The Passover calendar / Pesach calendar for 2015 chronicles the religious events/activities performed during the Passover / Pesach festival in 2015.

Note in the following Passover calendars for 2015 that nightfall is defined in Jewish law as being "the end of sunset", and occurs anytime from 20 minutes to 1 hour after sunset, depending on one's geographic latitude and on where one is located in the world. See the following for the definition of a Jewish calendar day. *

The Passover calendar / Pesach calendar for 2015 also describes in detail the required mitzvot ("commandments" in Hebrew, both Torah and rabbinical commandments) as well as various customs performed by members of specific religious streams of Judaism and sub-groups within those streams. We first cover the Passover calendar / Pesach calendar for Jewish people who celebrate Passover / Pesach for seven days and then this is followed by the Passover calendar / Pesach calendar for Jewish people who celebrate Passover / Pesach for eight days.

The following table represents the Passover calendar / Pesach calendar for those who celebrate Pesach / Passover for 7 days:

Date in Jewish/Hebrew Calendar Date in Gregorian/Christian Calendar Religious Activity/Activities
14th Nissan: L'Laila V'Erev Shabbat V'Pesach ("The Night Of The Day Before The Sabbath And Of Passover" in Hebrew) (Nightfall Thursday to Nightfall Friday = 14th of Nissan)Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 (Nightfall Thursday to Nightfall Friday = 14th of Nissan)
  • (1) Bedikat Chametz ("Search For Leaven" in Hebrew) traditionally using a candle and feather: (A) Recite the Bedikat Chametz blessing; (B) Search for leaven throughout the household to rid the household of leaven; (2) Bitul Chametz: When finished with searching for leaven, recite the Kol Chamira (meaning "All Leavened Bread" in Aramaic which more specifically refers to the "Nullification Of All Leaven" in Aramaic) blessing. In short, the Kol Chamira blessing is essentially a verbal declaration stating that one has eliminated all chametz in one's possession, both knowingly and unknowingly. Reciting Kol Chamira also fulfills G-ds' commandment of "Bitul Chametz", meaning "Nullify (The) Leaven" in Hebrew but more specifically meaning the "mental nullification of all leaven" in Hebrew, which means that one eliminates one's mental concerns about any chametz/leaven in the household by verbalizing it through the Kol Chamira blessing.
  • Ta'anit Bechorot or Ta'anit Bekhorot (Ta'anit Bechorot or Ta'anit Bekhorot means "Fast of the First-Borns" in Hebrew). The first-born male in each Jewish family fasts for 1 day - from sunrise until sunset on the day before Passover - in commemoration of the 10th plague of Passover, in which G-d spared the first born male in every Jewish household in Egypt, and instead slew the first born in every Egyptian household. If there is no first born male in a Jewish household, then the oldest male in the family fasts. If there are no children, then the oldest member of the family fasts. This is done because all Egyptian families were affected by G-d's wrath, whether or not they had a first born son. This fast is also in memory of the slain first born Egyptian males, and symbolizes the gratitude of the first born males of Jewish households to G-d as well as serves as a reminder of G-d's might and power. However, first born Jewish males can be exempted from the Ta'anit Bechorot or Ta'anit Bekhorot by attending a siyyum bekhorot. Siyyum means "the celebration held after the public completion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or at the end of a year of study" in Hebrew, and siyyum bekhorot means "the celebration held after the public completion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or at the end of a year of study for first borns" in Hebrew. This celebration usually involves eating at a feast. The siyyum bekhorot is done so that the obligation or mitzvah to hold a celebration will override the minor obligation or mitzvah to fast on the day before Passover. The siyyum bekhorot is done on the morning before Passover (14th Nissan), with the ritual of burning the chametz (called "Biur Chametz" in Hebrew; "Biur" literally means "destruction" in Hebrew; especially, "destruction by fire") done soon after that, and before the morning is over.
  • The eating of leaven must stop before about 4 hours after sunrise. The time of sunrise will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world. Therefore, morning prayers should be completed as early as possible so that one can finish eating chametz at the breakfast meal before the religiously appointed time to stop eating chametz in one's geographical location.
  • Biur Chametz ("destruction" in Hebrew, especially, "destruction by fire") - burning of leaven/chametz; Sof Z'man Achilat Chametz ("the latest time for eating leaven/chametz" in Hebrew); Sof Z'man Biur Chametz ("the latest time for burning leaven/chametz" in Hebrew), and Mechirat Chametz ("the sale of leaven/chametz" in Hebrew): Normally, we stop eating chametz on Erev Pesach (the "Day Before Passover" in Hebrew) before about 4 "halakhic" hours after sunrise and burn all remaining "unsold" chametz in our possession (in our household and/or on one's person) before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day. Translated, before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day is equivalent to before about 5 hours after sunrise. The time of sunrise will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world. This ritual is performed if one still finds chametz in one's possession and/or household even after performing Bedikat Chametz. After destroying the leaven by burning it, the bracha ("blessing" in Hebrew) and Kol Chamira that was performed for the Bedikat Chametz ritual are repeated here.

    In addition to performing Biur Chametz, chametz that is intended to be "sold" must be sold before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day. We then follow the usual custom of stopping chametz-eating before the end of the 4th halakhic hour of the day and burn and/or sell any remaining chametz in our possession by the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day, meaning after sunrise Shulchan Arukh (444:2) as understood by later rabbinic authorities to mean before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day. Although the Shulchan Arukh does mention that one must destroy the leaven/chametz before "chatzot" ("midday" in Hebrew) and not before the 5th halakhic hour, the rabbinic authority known as the "Maharsham" (in Da'at Torah, literally meaning "Torah knowledge" in Hebrew) states that the purpose is to safeguard the biblical requirement that we destroy the leaven/chametz prior to midday, but not to safeguard the additional rabbinical requirement that it must be completed before the 5th halakhic hour of the day. Most later rabbinic authorities such as Rashi have determined that the term "chatzos" in the Shulchan Arukh meant that one must burn the leaven/chametz before the 5th halakhic hour of the day (Mishnah Berurah 444:9; "Lu'ach Eretz Yisrael" by Rav Tuketchinsky), and so this is the law we follow. See the following paragraph for the meaning of a Halakhic hour.

    What is a Halahkic hour? First off, it is not sixty minutes on the clock. Rabbinic authorities define a halakhic hour as being one twelfth of daytime, and measure a halakhic hour starting from sunrise, where sunrise = 0:00. This means that in the winter, when the amount of daytime is shorter, a Halakhic hour can be as little as 45 minutes and in the summer, when the amount of daytime is longer, it can be as much as 75 minutes. Therefore, based on the aforementioned rabbinic definition, three hours (that is, "three o'clock") can be anywhere from 8:00 A.M., standard time, to 9:30 A.M. The time of sunrise will vary depending on where one is located. Therefore, morning prayers should be completed as early as possible so that one can finish eating chametz at the breakfast meal before the Halakhically I.E. religiously appointed time to stop eating chametz in one's geographical location. All utensils should be koshered by the time the chametz is to be burned. If one finds utensils left unkoshered after this time, then one can kosher them until candle-lighting time on Wednesday before sunset. As mentioned, the ritual of Biur Chametz must be done before the end of the 5th Halakhic hour after sunrise. The time of sunrise will vary depending on where one is located, meaning one's geographic latitude. The ritual of "Biur Chametz" is done if one finds chametz in one's possession (meaning in one's household and/or on one's person) before Passover begins and before the appointed halakhic time for burning the leaven/chametz; again, the latest time being before the end of the 5th Halakhic hour after sunrise. The ritual of burning the chametz is done soon after the completion of the Siyyum Bekhorot, and before the morning is over; as mentioned, before the end of the 5th Halakhic hour after sunrise. According to the laws of Pesach/Passover, all chametz that is in one's possession must be either consumed or disposed of before Passover begins. If for whatever reason one cannot consume or dispose of the chametz before Passover begins, then one "sells" any remaining chametz left in one's possession to a non-Jewish person for the duration of the Passover festival either through one's rabbi or through a kashrut authority ("kashrut" means "kosher" in Hebrew). The sale of chametz ("mechirat chametz" in Hebrew) is in fact a legally-binding contract between the seller and the non-Jewish person whereby the chametz products are specified and actually sold to the non-Jewish person. In addition, the area which is used for storing the chametz is also sold to the non-Jewish person. The non-Jewish person then stores the chametz for safekeeping in this area for the duration of Passover until Passover is over whereby the seller repurchases the chametz from the non-Jewish person. When the chametz is stored, it is highly secured and locked away to avoid its unintentional use during Passover. This ritual is an example of the flexibility of Jewish law and the intention of rabbis to make the lives of Jewish people as easy and pleasant as possible.

  • Regarding the performing of work on Erev Pesach: In a typical year, when Erev Pesach ("the Day Before Passover" in Hebrew) does not fall on a Sabbath or Shabbat, after chatzos (in this context, it refers to "halakhic midday" in Hebrew, which is the precise midpoint between sunrise and sunset for a given location) on Erev Pesach we refrain from various types of melachot ("work" or "labors" in Hebrew; singular form: "melachah"). The generally accepted reason for this is in the Talmud Yerushalmi ("Jerusalem Talmud" in Hebrew), in Yerushalmi (Pesachim 4:1), which states that one should not work during the time that is designated for the offering of the Korban Pesach (the "Passover Sacrifice", that is, the lamb sacrifice, which in Temple times, was prepared in the afternoon on the 14th day of Nissan, and offered at dusk of that day). (Note: As mentioned, chatzos refers to halakhic midday for a given location, but it also refers to halakhic midnight, that is, the precise midpoint of the night, between sunset and sunrise, for a given location. For instance, when calculating chatzos during the daytime, we take the midpoint between sunrise and sunset. If the daytime chatzos is at 12:45 P.M., the nighttime chatzos would be at 12:45 A.M.).
  • Since the eating of leaven/chametz must stop before the end of the 4th halakhic hour after sunrise, morning prayers should be completed as early as possible so that one can finish eating the leaven/chametz at the breakfast meal before the religiously appointed time to stop eating chametz in one's geographical location. After having discarded all leaven/chametz before the end of the 5th halakhic hour after sunrise today and/or "selling" one's chametz before the end of the 5th halakhic hour after sunrise today (if one wants to "buy back" one's chametz after the Passover/Pesach festival), one must then again perform Bitul Chametz by reciting the Kol Chamira (the first time was after performing Bedikat Chametz on Tuesday evening). The time of sunrise will vary depending on where one is located, meaning one's geographic latitude.
  • On the 14th day of Nissan, it is a custom to recite "The Order of the Passover Offering" ("Seder Korban Pesach" in Hebrew) after the afternoon prayer service (the afternoon prayer service is called "Mincha" or "Minchah" in Hebrew). The "Seder Korban Pesach" discusses how the Korban Pesach ("Passover Offering" in Hebrew, meaning the lamb offering) was brought. This is a special writing that is found both in our Machzorim ("prayer books" in Hebrew; literally, "Machzor" means "cycle" in Hebrew, referring to the annual cycle of Jewish prayers that this prayer book contains) and in some of our Haggadot ("Haggadahs" in Hebrew, that is, the Passover/Pesach Haggadah).
  • The 14th day of Nissan for the first Passover - the Exodus from Egypt - fell on Shabbat. Hence the real Erev Pesach ("Day Before Passover" in Hebrew) fell on Shabbat. In the time of the Beit Ha-Mikdash [literally, either "The (Place of Sanctity or Holy Place) House" or "The House of Sanctity" or "The Holy House" in Hebrew, referring to the biblical Temple in Jerusalem], the Korban Pesach ("Passover Offering" in Hebrew, meaning the lamb offering for the Festival of Passover) would be brought on this Shabbat. Today, those who recite the "Seder Amirat Korban Pesach" or "Amirat Seder Korban Pesach" ("Setting of the Order Of The Passover Offering" in Hebrew; short form: "Seder Korban Pesach", meaning "Order Of The Passover Offering" in Hebrew) would fulfill this in the afternoon on the day before Passover or Erev Pesach, the 14th day of Nissan, in lieu of bringing the Passover lamb offering since the bringing of the Korban Pesach or Passover lamb offering was stopped after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in either 68 C.E. or 70 C.E. by the Romans, with the date of the Second Temple's destruction depending on the scholarly opinion one follows. There is also a rabbinical prohibition against eating matzo on Erev Pesach. Finally, complete Hallel is recited during Ma'ariv (also known as "Arvit") evening prayer services, which can begin either after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky (This means that the end of sunset has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset) or, just after sea level sunset, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.

