Passover- A] Working and Forbidden Melachot on Erev Pesach B] The Proper Times for Beur Hamtez
Regarding some Laws that apply on Erev Pesach. Specifically, this year 5763 (2003), which Erev Pesach is on a Wednesday. Let’s discuss some times that are applicable. It is forbidden to eat Hametz after 10:08 AM. 10:08 is the cut off time. Therefore Halacha says one should see to it to brush his teeth thoroughly before that time, just in case there is some Hametz in his teeth. One needs to be sure to brush vigorously and to make certain the Hametz does not remain and become dislodged on the night of Pesach. Like the story of the Ben Ish Hai that says, ‘Someone ate on the night of the Seder, and they came to him in a dream, and they said you ate Matzah and Hametz together.’ It seems that when he ate the Matzah that it dislodged some Hametz that was in his teeth. It could be that he didn’t clean well enough before the holiday, and he ended up eating Hametz with the Matzah. Therefore one should see to it that he brush his teeth extra carefully before 10:08 in the morning.
The time of Beur Hametz is in the morning up until 11:31 AM. That’s the cut off time for the burning of the Hametz. It should be reminded, that of course, besides the Hametz that we are burning and getting rid of, that there is Hametz found in vacuum cleaner bags. People neglect that. They forget to clean the vacuum cleaner. There is live Hametz in there. So, therefore, before 11:31, one should see to it that they clean out the vacuum cleaner bags, and throw them in the garbage. Or if you want to burn them with the Hametz, then that’s fine. The custom is to use the Lulav and the Aravot from last Sucot that we saved, in order to start the fire or use it to fuel the fire of Beur Hamez. Some use the wicks from Nerot Chanukah, or other types of Mitzvot. Instead of discarding them, they wait in order to recycle them for another Mitzvah.
Now, there is also a Halacha that says, after Chatzot on Erev Pesach it is forbidden to do Melacha. There is a Minhag even before Chatzot not to do Melacha, but that depends on where you are. A place that has a Minhag not to do work, doesn’t. A place does have the Minhag, does work. Our Minhag over here is, before Chatzot we do Melacha, but after Chatzot one is to refrain from Melachot. What does it mean Melachot? It means sewing, mending clothes, doing laundry, washing, and things like this. And therefore one should be careful on Erev Pesach, specifically regarding taking a hair cut. If you are going to a Jewish barber, if that’s your normal barber, then you should take a hair cut prior to Wednesday Chatzot (mid-day). Wednesday mid-day is at about 12:30, but that is not exact. Therefore, one should be careful to take a hair cut from a Jew before that time. If you want a hair cut from a non-Jew, then you could do it after that time, but only from a non-Jew. For that matter it would be permissible to shave on Erev Pesach after Chatzot. Halacha says giving yourself a haircut is permissible all day, and therefore shaving would be permissible before the Holiday.
Furthermore, one should be aware of the reasons why we don’t work on Erev Pesach after Chaztot. In the olden days, it was a day of Korban. Everybody was part of a group to bring Korban Pesach. The Gemarah says that on the day that somebody would bring a Korban, it was considered a holiday for him, and therefore they wouldn’t work. And even though today, we don’t have Korban Pesach, but that enactment of not working on Erev Pesach is still in tact. And therefore we commemorate the fact there was a Korban brought on that day, so it is Yom Tov, and therefore there’s no work.
Regarding business. Business is not considered work. Which means, buying and selling, phone calls, wholesale, retail- that’s not the type of Melacha that they were referring to over here. Another reason given of why not to work Erev Pesach after Chatzot, is in order to keep busy with the Mitzvot, making the Matzot, getting prepared for the holiday in making Hagalah on the Kelim, and other different things. If a person is going to get busy doing work, then he might neglect some of his Holiday preparations. Therefore, the Halacha is that one should try to get all these things out of the way before Chatzot on Erev Pesach.
It is permissible to cut one’s nails. Even after Chatzot on Erev Pesach it is permissible. To shine one’s shoes is permissible on Erev Pesach after Chatzot as well.