Rabbi David Moyal Magen David Congregation 7314 Campbell Rd., Dallas, TX, 75248 Tel. (972) 386-7166 COLLECTION OF LAWS FOR THE MONTH OF NISSAN AND PESACH ‘Make for yourself a Rabbi, in order to take away doubt.’ With any question, don‟t hesitate calling Rabbi Moyal at (972) 386-7166 Blessing of the Trees If one goes out in the month of Nissan and sees flowering trees, he should bless; “Blessed are you, Hashem, our God, King of the Universe, whose world is lacking of nothing, and in which he created good creatures, and good trees for man to get enjoyment from.” Keep in mind to say this only once in the year. The exception is if one sees two fruit trees. Checking of the Chametz 1. Before the night of the Seder, all of the rooms in the household must be devoid of leavened breads, Chametz. Be sure to check the knapsacks of school-aged children, and this may be done without a candle. 2. It is a custom to give children small (under 29 grams) pieces of bread, wrapped in paper, in order to spread them around the house. The person doing the checking should then pick them up during the procedure. It is a custom from the Kaballah to use 10 pieces. 3. The process must be done with the only light emanating from a small wax candle. A small pocket flashlight is acceptable for peeping into cracks. 4. After this, he should cancel the Chametz, saying „Any piece of leavened bread which I have not seen or burned, if it is on my property, is now considered like the dirt of the earth.‟ This has to be said in the language understood to the one saying it. And so, if one says it in Hebrew or Aramaic and does not understand the words that are coming out of his mouth, he has to say it over in his language. 5. The Mitzvah of the burning of the Chametz is done by crushing the bread into little pieces so that the fire will burn it well, and if this does not occur, he should pour gasoline into the flames to accelerate the fire. Food Items Kosher for Pesach 1. Food items for Pesach cannot be bought from someone who does not keep his store devoid of Chametz items. But preserved items you can buy from him, if it has the seal of a Kashrut Supervision. 2. Ashkenazim do not eat legumes on Pesach. Sephardim from Morocco do not either, out of concern they may be checked well enough. 3. If wheat was found in a pot of rice or the like, the wheat could break open which will make the whole thing unfit for eating. Even if the wheat did not break open, the rice is declared Chametz, unless the rice is sixty times as prominent as the wheat. 4. Cosmetics for women are allowed to be used on Pesach. 5. One has to be careful not to buy peanuts during Pesach, unless they have a seal of Kashrut, because water is mixed with the salt during the preparation of the peanuts. Making Utensils Kosher for Pesach, and Hag’alah (Rinsing or Scouring) 1. It is preferable to use new utensils that are intended only for use on Pesach. 2. Utensil that was used during the year, must be koshered for Pesach, in order to be used on Pesach. Examples follow: a. A pan which is used for cooking by heat (frying pan for example) must be koshered by heat. b. Pots which are to be koshered must first be thoroughly rinsed, and have to be devoid of rust and dirtiness. The same applies with pressure cookers. c. A hot plate should have boiling water poured on it directly from the kettle after it was cleaned well. d. After scouring a utensil, it is preferable to wash it in tapwater. e. Gold, silver, glass, ceramic containers and the like, which are used for cold liquids are required to be cleaned inregular water. f. A dishwasher is acceptable for use on Pesach on the condition that it was made kosher beforehand which is done by cleaning it out and then running it through a full cycle with hot water while empty. g. A freezer or refrigerator only needs to be washed to be clean for Pesach. h. Ceramic utensils can not be made kosher for Pesach. Porcelain and china utensils have the same laws as ceramic utensils because they have the same outer coating. i. If a table is always covered with something, it only needs to be washed well. If washing will ruin the table, put a new tablecloth on it instead. The Fast of First-borns 1. A firstborn, whether from his mother or from his father, has to fast on the day before Pesach, in commemoration of the miracles that Hashem performed in the land of Egypt, during the plague of the firstborn. 2. First-borns are allowed to eat on the day before Pesach if they partake in a festive, commemorative meal (such as Bar-Mitzvah, Brit Milah, finishing a Talmud section etc.).