Sunday, 13 April 2014

Erev Pesach

Question: What work restrictions are in place on erev Pesach?
Answer: The Gemara Yerushalmi (Pesachim 4:1) writes that one mustn’t work on erev Pesach. When one brings a personal korban, one treats that day as a Yom Tov. As all Jews would bring a korban Pesach on erev Pesach, they would treat the day as a Yom Tov and abstain from work (See Biur Halacha 468:1). The Mishna Berura (468:1) writes that as this was practiced by everyone, this prohibition remains nowadays.
The rishonim argue as to the reason for this prohibition and whether it is mideoraisa or miderabanan.
Tosafos (Pesachim 50a) writes that according to the Yerushalmi it would be forbidden mideoraisa. Rashi (Pesachim 50a), however, writes that chazal instituted this to help ensure that one properly disposes of their chametz and prepares for their seder.
Ramban (Pesachim 50a) writes that while we no longer offer a korban pesach it is still assur miderabanan to work.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 468:3) writes that one should follow the minhag of one’s community as to whether to abstain from work all day, or only from chatzos (midday). The Chayei Adam (129:4) and Aruch Hashulchan (OC 468:5) write that nowadays we may be lenient and work until chatzos.
Most Poskim (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 42 n173; Piskei Teshuvos 468:18) write that one shouldn’t polish one’s shoes after chatzos. Nonetheless, one who didn't do so earlier may do so after chatzaos, l’kavod Yom Tov (Yalkut Yosef 468:10). This applies to other melachos, too, such as clipping one’s nails (Mishna Berura 468:5) ironing and shaving (See R’ Mordechai Eliyahu’s Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 113:5).
The Mishna Berura (468:5) writes that during this time, one can get his hair cut by a non-Jewish barber, though he shouldn’t cut his own hair or shave himself.
As this prohibition is derabanan (Rambam, Hilchos Yom Tov 8:17), one may have a non-Jew perform melachos on their behalf. Thus, one who did not have a haircut or do their laundry before chatzos may still go to a (non-Jewish) barber or launderette (Mishna Berura 468:5). This does not apply on chol hamoed, however.
If one finds chametz in their possession after sof zeman sereifas chametz (the last time to burn it), it must be removed and burned immediately, just as one would on chol hamoed. One who has sold all their chametz, however, should lock this chametz away, as it does not belong to them.
Many have the minhag to study the halachos and recite the order of the korban Pesach after Mincha. May we merit next year to offer this up, celebrating Pesach together in Yerushalayim.

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