[Avodah] Pesach Shailos

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Fri Apr 3 08:41:01 PDT 2020

From the YI of Midwood

Dear friends,

The coronavirus which has come upon the entire world is testing us in many ways.  It is very difficult to watch the list of people for whom we daven grow each day.

Yet as a people of faith we take strength from our confidence that the רבש"ע is a מלא רחמים. Each day in תחנון we recall the words of דוד המלך who, given the terrible choice between the visitation of an epidemic or an attack by a foreign enemy replied: נפלה נא ביד ה' כי רבים רחמיו וביד אדם אל אפולה, better to be at the limitless mercy of Hashem.

We couple our faith in Hashem's mercy with continued and renewed dedication to his commands, as expressed in the halacha. And the coinciding of this crisis with Pesach presents a great many halachic challenges. Please feel free to call me with any questions you may have.

Here are a few items that have come up so far:

Toveling keilim: Many people have bought utensils for Pesach � especially tthose who are making Pesach for the first time. At the same time, there are concerns about using the keilim mikveh. I would suggest that you sell your new keilim to a non Jew until the crisis has passed. The Beis Din of America has an online form you can fill out and they will take of the sale for you. Make sure to read the instructions carefully. Here is the link:


Siyum bechoros: An ideal solution would be to make a siyum on your own. But in the present situation if that is difficult you can listen to a siyum over the phone or Zoom. The shul will be broadcasting siyumim on Zoom erev Pesach at 7, 7:30 and 8 o’clock.

Burning chametz: Because of the danger of people congregating to burn chametz, which would be both dangerous and a chilul hashem, it is best not to burn chametz this year. Rather, put the bulk of your chametz out for garbage collection in time to be collected before Pesach. Leave a very small amount, crush it into crumbs, and flush it down the toilet, or throw it out a window.

Tal: The tefillah of טל is not recited when davening in private.

Mashiv Haruch: If your minhag is to say מוריד הטל in the summer than you should begin saying מוריד הטל at Mussaf of the 1st day of Yom Tov. If your minhag is not to say מוריד הטל, then there is some question this year whether you should change over at Mussaf or at Mincha. R' Hershel Schachter has suggested that at Mussaf you should say מוריד הטל - even though this is not usually your minhag - and then transition to your usual summer minhag of not saying either משיב הרוח or מוריד הטל at mincha.

Hallel: Even those who usually say hallel in shul the first night of Pesach should not do so this year. The whole point of that minhag is to say hallel with the whole community. Rather one should proceed directly after maariv to the seder.

Minyanim: It is not acceptable for people to stand on their porches and make a minyan. One should daven at home, in private. That is what the רבש"ע wants this year.

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