Halachic Digest First Days & Chol hamoed
פסח  ה'תשע"ח

Printable Version Click HERE 

Compiled by Rabbi Yoseph Y. Vigler and Rabbi Mendel Zirkind.
With Editing by Rabbi Y. Zirkind z”l



לע"נ הרב יצחק בן הרב אליעזר צירקינד ע"ה
ח"י אדר תשע"ב

(Zmanim are for Brooklyn NY (ע"פ שיטת שו"ע הרב והגר"א))

Our “My Extended Family” program will be providing Ma’os Chitin for families from across the neighborhood, as well as taking kids on our annual chol hamoed trip to Great Adventures. As you’re having Simchas Yom Tov, help bring it to them too.
$500 for a Yom Tov package for a family (groceries etc)


Kitniyos and other Chumros 
  • Kitniyos are any type of seed that when planted, produces seeds like it e.g. rice, beans, peas, corn, legumes Tomatoes and cucumbers are not kitniyos.  
  • Ashkenazim are completely forbidden to eat kitniyos but they need not be sold with the chometz.  
  • Coffee beans are permissible.  
  • If a baby depends on formula with kitniyos, you may feed him. But make sure it does not contain any actual chometz. (E.g. rice milk could potentially contain chometz ingredients). Designate a specific bottle for the formula and do not wash it in the regular Pesach kitchen sink.
  • Different kehilos accepted various other chumros and each should keep to their minhag e.g. not eating garlic or radish.



Erev Pesach  
  • Chometz may not be eaten after Zman Issur 10:53am (or 10:30am acc to Magen Avrohom).
  • Remove all chometz from the garbage and burn it before 11:53am (or 1145am Magen Avrohom)
  • We refrain from eating any ingredients that form part of the charoses (or maror).  
  • It is forbidden to eat matzah from dawn all day. (Many refrain from matzah 30 days before Pesach.)
  • A child too young to relate to the basic story of Yetzias Mitzrayim may eat matzah, and can even do so at the start of the Seder, after tzeis, before kiddush.
  • A child who comprehends the story of yetzias mitzrayim should not eat matzah all day.
  • We omit Mizmor desodah in Shachris today and through Pesach too.
  • After Chatzos, 1:00pm:-
  • Melacha may not be done, just like on chol hamoed.
  • Haircuts may not be taken. If you missed the zman, go to a non-Jewish barber only. 
  • Only clothing needed for yom tov is allowed to be washed.
  • Pressing suits, shirts etc. is permitted.
  • Nails should only be cut and shoes polished if you have no choice.

Preparing for the First Seder



  • The Seder should begin at night right away, so all preparations should be done Erev Yom Tov. This year the first Seder is on Shabbos, so everything for the Seder must anyway be prepared on Friday.
  • Each romaine leaf must be carefully checked, to remove tiny worms or insects. Lettuce should not remain in salt water over 18 minutes. To clean it well, discard outer leaves, wash each leaf under running water, soak it briefly in salted water, rinse well and check under the light. Dry thoroughly.
  • Roasting: On both nights of the Seder we may not eat any roast chicken or meat as it resembles the Korban Pesach.
  • Meat that is cooked in its own juices, (ie in a pot without water or other liquid and it stews in the fluids that emerge from the heated meat itself, is not considered roasted meat. Nevertheless, it is prohibited since there is an issue of maris ayin, as an observer may conclude that it is muttar to eat roasted meat at a Seder.
  • Even meat that is first cooked in water and then roasted is assur because of maris ayin.


עירוב חצירות


  • If you live in a shared building (eg two family home, apartment complex, neighbors on the block who share an eruv) you need to make an עירוב חצירות between the neighbors ie place bread in a shared location of one of the tenants. This should be renewed every year. Pesach is an opportune time as matzah can last a whole year. Last year’s eruv matzah can be burned on erev Pesach.
  • If one forgot it could be made by בין השמשות.


