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Your Passover Guide, 5763

Nissan 13 - 22, 5763
April 15-24, 2003

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


In honor of his 101st birthday,
11 Nissan, 5763

Click here, to see pictures of the Rebbe
The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio) - Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.


We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 338th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this week's issue, we focus on the laws of the upcoming 8-day festive holiday of Pesach.

Therefore, we present here "Your Passover Guide,"* and other related material about Pesach.


Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.


It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!

Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind

27 Adar II, 5763
Brooklyn, New York


*) Published by Outreach Publishing Corp (http://www.outreach770.com).
Special thanks to Mr. Reuven Nadler for his help.


The festival of Pesach calls for early and elaborate preparations to make the Jewish home fitting for the great festival. It is not physical preparedness alone that is required of us, but also spiritual preparedness -- for in the life of the Jew the physical and spiritual are closely linked together, especially in the celebration of our Sabbath and festivals.

On Pesach we celebrate the liberation of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery and, together with it, the liberation from, and negation of the ancient Egyptian system and way of life, the "abominations of Egypt." Thus we celebrate our physical liberation together with our spiritual freedom. Indeed, there cannot be one without the other: There can be no real freedom without accepting the precepts of our Torah guiding our daily life; pure and holy life eventually leads to real freedom.

It is said, "In every generation each Jew should see himself as though he personally had been liberated from Egypt." This is to say, that the lesson of Pesach has always a timely message for the individual Jew. The story of Pesach is the story of the special Divine Providence which alone determines the fate of our people. What is happening in the outside world need not affect us; we might be singled out for suffering, G-d forbid, amid general prosperity, and likewise for safety amid a general plague or catastrophe. The story of our enslavement and liberation of which Pesach tells us gives ample illustration of this. For the fate of our people is determined by its adherence to G-d and His Prophets.

This lesson is emphasized by the three principal symbols of the Seder, concerning which our Sages said that unless the Jew explains their significance he has not observed the Seder fittingly: Pesach, Matzah and Morror. Using these symbols in their chronological order and in accordance with their Haggadah explanation we may say: the Jew can avoid Morror (bitterness of life) only through Pesach (G-d's special care "passing over" and saving the Jewish homes even in the midst of the greatest plague), and Matzah -- then the very catastrophe and the enemies of the Jews will work for the benefit of the Jews, driving them in great haste out of "Mitzrayim," the place of perversion and darkness, and placing them under the beam of light and holiness.

One other important thing we must remember: the celebration of the festival of freedom must be connected with the commandment "You shall tell it to your child." The formation and existence of the Jewish home, as of the Jewish people as a whole, is dependent upon the upbringing of the young generation, both boys and girls: the wise and the wicked (temporarily), the simple and the one who knows not what to ask. Just as we cannot shirk our responsibility towards our child by the excuse that "my child is a wise one; he will find his own way in life; therefore no education is necessary for him," so we must not despair by thinking "the child is a wicked one; no education will help him." For, all Jewish children, boys and girls, are "G-d's children," and it is our sacred duty to see to it that they all live up to their above-mentioned title; and this we can achieve only through a kosher Jewish education, in full adherence to G-d's Torah. Then we all will merit the realization of our ardent hopes: "In the next year may we be free; in the next year may we be in Jerusalem!"

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.

Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.


  • If you would like to attend a traditional family or communal Seder, please call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.


The story of Passover began with the arrival of Jacob and his family in Egypt to be with his son Joseph who had become Viceroy of all Egypt.

When Joseph and his brothers died and the children of Israel multiplied in the land of Egypt, King Pharaoh chose to forget all that Joseph had done for Egypt -- transforming it into the wealthiest country in the world at the time.

He decided to take action against the influence and growing numbers of the children of Israel.

He summoned his council and they advised him to enslave these people and oppress them before they grew too powerful.

Pharaoh embarked upon a policy of limiting the personal freedom of the Hebrews, putting heavy taxes on them and recruiting their men into forced labor battalions under the supervision of harsh taskmasters.

The children of Israel were forced to build cities, erect monuments, construct roads, work in the quarries and hew stones or burn bricks or dies.

But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the children of Israel multiplied. Finally, when King Pharaoh saw that forcing the Hebrews to do hard work did not succeed in suppressing their growing numbers, he decreed that all their newly born male children be thrown into the Nile River. Only daughters were permitted to live.

Jacob's great-grandson, Amram, who married Yocheved, had a daughter Miriam, later to become a great prophetess, and a son named Aaron, who later became the High Priest. When Yocheved bore a third child, she placed him in a basket that she hid amongst the reeds at the edge of the Nile River in order to escape the king's soldiers who were snatching all the male babies and casting them into the Nile.

When Pharaoh's daughter came to bathe in the Nile she discovered the baby and, seeing his unusual radiance, recognized that this child was someone very special.

She called him Moshe and decided to raise him herself in the palace. She hired the baby's mother Yocheved to be his nurse, who also taught him about his rich Jewish heritage.

When the children of Israel could no longer endure their terrible suffering at the hands of their cruel overlords, their cries for help coming from the very bottom of their hearts, pierced the heavens.

G-d remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and decided to deliver their descendants from bondage.

Moshe was 80 years old and his brother 83 years old when they entered the palace of King Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked the two brothers what they wanted.

The message sounded like a command: "The G-d of Israel said, 'Let My people go, that they may serve me.'" Pharaoh refused, saying that he had never heard of the G-d of the Israelites. He further accused Moshe and Aaron of a conspiracy against the government and of interfering with the work of the Hebrew slaves.

At Moshe's suggestion, Aaron then performed the miracles G-d had enabled him to perform, but Pharaoh was not greatly impressed, for his magicians could do almost as well.