  • Since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath), we therefore must kindle a new flame before the Yom Tov/Shabbat day and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles [which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat (this is the case in 2015 for the 1st day and 8th day if one celebrates Passover/Pesach for 8 days), are also the Shabbat candles] at the start of the Yom Tov/Shabbat day, so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov/Shabbat to not only kindle the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles on the first day of Passover/Pesach, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov/Shabbat available to use to re-kindle the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles in case one or both of the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles on the first day of Passover/Pesach accidentally burn out. To achieve this, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit from the time we kindled it just before Yom Tov/Shabbat begins to at least until the time when we need to use it to kindle the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall when Yom Tov/Shabbat begins. One can use a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle for this activity. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov. The 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day)/Shabbat candles on Friday night, either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • Candle-lighting time for Yom Tov/Shabbat in 2015: Traditionally, Yom Tov candles (as well as Shabbat/Sabbath candles) are lit either just after sunset or just after nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. However, since there is a custom to "extend" the time for Yom Tov (as well as for Shabbat/the Sabbath) due to it being the next highest level of holiness time after Shabbat/the Sabbath by "borrowing" time from the day previous to Yom Tov and the day following Yom Tov (for Shabbat/the Sabbath, time is borrowed from the day previous to and following Shabbat/the Sabbath) and adding that time onto the beginning and ending of Yom Tov respectively (same idea in the case of Shabbat/the Sabbath), most Jewish people light Yom Tov/Shabbat candles anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows. The most popular time to light Yom Tov candles (as well as Shabbat/Sabbath candles) are at 18 minutes before sunset. Therefore, in 2015, most Jewish people will kindle the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles at 18 minutes before sunset. Again, the time of sunset will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world.
  • Use a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle lit just before Shabbat and the Yom Tov or the festival begins and use it to kindle the two Shabbat candles which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat are also the Yom Tov or festival candles [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial]. Light the candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall or anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour before sunset (18 minutes before sunset being the most popular time), whichever is one's custom.
  • One must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov/Shabbat blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov/Shabbat. However, if one uses a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov/Shabbat, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov/Shabbat. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov/Shabbat that existed before Yom Tov/Shabbat - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov/Shabbat that existed before Yom Tov/Shabbat, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles.
  • The first day of Pesach/Passover is a Yom Tov day (full "holiday", and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day). In addition, the 1st day of Pesach/Passover this year falls on Shabbat, or the Sabbath. Therefore, since the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset or nightfall to nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and the custom is to "extend" the time for Shabbat by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Shabbat and adding it both before and immediately following Shabbat, this extends the time for Shabbat beyond 24 hours. The time added to Shabbat can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom and up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom. However, the most popular starting time for Shabbat and Jewish festivals and holidays is at 18 minutes before sunset and so we customarily begin Shabbat at 18 minutes before sunset (or 30-40 minutes before sunset as is the custom for Jews living in Jerusalem, Israel). Since for this year the 24-hour period for the 1st day of Pesach/Passover - a Yom Tov day - falls within the 25-hour period of Shabbat, and we are not allowed to create a new flame on Shabbat or on Yom Tov, one must either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before Shabbat begins at sunset so that one can use either the kindled candle or the lit match at 18 minutes before sunset to kindle the two Shabbat candles, which are also the two Yom Tov candles when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat. After kindling the two Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, one then recites the associated blessing for Shabbat and for Yom Tov as one blessing. To achieve this, as just mentioned, one can either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before sunset and use the kindled candle or lit match to kindle the Shabbat candles/Yom Tov candles. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov/Shabbat, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov/Shabbat. Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov, one either places the kindled candle used to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out, or in the case of the lit match, drop the lit match into the metal tray where the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself ["Yom Tov" means "holiday" in Hebrew; more specifically, a "full" holiday, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day which means that it is a day when the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover; plural form: "Yomim Tovim" in Hebrew, meaning "holidays"].
  • Note that accepting Shabbat is on an individual basis, which means that each member of the household must accept Shabbat individually by each kindling Shabbat candles. The most common custom is to kindle two Shabbat candles per member of a household which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat, are also the Yom Tov candles. Why two Shabbat candles? Because two Shabbat candles represent the two important biblical references to Shabbat: (1) "Remember the Sabbath" (Shemot/Exodus 20:8), and (2) "Observe the Sabbath" (Devarim/Deuteronomy 5:12). However, there is a custom that if a woman is married, she kindles two Shabbat candles, and if a woman is unmarried, she kindles one Shabbat candle. Therefore, when a person in a household kindles one or two Shabbat candles 18 minutes before sunset on Friday, this means that Shabbat has begun for the person who kindled the Shabbat candles.
  • In addition, Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is also accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles, Yom Tov has begun for him/her.
  • Prior to lighting the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, it is customary to recite the Minchah (afternoon prayer service) prayer and then put some money into a charity box ("tzedakah pushkah", where "tzedakah" means "charity" in Hebrew, and "pushkah" means "box" in Yiddish). It is the custom for the woman/women of the household to be the first to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles (for young girls, as soon as a young girl can say the Shabbat/Yom Tov blessing, her parents should provide her with a separate candlestick and teach her to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles. It is also preferable for the young girl to kindle her candle before her mother, so that her mother may assist her, if necessary). Using the kindled candle, light the two Shabbat/Yom Tov candles 18 minutes before sunset (the custom in Jerusalem, Israel, is to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles 30-40 minutes before sunset). Recite the associated blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov (see just below here). The time of sunset varies depending on one's latitude.
  • After the woman lights the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, Shabbat/Yom Tov has begun for her. Therefore, since one cannot extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov, the woman should place the candle used to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles in a secure holder so that it will be allowed to burn itself out. If one chooses to strike a match in order to use the lighted match to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, then after kindling the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, one should allow the lighted match to drop into the metal tray where the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself, since the person who kindled the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles cannot extinguish the match because Shabbat/Yom Tov has begun for her/him, and, as mentioned, one cannot extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov.
  • After lighting the Sabbath/Yom Tov candles, the woman then welcomes in a special guest known as the "Sabbath Queen" ["Shabbat Ha-Malka" in Hebrew), who, in Jewish mystical tradition, is the "Shechinah" (the "dwelling" or the "settling" in Hebrew, meaning the dwelling or settling presence of G-d, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem, but also a dwelling or settling in a special sense, meaning a dwelling or settling of divine presence, to the effect that, while in proximity to the Shechinah, the connection to G-d is more readily perceivable. The Sabbath Queen, being the Shechinah, is the nurturing and loving Divine Presence that expresses the "feminine" aspects of G-d - the Compassionate One.)]. How does the woman welcome in the Sabbath Queen? She does this by first stretching her hands out towards the candles. Then she moves her hands inward in a circular motion and performs this circular motion three times, which represents the ushering in of the Sabbath Queen. Following this, the woman then covers her eyes with her hands and recites the following Sabbath/Yom Tov blessing in transliterated Hebrew, since this day is both the Sabbath and Yom Tov; in this case, the first day of Pesach/Passover:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat veShel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the candle of Shabbat and of the Holiday (in this case, the festival day of Pesach/Passover).

    After reciting the blessing, while the woman has her face covered by her hands, it is customary for the woman to offer a private prayer for anything that she desires. After this private prayer is offered, the woman removes her hands from her face and says a traditional wish to all who are present. This wish is either a wish for a "Gut Shabbos" ("Good Sabbath" in Yiddish) or a wish for a "Shabbat Shalom" ["Sabbath (of) Peace" in Hebrew].
  • The Shehecheyanu ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing: Depending on one's custom, the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing that thanks G-d for sustaining us (the Hebrews/Jewish people) and enabling us to reach this season or this special time, is recited either immediately following the Yom Tov blessing or immediately following the Kiddush blessing of the Kiddush and immediately before the beginning of the Pesach / Passover Seder as stated in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah which is the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder ("Haggadah" means either "Telling" or "Narration" in Hebrew, meaning it contains the telling or narration of the Passover/Pesach story and also that one should tell or narrate the Passover/Pesach story to others).

    The Shehecheyanu blessing is as follows:

    Blessed art thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who hast kept us in life, and (or who) hast preserved us, and (hast) enabled us to reach this season.

  • Next, recite the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov over the wine. The Kiddush is recited in order to formally begin a festive meal; in this case, for both Shabbat and Yom Tov for the 1st day of Pesach / Passover. The Kiddush for Yom Tov/Shabbat begins with the recitation of the Yayin ("Wine" in Hebrew) blessing, which is a blessing made over a glass of red wine that thanks G-d for providing the "fruit of the vine" I.E. grapes for making wine, followed by the Kiddush blessing which mentions words about the holiness of Yom Tov and of Shabbat when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat.

    Here is the blessing over the wine in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam, Borei Pri Ha-gafen.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.



    The Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov is as follows (the first paragraph relates to Shabbat and Creation):

    And it was evening and it was morning, The sixth day. And the heaven and the earth and all their hosts were completed. And on the seventh day G-d finished His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it He rested from all His work which He, G-d, created to make (Bereshit/Genesis 1:31, 2:1-3).

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Festival of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.
  • After reciting the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov, both Shabbat and Yom Tov - in this case, the first day of Pesach/Passover - have officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov.
  • The Shehecheyanu ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing: Depending on one's custom, the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing that thanks G-d for sustaining us (the Hebrews/Jewish people) and enabling us to reach this season or this special time, is recited either immediately following the Yom Tov blessing or immediately following the Kiddush blessing of the Kiddush and immediately before the beginning of the Pesach / Passover Seder as stated in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah which is the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder ("Haggadah" means either "Telling" or "Narration" in Hebrew, meaning it contains the telling or narration of the Passover/Pesach story and also that one should tell or narrate the Passover/Pesach story to others).

    The Shehecheyanu blessing is as follows:

    Blessed art thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who hast kept us in life, and (or who) hast preserved us, and (hast) enabled us to reach this season.

  • It is a Jewish tradition for the woman of the household to kindle the two Yom Tov candles and to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. However, there are varying authoritative rabbinical opinions regarding the recitation of the Shehecheyanu blessing for Yom Tov. Many authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and then repeats the Shehecheyanu blessing a second time following the Kiddush ["Sanctification" (by G-d of the Hebrew/Jewish people) in Hebrew] blessing at the Seder table. Other authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman only recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and does not repeat it following the Kiddush blessing at the Seder table. However, there are some authoritative rabbinical opinions which state that the woman does not say a "Shehecheyanu" blessing at all.
  • Laws Of Yom Tov (the "Full" festival days of the Passover / Pesach festival, meaning the full application of Jewish religious laws for Passover / Pesach apply to these days. Securing the Yom Tov candles - Prior to the use of glass receptacle candles, it used to be that if one could not make the Yom Tov candles stand on their own without melting their bottoms to secure them, then one should secure them before Shabbat began (Talmud, Mishnah Berurah 514:18). The invention of short candles in glass receptacles avoided the problem mentioned in Mishnah Berurah 514:18, enabling one to kindle the Yom Tov candles.
  • Reciting the Yom Tov blessing before or after kindling the Yom Tov candles: There is a Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27) which states that one must recite the Yom Tov blessing before kindling the Yom Tov candles. On Shabbat/the Sabbath, one first kindles the two Shabbat candles and then one recites the Shabbat blessing, so that one may be able to re-kindle the Shabbat candles if one or both of them accidentally burn out, since Shabbat does not officially begin until the Shabbat blessing is recited. Since some Jewish people prefer to follow the same order of kindling candles for Yom Tov and then reciting the blessing for Yom Tov as they do for Shabbat while fulfilling the Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah that states that one must first recite the blessing for Yom Tov and then kindle the Yom Tov candles, they fulfill both by first kindling the two candles - which are not yet Yom Tov candles since one did not yet recite the blessing for Yom Tov - and then they recite the Yom Tov blessing with one's eyes either closed or with one's hands covering one's eyes. After the person finishes reciting the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has officially begun, and the person then either opens their eyes or removes their hands from their eyes to view for the first time on this Yom Tov what are now the two Yom Tov candles. This method fulfills both the custom to follow the order of first kindling the candles and then reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as is done for Shabbat, as well as to first recite the blessing for Yom Tov while shielding one's eyes from the two candles and then viewing the two Yom Tov candles for the first time after reciting the Yom Tov blessing.
  • It is only after the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles have been lit and the associated blessing recited for Yom Tov/Shabbat that one can begin to heat up food specifically for the Seder meal. In addition, other preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder can begin or if certain preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder were done before Yom Tov/Shabbat, then the remaining preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder can begin. As just mentioned, some Seder preparations as well as Yom Tov (holiday, or in this case, festival day) and Shabbat preparations in general are done before the start of Yom Tov/Shabbat, such as creating the symbolic foods for the Seder table. The remainder of the Seder preparations can also be completed either before Yom Tov begins or completed after Yom Tov begins. If one wishes to start the Seder immediately after nightfall, then it is of course preferable to complete the Seder preparations before Yom Tov/Shabbat begins to avoid tampering with the Seder table.
  • Jewish law regarding the extinguishing of a flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath): Putting out the flame of the candles is prohibited. Only a non-Jewish person can do it, or the candle must extinguish itself after it is lit.
Pesach/Passover 5775
1st Day of Pesach/Passover (Shabbat = Sabbath)Friday, April 3rd, 2015 (Nightfall Friday to Nightfall Saturday = 15th of Nissan)
  • We begin the 15th of Nissan by having the evening prayer service ("Ma'ariv" or "Arvit" in Hebrew, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. Therefore, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, the new Jewish day begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, with nightfall being the end of the sunset period.
  • After the two Yom Tov/festival candles are lit and the Yom Tov blessing is recited, ushering in the Yom Tov/festival day:
  • When Does The Passover Seder Begin? The Seder begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, meaning after the lighting of the two Yom Tov candles and after the Ma'ariv or Arvit ("Evening" in Hebrew) prayer service. Refer to the Passover/Pesach Haggadah for step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the 15 ordered steps that comprise the Seder. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the political, social, and/or religious philosophies in Judaism of the author(s) of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah but the structure and order of the 15 steps are always the same for each version. The reason for the variety of versions in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah is that rabbis down through the ages have encouraged the "telling" and interpretation of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that the timeless messages contained in the Passover/Pesach story could be understood and appreciated by as many people as possible since these are messages that all human beings can relate to and learn from. Therefore, the ancient rabbis deemed the messages contained in the story of Passover/Pesach to be so important that they not only wanted to reinforce these messages in the psyche of the Hebrew/Jewish people but also in the psyche of all humankind. Therefore, they encouraged the telling and re-telling - meaning to repeat the telling of the story of Passover/Pesach - in as many ways as possible so that more and more people will be able to learn from these messages based on their own religious, social, and/or political points-of-view. There are also local customs that vary between different Jewish communities that are added into the 15-step ordered process.
  • Opening the Pesach/Passover Seder meal either in a household or if the Seder is a communal Seder: To open the Passover/Pesach Seder meal, we refer to the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder meal. This "instruction manual" is known as the "Passover Haggadah" or "Pesach Haggadah", where the word "Haggadah" means either "narration" or "telling" in Hebrew, referring to the narration or telling of the Passover/Pesach story which is contained in step 5 in the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder that is outlined in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the religious, social, and/or political philosophy of the author(s) of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. Why so many different versions? Because the ancient rabbis deemed the messages contained in the story of Passover/Pesach to be so important that they not only wanted to reinforce these messages in the psyche of the Hebrew/Jewish people but also in the psyche of all humankind. Therefore, they encouraged the telling and re-telling - meaning to repeat the telling of the story of Passover/Pesach - of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that more and more people will be able to learn from these messages based on their own religious, social, and/or political points-of-view. Although the religious, social, and/or political interpretations of the Passover/Pesach story may be different for each version of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach story as well as the Passover/Pesach story itself remains the same for all versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are also local customs that vary between different Jewish communities that are added into the 15-step ordered process.
  • Opening the Passover / Pesach Seder: A series of 4 blessings are recited to open the Seder: (1) Ner (Light), (2) Yayin (Wine), (3) Kiddush (Sanctification), and (4) Zeman (Time). The standard formula and transliterated Hebrew beginning of each of these 4 blessings is as follows:

    Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe)...

    ...followed by the Hebrew words unique to each blessing (the initial words of which are in brackets in the following sequence):

