Rabbi, Is it permissible to prepare for yom tov lunch (cutting vegetable & fruits, setting the table..) before going to shul? Is it ok to clean up and do dishes after the seder? Thank you
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The laws of Yom Tov are slightly different from those of Shabbat – so your questions are good ones. 1. The reason we usually prepare for the lunch meal on Shabbat after coming home from shul is so the any borer (sorting) or tochen (fine cutting and dicing) will be done directly before the meal (when it is permitted). There are those that say that the laws of borer which are more lenient on Yom Tov only apply to food (Rav Wagschal, Laws of Yom Tov). He writes explicitly that one may not sort the silverware out in order to set the table unless it is close to the mealtime, just as on Shabbat. Based on this, if you wanted to set the table before going to shul, you should be careful not to sort out cutlery that is jumbled together. When it comes to cutting a salad, the laws of borer that we find on Shabat (that one may only take the good from the bad for immediate use) do not apply, and you could prepare the salad before going to shul. This is also true of dicing or cutting up the salad – it does not have to be done immediately before the meal. 2. In connection to washing the dishes after the Seder – the law is the same as doing the dishes on a regular Friday night (except that the laws of hot water are more lenient on Yom Tov, depending on your hot water system). If the dishes are needed again on Yom Tov then they may be washed – this is true if only a small number of the dishes are needed again, one may wash all the dishes because of the small number that will be needed. It could be that if you need to wash the dishes because the kitchen is to small, and there is no place to store such a vast amount of dirty dishes. What is forbidden is to wash the dishes in order to save time or hassle of washing them after Yom Tov. Chag Semach.