These Halachos (except for passages found in [* ]) are copied from Rabbi Blumenkrantz's book

"The Laws of Pesach"


Chapter Six

Preparation for the Seder

One should be particular to prepare for the Seder in advance so that the Seder can begin as soon as the stars appear (nightfall). Thus, the children will still be awake to ask the Ma Nishtanah and receive answers to their questions. In this way, one fulfills the mitzvah of, "And you shall tell your son on that day." One must be careful not to make Kiddush before nightfall, although normally on Shabbos and Yom Tov, one may begin before night, adding from the weekday to the sanctity of the approaching day. Since the mitzvah of eating matzoh applies specifically on Pesach, and not before, as it says, "You shall it eat (the Korban Pesach) with matzoh and moror," and the Korban Pesach must surely be eaten only at night, we must make Kiddush at a time when it is already permissible to eat matzoh. Additionally, the wine we drink for Kiddush is considered as one of the Four Cups, which are all connected to the reciting of the Haggadah and the eating of the moror.

The Seder table should be set with all of the beautiful dishes one possesses. During the year, we refrain from displaying all of our nicest utensils at one time in memory of the destruction of our Bais Hamikdosh. On the Seder night however, when we celebrate our freedom, we display all of our best dishes.

A cushion is prepared upon which to recline. as a sign of freedom. A cushion is not completely necessary, since one can accomplish this requirement by leaning to the side a bit.

All wine bottles which will be needed for both the first and second Seders should be opened before Yom Tov begins.

Many people will light the Yorn Tov candles for the first Seder as they do every Erev Shabbos, that is, 18-20 minutes before sunset. Many others will light the candles when the men come home from shul (even on the first Seder). In either case, when the Shehecheyanu is to be recited, the woman should have in mind that the Brocho is for the many mitzvos that will be introduced at the Seder. She should not have in mind that the Shehecheyanu relates to the actual introduction of the Yom Tov. Later, when Kiddush is recited, the Shehecheyanu made then should relate to the actual introduction of the Yom Tov Holiday. This way she will be able to answer Omain according to all opinions on the Shehecheyanu recited at Kiddush.

A. Preparing The Foods For The Seder

Preparation for the Seder foods prior to Yom Tov eliminates the possibility that one may violate one or more of the Yom Tov laws through the preparation of the foods needed:
a. Borer (selecting) - in checking for worms or bugs in the moror (romaine lettuce), or selecting which leaves to use;
b. Shochet (slaughtering) - by drowning bugs either through soaking or rinsing the vegetables;
c. Tochen (grinding or mashing) - in preparing charoses, if the nuts were not previously ground, or if the apples were not previously mashed;
d. Meabed (tanning) - in preparing the salt water which includes the preparation of mixtures which may be used for preserving;
e. Losh (kneading) - when the wine is added to the ground nuts.
B. Preparing On the Night of Yom Tov For The First or Second Seder

If one did not prepare the Seder Plate foods before Yom Tov, they can be prepared on Yom Tov by following the specific methods described here:
1. The Zroah (shank bone) can be prepared normally. Since it is roasted on Yom Tov, and we cannot eat it on the Seder night, it must be eaten on, the afternoon of the second day of Yom Tov. Failing to do so would constitute a violation of pre paring on Yom Tov for Chol Hamoed;

2. The Beitzo (hard boiled egg) can be prepared normally, and after cooking it, one may broil it over the fire. One may eat it during the Seder (even if it was broiled). If one wants to save it for the second Seder, one may do so. However, it should be eaten at the Second Seder.

3. Morror -Each leaf of the romaine lettuce which is used for morror must be checked careful for insects. If one finds an insect, it must be removed together with a piece of lettuce. If one wants to remove an unwanted leaf, a piece of good leaf should be removed with it.

PLEASE REMEMBER -Do NOT soak or rinse the lettuce before you check the leaves. First, remove the outer leaves and discard them. Then take the inner leaves one by one, examining them over a bright light for bugs or anything that may look suspicious. Remove the bug with a piece of leaf and wash the leaves. It is preferable to remove the leaves and use only the stalks. Check them for bugs and when all are removed, wash the stalks.

4. Charoses -If the nuts for the charoses were not ground before Yom Tov they can be ground on Yom Tov, but in a different way than usual, such as grinding directly on a table or an inverted plate. Regardless of whether the nuts were ground on Yom Tov or before, only enough charoses for the second day of Yom Tov should be prepared.

5. Horseradish -If one did not prepare horseradish before Yom Tov, it can be ground on Yom Tov, but in a different manner than usual, It should, like the nuts, be ground directly onto the table or an inverted plate. Only enough for the Seder should be prepared.

6. Salt Water -One of the 39 cardinal melachos prohibited on Shabbos and Yom Tov is tanning, which includes preserving. Preparing a strong salt water solution is a preparation used in tanning and preserving. Salt water is a preserving agent, therefore, the salt water should be prepared before Yom Tov. If one has forgotten, it may be prepared on Yom Tov, but one should make sure not to put in too much salt to render it undrinkable.

*Texts on gray background apply to residents of Chutz Lo'oretz
who observe Yom Tov Sheni shel galuyos.

C. Preparing For The Second Day

It is most important to remember that one is not permitted to prepare on the first day of Yom Tov for the second day of Yom Tov. Therefore, all preparation for the second Seder, including setting the table, may not start until tzais hakochavim (about 45 minutes after sunset in the U.S.)

This, understandably, also includes lighting candles for the second day. That is, the candles must be lit after tzais hakochavim. It is, however, the custom in many homes that candles are lit when the husband returns from shul. When saying Shehecheyanu over the candles have in mind all the mitzvos of the night, not the actual introduction of the Yom Tov. Later, when Kiddush is recited, the Shehecheyanumade then should relate to the actual introduction of the Yorn Tov Holiday. This way she will be able to answer Omain according to all opinions on the Shehecheyanu recited at Kiddush.

However, there are many authorities who permit the lighting of the candles towards the end of the first day (before sunset). Their reasoning is based on the fact that one gains some enjoyment from the additional light produced by the candles, even on the first day. Therefore, one cannot say that the candles are lit solely for the second day. Accordingly, many women light the candles on both the first and second nights of Yom Tov at the accepted candle lighting time, which is at least 18-20 minutes before sunset. The preferred custom is to light when the men come home from shul.

D. The Meal Of The Second Day Of Pesach

At the meal of the second day of Pesach, it is proper to eat something that serves as a reminder of the meal of Queen Esther, which took place on this day the same day Haman was hung (MG"A 0"H 530).

It is for this reason that the custom is to include the Piyutim of Asher Heini and Shoshanas Yaakov into the Zmiros sung at the table on the second day of Yom Tov. These piyutim can be found in the Chumoshim right after the Megilas Esther.

On to "The Seder Plate"

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