When Pharaoh continued to refuse to liberate the children of Israel, Moshe and Aaron warned him that G-d would punish both him and his people. First, the waters of the land of Egypt were to be turned into blood.

This was followed by the plague of frogs that covered the entire land.

The third plague had lice crawling forth from the dust to cover all of Egypt. Although Pharaoh's advisors pointed out that this surely was Divine punishment, he hardened his heart and remained relentless in his determination to keep the children of Israel in bondage.

The fourth plague consisted of hordes of wild animals roving all over the country destroying everything in their path. Only the province of Goshen, where the children of Israel dwelt, was immune from this as well as from the other plagues.

As with the previous plagues, Pharaoh promised faithfully to let the Jews go on the condition that they would not go too far. Moshe prayed to G-d and the wild animals disappeared. But as soon as they had gone, Pharaoh withdrew his promise and refused Moshe's demand.

Then G-d sent a fatal pestilence that killed most of the domestic animals of the Egyptians.

In the sixth plague, boils burst forth upon man and beast throughout the land of Egypt.

Now Moshe announced to the king that a hailstorm of unprecedented violence was to sweep the land; no living thing, no tree, no herb, was to escape its fury; safety was to be found only in the shelter of the houses.

The next time Moshe and Aaron came before Pharaoh, he appeared somewhat relenting, and asked them who was to participate in the worship the Israelites wanted to hold in the desert. When they told him that everyone without exception, young and old, men and women, were to go, Pharaoh suggested that only the men should go and that the women and children, as well as all their possessions, should remain in Egypt.

Moshe and Aaron could not accept his offer and Pharaoh became angry and ordered them to leave his palace. Before leaving, Moshe warned him of new and untold suffering. But Pharaoh remained adamant, even though his advisors counseled against further resistance.

As soon as Moshe left the palace, he raised his arms toward heaven and an east wind brought swarms of locusts into Egypt, covering the sun and devouring everything green that had escaped the hail and previous plagues.

Then followed the ninth plague. For several days all of Egypt was enveloped in a thick and impenetrable veil of darkness, which extinguished all kindled lights. The Egyptians were gripped with fear and remained glued to their places wherever they stood or sat. Only in Goshen, where the children of Israel dwelt, there was light.

Finally at midnight on the 15th of Nissan all firstborn in the land of Egypt began dying, from the firstborn of King Pharaoh unto the firstborn of the cattle, exactly as Moshe had warned.

There was a loud and bitter wail, for in each house a loved one lay fatally stricken. Then Pharaoh called for Moshe and Aaron during that very night and said to them: "Arise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve G-d as you have said, and go, and bless me also." At last the pride of the stubborn king was broken and he realized that there indeed was a G-d.

Meanwhile, the Jews had been preparing for their hasty departure. With beating hearts, they had assembled in groups to eat the roasted paschal lamb, together with the unleavened cakes (matzahs).

The sun had already risen above the horizon when, at the word of command, the whole nation of the Hebrews poured forth from the land of Egypt.

Thus the children of Israel were liberated from the yoke of their oppressors on the 15th day of Nissan, in the year 2448 after the creation of the world.

There were 603,550 men between 20 and 60 -- military age -- who, with their wives and children and flocks, crossed the border of Egypt as a free nation. Many Egyptians and other non-Israelites joined the triumphant children of Israel, hoping to share their glorious future. The children of Israel did not leave Egypt destitute.

In addition to their own possessions, the terrified Egyptians had bestowed upon them valuables of gold, silver and clothing in an effort to hasten their departure. Thus, G-d fulfilled in every detail His promise to Abraham that his descendants would leave their exile with great riches. Leading the Jewish people on their journey during the day was a pillar of cloud, and at night there was a pillar of fire, giving them light. These Divine messengers not only guided the children of Israel on their way, but also cleared the way before them, making it both easy and safe.

After three days, Pharaoh received word of the progress of the children of Israel. The unexpected direction of their march made him think that they were lost in the desert. Pharaoh now regretted that he had permitted them to leave. He mobilized his army and personally took the lead of his choicest cavalry and war-chariots, in hot pursuit of his former slaves. He reached them near the banks of the Reed Sea and pressed them close to the water, in an effort to cut off their escape.

Moshe led the Israelites onwards until they came to the very borders of the Reed Sea. The pillar of cloud now changed its position, retreating from the front to the rear of the Hebrews, floating between the two Camps.

Then G-d spoke to Moshe: "Lift up your rod, stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground." Moshe did as G-d ordered and a strong east wind rose and blew all night and the waters of the Reed Sea were divided and gathered into a wall on either side, leaving a dry passage in the midst. The Israelites marched at once along the dry path that extended from shore to shore and reached the opposite side in safety.

The Egyptians continued their pursuit, but Moshe stretched forth his staff and the waters resumed their usual course, closing over the whole army of Pharaoh.

Thus, G-d saved the children of Israel from the Egyptians and Israel saw His great power; they recognized G-d and believed in Him and in His servant Moshe -- the first redeemer of Israel.

This is the story of Passover -- or Pesach -- that recounts the birth of the Jewish people as a nation -- a nation called by G-d "a beloved treasure" -- whose ultimate goal is to be a "light unto the nations."

This will become evident in the immediate future when Moshiach -- the final redeemer -- gathers us together from throughout the world and brings us to the promised land of Israel, "and all the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea."

Based on the Works of the Rebbe

The story of Pesach is well known: . . . how the Jewish people were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt . . . how Moses led us out of bondage and received the Torah on Mount Sinai . . . and how, after forty years in the wilderness, we entered into the Promised Land. Less well known, however, are our Sages' interpretation of the spiritual dimension of these events: what does the Exodus mean to us today? And what does the "Festival of Liberation" teach us about the future liberation of all humankind, in the messianic age? The following pages offer just a smattering of the Rebbe's answers.