    (1st Blessing) - Ner (bore me'orei ha-eish); (2nd Blessing) - Yayin (bore peri ha-gefen); (3rd Blessing) - Kiddush (asher bachar banu); (4th Blessing) - Zeman ("time" in Hebrew, referring to the season as mentioned in the "Shehecheyanu" blessing.
  • Once the Seder leader has completed the recitation of the Kiddush blessing, the Pesach/Passover Seder has formally begun whether the Seder is being held in a household or if it is a communal Seder.
  • When Is The First Piece Of Matzo Eaten At The Passover/Pesach Seder? After starting the Pesach/Passover Seder following the lighting of the Yom Tov candles, the first 1 oz. (or 28.35 grams) of matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes from the start of the Pesach/Passover Seder.
  • Prior to drinking the second cup of wine during the Seder meal : The rabbinical mitzvah ("commandment" in Hebrew) of publicizing the miracle - As with the minor Jewish festivals of Chanukah and Purim, we have a rabbinical mitzvah to publicize the miracle ("pirsumei nisa" in Hebrew) that G-d performed for the Hebrews, that is, the miracle of redeeming the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. For this, we have a blessing ("brachah" in Hebrew) known as "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" ("Who has redeemed us and our fathers" in Hebrew; since at the Seder meal we are commanded to feel as if we ourselves were also redeemed from slavery in Egypt). In this blessing, we thank G-d for redeeming us, and for redeeming our forefathers, from slavery in Egypt. The blessing concludes by turning to the future, whereupon we ask G-d to allow us to celebrate in the redemption. During the Chanukah festival, we light candles and recite the special blessing known in Hebrew as "She-asa nisim" ("Who has performed miracles"). During the Purim festival, we read from the Megillah (biblical "Book of Esther") and also recite the "She-asa nisim" blessing. In both cases, we are fulfilling the commandment to publicize the miracle of redemption that each festival represents. However, for the Pesach/Passover festival, we also publicize the miracle but instead of reciting the "She-asa nisim" blessing, we replace it with the aforementioned "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing. We recite this blessing for the miracle of Pesach/Passover after we recite the first two psalms of Hallel (Psalms 113 and 114; "Hallel" means "praise" in Hebrew; "full" or "complete" Hallel is from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118 inclusive) for Pesach/Passover (Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal do not fulfill the obligation to recite Hallel for Pesach/Passover at the Seder meal; instead, they fulfill the obligation to recite Hallel at the Ma'ariv or Arvit evening prayer service, which can begin after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky. This means that the end of sunset has arrived and nightfall is complete, and this is before the Seder meal begins). The "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing is immediately followed by the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing, then the blessing over the wine, and finally, the drinking of the second cup of wine during the Pesach/Passover Seder meal, which concludes the 5th Seder step. Keeping in mind that we are commanded to feel as if we ourselves were also redeemed from slavery in Egypt, in the 5th Seder step, we read or "tell" the story of Pesach/Passover. We try to experience the feeling as well as the meaning of being under the hardship of slavery under the Pharaoh of Egypt. While reading the conclusion of the Pesach/Passover story, which ended with the story of how we were redeemed from Egypt, we also try to experience the feeling of being redeemed ourselves. After the Pesach/Passover story has been read, we are beginning to realize and feel the full meaning of our redemption, and we then express this feeling by singing a song of gratitude to G-d for having redeemed us from slavery in Egypt known as "Dayenu" ["Enough" in Hebrew, as in approximately meaning: "It would have been enough (for us)" or "It would have been sufficient (for us)" or "It would have sufficed (for us)" in Hebrew]. After singing this song, we become more fully aware of the meaning of the miracle of Pesach/Passover and so we then recite the first two psalms of praise to G-d (Psalms 113 and 114) that are part of "Hallel" (Psalm 113 - Psalm 118 inclusive). After singing the first two psalms of Hallel, we are at a point at which we are fully grateful for the miracle of Pesach/Passover and so it is now appropriate to follow the first two psalms of Hallel with the "she-asa nisim" blessing which for Pesach/Passover has been changed to the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing. [Note regarding the opening blessing for Hallel for Pesach/Passover: for Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal, and according to the customs that derive from the Chassidic Siddur of the 16th century Kabbalist (Jewish mystical) authority, Rabbi Isaac Luria, Hallel (including the opening blessing for "full" Hallel - meaning all six psalms of Hallel - which commands us to finish or complete "full" Hallel, known in Hebrew as: "Ligmor et HaHallel", meaning "to finish the Hallel" or "to complete the Hallel") is recited in the synagogue as part of Ma'ariv/Arvit (evening synagogue service) which can begin after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky. This means that the end of sunset has arrived and nightfall is complete; hence, before the start of the Seder meal. For Ashkenazim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Central, Northwestern, and/or Eastern Europe), Hallel for Pesach/Passover is not read in the evening synagogue service in the late afternoon before sunset prior to the start of the Pesach/Passover festival and the Seder meal after sunset or nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. Instead, Hallel is read at the Seder meal, with the first two psalms read prior to the serving of the Seder meal and the remaining four psalms read after the completion of the Seder meal, but before the end of the Seder itself. For Ashkenazim, the opening blessing which commands us to read "full" Hallel is known as: "LiKro et HaHallel", meaning "to read the Hallel" in Hebrew, but for the Pesach/Passover Hallel which is read at the Seder meal, it is a custom for Ashkenazim to not read "LiKro et HaHallel" at the Seder meal and instead, simply recite the six psalms of Hallel at what for them is their proper times during the Seder (the first two before the Seder meal and the remaining four after the Seder meal) which in most other cases besides Pesach/Passover follow the opening blessing for Hallel. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for seven days, the first day is when "full" Hallel is done while on the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival, a shortened version of Hallel is done, that is, the custom is to omit reading the first 11 verses of each of the six psalms of Hallel out of empathy for the drowned Egyptians in the Pesach/Passover story, and to begin reading from the 12th verse onward. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, the custom is to do "full" Hallel on the first two evenings of Pesach/Passover while the remaining six days also have the same shortened version of Hallel as those who celebrate Pesach/Passover for seven days based on the same reasons. Empathy for the drowned Egyptians resulting in the shortening of Hallel for the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival derives from a Talmudic source, where it states: "The ministering angels were about to chant songs of praise as the Egyptians were drowning. The Almighty rebuked them, "My creatures are perishing in the sea, and ye are ready to sing" (Talmud, Megillah 10b). Therefore, the Talmudic rabbis decided that there could not be full rejoicing by the Hebrews after being saved from the Egyptian army at the "Sea of Reeds" or the "Red Sea" because the lives of Egyptians were lost in the "Sea of Reeds" or the "Red Sea", and this is reflected in the shortened version of Hallel for the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival. Finally, Sephardic Jews also change the wording in the opening blessing for Hallel to say "Likro et HaHallel" ("to read the Hallel" in Hebrew) when Hallel is shortened, and to say "Ligmor et HaHallel" ("to finish the Hallel" or "to complete the Hallel" in Hebrew) when Hallel is full.]
  • Ga'al Yisrael ("Redeemer of Israel" in Hebrew) - Prior to commencing the Seder meal, and more specifically, just prior to reciting the blessing over the wine for the second cup of wine near the end of the 5th step in the Seder meal, we recite the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing (some have the custom to sing "Ga'al Yisrael" as a song of gratitude toward the end of the 14th Seder step known as "Hallel" at the Seder meal). When the Seder occurs on Motza'ei Shabbat ("After Sabbath" in Hebrew), many people, citing the Gemara of the Talmud (Pesachim 116b), change the text in the Ga'al Yisrael blessing to say "ve-nochal sham min ha-pesachim u-min ha-zevachim" in Hebrew which means "we will eat there (in Jerusalem) from the paschal offerings and from the general offerings", where "general offerings" here refer to the korban Chagigah [literally, "festival offering" in Hebrew) which is eaten before the consumption of the korban Pesach (literally, "Passover offering" in Hebrew, specifically referring to the lamb offering for the Pesach/Passover festival)]. However, there are a number of literary rabbinic sources such as Tosafot ("additions" or "supplements" in Hebrew; "Tosafot" are medieval commentaries on the Talmud by authors and editors who likely thought of their work as "additions" or "supplements" to the basic commentary on the Talmud done by the one of the leading rabbinical authorities of their era, Rashi), "the Mordechai" [a legal commentary on the Talmud by Mordechai ben Hillel (circa 1250-1298, a leading German rabbi and legal authority)] and other Rishonim who advocate the inverse reading: "min ha-zevachim u-min ha-pesachim", since one is supposed to eat the "zevachim" - the korban Chagigah - prior to the "Pesachim" - the korban Pesach. This sequence emerges from the obligation to eat the korban Pesach on a full stomach, which as a result, warrants the prior consumption of the chagigah. [Rishonim were the leading rabbis and legal decisors ("Poskim" in Hebrew refer to "legal decisors" who were rabbis who decided Jewish law or Halakhah in cases of law where previous rabbinical decisions were inconclusive; singular form: "Posek") from 1040 C.E. - 1400 C.E., that is, in the era before the writing of the code of Jewish law known as the Shulkhan Arukh and following the era of the Geonim, who were the leaders of Jewish academies of learning in Babylonia from the 6th century C.E. until the 11th century C.E.; "Rishonim" literally means either "the first" or "the former" in Hebrew, referring to the rabbis and poskim before the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh.]. The purpose of reciting the Ga'al Yisrael blessing is to once again - in a short declaration - thank G-d for redeeming us and our ancestors from Egypt. Why do we thank G-d? As with the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing, in the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing we thank G-d for redeeming us and our ancestors from slavery in Egypt because the text of the Haggadah states that we would still be enslaved today if not for the Exodus from Egypt or "Yetziat Mitzrayim" ("leaving Egypt" in Hebrew); in other words, we would have not attained our current metaphysical, religious status of B'nei Chorin ("free people" in Hebrew). "Mitzrayim" ("Egypt" in Hebrew) derives from the root Hebrew word "Meitzar" which means "narrow" or "constricted". Therefore, "Mitzrayim" also means "a place of narrowness" or "a place of constriction". "Leaving Egypt" means to ask G-d to help us overcome the places of constriction or places of narrowness represented by the barriers built by and imposed on ourselves that limit our ability to connect with our soul. By surmounting those barriers and reconnecting with our soul, we are then able to gain true inner freedom. One effective way of going beyond our own ego and reconnecting with our true inner self is by giving to others. In other words, by giving to others we in fact gain and strengthen a reconnection to our true inner self which in turn gives us our sense of inner freedom. Therefore, had it not been for our redemption from Egypt, it is likely that we would have remained in the spiritual state of being enslaved to the Pharaoh (king) of Egypt; in other words, we would have not advanced beyond the spiritual mindset of being a slave to an oppressive authority. The Exodus from Egypt converted us from "avadim l'avadim" ("servants of servants" in Hebrew) to avadim LaMakom" ("servants of G-d" in Hebrew), and so based on all the aforementioned explanations, we give our expression of thanks to G-d for having redeemed us from Egypt through the reciting of the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing and the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing. In synagogue services, the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing is recited immediately before the start of the "Amidah" - the collective name for the series of 19 blessings that is the central focus of all Jewish prayer services.
  • When Does The First Day Of The Passover/Pesach Festival End? The first day of Pesach/Passover ends either at sunset or at nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows), where nightfall is defined in Jewish law as occurring either 72 minutes after sea level sunset or if it is a clear sky, when three medium-sized stars first appear and are sighted in the sky. There is also the custom to "extend" Shabbat (and Yom Tov) by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Shabbat (and Yom Tov) - anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before Shabbat and/or Yom Tov and up to a half-hour following Shabbat and/or Yom Tov. The amount of extended time added before and after Shabbat and/or Yom Tov depends on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • Full Havdalah Ceremony To Usher Out The Yom Tov/Festival Day: After nightfall (or if one follows the authoritative rabbinical opinion to extend Shabbat, about a half-hour after nightfall), to officially usher out Shabbat and Yom Tov for the first day of Passover/Pesach which in this year fell on Shabbat, one must perform the full Havdalah ceremony which formally marks the separation or distinction of Shabbat (and in this case, also of the first Yom Tov day) from the secular weekdays which follow. The full Havdalah ceremony - which is usually preceded by some verses from the Hebrew Bible - includes and is performed in the following order: The full version of the Havdalah ceremony involves reciting 4 blessings in the following order: (1) The blessing over the wine over a cup of red wine; (2) The blessing over and the smelling of sweet spices which symbolize the sweetness of Shabbat, meaning reciting the blessing over the spices over a spice box containing spices and/or herbs; (3) The blessing over the fire, meaning the kindling of the two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick or lighting two separate Havdalah candles - whichever is being used - and the recitation of the aforementioned blessing for fire, and (4) The blessing of Havdalah over the same cup of red wine that was used for the blessing over the wine. The Havdalah blessing is a formal declaration that in this case marks the separation or distinction between Shabbat (which in this case includes Yom Tov occurring on the same day as Shabbat) and the second Yom Tov day; (5) Zemirot ("prayer songs" in Hebrew) such as "Hamavdil" ("He Who Distinguishes" in Hebrew) are also sung at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony. When the Havdalah ceremony has concluded, the one who recited the Havdalah blessing to in this case formally mark the separation between Yom Tov and the secular weekdays drinks the wine or grape juice. It is a custom to overfill the cup so that it flows over to symbolize a good sign for the new week as in "My Cup Runneth Over" or "My Cup Overfloweth" (Tehillim 23:5 or Psalms 23:5). The full Havdalah ceremony involves the use of the five senses to make us more aware of the completeness of ourselves vis-a-vis the completeness of the holiness of Shabbat, which in this ceremony formally marks its being complete and hence, its ushering out. When Yom Tov is followed by the secular weekdays, only a "partial" version of the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. This simply means that the "partial" or shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony only involves the recitation of the formal declaration that marks the separation of Yom Tov from the secular weekdays - known as the Havdalah blessing, along with the blessing over the wine during the Havdalah ceremony and the drinking of the wine at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony - and does not involve the kindling of either two Havdalah candles or two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick, whichever is being used, and the recitation of its associated blessing for fire as well as the smelling of the sweet spices and the recitation of its associated blessing. If for whatever reason the Havdalah ceremony cannot be performed at the required time, it can be performed as late as Tuesday afternoon (Talmud, Mishnah, Tractate Pesachim 105a, 106a, 107a). As mentioned, the full Havdalah ceremony is performed anytime from after nightfall to midnight on Saturday to formally usher out Shabbat (Shabbat actually ends at nightfall on Saturday but by Jewish law, we must formally usher it out, and as mentioned, there is a custom to extend Shabbat about a half hour beyond nightfall), but if for whatever reason one cannot perform the Havdalah ceremony by midnight on Saturday evening, then Havdalah can be performed anytime until Tuesday evening at nightfall, but without the use of the Havdalah candle(s) nor the spice box containing the spices and/or herbs, and the omission of the recitation of the associated blessing for each (that is, the blessing over the fire and the blessing over the spices/herbs, respectively). Havdalah ("separation" or "distinction" in Hebrew) is a formal way of separating or distinguishing the holy time of Shabbat from the ordinary time of the secular weekdays that follow Shabbat in order to demonstrate that Shabbat time is a different and more special kind of time than the time period for the secular weekdays, as Shabbat time gives us a taste or idea of what Messianic times will be like: in other words, one long, Shabbat - a time of eternal justice and peace for the Hebrew/Jewish people and ultimately, for all humanity. In Judaism, we work during the secular weekdays toward bringing about the perfection of the world which we get a taste of at the end of the week with Shabbat, which is an ever- constant reminder to us to strive during the secular weekdays toward bringing Messianic times upon us. The Havdalah ceremony is a beautiful ceremony. In fact, "Havdalah" means "separation" in Hebrew, and derives from the Hebrew word "l'havdil" which means "to separate". One only performs the Havdalah ceremony when one is going from a higher level of holiness ("Kodesh" means "Holiness" in Hebrew) to a lower level of holiness. In terms of Shabbat or the Sabbath day, a Yom Tov day (either a holiday or festival day), and a secular weekday (a non-Shabbat day and non-Yom Tov day), the order from most to least holiest time is as follows: Shabbat, Yom Tov, and the secular weekdays. When a Yom Tov day is followed by a secular weekday, a shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony is performed. When Shabbat or the Sabbath is followed by either a Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In a rare calendrical situation, if a Yom Tov day falls on Shabbat or the Sabbath and is followed by either another Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In this situation, the time of Shabbat, or the Sabbath, is the higher level of holiness time in relation to the holiness time of the secular weekdays which follow Shabbat. The following link provides further information about Havdalah **.
Chol HaMoed (Intermediate Days of the Pesach/Passover festival)
1st Day of Chol HaMoedSaturday, April 4th, 2015 (Nightfall Saturday to Nightfall Sunday = 16th of Nissan)
  • What Customs Are Done During Chol HaMoed Days?
  • During Chol HaMoed days, it is customary to drink either a glass of wine or a glass of grape juice each day to commemorate the Passover/Pesach festival.
  • During Chol HaMoed days, we continue to consume Kosher for Passover foods and drinks.
  • During Chol Hamoed days, we can perform work as long as the type of work we perform does not fall under the 39 forms of forbidden work.
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • Counting of the Omer ("Sefirat Ha'Omer" in Hebrew): This is the 16th day of Nissan and therefore, it is the second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival. On the second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival, we have a mitzvah ("commandment" in Hebrew, referring in this context to a commandment from G-d) to begin "counting the omer". The source of this mitzvah to count the omer is in the biblical book of Vayikra, or Leviticus (Vayikra or Leviticus 23:15-16). What is the counting of the omer? The "Counting of the Omer" is a verbal counting of each of the 49 days starting from the second evening of the festival of Pesach/Passover up to and including the evening before the festival of Shavuot. The "Counting of the Omer" ("Sefirat Ha-Omer" in Hebrew) is recited at the end of Ma'ariv or Arvit (evening prayer services, which can begin just after nightfall, where nightfall in Jewish law occurs when one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if it is a cloudy day, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of sunset has arrived and nightfall is complete, and hence, the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day.). As mentioned, the Counting of the Omer occurs for 49 consecutive evenings and as also mentioned, begins in the evening on the 16th day of Nissan. The 49th and final evening of counting is on the 5th day of the 3rd Hebrew/Jewish month of Sivan, which is the day before the start of the Jewish festival of Shavuot, which begins after either sunset or nightfall on the 50th day after the 16th of Nissan or second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival, inclusive, that is, on the 6th day of Sivan. Without getting into the lengthy details (as if I haven't already!), there is a specific, religiously prescribed formula for counting the omer on each evening of the 49 evenings - meaning the way it is recited - and there is a slight difference between the formula for how Ashkenazim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Central, Northwestern, and/or Eastern Europe) count the omer and how Sephardim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal) count the omer. The "omer" was a specific measure of barley grain that dates back to early agricultural customs in Hebrew history. In temple times, the measure of omer barley grain was brought to the temple in Jerusalem by each Hebrew/Jewish family who grew produce from the land of Israel. The "omer" was an offering both to G-d and was also sustenance for the temple priests and assistants to the priests, who did not own land and depended on these and other offerings and/or tithes of produce from the other Hebrews/Jewish people who did own land. The bringing of the omer to the temple in Jerusalem and offering it to G-d as well as to the priests and assistants to the priests was a way of thanking G-d for the barley produce in the spring season and the counting of the omer was a way of commemorating the early barley harvest days in biblical Israel while at the same time the counting down of the 49 days of the omer also served as a way to spiritually prepare oneself as well as anticipate another historically and religiously important Hebrew/Jewish festival, the festival of Shavuot, when the Hebrews received the Torah from G-d via Moses at Mount Sinai.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
2nd Day of Chol HaMoedSunday, April 5th, 2015 (Nightfall Sunday to Nightfall Monday = 17th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
3rd Day of Chol HaMoedMonday, April 6th, 2015 (Nightfall Monday to Nightfall Tuesday = 18th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
4th Day of Chol HaMoedTuesday, April 7th, 2015 (Nightfall Tuesday to Nightfall Wednesday = 19th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
5th Day of Chol HaMoed (Eve of the 7th Day of the Pesach/Passover festival: (Erev Yom Tov, meaning "the Day Before the Holiday" in Hebrew; in this case, the 7th day of Pesach/Passover is a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for a Yom Tov day for Pesach/Passover applies to that day)Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 (Nightfall Wednesday to Nightfall Thursday = 20th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
  • Since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath), we therefore must kindle a new flame before the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat day and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles [which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat (this is the case in 2015 for the 1st day and 8th day if one celebrates Passover/Pesach for 8 days), are also the Shabbat candles] at the start of the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat day, so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat to not only kindle the two Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles on the seventh day of Passover/Pesach, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat available to use to re-kindle the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles in case one or both of the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles on the seventh day accidentally burn out. To achieve this, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit from the time we kindled it just before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat begins to at least until the time when we need to use it to kindle the two Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall when Yom Tov and/or Shabbat begins. One can use a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle for this activity. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov as well as Shabbat. The 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) and/or Shabbat candles on Friday night, either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • Candle-lighting time for Yom Tov/Shabbat in 2015: Traditionally, Yom Tov candles (as well as Shabbat/Sabbath candles) are lit either just after sunset or just after nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. However, since there is a custom to "extend" the time for Yom Tov (as well as for Shabbat/the Sabbath) due to it being the next highest level of holiness time after Shabbat/the Sabbath by "borrowing" time from the day previous to Yom Tov and the day following Yom Tov (for Shabbat/the Sabbath, time is borrowed from the day previous to and following Shabbat/the Sabbath) and adding that time onto the beginning and ending of Yom Tov respectively (same idea in the case of Shabbat/the Sabbath), most Jewish people light Yom Tov/Shabbat candles anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows. The most popular time to light Yom Tov candles (as well as Shabbat/Sabbath candles) are at 18 minutes before sunset. Therefore, in 2015, most Jewish people will kindle the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles at 18 minutes before sunset. Again, the time of sunset will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world.
  • The final day of Pesach/Passover - the 7th day - is a Yom Tov day (full "holiday", and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day) for Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for 7 days. Since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov and are only permitted to use a flame on Yom Tov that was created and hence, came into existence prior to Yom Tov, we therefore must kindle a new flame not long before the Yom Tov day I.E. before either sunset or nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles at the start of the Yom Tov day I.E. immediately after sunset or nightfall, so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov to not only kindle the two Yom Tov candles for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov available to use to re-kindle the Yom Tov candles in case one or both of the Yom Tov candles on the seventh day of Passover/Pesach accidentally burn out. To achieve this, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit from the time we kindled it just before Yom Tov begins to at least until the time when we need to use it to kindle the two Yom Tov candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall when Yom Tov begins. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov. As just mentioned, a popular choice is using a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle for this activity. The 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) candles for the 7th day of Passover/Pesach which begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • One must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles.
  • For some, it is the custom for the woman/women of the household to be the first to kindle the Yom Tov candles (for young girls, as soon as a young girl can say the Yom Tov blessing, her parents should provide her with a separate candlestick and teach her to kindle the Yom Tov candles. It is also preferable for the young girl to kindle her candle before her mother, so that her mother may assist her, if necessary).
  • Immediately after sunset or nightfall, depending on which authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, one then recites the associated blessing for Yom Tov (see just below here) to officially begin Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach, whereupon the day of Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach has officially begun. According to Jewish law, one must recite the blessing for Yom Tov before lighting the two Yom Tov candles (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27). Therefore, one must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. After reciting the Yom Tov blessing, kindle the two Yom Tov candles from a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was kindled before Yom Tov (as mentioned, the flame of a 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used, or either a stove pilot light, or gas flame can be used). The time of sunset varies depending on one's geographic latitude and on where one is located. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles. For some Jewish people, however, the custom is to do the reverse: to first kindle the Yom Tov candles and then recite the Yom Tov blessing as they wish to perform these two rituals in the same order as is done for Shabbat. To satisfy the aforementioned Mishnah Berurah law to recite the blessing for Yom Tov before kindling the Yom Tov candles, these Jewish people first kindle the two Yom Tov candles and then they either close their eyes or shield their eyes with their hands and then recite the Yom Tov blessing whereupon they either open their eyes or remove their hands from their eyes and then look at the two lit candles which are now the two Yom Tov candles since Yom Tov begins after the Yom Tov blessing is recited. By reciting the Yom Tov blessing with either their eyes closed or their eyes shielded by their hands from viewing the two lit candles and then viewing what are now the two Yom Tov candles after reciting the Yom Tov blessing, it is as if they have recited the Yom Tov blessing before viewing the Yom Tov candles, and so this satisfies both their desire to follow the same order as Shabbat by first kindling the two candles and reciting the associated blessing and at the same time, satisfy the Mishnah Berurah law to first recite the Yom Tov blessing and then kindle the two Yom Tov candles.
  • Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Yom Tov, one places the kindled candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out ["Yom Tov" literally means "Good Day" in Hebrew, but it can also refer to a holy day or holiday or festival day in Judaism; more specifically, a "full" holiday or "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day since Passover/Pesach is a festival. As just mentioned, a Yom Tov festival day is a day where the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days (Yomim Tovim is the plural form of Yom Tov in Hebrew, and means either "holidays" or "holy days" or "festival days") for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days (most Reform-Jews, some Conservative-Jews, and Jews living in Israel). For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days (some Reform-Jews, most Conservative-Jews, and Jews living outside Israel), Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover.].
  • Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles and then recites the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has begun for him/her. It is the custom for women to kindle the Yom Tov candles, and if both men and women are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony, then the woman who kindles the Yom Tov candles and recites the Yom Tov blessing has begun Yom Tov for all who are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony. If no women are available to kindle the Yom Tov candles, then a man can do the ritual.
  • As just mentioned, after one lights the Yom Tov candles and then recites the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has begun for him/her, and if men and women are present at the ceremony, then Yom Tov has begun for all of them as well. If no women are available to kindle the Yom Tov candles, then a man can perform the ritual. Therefore, since one cannot extinguish a flame on Yom Tov, one should place the candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder so that it will be allowed to burn itself out.
  • The Yom Tov blessing in transliterated Hebrew, is as follows; in this case, the blessing is for Yom Tov for the seventh day of Pesach/Passover:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the candle of the Holiday (in this case, the festival day of Pesach/Passover).
  • Next, recite the Kiddush, which includes the Blessing Over The Wine followed by the Kiddush Blessing for Yom Tov. The Blessing Over The Wine is as follows:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.

