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Please note that holidays start at sundown the prior evening.
CONGREGATION KOL SHOFAR GUIDE TO PASSOVER PREPARATION 2013/5773
The Significance of Passover
From Rabbi Susan Leider
Pesah, our Feast of Freedom par excellence, beckons us home in way unlike any other Jewish holiday. Pesah marks the recognition that all people are created equal and that no group has the moral right to subjugate another. With its rich symbolism and kinesthetic, experiential moments, Passover provides a unique way to identify with the Jewish people. During other holidays in the Jewish calendar, such as Shabbat or Rosh Hashanah, our dining room tables laden with holiday meals replace the sacrifice-laden altar in the Temple of Jerusalem. In a world where the Temple no longer exists, our meals in community become our sacrifice to God.
But Passover is different. While our tables are laden with food, the preparation of these tables takes place in “spiritually-cleansed kitchens” that become a symbol for our spiritually cleansed hearts. Bountiful Passover tables are made possible through elevated preparation and awareness. This preparation takes time and planning in advance to help us reach the spiritual heights that are within our reach at Passover. The following is a guide and timeline to help us prepare for Passover.
What is Hametz?
Hametz is the mixture of flour and water that has been allowed to rise and that comes from wheat, rye, barley, oats, or spelt. For the eight days of Pesah, a Jew may not eat or own hametz. Matzah is made of flour and water that are mixed and baked so quickly that it is not allowed to rise. Only products that are kosher l’Pesah (kosher for Passover) may be eaten on Passover. Many stores put “Jewish products” that are not kosher for Passover on display at Passover time, so please check for a kosher l’Pesah label (heksher).
Guide to food that is Kosher for Passover
Foods that may be purchased before and during Passover without a special hekhsher (label certifying that it’s kosher): fresh meat and fish, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables.
Foods that may be purchased before the 14th of Nissan ( by 11 a.m. on Monday, March 25, 2013) without a Passover hekhsher but require one if purchased later:
Milk, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, non-processed cheeses, pure fruit juices, pure coffee (regular but not decaffeinated), unflavored pure tea, salt and pure natural spices without additives, sugar, and frozen vegetables or fruit, containing no sauce or additives.
All other foods (baked products, matzah, oils, vinegar, wine, liquor, tuna, candy, in other words, all processed foods) require a kosher for Passover hekhsher whether bought before or during Passover.
Ashkenazic (of European descent) Jews have a thousand year old tradition of not eating kiniot (legumes) on Pesah. This category includes: beans, peas, lentils, rice, millet, sesame seeds, and corn. The reason is that flour that was made out of kitniot could be confused with hametz. Even though the original reason no longer applies, some argue that not eating kitniot is a strong custom that should be maintained. Others argue that eating kitniot should be permitted, especially for vegetarians who deem them vital for health. Some who do not eat kiniot do eat derivatives of kiniot, such as soybean oil.
Removal of Hametz
Change dishes: Dishes, cookware, and utensils used during the rest of the year are put away in a cabinet that will not be opened during Pesah.
We are not allowed to own hametz during Pesah. Therefore, all leavened grains such as breads, pastas, and any foods that are mixtures of hametz and other food should be given away or sold. Foods that don’t contain hametz but may contain traces of it (canned and processed foods) should be placed in a cabinet and sold. Legumes, rice, and other types of kitniot are not hametz and need only be placed in a cabinet that will not be opened during Pesah.
Ovens: Self-cleaning ovens can be koshered by running the cleaning cycle. Other ovens, and their sides, racks, and broiling pans should be cleaned with an oven cleaner. Then, the oven, with the racks and pans, can be koshered by turning the oven to the highest temperature for half an hour. Microwave ovens should be thoroughly cleaned and a glass of water should be heated in it until it boils and a mist fills the inside of the microwave.
Stoves: The grates of the stove should be cleaned thoroughly and then replaced on the burner, which should then be turned on to full heat for an hour. (Never leave your home while koshering a stove!) The stove top should be opened and cleaned underneath, and the top of the stove should be thoroughly cleaned underneath.
Refrigerator and Freezer: Clean refrigerator with warm water and detergent, scrubbing bins and any stuck-on food. Defrost and clean the freezer. Some choose to line the racks of the refrigerator with foil or plastic.
Sinks and counters: Metal sinks should be cleaned and then koshered by pouring boiling water down the sides and into the sink. The water for this and for all other koshering should be boiled in a pot that has not been used in the last 24 hours. Clean the drain carefully. For a non-metal sink, clean it and put in a liner or basin. Counters should be cleaned and covered with foil or contact paper.
Cabinets: Seal up your non-Pesah cabinets with tape; they may not be opened during Pesah. Cabinets that will be used for Pesah should be cleaned thoroughly.
