheet, a one-sheet, simplified Passover seder.

What do I need to have in my house to do a seder? 

Minimum requirements: Wine/grape juice, maror (horseradish or other bitter herb), karpas (potato, parsley, or some other green/root vegetable), shank bone, matzah, charoset, salt water, Haggadah (but a simple retelling of the story of our journey from the degradation of Egypt to praising God is sufficient).

There is a disagreement of two sages that serve as the basis of the Maggid (ritual retelling of the Exodus narrative) section of the seder. According to Shmuel we begin with, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord our God brought us out” and the story ends with our redemption from Egypt. According to Rav we begin with, “our ancestors were idolaters and they made their way to Egypt where we became enslaved” and we end with the ritual of the bikkurim (the first fruits) that we brought to the Temple when we entered the land of Israel. Out of respect for both sages, we tell both stories. 

There are several online Haggadot that are available for printing free of charge, which can be found using a Google search. Additionally, www.Haggadot.com is one website that allows you to download a pre-made Haggadah or create your own.

DURING PESACH

How can I join Yom Tov services at Beth El this year?

Join us for services in person or via livestream every day of Pesach! To sign up to attend in person email minyan@bethelnr.org. To participate via livestream, visit https://www.bethelnr.org/shabbatlivestream. If you do not have a copy of our Sim Shalom Shabbat and Festival Siddur, here is a form to receive a downloadable siddur from the Rabbinical Assembly. 

Saturday, March 27
7pm Shabbat Mincha and Maariv for Erev Yom Tov

Sunday, March 28
9:30am Yom Tov Services
9:45am Tot Shabbat
10:45am Special Passover Family Kehillah (come dressed to be outside!)
6pm Mincha and Maariv

Monday, March 29
9:30am Yom Tov Services
9:45am Tot Shabbat
10:45am Family Kehillah
7:10pm Mincha, Maariv, and Havdalah

Tuesday, March 30-Friday, April 2
Chol HaMoed morning and evening minyan in person and on Zoom
here. To sign up to attend in person, please register at bethelnr.org/minyansignup

Friday, April 2
5:45pm Modified Kabbalat Shabbat and Virtual Yizkor (Zoom ONLY) Join us for a modified Kabbalat Shabbat, festive holiday singing, and words of Torah with our clergy. We’ll conclude with Yizkor for those who would like (there will also be Yizkor on Sunday morning - see below).

Saturday, April 3
9:30am Yom Tov Services
9:45am Tot Shabbat
10:45am Family Kehillah 
7:10pm Mincha and Maariv 

Sunday, April 4
9:30am Yom Tov Services, including Yizkor
9:45am Tot Shabbat
10:45am Family Kehillah
7:20pm Mincha, Maariv, and Havdalah

AFTER PESACH

When will my chametz be bought back by the community?

Approximately 1 hour after Yom Tov ends, around 9:05pm.

RABBI SCHUCK'S NOTES TO THE RA PASSOVER GUIDE:

Baking Pans: In the section on Kashering of Kitchen Appliances and Utensils, the Guide notes that metal baking pans and sheets require libbun at very high temperatures which may warp the vessel. In my experience, metal baking pans can rarely be cleaned well enough to kasher them for Pesach. I do not recommend kashering baking pans and sheets for Pesach.

Electric Ranges: The Guide says that "Smooth, glass top electric ranges require kashering by libbun and irui (pouring boiling water over the surface of the range top),” and then offers instructions on how to do this. In my experience, the irui process they recommend can be harmful to glass topped ranges. I suggest/cleaning the stovetop thoroughly using special products intended for use on these ranges and then heat as hot as possible for 40 minutes.

Glass Bakeware: The Guide says that "Issues regarding glass bakeware are complex." I do not recommend kashering glass (Pyrex, etc.) bakeware or cookware for Pesach.

Dishwasher: In the past, most authorities said that porcelain or plastic lined dishwashers could not be kashered. Recently, several authorities including the OU have said that these appliances can be kashered. Those who chose to kasher their metal, porcelain or plastic‐lined dishwashers using the method suggested in the Guide (or the slightly different procedures suggested in other places,) can rely on the authorities who permit this. Those who chose not to kasher their dishwashers also have authorities on which they can rely.

Refrigerators: Refrigerators and freezers should be defrosted, cleaned and scoured. Include all walls, shelves and baskets. Some people cover shelves with shelf paper or foil during Pesach, and though this custom often “feels significant,” it is unnecessary if you thoroughly clean it with detergent. If there are places where food can get stuck, then you should cover that area. (If you do use foil to cover all of your shelves, make sure to allow for good air circulation by punching holes in the paper or foil. If you don’t, the thermostat will be inaccurate and the motor may run constantly and kill the refrigerator).

Dishtowels and tablecloths can be kashered by washing with soap.

Quinoa: Regarding Quinoa, the Guide says: Where a specially marked kosher for Passover quinoa “is not available, purchase Bolivian or Peruvian quinoa, marked “gluten free” before Pesach. Please make certain that quinoa is the sole ingredient in the final packaging.” 

The situation is a bit more complex than this. For starters, according to the FDA website, not all things labelled gluten free are without oats. The website states, "Do oats have to be certified as gluten-free to be labeled gluten-free? 

No. However, as with any other non-gluten-containing grain, oats that are labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 ppm gluten." In other words, something can be labeled gluten free but have oats in them, and if cooked in water on Passover, that would be chametz

In addition to this, I did some research in calling some companies that sell quinoa and learned that some of the quinoa is stored with grains covering the quinoa as a way to keep the quinoa dry after it is shipped here in the US from Bolivia. In such a case, depending on the quantity, I am not certain that it would be batel b’sheesheem (annulled if 1/60 or less) if bought before Passover. 

My conclusion is that unless the package of quinoa is marked Kosher for Passover (and there is quinoa marked KP), I would not use it during Passover.

Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyyar 5781