Liberation from Mitzrayim

For the Jews, "Egypt" represents more than just a place on the map. Egypt is a state of mind. The Hebrew name for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which is related to the word Maytzorim -- meaning boundaries and limitations. For the Jewish people, to "escape from Egypt" means to overcome those natural limitations that impede the realization of our fullest potential.

The innermost essence of the soul is a spark of G-dliness -- infinite and unbounded. But the soul is in exile, in "Egypt" -- restricted within this finite, material world. One person's Egypt may be most apparent in his selfish and base desires; another person may be enslaved to the constraints of his rational mind. Pesach is an opportunity to transcend our limitations and realize the infinite spiritual potential in every aspect of our lives.

True Freedom

When G-d commanded Moses to bring the Jewish people out of Egypt, He proclaimed His ultimate purpose: ". . . that they shall serve G-d upon this mountain." Our liberation was not complete until we received the Torah on Mount Sinai. G-d's Torah and commandments are the key to achieving true freedom -- freedom not just from physical enslavement, but from all our limiting beliefs and behavior. The Torah shows us how to avoid the pitfalls that life presents us, and teaches us how to make this world a place of peace, harmony and happiness for all humankind.

Matzah and Chometz

Pesach is known as the "Festival of Matzot." We are commanded to eat matzah on the first night of Pesach, and to rid ourselves of chometz -- all bread and leavened food products -- for the entire eight days of the holiday. This important commandment offers us great insight into the true nature of liberation.

The difference between leavened bread and matzah is obvious: whereas bread rises, the Pesach matzot are not permitted to rise at all. Our Rabbis explain that the "puffed up" nature of chometz symbolizes the character trait of arrogance and conceit. The flat, unleavened matzah represents utter humility.

Humility is the beginning of liberation, and the foundation of all spiritual growth. Only a person who can acknowledge his own shortcomings and submit to a higher wisdom can free himself from his own limitations. On Pesach, we are forbidden even the minutest amount of chometz . . . we should rid ourselves from the arrogance and self-centeredness from within our hearts. By eating the Pesach matzot, we internalize the quality of humility and self-transcendence that is the essence of faith.

Splitting the Sea

On the seventh day of Pesach, we commemorate the miracle of the splitting of the Reed Sea -- the culmination of the Exodus from Egypt. With the Egyptian charioteers in hot pursuit, the Jewish people plunged into the sea; G-d "turned the sea into dry land," thereby creating walls of water on both sides, and allowed His people to pass through. Upon their crossing the sea, the water returned to its normal state, drowning the Egyptians.

Our Sages explain that the splitting of the sea symbolizes yet another phase in our spiritual journey toward true freedom. Just as the waters of the sea cover over and conceal all that is in them, so does our material world conceal the G-dly life force that maintains its very existence. The transformation of the sea into dry land represents the revelation of the hidden truth that the world is not separate from G-d, but is in fact one with Him.

Often, after "leaving Egypt" -- after we overcome our limitations and ascend to a higher level -- we experience a rude awakening. We may have left Egypt, but Egypt is still within us: We still view life in terms of the values of a materialistic world. We must strive to become more fully aware of G-d's constant presence and influence in our lives, until the "sea splits" and our liberation is complete.

"I Will Show You Wonders"

In the words of the Prophet Michah, G-d proclaims, "As in the days when you left Egypt, I will show you wonders." The Exodus from Egypt is the prototype for the final Redemption, when Moshiach will come, and slavery and suffering will be banished forever from the face of the earth.

Why, our Rabbis ask, does the verse say, "As in the days when you left Egypt," when in fact the Exodus took place on one day?

The answer is that true liberation is an ongoing process. The first steps out of "Egypt" are only the beginning. "In every generation," the Sages tell us, "and on each and every day, one is obligated to see himself as if he had gone out from Egypt that very day." All the lessons of Pesach must be applied daily: we must rid ourselves of arrogance and become humble; we must deepen our awareness of G-d, as though the Reed Sea has split; and we must strive to improve our conduct, as befits the nation that received the Torah on Mount Sinai. Every step we take toward Torah and mitzvot brings us closer to the revelations of the messianic age.

The Final Redemption

The eighth day of Pesach is traditionally associated with our fervent hope for the coming of Moshiach. The Haftorah (Prophetic reading) for that day contains Isaiah's famous prophecies about the messianic era: "The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie with the kid... They shall do no evil, nor will they destroy . . . for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of G-d, as the waters cover the sea."

Maimonides (the "Rambam") cites the belief in Moshiach as one of the thirteen essential principles of our faith. He explains in his codification of Jewish Law that Moshiach is a Torah Sage, who will lead the multitudes of Jewish people to the faithful observance of the Torah way of life. Eventually, he will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, gather in the exiles to Israel, and usher in an age in which there is no hunger, no war, no jealousy or strife.

Signs of Hope

In today's chaotic world, one may find the concept of imminent Redemption difficult to accept. We can take heart, however, from the story of Pesach. Then, despite our abject subjugation at the hands of the world's most ruthless and powerful nation -- a nation from which not even a single slave had ever escaped before -- Redemption came swiftly, "in the blink of an eye," and we were free.

In recent times, we have witnessed remarkable events that even secular leaders have termed miraculous . . . the fall of communism, the Persian Gulf War, the Exodus and ingathering of Jews to Israel from places of former oppression. Today, the wealth of nations is turning from creating weapons of destruction into means of construction and cooperation -- the proverbial "sword into plowshares." Such developments -- long prophesied as harbingers of a messianic age -- strengthen our faith in Moshiach's imminent approach.