First night of Pesach Leil Shabbos

  • We say “... להדליק נר של שבת ושל יום טוב ” and שהחיינו
  • The candles should be large enough to remain lit until after the Seder.
  • Women who said שהחיינו at candle lighting do not repeat it even if they recite kiddush themselves.
  • If she plans to sleep at her hosts as well she would light in the house she will be eating.
  • Some hold that you always light where you eat even if you don’t plan on sleeping there.  
  • Daven mincha early enough to be able to say סדר קרבן פסח (printed in the siddur) before sunset, as if we are offering the Korban Pesach. ונשלמה פרים שפתינו
  • If one didn’t say it after mincha, it could be said by night.
  • Many shuls say הלל at Maariv


Shabbos considerations

  • Candles MUST be lit BEFORE the zman
  • After the Amida we say Vayechulu and then kaddish. The “Brocho me’ein sheva” is skipped.
  • If you forgot to prepare the
    • Zeroa: use instead a piece of cooked meat (or other cooked food).
    • Beitza: use instead any cooked food
    • Marror: cut pieces but you may not grate.
    • Charoses: cut fruits into pieces. Add some wine but in a Shinui (ie first add wine, then fruits)
    • Salt water: prepare the minimum needed and with a Shinui (ie put the salt in before the water).
Setting up the קערה
  • We set up the קערה before the Seder. Those who wear a kittel, put it on before setting up the קערה.
  • We arrange three matzos and place a cloth between each.
  • On top of the matzos we put the simonei HaSeder: two cooked foods, the egg symbolizing the korban Chagiga and the neck bone symbolizing korban Pesach; מרור, כרפס, חרוסת, חזרת
  • The order of their arrangement varies by custom. The Ari Zal would make two segols.
    • The egg on top right, the neck bone top left, maror in the center under them
    • The כרפס on bottom right and the חרוסת bottom left with the חזרת bottom middle.
  • Make sure you check the matzos so that there is no halachic issue:
    • If a matzah is chipped, it cannot be used for לחם משנה
    • If the matzah is burnt it should not be used lechatchila, since it’s considered broken.
    • If one only has broken matzos, as long as they complete each other like a puzzle, it could be used.
    • Some say that if a matzah is broken, burn the edges in an oven and it becomes a Shlaimah - but not on Shabbos



  • On a regular Shabbos or yom tov one can make an early Shabbos and recite Kiddush before sunset. However, since the Korban Pesach had to be eaten at night, and matzah and maror too, as well as the four cups, therefore kiddush and the Seder must begin only after tzeis hakochavim.
    • In extenuating circumstances eg in hospital, nursing home etc,, where they cannot stay up too late, bedieved the Seder could start before sunset and do the entire Seder till the אפיקומן which cannot be eaten before tzeis as it is in remembrance of the korban Pesach.
  • Push yourself to drink 4 cups of wine. In extenuating circumstances, substitute with grape juice.
  • Women have the same obligation of four cups, matzah and maror, just like men. 
  • Use a cup that can contain a minimum of a revi’is (4 oz; or 2.9 oz according to Reb Chaim No’oh).
    • For Kiddush year round, drinking a majority of a revi’is is sufficient. For the 4 cups, it is proper to drink the entire cup but bedieved you may suffice with the majority of a revi’is.
    • Rather use a smaller cup (that holds only a revi’is) and finish it completely than a larger cup that you won’t finish each time. 
  • Some have the custom to have someone else pour the cup for Kiddush for them.
  • If one forgot to say שהחיינו the first night, it could be said whenever s/he remembers and the 2nd night’s bracha could be yotze the first night.



 Leil haSeder 

  • Reclining (הסיבה) to the left is a requirement for men. It is part of the mitzvah when eating the (a) drinking 4 cups, (b) eating matzah, (c) korech and (d) afikoman  .
  • Women do not do הסיבה. 
  • After washing hands at ורחץ, one may not speak until eating the כרפס although there is no bracha. 
  • Maror includes both radish and lettuce (even if sweet, since part of the bitterness was the Mitzrim's initial kindness which only later evolved into bitterness.) 
  • When the door is opened for שפוך חמתך, it is an opportune time to daven for one's spiritual needs 
How big is a kezayis of Matzah?
  • The size of handmade Shmurah Matzah varies. The amounts below are based on the maximum size of a normal shmurah matzah:
  • The size of a kezayis d’oraisa is one third of a matzah:
    • 1oz. Note, this is measured in liquid. Converted into solid that is 0.6oz =  maximum a third of an average matzah to be sure.
  • Kezayis derabanan is a quarter of a matzah:
    • A kezayis derabanan is a third of a kebaitza (34 grams) = about 11 grams. Since matzahs are not all the same, we should regard this as max one quarter of a matzah.


How much Matzah do we need to eat?
  • One must eat a minimum of one kezayis of Matzah min haTorah
  • There are 3 times we eat matzah in the Seder, as follows
  1. For Motzi Matzah,  
  • If you do not have a ke’ara in front of you you need only eat one kezayis d’oraisa ie one third of a matzah.
  • If you have a Ke’ara in front of you, you need to eat two kezaysim, one from the top whole matzah and one from the middle broken matzah. Practically, these 2 kezaysim can be Rabbinic kezaysim ie two quarters = one half a matzah
B. For Korech, eat one kezayis derabanan = one quarter of a matzah
C. For Afikoman:
  • eat preferably two kezaysim derabanan ie half of one matzah
  • If you can’t, eat one kezayis derabanan ie a quarter of one matzah


Within how much time must the kezayis be eaten?

