Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Passover - Pesach
To dedicate this lesson

What do we do when Pesach falls on Shabbat?


Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon

When Seder night falls on Motza'ei Shabbat, there are many special halachot; the next time this will happen is in 5781. When Seder falls on Shabbat, while there are not many special laws, there are a number of changes, which we will strive to clarify shortly.
1. ‘VaYehi Noam’ after Shabbat HaGadol- the general rule regarding ‘Vayehi Noam’, is written in the Tur (Siman 295), where it is explained that only when there are six days of work [= "and the work of our hands", "u’maase yadeinu"] we say ‘VaYehi Noam’. According to this, when Pesach falls on Shabbat, ostensibly one would be required to say ‘Vayehi Noam’ on Motza'ei Shabbat. Nonetheless, the Shu"t Sheilat Yaavetz (1:19, and others) writes not to say ‘VaYehi Noam’. The reason being: It is permissible to do work in places that are accustomed to it on Erev Pesach, however, after midday it is prohibited to perform work. There are those who argue and hold that one nevertheless says ‘Vayehi Noam’ (Mishna Berura 295:3) but according to the Luach Eretz Yisrael, and Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer, one doesn’t say it, and that is the common custom.
2. Preparations for the Seder Night- It is prohibited to prepare on Shabbat strong salt water (1/3 salt, 2/3 water), because the matter appears similar to the melacha of tanning (the hide). Therefore, according to the strict letter of the law, it is possible to prepare salt water on Shabbat, because one is preparing it with a much lower concentration. However, a priori, the poskim write that one should prepare salt water before Shabbat (Hagahot Maimoniyot, Chametz U’Matza 8:3 in the name of the Sefer HaTeruma; Mishna Berura 473:21). If one did not prepare salt water prior to Shabbat, one may prepare a small amount (but only one that would be enough to cover the karpas), and one should first put the salt and then the water (preparing it the opposite way one would normally prepare it during the week).
3. One should prepare the charoset prior to Shabbat because of concerns regarding performing the melachot of grinding (tochain) and kneading (losh). If one did not prepare in advance: One should cut the nuts into slightly large pieces. Regarding kneading: One should first put the wine in and after that the nuts (opposite from the normal way); One should make a runny mixture, and a priori should mix with their finger (according to the Chazon Ish, it is possible to mix with a spoon). One who wants a thick mixture, using the aforementioned shinuim, has on whom to rely. If one put some liquid in the charoset before Shabbat (but more than just a few drops), it is possible to add more liquid on Shabbat.
4. Zeroa- one should obviously roast it prior to Shabbat, and if one didn’t roast it, one should use a cooked zeroa that isn’t roasted.
5. Seder night (Shabbat night)- We do not say Magen Avot and ‘Me’ein Sheva’ (but we do say ‘VaYechulu’.) the reason being, the Gemara in Shabbat 24b says that the beracha Me’ein Sheva was established because of the danger. Rashi explains there that the shuls then were not in the city, and therefore on weekdays they would daven Arvit in their homes. On Shabbat they would come to the shul, and there were those that came late to tefilla, and after were left alone, there was a potential danger when they would return home at night. Therefore, they lengthened the tefilla with the Me’ein Sheva [= chazan’s repetition]. When Pesach falls on a Shabbat, the Ritva writes (Rosh Hashana 11b s.v. Leila HaMeshumar. In the name of Tosfot) that we do not say Magen Avot and ‘Me’ein Sheva’, since the seder night is guarded against destructive forces. However, there are those who argue with this, but the accepted custom is not to say it.
6. Some say ‘Shalom Aleichem’ and others don’t. Perhaps one can say each stanza once (and to skip ‘Eishet Chayil’), but it is fitting to mention the woman of the house that toiled more than anyone (and there are those who hold that the mizmor also refers to her) and to thank her directly!
7. Preparations for the seventh day of Pesach- one should prepare (on Thursday) an ‘Eiruv Tavshilin’ with matza and an additional cooked item. Also, one who will not cook from Yom Tov to Shabbat, and will only light candles, should still do an ‘Eiruv Tavshilin’, for they are lighting candles and warming food from Yom Tov to Shabbat and the like. If they are being hosted- they don’t need to prepare an ‘Eiruv Tavshilin’.
8. The seventh day of Pesach- It is permissible to cook on the seventh day of Pesach for Shabbat, ‘Matza Sheruya’ (even for those who are stringent about it) or kitniyot for Shabbat. However, one should be careful not to accidentally eat from these items (and one should check the kitniyot prior to cooking, also for the concern of wheat that might be mixed up in it). However, in today's day and age when we have refrigeration, it is appropriate to prepare the kitniyot already on chol hamoed or even before Pesach itself (when one is preparing the kitniyot on Pesach, according to the strict letter of the law, one may use Pesach utensils, especially considering that one will not be using them in the next 24 hours, but it is even better nowadays to prepare it with disposable utensils [in any event, do not prepare it using chametz utensils!])
9. On Shabbat following the seventh day of Pesach- It is disputed as to whether it is permissible to eat chametz. Halachically, the strict letter of the law is to be lenient, and specifically things that are not chametz, but just are accustomed to sell to a non-Jew (things opened before Pesach; things without specific ‘kosher for Pesach’ certification even though according to the ingredients it isn’t chametz, etc.). And certainly, one may be lenient with kitniyot.
However, regarding the first day of Yom Tov of Pesach, we find that the Torah calls it, "Shabbat"; "Following the Shabbat" (Vayikra 23. On the day after the first day of Pesach, like the explanation of the Sadducees.) Every Pesach has an aspect of "Shabbat". This year, when Pesach falls on Shabbat, we merit the holiness upon holiness: A lofty and constant unchanging holiness, that connects with the holiness of time and the holiness of Yisrael.
G-d willing, on Seder night we should merit this holiness by commiting ourselves completely to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and thereby enjoying complete inner freedom, purity of soul and joy of the heart.
Chag Kasher V'Sameach.
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