The last day of Pesach is a uniquely appropriate occasion for our heartfelt prayers for Moshiach: ". . . Even though he may tarry, still I anticipate his arrival every day." It will be a time of peace and plenty for all humankind . . . a time when, as Maimonides goes on to say, we will no longer have to struggle for a livelihood. "Delicacies will be as plentiful as the dust, and we will all be free to engage in spiritual pursuits -- to deepen our knowledge of G-d."

* * *

The Rebbe says that our generation is the last generation of exile and the first of Redemption. The Rebbe urges all of us to "prepare the world" to greet Moshiach by increasing our "acts of goodness and kindness," and to "open our eyes" to the reality that the world is ready.

In 1990 - 1991, the Rebbe continually quoted a remarkable prophecy in the Midrash called Yalkut Shimoni, explaining how it foretold the Gulf War. Immediately after the war ended, he publicly stated that it had not yet reached its full conclusion and would eventually be continued -- which we are now seeing.

As the Rebbe then emphasized, the passage in the Yalkut Shimoni concludes: "G-d says: 'My children, do not fear! The time of your Redemption has arrived.' " In other words, the events we are now witnessing are leading up to the revelation of the Moshiach and the ultimate Redemption.

Nissan 13 - 22, 5763
April 15-24, 2003


What is Chometz?

Unique to Pesach is the eating of matzah, and the stringent prohibition of eating or possessing chometz.

Chometz is a general term for all food and drink made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, which is forbidden on Pesach because it is leavened. Even a food that contains only a trace of chometz is prohibited and must be removed from our homes.

  • Note: Matzah used all year round is not for Pesach use. Only matzahs baked especially for Pesach may be used on Pesach.

Getting Rid of Chometz

Obvious chometz -- both food and utensils used throughout the year (and not "koshered" for Pesach) -- should be stored in closets or rooms that are not easily accessible (locked or taped shut). This chometz should be sold to a non-Jew, as will be explained.

Clean the entire house thoroughly to remove all crumbs and small pieces of food.

Also check for chometz in the car and office (desks and drawers, etc.), clothes, pockets (especially the children's), pocketbooks and attache cases. Vacuum cleaner bags should be discarded or cleaned.


While shopping for Pesach we must be careful that the foods we buy are not only kosher but are also kosher-for-Pesach -- that is, chometz-free.

Starting 'from Scratch'

All fresh fruits and vegetables as well as all kosher cuts of meat and kosher fish are kosher-for-Pesach -- provided they have been prepared in accordance with Jewish law and have not come into contact with chometz or chometz utensils.

The prevailing [Ashkenazic] custom is that on Pesach we do not eat rice, millet, corn, mustard, legumes (beans, etc.) or foods made from one of them.

Commercially Prepared Products

Nowadays, there are many kosher-for-Pesach packaged foods available. However, care must be used to purchase only those packaged foods that have a reliable Rabbinical supervision that is valid for Pesach.

Obviously, all leavened foods made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt are actual chometz and are prohibited on Pesach. Examples are: bread, cake, cereal, spaghetti, beer and whiskey.

Check that Medicine Cabinet!

Many medicines, sprays and cosmetics contain chometz. Consult a competent rabbi as to which ones may be used on Pesach. The same applies to pet food.


To prepare the kitchen for Pesach, we must "kosher" it from chometz that has been cooked in it.

Dishes and Utensils

Have special sets of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and other utensils for Pesach use only. (If necessary, certain year-round utensils may be used provided they are "koshered" for Pesach. To do so, consult a rabbi.)


Thoroughly clean and scour every part of it. Heat the oven to the highest temperature possible for 1-2 hours. Heat the grates and the iron parts of the stove (and elements if electric) until they glow red-hot. It is suggested that the oven and stove-top be covered afterwards with aluminum foil.

Microwave Ovens

Clean the oven thoroughly. Fill a completely clean container, that was not used for 24 hours, with water. Turn on the microwave and let it steam heavily. Turn it off and wipe out the inside. To use the microwave during Pesach, use a flat piece of styrofoam or any other thick object as a separation between the bottom of the oven and the cooking dish. When cooking, the food should be covered on all sides.


Meticulously clean the sink. For 24 hours before "koshering" it, do not pour hot water from chometz pots into it. Afterwards, boil water in a clean pot that was not used for 24 hours, and pour it 3 times onto every part of the sink, including the drain stopper. Afterwards, line the sink.

Refrigerator, Freezer, Cupboards,
Closets, Tables and Counters

Thoroughly clean and scrub them to remove any crumbs and residue. Afterwards, cover those surfaces that come into contact with hot food or utensils with a heavy covering.

Tablecloths and Napkins

Launder without starch.


Since it is prohibited to possess chometz on Pesach, we need to sell to a non-Jew all chometz that will not be eaten or burned before Pesach and all chometz utensils that will not be thoroughly cleaned by then. These are stored away in closets or rooms while preparing for Pesach. Now we lock or tape-shut the closets or rooms, and they are leased to the non-Jew at the time of the sale.

Since there are many legal intricacies in this sale, only a competent rabbi should be entrusted with its execution. The rabbi acts as our agent both to sell the chometz to the non-Jew before Pesach starts and also to buy it back the evening after Pesach ends.

For a sale of chometz contract, contact your local Rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/general/shluchim.html.
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

For the text of a "Contract for Sale of Chometz:"

  • Note: Those traveling eastward, must arrange (in time) the sale of chometz there, according to their time zone!


On the evening before Pesach, Tuesday, April 15, make a formal search of the home for chometz while holding a lit candle. It is customary to distribute ten small, individually wrapped pieces of chometz throughout the home before the search.