Within the time of כדי אכילת פרס ie
  • 3 minutes according to Reb Moshe Feinstein
  • 4 minutes according to Reb Chaim No'oh
  • Up to 6 minutes according to the Tzemach Tzedek.
In unique circumstances for someone who finds it difficult to eat so much in such a short period of time, consult a Rov as there are even more lenient opinions on the size and the length of time.




NOTE: The above shiurim apply equally to the second seder as they do to the first. Even though the second night is Rabbinic, the Rabbis enacted the same dinim for the second night as for the first.


Tefillas Tal from first day Mussaf  
  • If you forgot to say Morid hatal but remembered before saying Hashem's name at the end of the bracha, go back to אתה גיבור. This applies even if you caught yourself immediately. If you already said Hashem’s Name, return to the beginning of Shmone Esrei.
  • If you remembered after Mussaf on the first day of Yom Tov that you forgot morid hatal, there is a dispute what to do. The best option is to listen to the chazzan and be יוצא. Otherwise, the Mishnah Berura says you should repeat Mussaf.
  • Any time you’re in doubt within 30 days if you said Morid haTal, consider it as if you forgot. 


Second night Motzei Shabbos 


  • We say havdala in Amida and Kiddush
  • If you forgot Vatodi’einu in the Amida, you do not repeat anything. However, you must first recite hamavdil bein kodesh lekodesh before performing any activity that is forbidden on Shabbos (and permitted on Yom Tov for the sake of food preparation). If you inadvertently ate before reciting Vatodi’einu or hamavdil, repeat the entire Amidah with Vatodi’einu.


Sefiras HaOmer
  • Sefiras Ha’omer begins after Hallel on the second night of Pesach.
  • We stand while saying the Bracha and counting Sefira.
  • If you forgot to count at the end of Maariv but remember during the night, you may still count with a Bracha.
  • If you remember during the following day, count without a Bracha. Continue the following night to count with a Bracha
  • If you forgot entirely at night and by day, until the next night, continue Sefirah without a Bracha.
  • If you are uncertain whether or not you counted the night before, count with a Bracha.
  • If someone asks you after sunset, what the Sefirah count is, tell him what yesterday’s count was. If you tell him how much tonight is, you may not count with a Bracha that night.
  • We count Sefirah when it's fully night, not during twilight.



Second Seder

  • No preparations for the Seder or the second day of Yom Tov may be done before 8pm.
  • Before starting any preparations for the Seder after tzeis, first say “Boruch Hamavdil bein Koidesh Lekoidesh”. You may then start preparations even before Maariv
  • Candle-lighting for the second night of Pesach is after 8pm, from a pre-existing flame. We say “...להדליק נר של יום טוב” and שהחיינו.
  • A guest at someone else’s seder, should light in her house either before she leaves or when she comes back home if possible. (But do not forget to light at the end of the Seder!).
  • The second night: Cooking / roasting is permitted on Yom Tov only if you plan to eat the food on Yom Tov. Since the Zeroah may not be eaten at the Seder, it must be roasted Erev Yom Tov. If you forgot to roast before Yom Tov, roast it before the seder. Be sure to eat it on Yom Tov by day.



 Second Day Yom Tov

  • At the meal of the Second day we eat something special to commemorate Ester’s feast on this day, the same day Haman was hanged

If you find chometz on Pesach 
  • If you discovered chometz on Pesach it must be burned.
  • If for whatever reason you did not sell your chometz, you do so with a Bracha “על ביעור חמץ” as long as it is at least a Kezayis (according to Shulchan Aruch haRav)”.
  • If you did sell all your chometz, and are burning on Pesach a piece of chometz you discovered, even if it a kezayis, you would not make a bracha since this chometz may have been incorporated into your sale.
  • If you found chometz on Shabbos and Yom Tov, it is muktzeh and may not be burned or even moved but should be covered till after Shabbos or Yom Tov.
  • Some Poskim permit asking a Goy to flush it down the toilet. 
  • If one sold, as most do, “all chometz he owns, wherever it is” some hold that the chometz you found is actually already owned by the Goy. As such, you should hide it with the rest of the chometz. However, the accepted Minhag is to burn in all cases. 
Chol hamo'ed 
  • The days of Chol Hamo’ed are known as מועד in the Torah as they are included in the mitzvah of yom tov to rejoice. Chol hamoed is also like yom tov with regard to doing מלאכה.