    The Kiddush Blessing is as follows: Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Feast of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.
  • There are some authoritative rabbinical opinions which state that it is only after reciting the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov that Yom Tov - in this case, the seventh day of Pesach/Passover - has officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov. Additionally, if a woman kindles the Yom Tov candles and recites the Yom Tov blessing and then recites the kiddush blessing for Yom Tov, with both men and women present, then Yom Tov will begin for all who are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony.
  • For the 7th day of Pesach/Passover, no "Shehecheyanu" ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing is recited as we have already blessed the season on Yom Tov for the 1st day of Passover/Pesach.
Final Days of the Pesach/Passover festival
7th Day of Pesach/Passover (Shvi'i Shel Pesach or Shevi'i Shel Pesach); Erev Shabbat ["Day Before (the) Sabbath" in Hebrew]Thursday, April 9th, 2015 (Nightfall Thursday to Nightfall Friday = 21st of Nissan)
  • Either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, Yom Tov has begun, but we must officially begin Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) by performing the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing and we must also kindle two Yom Tov candles.
  • The two Yom Tov candles for the seventh day of Pesach/Passover are kindled with a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was already in existence by having been lit before Yom Tov; that is, one can use the flame of the aforementioned 26-hour Yahrtzeit candle.
  • Reciting the Yom Tov blessing before or after kindling the Yom Tov candles: There is a Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27) which states that one must recite the Yom Tov blessing before kindling the Yom Tov candles. On Shabbat, or the Sabbath, one first kindles the two Shabbat candles and then one recites the Shabbat blessing, so that one may be able to re-kindle the Shabbat candles if one or both of them accidentally burn out, since Shabbat does not officially begin until the Shabbat blessing is recited. Since some Jewish people prefer to follow the same order of kindling candles for Yom Tov and then reciting the blessing for Yom Tov as they do for Shabbat while fulfilling the Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah that states that one must first recite the blessing for Yom Tov and then kindle the Yom Tov candles, they fulfill both by first kindling the two candles - which are not yet Yom Tov candles since one did not yet recite the blessing for Yom Tov - and then they recite the Yom Tov blessing with one's eyes either closed or with one's hands covering one's eyes. After the person finishes reciting the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has officially begun, and the person then either opens their eyes or removes their hands from their eyes to view for the first time on this Yom Tov what are now the two Yom Tov candles. This method fulfills both the custom to follow the order of first kindling the candles and then reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as is done for Shabbat, as well as to first recite the blessing for Yom Tov while shielding one's eyes from the two candles and then viewing the two Yom Tov candles for the first time after reciting the Yom Tov blessing. Yom Tov blessing: The following standard Yom Tov blessing is as follows in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olam A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holiday (or in this case, festival day).

    No Shehecheyanu Blessing is recited on Yom Tov for the 7th day and - if one celebrates Passover / Pesach for 8 days - the 8th day of Passover / Pesach since we have already blessed the season on the first Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 7 days) as well as the second Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 8 days) of Passover / Pesach; that is, the 1st day and 2nd day of Passover / Pesach.

    Next, the Kiddush ["Sanctification (of the Hebrews by G-d)" in Hebrew] is recited in order to formally begin the festive meal for Yom Tov for the 7th day of Pesach / Passover. The Kiddush comprises the Blessing Over The Wine followed by the Kiddush Blessing.

    Here is the blessing over the wine in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam, Borei Pri Ha-gafen.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.

    Next, the Kiddush blessing is recited:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Festival of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.

    In certain Chassidic traditions such as the Chabad-Lubavitch tradition, it is a custom to remain awake all night on the seventh day of Pesach/Passover until dawn while studying about and celebrating the miracle of the "splitting" of the Red Sea or the "Sea of Reeds" ("Yam Suf" in Hebrew) as well as engage in Torah study in general. When dawn arrives, water is poured on the floor and then those that were studying all night about the miracles of the "splitting" of the Red Sea or the "Sea of Reeds" dance in the water until it dries up.

  • Yizkor Memorial Service ["Yizkor" means "May (G-d) Remember" in Hebrew, it is from the Hebrew root word "zakhor", meaning "remember"]; after the Yizkor Memorial Service, for certain Chassidim such as the Chabad-Lubavitch sect, there is a special meal eaten late in the afternoon known as the "Seudas Moshiach", meaning "feast (or meal) for Messiah". Although this meal comes at the close of Pesach/Passover, the Chabad-Lubavitch believe that it represents an historic beginning in that on the final day of Pesach/Passover, the Haftarah scriptural reading from the Book of Isaiah introduces a prophetic vision of the glorious era of the Moshiach, who will return all Jews to Israel from our exile. In essence, the Chabad-Lubavitch believe that Pesach/Passover did not end with the Exodus but is a continuous process that began with Moses and will end with the arrival of Moshiach or the Messiah. They believe that one is incomplete without the other. The "Seudas Moshiach" festive meal is celebrated by eating matzah and drinking four cups of wine around a table and saying "L'Chayim!" ("To Life!" in Hebrew), which is a salutation for best wishes. This ritual was introduced by the Chassidic founder, the "Baal Shem Tov" and later Chassidic Sages, where participants join together around a table to express their thoughts, yearnings, hopes, feelings, and belief in the coming redemption. The festive meal concludes with the singing of melodies and tunes and ends on a high note with the fervant hope of Jewish faith in the future.
  • Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover or Pesach as well as the Pesach/Passover festival itself ends at either sunset or nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • After the Pesach/Passover festival ends, one has to wait for the leaven/chametz to be bought back by the Rabbi that one follows, so to make sure that the leaven/chametz was bought back by the rabbi that one follows, avoid eating chametz for approximately 1 hour after nightfall.
  • No Partial Havdalah: Passover ends on Friday evening whereupon Shabbat begins and we do not do Havdalah when going from a lower holiness time - Yom Tov for the 7th day of Passover/Pesach - to a higher holiness time - Shabbat.
Isru Chag (literally means "bind the festival" in Hebrew) (Shabbat = Sabbath)Friday, April 10th, 2015 (Nightfall Friday to Nightfall Saturday = 22nd of Nissan)
  • "Isru Chag" is a day that was created by the people of Israel in order to bask one more day in the close feelings to G-d and in the spiritual joy of the Pesach/Passover festival. It serves as a bridge between the lofty holiness of the Pesach/Passover festival and descending back into the mundane activities of everyday life. "Isru Chag" (or "Isru Hag") is also a day which the people of Israel created to traditionally depart from Jerusalem and return to their homes after gathering for the "Shalosh Regalim" (the three pilgrimmage festivals of Pesach/Passover, Shavuoth, and Sukkoth). For observant Jews, this also means that they return to putting on tefillin (phylacteries) for the morning prayers.
  • The regular Shabbat rituals - including kindling the Shabbat candles and reciting the Shabbat blessing and the Kiddush for Shabbat - apply to this day.

