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Rabbi Dovid Heber: A Guide to Erev Pesach That Occurs on Shabbos

By Star-K: Rabbi Dovid Heber

Posted on 03/17/21

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Note: This article was originally written for Kashrus Kurrents 2001 and revised for the 2021 Passover Guide. The halachos apply whenever Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos. The next occurrences will take place in 2025 and then not again until 2045.


Many of us are quite familiar with the regular Erev Pesach routine: The bechorim go to a siyum, the chometz is burned, and we prepare for the Seder. However, every so often,1 Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos and we must modify our routine. Let us review the halachos of Shabbos Erev Pesach.


Thursday – Taanis Bechorim/Bedikas Chometz


On a regular Erev Pesach the first-born males (bechorim) are obligated to fast. This year the fast is pushed back to Thursday. Those bechorim who do not wish to fast should attend a siyum. Thursday night after tzeis hakochavim (when it gets dark), one should immediately perform bedikas chometz. A bracha and Kol Chamira (same as usual) are recited.


Friday – Erev Shabbos


Chometz which is necessary for Friday night and Shabbos morning meals should be placed in a disposable container away from all Pesach food. Although chometz may be purchased and eaten all day Friday, the custom is to sell and burn the chometz before the sof zman biur chometz (i.e., end of the 5th halachic hour of the day) corresponding to when that time occurs on the actual day of Erev Pesach. Burning it later could lead to confusion in subsequent years. Kol Chamira is not recited at the time of burning. All keilim should l’chatchila be kashered by this time. Bedi’eved one could kasher keilim until candle lighting on Friday.


The following preparations for the Seder should be made on Erev Shabbos: Roast the egg and z’roa, check and clean lettuce leaves, chop the nuts for the charoses, and grate the horseradish. Food cooked for Shabbos and Yom Tov should be kosher l’Pesach and cooked in Pesach pots.
After chatzos (midday) on a regular Erev Pesach, one may not perform various melachos (e.g., shaving, doing laundry).2 These halachos do not apply this year since Erev Shabbos is not actually Erev Pesach.


Friday Evening And Shabbos Day


Except for Hamotzi, all meals should be eaten on Pesachdig utensils. These utensils should not be brought to the table until after all crumbs have been cleared away. Alternatively, one may use disposable utensils.


The procedure for Hamotzi for all Shabbos meals is as follows:



  • Place the lechem mishneh on tissues or paper napkins on the table. No Kosher l’Pesach utensils should be on the table with the rolls.

  • Eat the rolls carefully over tissues/napkins, so that any remaining crumbs can be wrapped in the tissues and flushed or shaken out of the napkins and flushed.

  • It is advisable to use small fresh rolls for lechem mishneh (fresh rolls make fewer crumbs).

  • Clear the table of all chometz.

  • Discard all disposable items (e.g., plastic tablecloth, plates) used with chometz into a trash can.

  • Serve the rest of the Kosher l’Pesach meal on Pesachdig or disposable dishes.

  • For children who may leave crumbs, egg matzah may be substituted. Because the bracha on egg matzah is a matter of dispute, adults should use rolls for lechem mishneh.

  • After making Hamotzi and eating more than a kebei’a (i.e., more than two kezeisim) of the roll, adults may eat egg matzah until the sof zman achilas chometz.

  • On Shabbos Erev Pesach, regular matzah may not be eaten by anyone except children under six.


If one is concerned with eating any bread indoors, one may eat outdoors on the porch or in the backyard (if it is permissible to carry – i.e., within a reshus hayachid). Recite Hamotzi, eat the rolls, then sweep the crumbs off the table and off the porch. One may not sweep the crumbs into the wind or out of an eruv. Alternatively, eat over tissues or napkins and flush as above. One may finish the meal inside. Birchas Hamazon should l’chatchila be recited where the bread was eaten.


Shabbos Morning Meal


Shacharis on Shabbos morning should be scheduled earlier than usual because one must recite Hamotzi on lechem mishneh and finish all bread before the sof zman achilas chometz (i.e., end of the 4th halachic hour of the day).