Simcha on Chol Hamo’ed
  • The main simcha of yom tov in the times of the beis hamikdash was eating the meat of the korban shlamim. Nowadays as well, there is a mitzvah to eat a כזית of meat each day. Meat is best, but bedieved, chicken is also considered meat..
  • Although there is no obligation to eat hamotzi, many say it is proper to eat matzah every day of Pesach.
  • We drink a רביעית of wine every day.  
    • Some hold that women too should drink wine - or grape juice.
  • One should preferably wear yom tov clothing on chol hamo’ed.
  • The table should have a yom tov table cloth on.

General Principles of מלאכה

  • The default setting in halacha is that Chol hamoed has the same prohibitions as Yom Tov, for both men and women. Eg
    • laundering (except baby clothes), haircuts and nail cutting are forbidden.
    • writing, printing, taking professional pictures
    • buying things for after yom tov
    • fixing things around the house e.g. a broken chair etc
    • going to work
  • Exceptions permit certain forms of work eg -
    • Work necessary for the sake of Chol hamoed or Yom Tov - צורך המועד eg a trip for family enjoyment of chol hamoed
    • Financial loss (but not loss of profits) - דבר האבד eg going to work if you will lose your job or your existing clients
    • In case of tremendous need - צורך גדול - eg for a mitzvah, medical emergency, need for food, for the sake of a deceased person
  • The above forms of work are only permitted if you didn’t knowingly plan to push them off davka to chol hamo’ed.
  • Actions that are Rabbinically forbidden on yom tov eg. driving a car, are permitted on chol hamo’ed.
  • Asking a non Jew to do melacha which is forbidden to do on chol hamo’ed is forbidden, unless its for a mitzvah eg a goy may not build your house for you or fix your car if you may not do it yourself.

ותן ברכה

  • On Chol hamo’ed we start to say ותן ברכה in Shmoneh Esrei.
  • If you said ותן טל ומטר and realize your error before or after finishing the Bracha, begin again from ברך עלינו, [if you’re still saying Shemoneh Esrei].
  • If you realize you said ותן טל ומטר after finishing Shemoneh Esrei, (and you already said the second ,יהיו לרצון repeat the Shemoneh Esrei.

יעלה ויבוא


  • We say יעלה ויבוא in Shemoneh Esrei throughout Chol Hamoed.
  • If you forget יעלה ויבוא in Shemoneh Esrei on Chol Hamoed (or aren’t sure you said it) and haven’t said HaShem’s name at the end of the Bracha, say יעלה ויבוא and continue ותחזינה.
  • If you remember after HaShem’s name, but before מודים say יעלה ויבוא and continue with מודים
  • If you said מודים go back to רצה and continue through the rest of Shemoneh Esrei.
  • If you finished Shemoneh Esrei and didn’t say יעלה ויבוא, (and you already said the second יהיו לרצון), repeat Shemoneh Esrei.
  • If you forgot יעלה ויבוא at Shacharis and already davened Musaf, don’t repeat Shemoneh Esrei for Shacharis.
These halachos apply to Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv of Chol Hamoed.
יעלה ויבוא in Bentching



  • If you forget יעלה ויבוא in Bentching on Pesach and remember after בונה ברחמיו ירושלים אמן, say the Bracha in the Siddur for this situation.
  • If you remember after the word ‘Baruch’ of the fourth Bracha, on Yom Tov start Birkas HaMazon over; on Chol Hamoed don't repeat the Bentching.



Birkas Ilanos (Bracha on Trees)
  • When you see blossoming fruit trees for the first time during the month of Nissan, you should bentch the bracha: ...שֶׁלֹּא חִסֵּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם. (Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure).
  • The bracha is said just once a year—the first time you see it. If you didnt make benth the first time you saw it, you bentch the next time without mentioning Hashem’s Name (Shulchan Aruch HaRav).  
  • The bracha ought to be said specifically during the month of Nissan.
  • The bracha may be recited on Shabbos and Yom Tov too.
  • Preferably, the bracha should be recited when seeing two trees at one time. But even if there is only one tree, you should still say the bracha.
  • The bracha should not be said on trees which grow fruits that are grafted from two species.
  • In the southern hemisphere, where seasons are the opposite and trees blossom during Elul and Tishrei, the bracha can be said at that time.



May we celebrate this Pesach the ultimate Geulah in Yerushalayim!