The following table represents the Passover calendar / Pesach calendar for those who celebrate Pesach / Passover for 8 days:

Date in Jewish/Hebrew Calendar Date in Gregorian/Christian Calendar Religious Activity/Activities
14th Nissan: L'Laila V'Erev Shabbat V'Pesach ("The Night Of The Day Before The Sabbath And Of Passover" in Hebrew) (Nightfall Thursday to Nightfall Friday = 14th of Nissan)Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 (Nightfall Thursday to Nightfall Friday = 14th of Nissan)
  • Bedikat Chametz ("Search For Leaven" in Hebrew) traditionally using a candle and feather: (1) Recite the Bedikat Chametz blessing; (2) Search for leaven throughout the household to rid the household of leaven; (3) When finished, perform the "Bitul Chametz" ritual ["Bitul Chametz" means to "Nullify (The) Leaven" in Hebrew] by reciting the Kol Chamira ("Kol Chamira" means "All Leavened Bread" in Aramaic or more specifically, the "Nullification Of All Leaven" in Aramaic) blessing immediately after the search. The Kol Chamira blessing is essentially a verbal declaration stating that one has eliminated all chametz in one's possession, both knowingly and unknowingly; in other words, one eliminates one's mental concerns about any chametz/leaven in the household. Reciting "Kol Chamira" fulfills G-ds' commandment of "Bitul Chametz" ["Bitul Chametz" means to "Nullify (The) Leaven" in Hebrew or more specifically, the "mental nullification of all leaven" in Hebrew)], which means that one eliminates one's mental concerns about any chametz in the household by verbalizing it through the Kol Chamira blessing.
  • Ta'anit Bechorot or Ta'anit Bekhorot (Ta'anit Bechorot or Ta'anit Bekhorot means "Fast of the First-Borns" in Hebrew). The first-born male in each Jewish family fasts for 1 day - from sunrise until sunset on the day before Passover - in commemoration of the 10th plague of Passover, in which G-d spared the first born male in every Jewish household in Egypt, and instead slew the first born in every Egyptian household. If there is no first born male in a Jewish household, then the oldest male in the family fasts. If there are no children, then the oldest member of the family fasts. This is done because all Egyptian families were affected by G-d's wrath, whether or not they had a first born son. This fast is also in memory of the slain first born Egyptian males, and symbolizes the gratitude of the first born males of Jewish households to G-d as well as serves as a reminder of G-d's might and power. However, first born Jewish males can be exempted from the Ta'anit Bechorot or Ta'anit Bekhorot by attending a siyyum bekhorot. Siyyum means "the celebration held after the public completion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or at the end of a year of study" in Hebrew, and siyyum bekhorot means "the celebration held after the public completion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or at the end of a year of study for first borns" in Hebrew. This celebration usually involves eating at a feast, called a "Seudat Mitzvah" (literally "Commanded Meal" in Hebrew). The siyyum bekhorot is done so that the obligation or mitzvah to hold a celebration will override the minor obligation or mitzvah to fast on the day before Passover. The siyyum bekhorot is normally done on the morning before Passover (14th day of Nissan in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar), with the ritual of burning the chametz (called "Biur Chametz" in Hebrew; "Biur" literally means "destruction" in Hebrew; especially, "destruction by fire") done soon after that, and before the morning is over. Passover / Pesach begins at the start of the 15th day of Nissan, in the evening.
  • The eating of leaven must stop before about 4 hours after sunrise. The time of sunrise will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world. Therefore, morning prayers should be completed as early as possible so that one can finish eating chametz at the breakfast meal before the religiously appointed time to stop eating chametz in one's geographical location.
  • Biur Chametz ("destruction" in Hebrew, especially, "destruction by fire") - burning of leaven/chametz. This must be done before about 5 hours after sunrise. The time of sunrise will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world. This ritual is performed if one still finds chametz in one's possession and/or household even after performing Bedikat Chametz. After destroying the leaven by burning it, the bracha ("blessing" in Hebrew) and Kol Chamira that was performed for the Bedikat Chametz ritual are repeated here.

    Biur Chametz ("destruction" in Hebrew, especially, "destruction by fire") - burning of leaven/chametz, Sof Z'man Achilat Chametz ("the latest time for eating leaven/chametz" in Hebrew), Sof Z'man Biur Chametz ("the latest time for burning leaven/chametz" in Hebrew), Mechirat Chametz ("the sale of leaven/chametz" in Hebrew). Normally, we stop eating chametz on Erev Pesach (the "Day Before Passover" in Hebrew) before about 4 "halakhic" hours after sunrise and burn all remaining "unsold" chametz in our possession (in our household and/or on one's person) before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day. In addition, chametz that is intended to be "sold" must be sold before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day. We then follow the usual custom of stopping chametz-eating before the end of the 4th halakhic hour of the day and burn and/or sell any remaining chametz in our possession by the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day, meaning after sunrise Shulchan Arukh (444:2) as understood by later rabbinic authorities to mean before the end of the 5th halakhic hour of the day. Although the Shulchan Arukh does mention that one must destroy the leaven/chametz before "chatzot" ("midday" in Hebrew) and not before the 5th halakhic hour, the rabbinic authority known as the "Maharsham" (in Da'at Torah, literally meaning "Torah knowledge" in Hebrew) states that the purpose is to safeguard the biblical requirement that we destroy the leaven/chametz prior to midday, but not to safeguard the additional rabbinical requirement that it must be completed before the 5th halakhic hour of the day. Most later rabbinic authorities such as Rashi have determined that the term "chatzos" in the Shulchan Arukh meant that one must burn the leaven/chametz before the 5th halakhic hour of the day (Mishnah Berurah 444:9; "Lu'ach Eretz Yisrael" by Rav Tuketchinsky), and so this is the law we follow. What is a Halahkic hour? First off, it is not sixty minutes on the clock. Rabbinic authorities define a halakhic hour as being one twelfth of daytime, and measure a halakhic hour starting from sunrise, where sunrise = 0:00. This means that in the winter, when the amount of daytime is shorter, a Halakhic hour can be as little as 45 minutes and in the summer, when the amount of daytime is longer, it can be as much as 75 minutes. Therefore, based on the aforementioned rabbinic definition, three hours (that is, "three o'clock") can be anywhere from 8:00 A.M., standard time, to 9:30 A.M. The time of sunrise will vary depending on where one is located. Therefore, morning prayers should be completed as early as possible so that one can finish eating chametz at the breakfast meal before the Halakhically I.E. religiously appointed time to stop eating chametz in one's geographical location. All utensils should be koshered by the time the chametz is to be burned. If one finds utensils left unkoshered after this time, then one can kosher them until candle-lighting time on Wednesday before sunset. As mentioned, the ritual of Biur Chametz must be done before the end of the 5th Halakhic hour after sunrise. The time of sunrise will vary depending on where one is located, meaning one's geographic latitude. The ritual of "Biur Chametz" is done if one finds chametz in one's possession (meaning in one's household and/or on one's person) before Passover begins and before the appointed halakhic time for burning the leaven/chametz; again, the latest time being before the end of the 5th Halakhic hour after sunrise. The ritual of burning the chametz is done soon after the completion of the Siyyum Bekhorot, and before the morning is over; as mentioned, before the end of the 5th Halakhic hour after sunrise. According to the laws of Pesach/Passover, all chametz that is in one's possession must be either consumed or disposed of before Passover begins. If for whatever reason one cannot consume or dispose of the chametz before Passover begins, then one "sells" any remaining chametz left in one's possession to a non-Jewish person for the duration of the Passover festival either through one's rabbi or through a kashrut authority ("kashrut" means "kosher" in Hebrew). The sale of chametz ("mechirat chametz" in Hebrew) is in fact a legally-binding contract between the seller and the non-Jewish person whereby the chametz products are specified and actually sold to the non-Jewish person. In addition, the area which is used for storing the chametz is also sold to the non-Jewish person. The non-Jewish person then stores the chametz for safekeeping in this area for the duration of Passover until Passover is over whereby the seller repurchases the chametz from the non-Jewish person. When the chametz is stored, it is highly secured and locked away to avoid its unintentional use during Passover. This ritual is an example of the flexibility of Jewish law and the intention of rabbis to make the lives of Jewish people as easy and pleasant as possible.

  • Since the eating of leaven/chametz must stop before the end of the 4th halakhic hour after sunrise, morning prayers should be completed as early as possible so that one can finish eating the leaven/chametz at the breakfast meal before the religiously appointed time to stop eating chametz in one's geographical location. After having discarded all leaven/chametz before the end of the 5th halakhic hour after sunrise today and/or "selling" one's chametz before the end of the 5th halakhic hour after sunrise today (if one wants to "buy back" one's chametz after the Passover/Pesach festival), one must then again perform Bitul Chametz by reciting the Kol Chamira (the first time was after performing Bedikat Chametz on Tuesday evening). The time of sunrise will vary depending on where one is located, meaning one's geographic latitude.
  • On the 14th day of Nissan, it is a custom to recite "The Order of the Passover Offering" ("Seder Korban Pesach" in Hebrew) after the afternoon prayer service (the afternoon prayer service is called "Mincha" or "Minchah" in Hebrew). The "Seder Korban Pesach" discusses how the Korban Pesach ("Passover Offering" in Hebrew, meaning the lamb offering) was brought. This is a special writing that is found both in our Machzorim ("prayer books" in Hebrew; literally, "Machzor" means "cycle" in Hebrew, referring to the annual cycle of Jewish prayers that this prayer book contains) and in some of our Haggadot ("Haggadahs" in Hebrew, that is, the Passover/Pesach Haggadah).
  • The 14th day of Nissan for the first Passover - the Exodus from Egypt - fell on Shabbat. Hence the real Erev Pesach ("Day Before Passover" in Hebrew) fell on Shabbat. In the time of the Beit Ha-Mikdash [literally, either "The (Place of Sanctity or Holy Place) House" or "The House of Sanctity" or "The Holy House" in Hebrew, referring to the biblical Temple in Jerusalem], the Korban Pesach ("Passover Offering" in Hebrew, meaning the lamb offering for the Festival of Passover) would be brought on this Shabbat. Today, those who recite the "Seder Amirat Korban Pesach" or "Amirat Seder Korban Pesach" ("Setting of the Order Of The Passover Offering" in Hebrew; short form: "Seder Korban Pesach", meaning "Order Of The Passover Offering" in Hebrew) would fulfill this in the afternoon on the day before Passover or Erev Pesach, the 14th day of Nissan, in lieu of bringing the Passover lamb offering since the bringing of the Korban Pesach or Passover lamb offering was stopped after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in either 68 C.E. or 70 C.E. by the Romans, with the date of the Second Temple's destruction depending on the scholarly opinion one follows. There is also a rabbinical prohibition against eating matzo on Erev Pesach. Finally, complete Hallel is recited during Ma'ariv (also known as "Arvit") evening prayer services, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset.
  • Since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath), we therefore must kindle a new flame before the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat day and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles [which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat (this is the case in 2015 for the 1st day and 8th day), are also the Shabbat candles] at the start of the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat day, so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat to not only kindle the two Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles on the first day and second day of Passover/Pesach, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat available to use to re-kindle the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles in case one or both of the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles on the first day and second day of Passover/Pesach accidentally burn out. To achieve this, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit from the time we kindled it just before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat begins to at least until the time when we need to use it to kindle the two Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall when Yom Tov and/or Shabbat begins. One can use a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle for this activity. The 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) and/or Shabbat candles on Friday night, either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • The Pesach/Passover festival officially begins immediately after either sunset or nightfall, wherever one is located in the world; the exact time for when nightfall (defined in Jewish law as "the end of sunset") arrives depends on one's geographic latitude as well as where one is located. As just mentioned, nightfall in Jewish law is the point in time when it grows dark enough for three average-sized stars to be visible in the sky; this is anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour after sunset, depending on one's geographic latitude and where one is located. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset.
  • For Jewish people who celebrate Passover / Pesach for 8 days, the first two days and the final two days of Passover / Pesach are Yom Tov days, meaning "full" holidays (technically-speaking, since Passover / Pesach is a festival, Yom Tov days during Passover / Pesach are called "full" festival days, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Passover / Pesach applies to those days). Since there are two consecutive Yom Tov days at the beginning and end of Passover / Pesach and since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov (in addition to Shabbat/the Sabbath), we therefore must kindle a new flame before the first Yom Tov day and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles (which on Shabbat/the Sabbath, are also the Shabbat/Sabbath candles) at the start of the 1st Yom Tov day and two more Yom Tov candles at the start of the second Yom Tov day. To achieve this, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit for more than 48 hours, so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov to not only kindle the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles on the first day and two more Yom Tov candles on the second day of Passover/Pesach, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov available to use to re-kindle the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles for the 1st day of Passover / Pesach or the Yom Tov candles for the second day of Passover / Pesach in case one or both of the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles on either the first day of Passover / Pesach or Yom Tov candles on the second day of Passover/Pesach accidentally burn out. To accomplish this, the new flame that exists before Yom Tov/Shabbat can be a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov. The 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles on Friday night and the two Yom Tov candles on Saturday night, either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • One must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles. The same rules apply to Shabbat.
  • Use a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle lit just before the Yom Tov or the festival begins and use it to kindle the two Yom Tov or festival candles [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial]. Light the candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall or anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour before sunset (18 minutes before sunset being the most popular time), whichever is one's custom. Again, if Yom Tov falls on Shabbat, then the Yom Tov candles also become the Shabbat candles.
  • Candle-lighting time for Yom Tov: Traditionally, Yom Tov candles (as well as Shabbat/Sabbath candles) are lit either just after sunset or just after nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. However, since there is a custom to "extend" the time for Yom Tov due to its holiness as it is the next highest level of holiness time after Shabbat/the Sabbath by "borrowing" time from the day previous to Yom Tov and the day following Yom Tov and adding that time onto the beginning and ending of Yom Tov (same idea for Shabbat/the Sabbath), most Jewish people light the Yom Tov candles anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows. The most popular time to light Yom Tov candles (as well as Shabbat/Sabbath candles) are at 18 minutes before sunset. Therefore, most Jewish people will kindle the Yom Tov candles at 18 minutes before sunset. Again, the time of sunset will vary depending on one's latitude and on where one is located in the world.
  • The first day of Pesach/Passover is a Yom Tov day (full "holiday", and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day). In addition, the 1st day of Pesach/Passover this year falls on Shabbat, or the Sabbath. Therefore, since the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset or nightfall to nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and the custom is to "extend" the time for Shabbat by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Shabbat and adding it both before and immediately following Shabbat, this extends the time for Shabbat beyond 24 hours. The time added to Shabbat can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom and up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom. However, the most popular starting time for Shabbat and Jewish festivals and holidays is at 18 minutes before sunset and so we customarily begin Shabbat at 18 minutes before sunset (or 30-40 minutes before sunset as is the custom for Jews living in Jerusalem, Israel). Since for this year the 24-hour period for the 1st day of Pesach/Passover - a Yom Tov day - falls within the 25-hour period of Shabbat, and we are not allowed to create a new flame on Shabbat or on Yom Tov, one must either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before Shabbat begins at sunset so that one can use either the kindled candle or the lit match at 18 minutes before sunset to kindle the two Shabbat candles, which are also the two Yom Tov candles when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat. After kindling the two Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, one then recites the associated blessing for Shabbat and for Yom Tov as one blessing. To achieve this, as just mentioned, one can either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before sunset and use the kindled candle or lit match to kindle the Shabbat candles/Yom Tov candles. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov/Shabbat, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov/Shabbat. Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov, one either places the kindled candle used to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out, or in the case of the lit match, drop the lit match into the metal tray where the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself ["Yom Tov" means "holiday" in Hebrew; more specifically, a "full" holiday, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day which means that it is a day when the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover; plural form: "Yomim Tovim" in Hebrew, meaning "holidays"].
  • Note that accepting Shabbat is on an individual basis, which means that each member of the household must accept Shabbat individually by each kindling Shabbat candles. The most common custom is to kindle two Shabbat candles per member of a household which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat, are also the Yom Tov candles. Why two Shabbat candles? Because two Shabbat candles represent the two important biblical references to Shabbat: (1) "Remember the Sabbath" (Shemot/Exodus 20:8), and (2) "Observe the Sabbath" (Devarim/Deuteronomy 5:12). However, there is a custom that if a woman is married, she kindles two Shabbat candles, and if a woman is unmarried, she kindles one Shabbat candle. Therefore, when a person in a household kindles one or two Shabbat candles 18 minutes before sunset on Friday, this means that Shabbat has begun for the person who kindled the Shabbat candles.
  • In addition, Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is also accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles, Yom Tov has begun for him/her.
  • Prior to lighting the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, it is customary to recite the Minchah (afternoon prayer service) prayer and then put some money into a charity box ("tzedakah pushkah", where "tzedakah" means "charity" in Hebrew, and "pushkah" means "box" in Yiddish). It is the custom for the woman/women of the household to be the first to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles (for young girls, as soon as a young girl can say the Shabbat/Yom Tov blessing, her parents should provide her with a separate candlestick and teach her to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles. It is also preferable for the young girl to kindle her candle before her mother, so that her mother may assist her, if necessary). Using the kindled candle, light the two Shabbat/Yom Tov candles 18 minutes before sunset (the custom in Jerusalem, Israel, is to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles 30-40 minutes before sunset). Recite the associated blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov (see just below here). The time of sunset varies depending on one's latitude.
  • After the woman lights the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, Shabbat/Yom Tov has begun for her. Therefore, since one cannot extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov, the woman should place the candle used to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles in a secure holder so that it will be allowed to burn itself out. If one chooses to strike a match in order to use the lighted match to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, then after kindling the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, one should allow the lighted match to drop into the metal tray where the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself, since the person who kindled the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles cannot extinguish the match because Shabbat/Yom Tov has begun for her/him, and, as mentioned, one cannot extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov.
  • After lighting the Sabbath/Yom Tov candles, the woman then welcomes in a special guest known as the "Sabbath Queen" ["Shabbat Ha-Malka" in Hebrew), who, in Jewish mystical tradition, is the "Shechinah" (the "dwelling" or the "settling" in Hebrew, meaning the dwelling or settling presence of G-d, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem, but also a dwelling or settling in a special sense, meaning a dwelling or settling of divine presence, to the effect that, while in proximity to the Shechinah, the connection to G-d is more readily perceivable. The Sabbath Queen, being the Shechinah, is the nurturing and loving Divine Presence that expresses the "feminine" aspects of G-d - the Compassionate One.)]. How does the woman welcome in the Sabbath Queen? She does this by first stretching her hands out towards the candles. Then she moves her hands inward in a circular motion and performs this circular motion three times, which represents the ushering in of the Sabbath Queen. Following this, the woman then covers her eyes with her hands and recites the following Sabbath/Yom Tov blessing in transliterated Hebrew, since this day is both the Sabbath and Yom Tov; in this case, the first day of Pesach/Passover:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat veShel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the candle of Shabbat and of the Holiday (in this case, the festival day of Pesach/Passover).