The Blessing

Recite the following blessing before the search:

Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Al Be-or Cho-metz.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments,
and commanded us concerning the removal of leaven.

The Search

Afterwards, hold the lit candle and search for chometz in every room, as well as any other area of the home that may have chometz, such as the basement, attic, garage or car.

When the search is completed, recite the following:

All leaven or anything leavened that is in my possession,
which I have neither seen nor removed, and about which
I am unaware, shall be considered naught
and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

Then take all the chometz that was found in the search, cover it securely and place it in a conspicuous spot, to be burned in the morning. Food intended to be sold or eaten later should similarly be carefully put aside. The search should also be conducted in one's place of business.

Burning the Chometz

On the morning before Pesach, Wednesday, April 16, burn the chometz that was found during the search, or that was left over from breakfast and not stored with the chometz that will be sold to the non-Jew. See the Pesach Calendar, for the deadline for burning it.

After the chometz has been thrown into the fire, recite the following:

All leaven or anything leavened that is in my possession,
whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed
it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be
considered naught and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

"Abolish the evil. . ."

While burning the chometz on the morning before Pesach,
it is a custom in many communities to recite a special prayer
that reveals something of the deep significance of this

"May it be Your will . . . that just as I remove the chometz from my house
and from my possession, so shall You . . . purge the spirit of impurity
from the earth, eradicate our evil inclination from within us, and grant
us a heart of flesh to serve You in truth . . . and abolish the rule of evil
from the earth . . . just as You annihilated Egypt and its idols, in those
days, at this time. Amen, Selah."


On Wednesday, April 16, chometz may be eaten only in the early hours of the morning, until the time indicated on the Pesach Calendar. After that time only foods which are kosher-for-Pesach may be eaten. However, we do not eat matzah until the Seder.

Fast of the Firstborn

When the Al-mighty slew the firstborn of Egypt, He spared the firstborn of the Children of Israel. Therefore, all firstborn sons of Israel, or fathers of firstborn sons under 13, fast on the day before Pesach, in gratitude to the Al-mighty.

It has, however, been a custom for many centuries that this fast day is broken by a festive meal in celebration of the conclusion of the study of a book of the Talmud. This usually takes place in the synagogue. Contact your local synagogue, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for the exact time.

Burning the Chometz

See above Burning the Chometz

Eruv Tavshillin

See below The Eruv Tavshillin Ceremony

Seder Preparation

Before sunset, prepare the chicken neck, horseradish and charoset for both Seder nights.

For the second Seder, set the table and prepare the meal after the first day of Yom Tov ends. See the Pesach Calendar, for the exact time.

We do not eat any kind of roasted meat on either Seder night.


Ordinarily, we are permitted on Yom Tov to prepare only the foods necessary for that same day. This year, however, the second day of Yom Tov falls on Friday, and the Shabbat meals must, as always, be prepared before Shabbat. Therefore, special action is required so that we may prepare the Shabbat meals on Friday. The Eruv Tavshillin ceremony, performed on Wednesday, April 16, before sundown, renders this permissible.

How To Make An Eruv Tavshillin

On Wednesday, April 16, by day (before sundown), the head of the household takes a matzah that was prepared for Shabbat, and well over one ounce of some cooked food, such as fish, meat, or hard-boiled eggs.

He hands this to another adult, through whom he grants a share [of this Eruv] to the entire community.

The one who makes the Eruv says:

I hereby grant a share in this Eruv to anyone who
wishes to participate in it and to depend upon it.

The one holding the food then raises it up 4 inches and gives it back to the head of the household, who recites this blessing:

Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Al Mitz-vas Ei-ruv.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments,
and commanded us concerning the Mitzvah of Eruv.

He then also says:

Through this it shall be permissible for us to bake,
to cook, to put away [a dish to preserve its heat], to kindle
a light, and to prepare and do on the Festival all that is
necessary for the Shabbat -- for us and for all Israelites
who dwell in this city.

The food from the Eruv should be put aside to be eaten on Shabbat. The best time to eat it is on Shabbat afternoon, at the "Third Seudah (meal)."



For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center,
or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/shabbos

For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Tuesday, April 15:

  • Formal search for chometz. After 8:13 p.m.

Wednesday, April 16:

  • Stop eating chometz. Before 10:38 a.m.
  • Burn leftover chometz. Before 11:39 a.m.
  • Make an Eruv Tavshilin. Before 7:31 p.m.
  • Light Yom Tov Candles,(1) by 7:16 p.m.
    Say blessings #1 & 2.
  • Start the first Seder. Eat at least 1 oz. of Matzah within 4 minutes, after nightfall, after 8:19 p.m.

Thursday, April 17:

  • Light Yom Tov Candles,(2) after nightfall, after 8:20 p.m.
    Say blessings #1 & 2.
  • Begin Counting of the Omer.
  • Start the second Seder. Eat the Matzah again, after nightfall, after 8:20 p.m.

Friday, April 18:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(3) by 7:19 p.m.
    Say blessing #3.

Saturday, April 19:

  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:22 p.m.

Tuesday, April 22:

  • Light Yom Tov Candles,(4) by 7:23 p.m.
    Say blessing #1.

Wednesday, April 23:

  • Light Yom Tov Candles,(5) after nightfall, after 8:27 p.m.
    Say blessing #1.

Thursday, April 24:

  • Yizkor memorial prayers.
  • Late afternoon, eat a Special Pesach Meal -- Moshiach's Seudah.
  • Pesach ends after nightfall, after 8:28 p.m.
  • Wait one hour before eating chometz to allow time for the Rabbi to buy it back for you.
  • Until that time no chometz should be bought or eaten.

Friday, April 25, Erev Shabbat Parshat Acharei:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(6) by 7:26 p.m.
    Say blessing #3.

