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Question
Dear Rabbi, for Passover there are two instructions regarding when to eat bread and when not: Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth [day] of the first month at even [is] the LORD’S passover. Lev 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month [is] the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. Lev 23:14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: [it shall be] a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. My question is: for the second mitzvah, from when till when are we not allowed to eat bread (or grain products? Thank you for your council, shalom Gerhard
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The verses in the Torah indicate that there are really two festivals – the 14th of Nisan, which is the festival of the Passover offering, which was given in the Temple after midday on the 14th. Then, from the 15th for 7 days, we have the festival of not eating leavened bread, and eating Matzah instead. The Oral Torah (the Talmud) explains in detail (see the Tractate of Pessachim) how the verses teach us that it is forbidden to eat (and posses) and leaven products from midday of the 14th of Nissan until after nightfall at the end of the 21st of Nissan. The Rabbis added several “fences” to protect this law – and so it becomes forbidden to eat hametz (leavened food) from around mid morning of the 14th (around 9 am or so, depending on your location). All hametz must be deposed of by an hour or so later. Exact times can be found listed for each location. I hope all this information will be a use to you next year when Passover comes along again. Blessings.
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