    After reciting the blessing, while the woman has her face covered by her hands, it is customary for the woman to offer a private prayer for anything that she desires. After this private prayer is offered, the woman removes her hands from her face and says a traditional wish to all who are present. This wish is either a wish for a "Gut Shabbos" ("Good Sabbath" in Yiddish) or a wish for a "Shabbat Shalom" ["Sabbath (of) Peace" in Hebrew].
  • The Shehecheyanu ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing: Depending on one's custom, the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing that thanks G-d for sustaining us (the Hebrews/Jewish people) and enabling us to reach this season or this special time, is recited either immediately following the Yom Tov blessing or immediately following the Kiddush blessing of the Kiddush and immediately before the beginning of the Pesach / Passover Seder as stated in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah which is the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder ("Haggadah" means either "Telling" or "Narration" in Hebrew, meaning it contains the telling or narration of the Passover/Pesach story and also that one should tell or narrate the Passover/Pesach story to others).

    The Shehecheyanu blessing is as follows:

    Blessed art thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who hast kept us in life, and (or who) hast preserved us, and (hast) enabled us to reach this season.

  • Next, recite the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov over the wine. The Kiddush is recited in order to formally begin a festive meal; in this case, for both Shabbat and Yom Tov for the 1st day of Pesach / Passover. The Kiddush for Yom Tov/Shabbat begins with the recitation of the Yayin ("Wine" in Hebrew) blessing, which is a blessing made over a glass of red wine that thanks G-d for providing the "fruit of the vine" I.E. grapes for making wine, followed by the Kiddush blessing which mentions words about the holiness of Yom Tov and of Shabbat when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat.

    Here is the blessing over the wine in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam, Borei Pri Ha-gafen.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.



    The Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov is as follows (the first paragraph relates to Shabbat and Creation):

    And it was evening and it was morning, The sixth day. And the heaven and the earth and all their hosts were completed. And on the seventh day G-d finished His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it He rested from all His work which He, G-d, created to make (Bereshit/Genesis 1:31, 2:1-3).

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Festival of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.
  • After reciting the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov, both Shabbat and Yom Tov - in this case, the first day of Pesach/Passover - have officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov.
  • The Shehecheyanu ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing: Depending on one's custom, the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing that thanks G-d for sustaining us (the Hebrews/Jewish people) and enabling us to reach this season or this special time, is recited either immediately following the Yom Tov blessing or immediately following the Kiddush blessing of the Kiddush and immediately before the beginning of the Pesach / Passover Seder as stated in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah which is the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder ("Haggadah" means either "Telling" or "Narration" in Hebrew, meaning it contains the telling or narration of the Passover/Pesach story and also that one should tell or narrate the Passover/Pesach story to others).

    The Shehecheyanu blessing is as follows:

    Blessed art thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who hast kept us in life, and (or who) hast preserved us, and (hast) enabled us to reach this season.

  • It is a Jewish tradition for the woman of the household to kindle the two Yom Tov candles and to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. However, there are varying authoritative rabbinical opinions regarding the recitation of the Shehecheyanu blessing for Yom Tov. Many authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and then repeats the Shehecheyanu blessing a second time following the Kiddush ["Sanctification" (by G-d of the Hebrew/Jewish people) in Hebrew] blessing at the Seder table. Other authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman only recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and does not repeat it following the Kiddush blessing at the Seder table. However, there are some authoritative rabbinical opinions which state that the woman does not say a "Shehecheyanu" blessing at all.
  • Laws Of Yom Tov (the "Full" festival days of the Passover / Pesach festival, meaning the full application of Jewish religious laws for Passover / Pesach apply to these days. Securing the Yom Tov candles - Prior to the use of glass receptacle candles, it used to be that if one could not make the Yom Tov candles stand on their own without melting their bottoms to secure them, then one should secure them before Shabbat began (Talmud, Mishnah Berurah 514:18). The invention of short candles in glass receptacles avoided the problem mentioned in Mishnah Berurah 514:18, enabling one to kindle the Yom Tov candles.
  • Reciting the Yom Tov blessing before or after kindling the Yom Tov candles: There is a Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27) which states that one must recite the Yom Tov blessing before kindling the Yom Tov candles. On Shabbat/the Sabbath, one first kindles the two Shabbat candles and then one recites the Shabbat blessing, so that one may be able to re-kindle the Shabbat candles if one or both of them accidentally burn out, since Shabbat does not officially begin until the Shabbat blessing is recited. Since some Jewish people prefer to follow the same order of kindling candles for Yom Tov and then reciting the blessing for Yom Tov as they do for Shabbat while fulfilling the Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah that states that one must first recite the blessing for Yom Tov and then kindle the Yom Tov candles, they fulfill both by first kindling the two candles - which are not yet Yom Tov candles since one did not yet recite the blessing for Yom Tov - and then they recite the Yom Tov blessing with one's eyes either closed or with one's hands covering one's eyes. After the person finishes reciting the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has officially begun, and the person then either opens their eyes or removes their hands from their eyes to view for the first time on this Yom Tov what are now the two Yom Tov candles. This method fulfills both the custom to follow the order of first kindling the candles and then reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as is done for Shabbat, as well as to first recite the blessing for Yom Tov while shielding one's eyes from the two candles and then viewing the two Yom Tov candles for the first time after reciting the Yom Tov blessing.

  • It is a Jewish tradition for the woman of the household to kindle the two Yom Tov candles and to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. However, there are varying authoritative rabbinical opinions regarding the recitation of the Shehecheyanu blessing for Yom Tov. Many authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and then repeats the Shehecheyanu blessing a second time following the Kiddush ["Sanctification" (by G-d of the Hebrew/Jewish people) in Hebrew] blessing at the Seder table. Other authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman only recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and does not repeat it following the Kiddush blessing at the Seder table. However, there are some authoritative rabbinical opinions which state that the woman does not say a "Shehecheyanu" blessing at all.
  • Laws Of Yom Tov (the "Full" festival days of the Passover / Pesach festival, meaning the full application of Jewish religious laws for Passover / Pesach apply to these days. Securing the Yom Tov candles - Prior to the use of glass receptacle candles, it used to be that if one could not make the Yom Tov candles stand on their own without melting their bottoms to secure them, then one should secure them before Shabbat began (Talmud, Mishnah Berurah 514:18). The invention of short candles in glass receptacles avoided the problem mentioned in Mishnah Berurah 514:18, enabling one to kindle the Yom Tov candles.
  • It is only after the Yom Tov/Shabbat candles have been lit and the associated blessing recited for Yom Tov/Shabbat that one can begin to heat up food specifically for the Seder meal. In addition, other preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder can begin or if certain preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder were done before Yom Tov/Shabbat, then the remaining preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder can begin. As just mentioned, some Seder preparations as well as Yom Tov (holiday, or in this case, festival day) and Shabbat preparations in general are done before the start of Yom Tov/Shabbat, such as creating the symbolic foods for the Seder table. The remainder of the Seder preparations can also be completed either before Yom Tov begins or completed after Yom Tov begins. If one wishes to start the Seder immediately after nightfall, then it is of course preferable to complete the Seder preparations before Yom Tov/Shabbat begins to avoid tampering with the Seder table.
  • Jewish law regarding the extinguishing of a flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath): Putting out the flame of the candles is prohibited. Only a non-Jewish person can do it, or the candle must extinguish itself after it is lit.
Pesach/Passover 5775
1st Day of Pesach/Passover (Shabbat = Sabbath)Friday, April 3rd, 2015 (Nightfall Friday to Nightfall Saturday = 15th of Nissan)
  • We begin the 15th of Nissan by having the evening prayer service ("Ma'ariv" or "Arvit" in Hebrew, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. Therefore, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, the new Jewish day begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, with nightfall being the end of the sunset period.
  • When Does The Passover Seder Begin? The Seder begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, meaning after the lighting of the two Yom Tov/Shabbat candles and after the Ma'ariv or Arvit ("Evening" in Hebrew) prayer service. Refer to the Passover/Pesach Haggadah for step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the 15 ordered steps that comprise the Seder. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the political, social, and/or religious philosophies in Judaism that one follows, but the structure and order of the 15 steps are always the same for each version. The reason for the variety of versions in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah is that rabbis down through the ages have encouraged the "telling" and interpretation of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that the timeless messages contained in the Passover/Pesach story could be understood and appreciated by as many people as possible since these are messages that all human beings can relate to and learn from.
  • Opening the Pesach/Passover Seder meal either in a household or if the Seder is a communal Seder: To open the Passover/Pesach Seder meal, we refer to the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder meal. This "instruction manual" is known as the "Passover Haggadah" or "Pesach Haggadah", where the word "Haggadah" means either "narration" or "telling" in Hebrew, referring to the narration or telling of the Passover/Pesach story which is contained in step 5 in the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder that is outlined in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the religious, social, and/or political philosophy of the author(s) of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. Why so many different versions? Because the ancient rabbis deemed the messages contained in the story of Passover/Pesach to be so important that they not only wanted to reinforce these messages in the psyche of the Hebrew/Jewish people but also in the psyche of all humankind. Therefore, they encouraged the telling and re-telling - meaning to repeat the telling of the story of Passover/Pesach - of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that more and more people will be able to learn from these messages based on their own religious, social, and/or political points-of-view. Although the religious, social, and/or political interpretations of the Passover/Pesach story may be different for each version of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach story as well as the Passover/Pesach story itself remains the same for all versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are also local customs that vary between different Jewish communities that are added into the 15-step ordered process. As mentioned earlier, a series of 4 blessings are recited to open the Seder: (1) Ner (Light), (2) Yayin (Wine), (3) Kiddush (Sanctification), and (4) Zeman (Time). The standard formula and transliterated Hebrew beginning of each of these 4 blessings is as follows:

    Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe)...

    ...followed by the Hebrew words unique to each blessing (the initial words of which are in brackets in the following sequence):