Saturday, April 26, Shabbat Parshat Acharei:

  • Blessing of the New Month, Iyar.(7)
  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:30 p.m.


1. If lighting after sunset, light only from a preexisting flame.

A preexisting flame is a flame burning continuously since the onset of the festival, such as a pilot light, gas or candle flame.

2. Do not light before the time indicated. Light only from a preexisting flame.

3. Do not light after sunset; and light only from a preexisting flame.

The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.

4. If lighting after sunset, light only from a preexisting flame.

5. Do not light before the time indicated. Light only from a preexisting flame.

6. The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.

7. Rosh Chodesh Iyar is on Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3.


After lighting the candles, recite:


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik
Ner Shel Yom Tov.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments, and
commanded us to kindle the Yom Tov light.


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
She-heche-yo-nu Ve-ki-ye-mo-nu Ve-higi-o-nu
Liz-man Ha-zeh.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled
us to reach this occasion.


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Le-had-lik Ner Shel Sha-bos Ko-desh.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments, and
commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.


The first two nights of Pesach, we conduct a Seder -- a festive yet solemn event. At a table royally set with our best crystal and silver and the finest of kosher wines, we reenact the exodus from Egypt in ancient times. We also pray for the forthcoming redemption speedily in our days.

In our Forefathers Footsteps

At the Seder, each person considers himself as if he were going out of Egypt. We begin with our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; we are with our people as they descend into exile, and suffer cruel oppression and persecution. We are with them when G-d sends the ten plagues to punish Pharaoh and his nation, with them as they leave Egypt and with them at the crossing of the Reed Sea. And we witness the miraculous hand of G-d as the waters part, allowing the Israelites to pass, and then return, thundering over the Egyptian legions.


We left Egypt in such haste that there was no time to wait for the dough to rise, and we ate matzah, unleavened bread. With only this unleavened food our ancestors faithfully relied on the Al-mighty to provide sustenance for our entire nation of men, women and children. Each year to remember this, we eat matzah the first two nights of Pesach and fulfill the commandment of "Matzahs shall you eat . . ."

The Humblest of Foods

The matzah itself symbolizes faith. For in contrast to leavened food, the matzah is not "enriched" with oil, honey, etc. It is rather simple flour and water, which is not allowed to rise. Similarly, the only "ingredients" for faith are humility and submission to G-d, which comes from the realization of our "nothingness" and "intellectual poverty" in the face of the infinite wisdom of the Creator.


Shmurah means watched, and is an apt description of this matzah (unleavened bread). The wheat used is carefully watched (protected) against any contact with water from the moment of harvest, since water would cause leavening, and thus disqualify the wheat for use on Pesach.

These matzahs are round in form, kneaded and shaped by hand, similar to the matzahs baked by the Children of Israel on their way out of Egypt. They are baked under strict rabbinical supervision to avoid any possibility of leavening during the baking process. Shmurah matzah should be used on each of the two Seder nights for the three matzahs of the Seder plate.

To enhance the observance and beauty of your Pesach Seder table, your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center is making available, at cost price, tasty, handmade shmurah matzah.

For a more meaningful and happy Pesach, have shmurah matzah at your Seder table. Call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center to order shmurah matzah.

For a listing of the Centers in your area: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/general/shluchim.html.
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).



The Pesach Seder is not just to be observed symbolically. Each of its physical "acts" has great significance and should be fulfilled properly to make the Seder a meaningful and truly spiritual experience.

The Main Mitzvot

The main mitzvot (commandments) of the Seder are:

1. To eat matzah.

2. To tell the story of the Exodus (the reciting of the main parts of the Haggadah).

3. To drink four cups of wine.

4. To eat morror -- bitter herbs.

5. To recite "Hallel" -- praise to G-d (found towards the end of the Haggadah).

The Matzah

On each of the two seder nights shmurah matzah should be used.

Matzah is eaten 3 times during the Seder.

1. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt -- Motzie Matzah -- two ounces of matzah are eaten.

2. For the "sandwich" -- korech -- one ounce of matzah is eaten.

3. As the Afikomen at the end of the meal -- Tzofun -- 1-1/2 ounces of matzah are eaten.

In each instance, the matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes.

How much is one ounce of matzah?

Half a piece of shmurah matzah is generally one ounce.

If other matzahs are used, the weight of the box of matzahs divided by the number of pieces shows how much matzah equals 1 ounce.

The Wine

For each of the four cups at the Seder it is preferable to use undiluted wine only. However, if needed, the wine may be diluted with grape juice. Of course, someone who can not drink wine may use straight grape juice.

One drinks a cup of wine four times during the Seder:

1. At the conclusion of Kiddush.

2. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, before eating the matzah of Motzie Matzah.

3. At the conclusion of the Grace After Meals.

4. After reciting the "Hallel."

It is preferable to drink the entire cup each time. However, it is sufficient to drink just the majority of each cup.

How large a cup should be used?

One containing at least 3-1/2 fluid ounces.

The Morror

The morror is eaten by itself after the matzah, and then together with the matzah in the (korech) sandwich.

How much morror should be eaten?

3/4 ounce.

Any of two different types of morror may be used at the Seder, individually or in combination:

1. Peeled and grated raw horseradish. 3/4 ounce has a volume of 1 fluid ounce.

2. Romaine lettuce. It is suggested that the stalks rather than the leafy parts be used because of the difficulty in properly examining and ridding the leafy parts of commonly present very small insects. 3/4 ounce of stalks cover an area of 3" X 5".