After disposing of all chometz, one must recite the same Kol Chamira that is usually said when burning the chometz. This must be done before the sof zman biur chometz (end of the 5th halachic hour). It is recited even if it was already recited by mistake on Friday at the time of biur chometz.
One may continue his Kosher l’Pesach meal and recite Birchas Hamazon after these times.


Shabbos Afternoon Meal


During seuda shlishis on an ordinary Shabbos, one must have lechem mishneh and l’chatchila eat more than a kebei’a (i.e., more than two kezeisim) of bread after the time of Mincha Gedola (1/2 halachic hour after chatzos/midday). On this Shabbos, one may not eat bread or matzah at this time. What is the solution?


One should eat “other foods” during the afternoon meal, such as fish, fruits or Shehakol cakes (cakes made only from potato starch) any time between Mincha Gedola and sunset. However, if one eats these foods after the beginning of the tenth hour, one should be especially careful not eat too much thereby diminishing his appetite for the Seder.


For those who follow the custom of eating gebrokts on Pesach, cooked products containing matzah meal (e.g., kneidlach) may be eaten if they are consumed before the 10th hour of the day. Baked matzah meal products, including cakes, may not be eaten anytime during the day.3


Splitting The Morning Meal


If time permits, it is preferable to “split the morning meal” by doing the following:



  • Recite Hamotzi and eat more than a kebei’a from the rolls.

  • Recite Birchas Hamazon and take a walk outside.

  • Then, wash for seuda shlishis and recite Hamotzi.

  • Be careful to finish the bread and dispose of the crumbs by the times indicated above.


If one “splits” the morning meal in this way, one must still eat something after Mincha Gedola as described above to fulfill the mitzvah of seuda shlishis in the prescribed time according to most opinions.


Motzei Shabbos And The Seder


All preparation for Yom Tov and the seder may not begin until Shabbos is over (tzeis hakochavim). As previously indicated, some preparations should be done before Shabbos. One may also wish to set the Seder table before Shabbos and eat in the kitchen on Shabbos to allow the Seder to begin as early as possible after Shabbos.


Kiddush and Havdalah (yaknahaz)4 are recited together at the Seder as printed in the Haggadah. One should recite Borei Me’orei Ha’aish using the Yom Tov candles, putting them together side by side while upright. They should not be tilted to touch each other. Alternatively, one may recite the bracha using a non-frosted incandescent light bulb which was turned on before Shabbos (or was turned on by a timer that was set before Shabbos).


At the Seder there is one change to the Haggadah: In the bracha of Asher G’alanu prior to the second cup of wine, we reverse the order and say min hapesachim u’min hazevachim (instead of the opposite order). This is due to the change in the order of korbanos when Pesach occurs on Motzei Shabbos.


Final Thoughts


When Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos, it affords a rare opportunity to rest on Erev Pesach.
When I was a student in yeshiva, I once commented to Mr. Hyman Flaks, z”l, the Executive Director of the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis, that when Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos, preparations are so difficult. He answered, “This type of year is my favorite year. My work in the field of kashrus is so hectic before Pesach. With a Shabbos to rest, I can come to the Seder feeling like a mentch!”
Today, I understand exactly what he meant. As we all prepare for Pesach, amidst the hectic frenzy, we can look forward to the rare5 Erev Pesach which affords us an extra special Yom Menucha.





1. This occurs on average once every nine years, as frequently as every three years (e.g., 2005 and 2008), and as infrequently as every 20 years. For example, it did not occur between 1954 and 1974.

2. For a complete discussion, see “The Busiest Day of the Year: The Laws of Erev Pesach” at
www.star-k.org.

3. Whether or not one eats gebroks, baked (and certainly cooked) matzah meal products may be eaten on Friday night.

4. Yaknahaz is a well-known acronym for Kiddush and Havdala on Motzei Shabbos. It stands for Yayin, Kiddush, Ner, Havdala and Zman (i.e., Shehecheyanu).


5. All the following events are unique to the rare year when Erev Pesach is Shabbos:



  • Purim and Lag Ba’omer are on Friday

  • Fast of B”HB falls on Pesach Sheini

  • We recite the Slichos before Rosh Hashana for eight days, the most days possible.

  • During the following Tishrei we read the Torah for 11 days in a row – from Monday, Erev Sukkos, through Thursday, Isru Chag, more than is done at any other time.