    (1st Blessing) - Ner (bore me'orei ha-eish); (2nd Blessing) - Yayin (bore peri ha-gefen); (3rd Blessing) - Kiddush (asher bachar banu); (4th Blessing) - Zeman ("time" in Hebrew, referring to the season as mentioned in the "Shehecheyanu" blessing.
  • Once the Seder leader has completed the recitation of the Kiddush blessing, the Pesach/Passover Seder has formally begun whether the Seder is being held in a household or if it is a communal Seder.
  • When Is The First Piece Of Matzo Eaten At The Passover/Pesach Seder? After starting the Pesach/Passover Seder, the first 1 oz. (or 28.35 grams) of matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes from the start of the Pesach/Passover Seder.
  • Prior to drinking the second cup of wine during the Seder meal : The rabbinical mitzvah ("commandment" in Hebrew) of publicizing the miracle - As with the minor Jewish festivals of Chanukah and Purim, we have a rabbinical mitzvah to publicize the miracle ("pirsumei nisa" in Hebrew) that G-d performed for the Hebrews, that is, the miracle of redeeming the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. For this, we have a blessing ("brachah" in Hebrew) known as "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" ("Who has redeemed us and our fathers" in Hebrew; since at the Seder meal we are commanded to feel as if we ourselves were also redeemed from slavery in Egypt). In this blessing, we thank G-d for redeeming us, and for redeeming our forefathers, from slavery in Egypt. The blessing concludes by turning to the future, whereupon we ask G-d to allow us to celebrate in the redemption. During the Chanukah festival, we light candles and recite the special blessing known in Hebrew as "She-asa nisim" ("Who has performed miracles"). During the Purim festival, we read from the Megillah (biblical "Book of Esther") and also recite the "She-asa nisim" blessing. In both cases, we are fulfilling the commandment to publicize the miracle of redemption that each festival represents. However, for the Pesach/Passover festival, we also publicize the miracle but instead of reciting the "She-asa nisim" blessing, we replace it with the aforementioned "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing. We recite this blessing for the miracle of Pesach/Passover after we recite the first two psalms of Hallel (Psalms 113 and 114; "Hallel" means "praise" in Hebrew; "full" or "complete" Hallel is from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118 inclusive) for Pesach/Passover (Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal do not fulfill the obligation to recite Hallel for Pesach/Passover at the Seder meal; instead, they fulfill the obligation to recite Hallel at the Ma'ariv or Arvit evening prayer service, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset, and this is before the Seder meal begins). The "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing is immediately followed by the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing, then the blessing over the wine, and finally, the drinking of the second cup of wine during the Pesach/Passover Seder meal, which concludes the 5th Seder step. Keeping in mind that we are commanded to feel as if we ourselves were also redeemed from slavery in Egypt, in the 5th Seder step, we read or "tell" the story of Pesach/Passover. We try to experience the feeling as well as the meaning of being under the hardship of slavery under the Pharaoh of Egypt. While reading the conclusion of the Pesach/Passover story, which ended with the story of how we were redeemed from Egypt, we also try to experience the feeling of being redeemed ourselves. After the Pesach/Passover story has been read, we are beginning to realize and feel the full meaning of our redemption, and we then express this feeling by singing a song of gratitude to G-d for having redeemed us from slavery in Egypt known as "Dayenu" ["Enough" in Hebrew, as in approximately meaning: "It would have been enough (for us)" or "It would have been sufficient (for us)" or "It would have sufficed (for us)" in Hebrew]. After singing this song, we become more fully aware of the meaning of the miracle of Pesach/Passover and so we then recite the first two psalms of praise to G-d (Psalms 113 and 114) that are part of "Hallel" (Psalm 113 - Psalm 118 inclusive). After singing the first two psalms of Hallel, we are at a point at which we are fully grateful for the miracle of Pesach/Passover and so it is now appropriate to follow the first two psalms of Hallel with the "she-asa nisim" blessing which for Pesach/Passover has been changed to the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing. [Note regarding the opening blessing for Hallel for Pesach/Passover: for Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal, and according to the customs that derive from the Chassidic Siddur of the 16th century Kabbalist (Jewish mystical) authority, Rabbi Isaac Luria, Hallel (including the opening blessing for "full" Hallel - meaning all six psalms of Hallel - which commands us to finish or complete "full" Hallel, known in Hebrew as: "Ligmor et HaHallel", meaning "to finish the Hallel" or "to complete the Hallel") is recited in the synagogue as part of Ma'ariv/Arvit (evening synagogue service) which can begin after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky. This means that the end of sunset has arrived and nightfall is complete; hence, before the start of the Seder meal. For Ashkenazim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Central, Northwestern, and/or Eastern Europe), Hallel for Pesach/Passover is not read in the evening synagogue service in the late afternoon before sunset prior to the start of the Pesach/Passover festival and the Seder meal after sunset or nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. Instead, Hallel is read at the Seder meal, with the first two psalms read prior to the serving of the Seder meal and the remaining four psalms read after the completion of the Seder meal, but before the end of the Seder itself. For Ashkenazim, the opening blessing which commands us to read "full" Hallel is known as: "LiKro et HaHallel", meaning "to read the Hallel" in Hebrew, but for the Pesach/Passover Hallel which is read at the Seder meal, it is a custom for Ashkenazim to not read "LiKro et HaHallel" at the Seder meal and instead, simply recite the six psalms of Hallel at what for them is their proper times during the Seder (the first two before the Seder meal and the remaining four after the Seder meal) which in most other cases besides Pesach/Passover follow the opening blessing for Hallel. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for seven days, the first day is when "full" Hallel is done while on the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival, a shortened version of Hallel is done, that is, the custom is to omit reading the first 11 verses of each of the six psalms of Hallel out of empathy for the drowned Egyptians in the Pesach/Passover story, and to begin reading from the 12th verse onward. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, the custom is to do "full" Hallel on the first two evenings of Pesach/Passover while the remaining six days also have the same shortened version of Hallel as those who celebrate Pesach/Passover for seven days based on the same reasons. Empathy for the drowned Egyptians resulting in the shortening of Hallel for the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival derives from a Talmudic source, where it states: "The ministering angels were about to chant songs of praise as the Egyptians were drowning. The Almighty rebuked them, "My creatures are perishing in the sea, and ye are ready to sing" (Talmud, Megillah 10b). Therefore, the Talmudic rabbis decided that there could not be full rejoicing by the Hebrews after being saved from the Egyptian army at the "Sea of Reeds" or the "Red Sea" because the lives of Egyptians were lost in the "Sea of Reeds" or the "Red Sea", and this is reflected in the shortened version of Hallel for the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival. Finally, Sephardic Jews also change the wording in the opening blessing for Hallel to say "Likro et HaHallel" ("to read the Hallel" in Hebrew) when Hallel is shortened, and to say "Ligmor et HaHallel" ("to finish the Hallel" or "to complete the Hallel" in Hebrew) when Hallel is full.]
  • Ga'al Yisrael ("Redeemer of Israel" in Hebrew) - Prior to commencing the Seder meal, and more specifically, just prior to reciting the blessing over the wine for the second cup of wine near the end of the 5th step in the Seder meal, we recite the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing (some have the custom to sing "Ga'al Yisrael" as a song of gratitude toward the end of the 14th Seder step known as "Hallel" at the Seder meal). When the Seder occurs on Motza'ei Shabbat ("After Sabbath" in Hebrew), many people, citing the Gemara of the Talmud (Pesachim 116b), change the text in the Ga'al Yisrael blessing to say "ve-nochal sham min ha-pesachim u-min ha-zevachim" in Hebrew which means "we will eat there (in Jerusalem) from the paschal offerings and from the general offerings", where "general offerings" here refer to the korban Chagigah [literally, "festival offering" in Hebrew) which is eaten before the consumption of the korban Pesach (literally, "Passover offering" in Hebrew, specifically referring to the lamb offering for the Pesach/Passover festival)]. However, there are a number of literary rabbinic sources such as Tosafot ("additions" or "supplements" in Hebrew; "Tosafot" are medieval commentaries on the Talmud by authors and editors who likely thought of their work as "additions" or "supplements" to the basic commentary on the Talmud done by the one of the leading rabbinical authorities of their era, Rashi), "the Mordechai" [a legal commentary on the Talmud by Mordechai ben Hillel (circa 1250-1298, a leading German rabbi and legal authority)] and other Rishonim who advocate the inverse reading: "min ha-zevachim u-min ha-pesachim", since one is supposed to eat the "zevachim" - the korban Chagigah - prior to the "Pesachim" - the korban Pesach. This sequence emerges from the obligation to eat the korban Pesach on a full stomach, which as a result, warrants the prior consumption of the chagigah. [Rishonim were the leading rabbis and legal decisors ("Poskim" in Hebrew refer to "legal decisors" who were rabbis who decided Jewish law or Halakhah in cases of law where previous rabbinical decisions were inconclusive; singular form: "Posek") from 1040 C.E. - 1400 C.E., that is, in the era before the writing of the code of Jewish law known as the Shulkhan Arukh and following the era of the Geonim, who were the leaders of Jewish academies of learning in Babylonia from the 6th century C.E. until the 11th century C.E.; "Rishonim" literally means either "the first" or "the former" in Hebrew, referring to the rabbis and poskim before the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh.]. The purpose of reciting the Ga'al Yisrael blessing is to once again - in a short declaration - thank G-d for redeeming us and our ancestors from Egypt. Why do we thank G-d? As with the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing, in the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing we thank G-d for redeeming us and our ancestors from slavery in Egypt because the text of the Haggadah states that we would still be enslaved today if not for the Exodus from Egypt or "Yetziat Mitzrayim" ("leaving Egypt" in Hebrew); in other words, we would have not attained our current metaphysical, religious status of B'nei Chorin ("free people" in Hebrew). "Mitzrayim" ("Egypt" in Hebrew) derives from the root Hebrew word "Meitzar" which means "narrow" or "constricted". Therefore, "Mitzrayim" also means "a place of narrowness" or "a place of constriction". "Leaving Egypt" means to ask G-d to help us overcome the places of constriction or places of narrowness represented by the barriers built by and imposed on ourselves that limit our ability to connect with our soul. By surmounting those barriers and reconnecting with our soul, we are then able to gain true inner freedom. One effective way of going beyond our own ego and reconnecting with our true inner self is by giving to others. In other words, by giving to others we in fact gain and strengthen a reconnection to our true inner self which in turn gives us our sense of inner freedom. Therefore, had it not been for our redemption from Egypt, it is likely that we would have remained in the spiritual state of being enslaved to the Pharaoh (king) of Egypt; in other words, we would have not advanced beyond the spiritual mindset of being a slave to an oppressive authority. The Exodus from Egypt converted us from "avadim l'avadim" ("servants of servants" in Hebrew) to avadim LaMakom" ("servants of G-d" in Hebrew), and so based on all the aforementioned explanations, we give our expression of thanks to G-d for having redeemed us from Egypt through the reciting of the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing and the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing. In synagogue services, the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing is recited immediately before the start of the "Amidah" - the collective name for the series of 19 blessings that is the central focus of all Jewish prayer services.
  • When Does The First Day Of The Passover/Pesach Festival End? The first day of Pesach/Passover ends either at sunset or at nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows), where nightfall is defined in Jewish law as occurring either 72 minutes after sea level sunset or if it is a clear sky, when three medium-sized stars first appear and are sighted in the sky. There is also the custom to "extend" Shabbat (and Yom Tov) by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Shabbat (and Yom Tov) - anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before Shabbat and/or Yom Tov and up to a half-hour following Shabbat and/or Yom Tov. The amount of extended time added before and after Shabbat and/or Yom Tov depends on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • Full Havdalah Ceremony To Usher Out The Yom Tov/Festival Day: After nightfall (or if one follows the authoritative rabbinical opinion to extend Shabbat, about a half-hour after nightfall), to officially usher out Shabbat and Yom Tov for the first day of Passover/Pesach which in this year fell on Shabbat, one must perform the full Havdalah ceremony which formally marks the separation or distinction of Shabbat (and in this case, also of the first Yom Tov day) from the second Yom Tov day of Passover/Pesach which follows. The full Havdalah ceremony - which is usually preceded by some verses from the Hebrew Bible - includes and is performed in the following order: The full version of the Havdalah ceremony involves reciting 4 blessings in the following order: (1) The blessing over the wine over a cup of red wine; (2) The blessing over and the smelling of sweet spices which symbolize the sweetness of Shabbat, meaning reciting the blessing over the spices over a spice box containing spices and/or herbs; (3) The blessing over the fire, meaning the kindling of the two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick or lighting two separate Havdalah candles - whichever is being used - and the recitation of the aforementioned blessing for fire, and (4) The blessing of Havdalah over the same cup of red wine that was used for the blessing over the wine. The Havdalah blessing is a formal declaration that in this case marks the separation or distinction between Shabbat (which in this case includes Yom Tov occurring on the same day as Shabbat) and the second Yom Tov day; (5) Zemirot ("prayer songs" in Hebrew) such as "Hamavdil" ("He Who Distinguishes" in Hebrew) are also sung at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony. When the Havdalah ceremony has concluded, the one who recited the Havdalah blessing to in this case formally mark the separation between Yom Tov and the secular weekdays drinks the wine or grape juice. It is a custom to overfill the cup so that it flows over to symbolize a good sign for the new week as in "My Cup Runneth Over" or "My Cup Overfloweth" (Tehillim 23:5 or Psalms 23:5). The full Havdalah ceremony involves the use of the five senses to make us more aware of the completeness of ourselves vis-a-vis the completeness of the holiness of Shabbat, which in this ceremony formally marks its being complete and hence, its ushering out. When Yom Tov is followed by the secular weekdays, only a "partial" version of the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. This simply means that the "partial" or shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony only involves the recitation of the formal declaration that marks the separation of Yom Tov from the secular weekdays - known as the Havdalah blessing, along with the blessing over the wine during the Havdalah ceremony and the drinking of the wine at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony - and does not involve the kindling of either two Havdalah candles or two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick, whichever is being used, and the recitation of its associated blessing for fire as well as the smelling of the sweet spices and the recitation of its associated blessing. If for whatever reason the Havdalah ceremony cannot be performed at the required time, it can be performed as late as Tuesday afternoon (Talmud, Mishnah, Tractate Pesachim 105a, 106a, 107a). As mentioned, the full Havdalah ceremony is performed anytime from after nightfall to midnight on Saturday to formally usher out Shabbat (Shabbat actually ends at nightfall on Saturday but by Jewish law, we must formally usher it out, and as mentioned, there is a custom to extend Shabbat about a half hour beyond nightfall), but if for whatever reason one cannot perform the Havdalah ceremony by midnight on Saturday evening, then Havdalah can be performed anytime until Tuesday evening at nightfall, but without the use of the Havdalah candle(s) nor the spice box containing the spices and/or herbs, and the omission of the recitation of the associated blessing for each (that is, the blessing over the fire and the blessing over the spices/herbs, respectively). Havdalah ("separation" or "distinction" in Hebrew) is a formal way of separating or distinguishing the holy time of Shabbat from the ordinary time of the secular weekdays that follow Shabbat in order to demonstrate that Shabbat time is a different and more special kind of time than the time period for the secular weekdays, as Shabbat time gives us a taste or idea of what Messianic times will be like: in other words, one long, Shabbat - a time of eternal justice and peace for the Hebrew/Jewish people and ultimately, for all humanity. In Judaism, we work during the secular weekdays toward bringing about the perfection of the world which we get a taste of at the end of the week with Shabbat, which is an ever- constant reminder to us to strive during the secular weekdays toward bringing Messianic times upon us. The Havdalah ceremony is a beautiful ceremony. In fact, "Havdalah" means "separation" in Hebrew, and derives from the Hebrew word "l'havdil" which means "to separate". One only performs the Havdalah ceremony when one is going from a higher level of holiness ("Kodesh" means "Holiness" in Hebrew) to a lower level of holiness. In terms of Shabbat or the Sabbath day, a Yom Tov day (either a holiday or festival day), and a secular weekday (a non-Shabbat day and non-Yom Tov day), the order from most to least holiest time is as follows: Shabbat, Yom Tov, and the secular weekdays. When a Yom Tov day is followed by a secular weekday, a shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony is performed. When Shabbat or the Sabbath is followed by either a Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In a rare calendrical situation, if a Yom Tov day falls on Shabbat or the Sabbath and is followed by either another Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In this situation, the time of Shabbat, or the Sabbath, is the higher level of holiness time in relation to the holiness time of the secular weekdays which follow Shabbat. The following link provides further information about Havdalah **.
2nd Day of Pesach/PassoverSaturday, April 4th, 2015 (Nightfall Saturday to Nightfall Sunday = 16th of Nissan)
  • Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover / Pesach is simply a repeat of Yom Tov for the 1st day of Passover / Pesach due to an historical calendrical uncertainty concerning the proper day on which to begin the festival which in ancient times before the establishment the modern Hebrew/Jewish calendar could have occurred on one of two consecutive days based on the sighting in Jerusalem of the first crescent of the new moon. The 2nd Yom Tov day was inserted into the Passover / Pesach festival by the rabbinical authorities in Jerusalem and represents the second of those two consecutive days on which the Passover / Pesach festival in ancient times could have occurred. This extra day was strictly for Jewish communities living outside Israel's borders, extending the Passover / Pesach festival to 8 days for those Jewish communities. The reason is that by the time special messengers sent out by the rabbinical authorities to tell them about the proper date for celebrating Passover / Pesach reached these outlying communities, doubt existed in these communities as to which of those two consecutive days was the proper day to begin Passover / Pesach. To erase this doubt, the extra day was added in for these communities and was to follow the 1st Yom Tov day and be a repeat of it so as to ensure that one of those two consecutive days would be the proper day on which to begin Passover / Pesach. The extra day was not needed for Jewish communities living in Israel due to being geographically close to Jerusalem, enabling them to hear the news on which was the proper day much quicker and hence well before the proper date on which to celebrate the Passover / Pesach festival.
  • When does Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover / Pesach begin? The answer is that Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover / Pesach begins when Yom Tov for the 1st day of Passover / Pesach ends and this occurs either just after sunset or just after nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows or if one follows the custom to "extend" the day of Yom Tov by "borrowing" time from the day previous to Yom Tov and the day following Yom Tov and then adding the time from the previous day to the beginning of Yom Tov and then appending the "borrowed" time from the day following Yom Tov to the end of Yom Tov, with the amount of time appended being anywhere up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows [Nightfall (defined in Jewish law as "the end of sunset") is the point in time when it grows dark enough for three average-sized stars to be visible in the sky; this is anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour after sunset, depending on one's geographic latitude and where one is located. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law occurs at 72 minutes after sea level sunset.].

    Though Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover / Pesach has begun based on the time, we must officially begin Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) by performing the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing and we must also kindle two Yom Tov candles.

  • The two Yom Tov candles for the second day of Pesach/Passover are kindled with a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was already in existence by having been lit before Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover / Pesach and before Yom Tov for the 1st day of Passover / Pesach; that is, one can use the flame of the aforementioned 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle.
  • The second day of Pesach/Passover is a Yom Tov day (full "holiday", and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day). In addition, since the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset or nightfall to nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and the custom is to "extend" the time for Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath) by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Yom Tov and adding it both before and immediately following Yom Tov, this extends the time for Yom Tov beyond 24 hours. The time added to Yom Tov can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom and up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom. However, the most popular starting time for Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath) and Jewish festivals and holidays is at 18 minutes before sunset and so we customarily begin Yom Tov at 18 minutes before sunset (or 30-40 minutes before sunset as is the custom for Jews living in Jerusalem, Israel). Since we are not allowed to create a new flame on Yom Tov (or Shaabbat/the Sabbath), one must either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before Yom Tov begins at sunset so that one can use either the kindled candle or the lit match at 18 minutes before sunset to kindle the two Yom Tov candles, which are also the two Shabbat candles when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat. After kindling the two Yom Tov candles, one then recites the associated blessing for Yom Tov. To achieve this, as just mentioned, one can either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before sunset and use the kindled candle or lit match to kindle the Yom Tov candles. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov. Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath), one either places the kindled candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out, or in the case of the lit match, drop the lit match into the metal tray where the Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself ["Yom Tov" means "holiday" in Hebrew; more specifically, a "full" holiday, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day which means that it is a day when the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover; plural form: "Yomim Tovim" in Hebrew, meaning "holidays"].
  • Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles, Yom Tov has begun for him/her.
  • Yom Tov Blessing: Recite the following Yom Tov blessing in transliterated Hebrew for Yom Tov for the second day of Pesach/Passover:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the candle of the Holiday (in this case, the festival day of Pesach/Passover).
  • The Shehecheyanu ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing: Depending on one's custom, the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing that thanks G-d for sustaining us (the Hebrews/Jewish people) and enabling us to reach this season or this special time, is recited either immediately following the Yom Tov blessing or immediately following the Kiddush blessing of the Kiddush and immediately before the beginning of the Pesach / Passover Seder as stated in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah which is the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder ("Haggadah" means either "Telling" or "Narration" in Hebrew, meaning it contains the telling or narration of the Passover/Pesach story and also that one should tell or narrate the Passover/Pesach story to others).