The K'ahrah -- the Seder Plate

Three matzahs are placed on top of each other on a plate or napkin and then covered. They are symbolic of the three types of Jews: Kohen, Levi and Yisroel. They also commemorate the three measures of fine flour that Abraham told Sarah to bake into matzahs when the three angels visited them. And when we later break the middle matzah, we are still left with two whole loaves for lehchem mishne, as on all Sabbaths and Festivals.

On a cloth spread over the three matzahs, or on a plate, the following items are placed:







1. Z'roah -- the roasted chicken neck.

Preparation: remove most of the meat from the neck of a chicken and roast it on all sides.

It is symbolic of the pascal sacrifice brought at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the afternoon before Pesach.

2. Baytzah -- the hard boiled egg.

It is symbolic of the festival sacrifice brought at the Holy Temple, in addition to the pascal lamb.

3. Morror -- bitter herbs (Horseradish and/or Romaine lettuce stalks).

It is symbolic of the bitter suffering of the Jews in Egypt.

4. Charoset -- the mixture of chopped apples, pears, walnuts and a small amount of wine (red, if possible).

The mixture resembles mortar, symbolic of the mortar used by the Israelites to make bricks while enslaved in Egypt.

5. Karpas -- the cooked potato or raw onion.

6. Chahzeret -- more bitter herbs.

Used as morror in the sandwich (korech) later in the Seder.


  • General Note: Whenever we eat or drink during one of the acts of the Seder, the leader of the Seder should give to each person present the required amount(s) of wine, matzah or bitter herbs.

Kadesh -- the Benediction

The Seder service begins with the recitation of Kiddush, proclaiming the holiness of the holiday. This is done over a cup of wine, and on this evening it is the first of four cups that we all drink, reclining on our left side, at the Seder.

The Four Cups of Wine

Two of the explanations of the four cups:

Four expressions of freedom or deliverance are mentioned in the Torah in connection with our liberation from Egypt (Ex. 6:6,7).

The Children of Israel, even while in Egyptian exile, had four great merits:

(1) they did not change their Hebrew names;
(2) they did not change their Hebrew language;
(3) they remained highly moral; and
(4) they remained loyal to one another.

Wine is used because it is a symbol of joy and happiness.

Why We Recline

When drinking the four cups, as during most of the acts of the Seder, we lean on our left side to accentuate the fact that we are free people. In ancient times only free people were allowed to recline while eating.

Ur'chatz -- Purification

We wash our hands in the usual prescribed manner of washing before a meal, but without the customary blessing.

The next step in the Seder, Karpas, requires dipping food into water. Such an act calls for purification of the hands by washing, beforehand. This observance is one of the first acts designed to arouse the child's curiosity.

Karpas -- the Appetizer

A small piece of onion or boiled potato is dipped into salt water and eaten. Before eating, the blessing over vegetables is recited.

The dipping of this appetizer in salt water is an act of pleasure and freedom which further arouses the curiosity of the child.

The four-letter Hebrew word karpas when read backwards connotes that the 600,000 Jews in Egypt (the Hebrew letter samech=60, times 10,000) were forced to perform back-breaking labor (the other three Hebrew letters spell perech -- hard work).

The salt water represents the tears of our ancestors in Egypt.

Yachatz -- Breaking the Matzah

The middle matzah of the three placed on the Seder plate is broken in two. The larger part is put aside for use later as the Afikomen. This unusual action not only attracts the child's special attention once again, but also recalls G-d's breaking the Reed Sea asunder, to make a path for the Children of Israel to cross on dry land. The smaller part of the middle matzah is returned to the Seder plate. This broken middle matzah symbolizes humility and will be eaten later as the "bread of poverty."

Maggid -- the Haggadah

At this point the poor are invited to join the Seder; the Seder plate is moved aside; a second cup of wine is poured; and the child, by now bursting with curiosity, asks the time-honored question:

"Mah Nish-tah-no Hah-lailo Ha-zeh Me-kol Hah-leilot?" What makes this night different from all other nights?

(1) On all nights we need not dip even once; on this night we do so twice!

(2) On all nights we eat chometz or matzah, and on this night only matzah!

(3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night morror!

(4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!

The child's questioning triggers one of the most significant mitzvot of Pesach and the highlight of the Seder ceremony: the Haggadah, the telling of the story of the exodus from Egypt. The answer includes a brief review of history, a description of the suffering imposed upon the Israelites, a listing of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians, and an enumeration of the miracles performed by the Al-mighty for the formation and redemption of His people.

Rochtzoh -- Washing before the Meal

After concluding the first part of the Haggadah with the drinking of the second cup of wine (reclining), the hands are washed -- this time with the customary blessing, as usually done before eating bread.

Motzie Matzah -- Eating Matzah

Taking hold of the three matzahs, the broken one between the two whole ones, recite the customary blessing before eating bread. Then, letting the bottom matzah drop back on the plate, and holding the top whole matzah with the broken middle one, recite the special blessing ". . . Al Ah-chi-las Matzah."

Then break at least one ounce from each matzah and eat the two pieces together, reclining.

Morror -- the Bitter Herbs

Take at least 3/4 ounce of the bitter herbs. Dip it in the charoset, then shake the latter off and make the blessing ". . . Al Ah-chi-las Morror."

Eat without reclining.

Korech -- the Sandwich

In keeping with the custom instituted by Hillel, a great talmudic rabbi, a sandwich of matzah and morror is eaten.

Break off two pieces of the bottom matzah, which together are at least one ounce. Again take at least 3/4 ounce of bitter herbs and dip them in charoset, then shake the latter off, and place them between the two pieces of matzah, say: "Kein Asah Hillel. . ." and eat the sandwich reclining.

Shulchan Oreich -- the Feast

The holiday meal is now served. We begin the meal with a hard-boiled egg dipped into salt water.