Bedikat hametz, the search for leaven: The search for hametz is conducted on the 14th of Nissan, the evening of the day before Pesah. This symbolic search is the final cleaning of hametz from the household. It is customary, but not necessary, to place 10 pieces of hametz around the house and to search for them with a candle (a flashlight may also be used) and with a feather and a wooden spoon with which to collect the found hametz. A blessing is recited that may be found at the beginning of most haggadot. The search is conducted in silence after the blessing is said. The hametz is collected in a bag and burned the next morning. After the search, a declaration (which may also be found in the haggadah) is made that any remaining hametz is null and void. This declaration is also made the next morning at the burning of the hametz.
Selling hametz: Reasoning that it would be a financial hardship to dispose of all hametz, the sages created a legal process of selling hametz so that Jews would not own hametz during Pesah. Each household authorizes a rabbi to sell their hametz to someone who is not Jewish for the duration of Pesah by way of a written contract. If you have hametz to sell, complete the form below and return it to the Kol Shofar office.
Kashering Dishes and Utensils: Many people have dishes and utensils specially reserved for Passover use. However, some dishes and utensils may be kashered before the 14th of Nissan after being scoured and set aside for 24 hours. Metal can be koshered by immersion in boiling water. Silverware or small pots may be koshered by placing them in a pot of boiling water. Frying pans cannot be easily kashered; invest in separate ones for Passover. Plastic handles must be removed where food might accumulate in there. If the handle is welded to the pot so that food cannot accumulate, the pot can be kashered together with the handle. Knives with wooden handles cannot be kashered. Porcelain dishes cannot be kashered nor can stoneware or ceramic mugs. Utensils with a non-stick surface such as Teflon can be kashered.
Kashering Glass and Pyrex: Glass may be kashered by simple washing, according to the Sephardic custom. Ashkenazim kasher glass by soaking it in water for 72 hours, changing the water every 24 hours. Pyrex, Corningware, Corelle, and other modern ovenproof ceramics are considered the same as glass.
Passover Timeline for 2013
For all candle lighting times, please consult www.hebcal.com.
Now through March 25 at 11 a.m.:
Begin the process of removing hametz and utensils related to its preparation and serving. Kasher kitchen as outlined above.
Sat. March 23, Shabbat Ha Gadol:
1:15 p.m. Rabbi Chai Passover Class: Ingesting Freedom – Eating on Pesah as Prayer, Torah & Tradition
Sun. March 24:
By evening, complete removal of hametz and utensils related to its preparation and serving.
Mon., March 25:
11 a.m. Finish eating and dispose of all hametz. “Sell” your hametz by this time – see authorization below.
Evening, 1st Seder
Tues., March 26, 1st Day of Passover:
9:15 a.m. Passover services, we refrain from working
After sunset, 2nd Seder
Wed. March 27, 2nd Day of Passover:
9:15 a.m. Passover services, we refrain from working until night
Thurs. March 28, 3rd Day of Passover:
7:00 a.m., Daily Minyan services
Fri. March 29, 4th Day of Passover:
6:15 p.m. traditional Shabbat services
Sat. March 30, 5th Day of Passover:
9:15 a.m. Shabbat services
Sun. March 31, 6th Day of Passover:
Evening, light candles, refrain from working until Tues. night
Mon. Apr. 1, 7th Day of Passover:
9:15 a.m. services, refrain from working
Tues. Apr. 2, 8th Day of Passover:
9:15 a.m. services including Yizkor, refrain from working
8:15 p.m. we are permitted to eat hametz and return to working
9:00 p.m. we are permitted to “reclaim” our hametz and hametz-related items.
This year, we are again matching folks who have room at their seder table with people looking for a seder to attend. If you have room or need a seder, please contact Sharon Brusman in the Kol Shofar office at 388-1818 x106.
As you bring the wisdom of Jewish tradition to life in your homes through the Festival of Passover, may you bring freedom to a world so sorely in need of it. Let our Passover tables be a beacon for freedom for all.
חג כשר ושמח – May you be blessed with a kosher and joyous Passover!
SELLING OF HAMETZ
Complete and return this form before noon on Sunday, March 24, 2013.
During Pesah, it is forbidden to eat or own hametz, and one should remove all hametz before Pesah. To avoid great financial loss, it is permitted to sell one’s hametz to someone who is not Jewish and repurchase it after Pesach. You may appoint me as your agent to sell your hametz on your behalf by filling out form below.
Congregation Kol Shofar
215 Blackfield Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920
FAX #: (415) 388-5423
I/We _______________________ hereby authorize Rabbi Susan Leider to act as my/our
agent to sell all my/our hametz, in whatever form it should take, thereby allowing me/us to fulfill the mitzvah of having no hametz in the four corners of my/our home or in owning any
hametz located at:
Signature / Date _____________________
It is customary to give tzedakah at the time of selling one’s hametz. Contributions to Kol Shofar are appreciated.