Pesah Information for Congregation Beth Shalom, 5781/2021

Pesah, as a reflection of Yom Kippur on the other side of the Jewish year, is not only a time of celebrating freedom and big family meals, but also a time of reflection and spiritual cleansing. To that end, we acknowledge that the “spring cleaning” of our homes should echo within our souls, and we do that not only be abstaining from the five species of hametz during these eight days, but also by removing these items entirely from our lives, such that we do not own or benefit from them in any way.

As we prepare for Pesah, here is essential, updated kashrut information from the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement:

https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Pesah%20Guide%205781.pdf

The Rabbinical Assembly also has recommendations for this year that are pandemic-related. It is an update of information from last year, anticipating potentially-unavailable K-for-P products and the challenges that some of us may have with in-store shopping under these circumstances:

https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/story/kashrut-subcommittee-recommendations-pesah-5781

Here is Rabbi Amy Levin’s teshuvah, approved by the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, on the consumption of kitniyot (rice, beans, etc.) by Ashkenazim during Pesah:

https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/public/halakhah/teshuvot/2011-2020/Levin-Reisner-Kitniyot.pdf

If you opt to eat K-for-P products containing kitniyot, here is a list of acceptable products, according to a Sephardic rabbinic association in New Jersey:

https://www.jsor.org/s/JSOR-Passover-Guide-2021_Email.pdf

Here is a link to Beth Shalom’s form to sell your hametz, so that you do not own it or benefit from it during the eight days of Pesah, as well as the Shabbat beforehand this year:

https://bethshalompgh.org/selling-hametz-5781/

Important additional note for this year:

Since the holiday begins on Saturday night, and we are forbidden from possessing hametz after Friday morning, there are two possibilities regarding making motzi for Shabbat. This is from the Rabbinical Assembly website:

1. Eat hametz, but very carefully. The hametz sale document, and the way that we dispose of hametz, has a loophole for any hametz that we are planning to eat on the rest of Friday evening or Shabbat morning. We can therefore hold back enough challah for Shabbat dinner and Shabbat lunch (this is a great time for paper plates or outdoor dining). We finish eating the hametz by the fifth hour [11:20 AM this year, which is before Shabbat morning services are concluded at Beth Shalom], and dispose of any leftovers by the sixth [12:23 PM]. Leftovers can be discarded–rendered inedible. At that time, we recite the “Kol hamira” formula (normally recited when burning the hametz) that cancels any remaining hametz.

2. “Egg Matzah” is not technically considered matzah, but is also not hametz, as it is similar to bread. So, it’s possible to use two sheets of it in the place of challah, and thus be totally kosher-for-Passover.

As always, if you have questions about any of these things, please contact Rabbi Adelson.