A Rabbi was once asked why Jews eat eggs on Pesach. "Because eggs symbolize the Jew," the Rabbi answered. "The more an egg is burned and boiled, the harder it gets."

  • Note: The chicken neck is not eaten at the Seder.

Tzofun -- "Out of Hiding"

After the meal, the half matzah that had been "hidden" -- set aside for the afikomen -- "dessert," is taken out and eaten. It symbolizes the pascal lamb that was eaten at the end of the meal.

Everyone should eat at least 1-1/2 ounces of matzah, reclining, before midnight. After the Afikomen, we do not eat or drink anything except for the two remaining cups of wine.

Bairach -- Blessings after the Meal

A third cup of wine is filled and the Grace after Meals is recited. After reciting the Grace, we recite the blessing for wine and drink the third cup while reclining.

Now we fill the cup of Elijah and our own cups with wine. We open the door and recite the passage that symbolizes an invitation to the Prophet Elijah, who is the harbinger of the coming of Moshiach, our righteous Messiah.

Hallel -- Songs of Praise

At this point, having recognized the Al-mighty, and His unique guidance of His people Israel, we go still further and turn to sing His praises as L-rd of the entire Universe.

After reciting the "Hallel," we again recite the blessing for wine and drink the fourth cup, reclining.

Nirtzoh -- Acceptance

Having carried out the Seder service properly, we are sure that it has been well received by the Al-mighty. Then we say:

"Leh-shah-na Hah-bah-ah Bi-ye-ru-sha-la-yim"
-- Next year in Jerusalem!


On the second night of Pesach, we begin S'firat Ha'omer, counting forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot, the day when the Torah was given to the children of Israel. This is done every night following the evening prayer, leading up to the night before Shavuot.


  • Pesach is eight days long. The last two days of Pesach are also Yom Tov.
  • The seventh day of Pesach commemorates the miracle of the "Splitting of the Reed Sea," which completed the Redemption from Egypt.
  • On the eighth day of Pesach, Yizkor is recited after the Torah reading.
  • Pesach ends after nightfall on Thursday, April 24. The actual time is indicated on the Pesach Calendar.
  • Wait one hour before eating chometz to allow time for the rabbi to buy it back for you.
  • Until that time no chometz should be bought or eaten.


Moshiach's Seudah

The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidism, instituted the custom of eating a special third meal on the last day of Pesach late in the afternoon, after Minchah, complete with matzah and wine.

This meal is known as the "Festive Meal of Moshiach," or Moshiach's Seudah, for on this day the radiance of Moshiach is openly revealed. Also, it is intended to deepen our awareness of the imminence of the final Redemption.

On this day, he said, one can actually feel the approach of Moshiach. "Behold," says the verse in Song of Songs, "he is standing behind our wall, watching through the windows, peering through the crevices . . ."


Beginning in the year 5666/1906, it became customary in Lubavitch for the students of the Lubavitcher yeshivah to eat their Pesach meals together in the study hall. That year, the fifth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber, known as the Rebbe Rashab, joined the students for the third festive meal of the last day of Pesach, and directed that each of them be given four cups of wine.

The Rebbe once commented, that this was obviously intended to become an annual custom.


Moshiach's Seudah was instituted on the eighth day of Pesach, as the number eight is connected to the Redemption (being one more than seven -- symbolic of the natural order) and the Haftorah read on the eighth day of Pesach contains many of the Messianic prophecies.

One might ask, what is the point of eating an actual, physical meal that relates to the subject of Moshiach? This festive meal causes the image and the feeling of the future Redemption to penetrate not only all the faculties of a person's soul, including his capacity for action, but his physical body as well -- by means of the physical food that becomes part of his very flesh and blood. Partaking of this festive meal is intended to draw down the radiance of Moshiach into every aspect of one's daily life throughout the year.

This simply means -- as an anticipatory echo of how the world will appear after the Redemption -- that holiness should permeate all of a person's activities, including his physical activities, to the point that he is prepared to sacrifice the innermost core of his soul. This is the yechida within his soul, the element of Moshiach in his soul.

The Rebbe once explained, "The four cups of wine on the Seder night are the cups of Moses our teacher; the four cups of wine at Seudat Moshiach on the last day of Pesach are the cups of our righteous Moshiach."

* * *

Hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch Centers around the world will be hosting the traditional, mystical Moshiach's Seudah, on the last day of Pesach.

To find out about a Moshiach's Seudah near you, call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/general/shluchim.html.
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).


The most important principle in the Torah is the protection of Jewish life.

It's more important than Shabbat, more important than holidays, even fasting on Yom Kippur.

Right now, in Israel, and everywhere, Jews must stand together in unity and do whatever possible to protect Jewish life.

The Rebbe taught that there are ten important Mitzvot we can do to protect life. See what you can do:

1) Ahavat Yisroel: Behave with love towards another Jew.

2) Learn Torah: Join a Torah class.

3) Make sure that Jewish children get a Torah true education.

4) Affix kosher Mezuzot on all doorways of the house.

5) For men and boys over 13: Put on Tefillin every weekday.

6) Give Charity.

7) Buy Jewish holy books and learn them.

8) Light Shabbat & Yom Tov candles. A Mitzvah for women and girls.

9) Eat and drink only Kosher Food.

10) Observe the laws of Jewish Family Purity.

In addition, the Rebbe also urged every man, woman and child to Purchase a Letter in a Sefer Torah. There are several Torah scrolls being written to unite Jewish people and protect Jewish life.

Letters for children can be purchased for only $1. Send your Hebrew name and your mother's Hebrew name plus $1 to:

"Children's Sefer Torah,"
P. O. Box 8,
Kfar Chabad, 72915, Israel

or via the Internet, at: http://www.kidstorah.org

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