    The Shehecheyanu blessing is as follows:

    Blessed art thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who hast kept us in life, and (or who) hast preserved us, and (hast) enabled us to reach this season.

  • Next, recite the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov over the wine. The Kiddush is recited in order to formally begin a festive meal; in this case, for Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Pesach / Passover. The Kiddush for Yom Tov begins with the recitation of the Yayin ("Wine" in Hebrew) blessing, which is a blessing made over a glass of red wine that thanks G-d for providing the "fruit of the vine" I.E. grapes for making wine, followed by the Kiddush blessing which mentions words about the holiness of Yom Tov (and of Shabbat when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat).

    Here is the blessing over the wine in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam, Borei Pri Ha-gafen.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.



    The Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov is as follows:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Festival of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.
  • After reciting the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov, the Yom Tov day has officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov.
  • The Shehecheyanu ("Who Has Kept Us In Life" in Hebrew) blessing: Depending on one's custom, the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing that thanks G-d for sustaining us (the Hebrews/Jewish people) and enabling us to reach this season or this special time, is recited either immediately following the Yom Tov blessing or immediately following the Kiddush blessing of the Kiddush and immediately before the beginning of the Pesach / Passover Seder as stated in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah which is the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder ("Haggadah" means either "Telling" or "Narration" in Hebrew, meaning it contains the telling or narration of the Passover/Pesach story and also that one should tell or narrate the Passover/Pesach story to others).

    The Shehecheyanu blessing is as follows:

    Blessed art thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who hast kept us in life, and (or who) hast preserved us, and (hast) enabled us to reach this season.

  • It is a Jewish tradition for the woman of the household to kindle the two Yom Tov candles and to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. However, there are varying authoritative rabbinical opinions regarding the recitation of the Shehecheyanu blessing for Yom Tov. Many authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and then repeats the Shehecheyanu blessing a second time following the Kiddush ["Sanctification" (by G-d of the Hebrew/Jewish people) in Hebrew] blessing at the Seder table. Other authoritative rabbinical opinions state that the woman only recites the Shehecheyanu blessing following the kindling of the Yom Tov candles and does not repeat it following the Kiddush blessing at the Seder table. However, there are some authoritative rabbinical opinions which state that the woman does not say a "Shehecheyanu" blessing at all.
  • Laws Of Yom Tov (the "Full" festival days of the Passover / Pesach festival, meaning the full application of Jewish religious laws for Passover / Pesach apply to these days. Securing the Yom Tov candles - Prior to the use of glass receptacle candles, it used to be that if one could not make the Yom Tov candles stand on their own without melting their bottoms to secure them, then one should secure them before Shabbat began (Talmud, Mishnah Berurah 514:18). The invention of short candles in glass receptacles avoided the problem mentioned in Mishnah Berurah 514:18, enabling one to kindle the Yom Tov candles.
  • Reciting the Yom Tov blessing before or after kindling the Yom Tov candles: There is a Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27) which states that one must recite the Yom Tov blessing before kindling the Yom Tov candles. On Shabbat, or the Sabbath, one first kindles the two Shabbat candles and then one recites the Shabbat blessing, so that one may be able to re-kindle the Shabbat candles if one or both of them accidentally burn out, since Shabbat does not officially begin until the Shabbat blessing is recited. Since some Jewish people prefer to follow the same order of kindling candles for Yom Tov and then reciting the blessing for Yom Tov as they do for Shabbat while fulfilling the Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah that states that one must first recite the blessing for Yom Tov and then kindle the Yom Tov candles, they fulfill both by first kindling the two candles - which are not yet Yom Tov candles since one did not yet recite the blessing for Yom Tov - and then they recite the Yom Tov blessing with one's eyes either closed or with one's hands covering one's eyes. After the person finishes reciting the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has officially begun, and the person then either opens their eyes or removes their hands from their eyes to view for the first time on this Yom Tov what are now the two Yom Tov candles. This method fulfills both the custom to follow the order of first kindling the candles and then reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as is done for Shabbat, as well as to first recite the blessing for Yom Tov while shielding one's eyes from the two candles and then viewing the two Yom Tov candles for the first time after reciting the Yom Tov blessing.
  • It is only after the Yom Tov candles have been lit and the associated blessing recited for Yom Tov that one can begin to heat up food specifically for the Seder meal. In addition, other preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder can begin or if certain preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder were done before Yom Tov, then the remaining preparations for the Pesach/Passover Seder can begin. As just mentioned, some Seder preparations as well as Yom Tov (holiday, or in this case, festival day) preparations in general are done before the start of Yom Tov, such as creating the symbolic foods for the Seder table. The remainder of the Seder preparations can also be completed either before Yom Tov begins or completed after Yom Tov begins. If one wishes to start the Seder immediately after nightfall, then it is of course preferable to complete the Seder preparations before Yom Tov begins to avoid tampering with the Seder table.
  • Jewish law regarding the extinguishing of a flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath): Putting out the flame of the candles is prohibited. Only a non-Jewish person can do it, or the candle must extinguish itself after it is lit.
  • Opening the Pesach/Passover Seder meal either in a household or if the Seder is a communal Seder: To open the Passover/Pesach Seder meal, we refer to the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder meal. This "instruction manual" is known as the "Passover Haggadah" or "Pesach Haggadah", where the word "Haggadah" means either "narration" or "telling" in Hebrew, referring to the narration or telling of the Passover/Pesach story which is contained in step 5 in the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder that is outlined in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the religious, social, and/or political philosophy of the author(s) of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. Why so many different versions? Because the ancient rabbis deemed the messages contained in the story of Passover/Pesach to be so important that they not only wanted to reinforce these messages in the psyche of the Hebrew/Jewish people but also in the psyche of all humankind. Therefore, they encouraged the telling and re-telling - meaning to repeat the telling of the story of Passover/Pesach - of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that more and more people will be able to learn from these messages based on their own religious, social, and/or political points-of-view. Although the religious, social, and/or political interpretations of the Passover/Pesach story may be different for each version of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach story as well as the Passover/Pesach story itself remains the same for all versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are also local customs that vary between different Jewish communities that are added into the 15-step ordered process. As mentioned earlier, to officially begin the Passover/Pesach festival as well as the first day of Yom Tov for Passover/Pesach, we follow a specific ritualized order of performing the recital and rituals of 4 blessings. For those who celebrate Passover/Pesach for 8 days, the second day of Passover/Pesach is the additional day that was added to the original 7-day Passover/Pesach festival by the rabbinical authorities in Jerusalem in late Temple times for Jewish communities living outside Israel to solve a calendrical doubt these Jewish communities had as to the correct day on which to observe Passover/Pesach, and so the 2nd day is an exact replica of the 1st day of Passover/Pesach for Jewish communities living outside Israel. The only exception to this rule is when the first Yom Tov day falls on Shabbat/the Sabbath and the second Yom Tov day which immediately follows the first Yom Tov day does not fall on Shabbat/the Sabbath. On the 1st Yom Tov day, the two candles that are lit represent both Shabbat/the Sabbath and Yom Tov for the 1st day of the festival. On the 2nd Yom Tov day, the candles are lit only for that Yom Tov day and not Shabbat/the Sabbath since that day does not fall on the Sabbath/Shabbat. Outside of this exception, the same 4 blessings are again performed on the 2nd day of Passover/Pesach for those who celebrate Passover/Pesach for 8 days. As also mentioned, the first blessing (Ner) of these 4 blessings officially ushers in the Yom Tov day and the third blessing (Kiddush) officially opens the Passover / Pesach Seder. Again, the 4 blessings are: (1) Ner (Light), (2) Yayin (Wine), (3) Kiddush (Sanctification), and (4) Zeman (Time). The standard formula and transliterated Hebrew beginning of each of these 4 blessings is as follows:

    Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe)...

    ...followed by the Hebrew words unique to each blessing (the initial words of which are in brackets in the following sequence):

    (1st Blessing) - Ner (bore me'orei ha-eish); (2nd Blessing) - Yayin (bore peri ha-gefen); (3rd Blessing) - Kiddush (asher bachar banu); (4th Blessing) - Zeman ("time" in Hebrew, referring to the season as mentioned in the "Shehecheyanu" blessing. The purpose of adding a 2nd day of Yom Tov which duplicates the 1st day of Yom Tov began in Temple times to ensure that the festival would be celebrated on its proper day for in ancient times in Judaism, a new month was determined by sighting the first crescent of a new moon and it could happen on one of two consecutive days. This created doubt concerning on which of the two days the new month would commence. Therefore, the rabbis in Jerusalem declared that the day following the first Yom Tov day would also be a Yom Tov day and so a second Yom Tov day was added immediately following the 1st Yom Tov day to guarantee that Passover/Pesach would be celebrated on its correct day.
  • We begin the 16th of Nissan by having the evening prayer service ("Ma'ariv" or "Arvit" in Hebrew, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. Therefore, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, the new Jewish day begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, with nightfall being the end of the sunset period.
  • Counting of the Omer ("Sefirat Ha'Omer" in Hebrew): This is the 16th day of Nissan and therefore, it is the second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival. On the second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival, we have a mitzvah ("commandment" in Hebrew, referring in this context to a commandment from G-d) to begin "counting the omer". The source of this mitzvah to count the omer is in the biblical book of Vayikra, or Leviticus (Vayikra or Leviticus 23:15-16). What is the counting of the omer? The "Counting of the Omer" is a verbal counting of each of the 49 days between the festival of Pesach/Passover and the festival of Shavuot. The "Counting of the Omer" ("Sefirat Ha-Omer" in Hebrew) is recited at the end of Ma'ariv or Arvit (evening prayer services, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset.). The "Counting of the Omer" is recited for 49 consecutive evenings and as mentioned, begins in the evening on the 16th day of Nissan. The 49th and final evening of counting is on the 5th day of the 3rd Hebrew/Jewish month of Sivan, which is the day before the start of the Jewish festival of Shavuot, which begins after either sunset or nightfall on the 50th day after the 16th of Nissan or second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival, inclusive, that is, on the 6th day of Sivan. Without getting into the lengthy details (as if I haven't already!), there is a specific, religiously prescribed formula for counting the omer on each evening of the 49 evenings - meaning the way it is recited - and there is a slight difference between the formula for how Ashkenazim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Central, Northwestern, and/or Eastern Europe) count the omer and how Sephardim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal) count the omer. The "omer" was a specific measure of barley grain that dates back to early agricultural customs in Hebrew history. In temple times, the measure of omer barley grain was brought to the temple in Jerusalem by each Hebrew/Jewish family who grew produce from the land of Israel. The "omer" was an offering both to G-d and was also sustenance for the temple priests and assistants to the priests, who did not own land and depended on these and other offerings and/or tithes of produce from the other Hebrews/Jewish people who did own land. The bringing of the omer to the temple in Jerusalem and offering it to G-d as well as to the priests and assistants to the priests was a way of thanking G-d for the barley produce in the spring season and the counting of the omer was a way of commemorating the early barley harvest days in biblical Israel while at the same time the counting down of the 49 days of the omer also served as a way to spiritually prepare oneself as well as anticipate another historically and religiously important Hebrew/Jewish festival, the festival of Shavuot, when the Hebrews received the Torah from G-d via Moses at Mount Sinai.
  • This is the second evening of the Pesach/Passover festival, and that means the "Counting of the Omer" begins on this evening. The "Counting of the Omer" is recited during each of the next 49 evenings starting on this evening at the end of the Ma'ariv or Arvit ("Evening" in Hebrew) prayer service up to and including the evening before the festival of Shavuot/Shavuoth/Shavuos on the 50th day.
  • After the lighting of the two Yom Tov candles and after the Ma'ariv or Arvit ("Evening" in Hebrew) prayer service, the second Seder is performed. Regarding the second Seder, repeat as was done for the 1st day of Pesach/Passover. Refer to the Passover/Pesach Haggadah for step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the 15 ordered steps that comprise the Seder. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the political, social, and/or religious philosophies in Judaism that one follows, but the structure and order of the 15 steps are always the same for each version. The reason for the variety of versions in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah is that rabbis down through the ages have encouraged the "telling" and interpretation of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that the timeless messages contained in the Passover/Pesach story could be understood and appreciated by as many people as possible since these are messages that all human beings can relate to and learn from.
  • Opening the Pesach/Passover Seder meal either in a household or if the Seder is a communal Seder: To open the Passover/Pesach Seder meal, we refer to the "instruction manual" for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder meal. This "instruction manual" is known as the "Passover Haggadah" or "Pesach Haggadah", where the word "Haggadah" means either "narration" or "telling" in Hebrew, referring to the narration or telling of the Passover/Pesach story which is contained in step 5 in the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach Seder that is outlined in the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are over 5,000 versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, with each version being based on the religious, social, and/or political philosophy of the author(s) of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. Why so many different versions? Because the ancient rabbis deemed the messages contained in the story of Passover/Pesach to be so important that they not only wanted to reinforce these messages in the psyche of the Hebrew/Jewish people but also in the psyche of all humankind. Therefore, they encouraged the telling and re-telling - meaning to repeat the telling of the story of Passover/Pesach - of the Passover/Pesach story in as many ways as possible so that more and more people will be able to learn from these messages based on their own religious, social, and/or political points-of-view. Although the religious, social, and/or political interpretations of the Passover/Pesach story may be different for each version of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah, the 15-step ordered process for conducting the Passover/Pesach story as well as the Passover/Pesach story itself remains the same for all versions of the Passover/Pesach Haggadah. There are also local customs that vary between different Jewish communities that are added into the 15-step ordered process. As mentioned earlier, a series of 4 blessings are recited to open the Seder: (1) Ner (Light), (2) Yayin (Wine), (3) Kiddush (Sanctification), and (4) Zeman (Time). The standard formula and transliterated Hebrew beginning of each of these 4 blessings is as follows:

    Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe)...

    ...followed by the Hebrew words unique to each blessing (the initial words of which are in brackets in the following sequence):

    (1st Blessing) - Ner (bore me'orei ha-eish); (2nd Blessing) - Yayin (bore peri ha-gefen); (3rd Blessing) - Kiddush (asher bachar banu); (4th Blessing) - Zeman ("time" in Hebrew, referring to the season as mentioned in the "Shehecheyanu" blessing.
  • Once the Seder leader has completed the recitation of the Kiddush blessing, the Pesach/Passover Seder has formally begun whether the Seder is being held in a household or if it is a communal Seder.
  • When Is The First Piece Of Matzo Eaten At The Passover/Pesach Seder? After starting the Pesach/Passover Seder, the first 1 oz. (or 28.35 grams) of matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes from the start of the Pesach/Passover Seder.
  • Prior to drinking the second cup of wine during the Seder meal : The rabbinical mitzvah ("commandment" in Hebrew) of publicizing the miracle - As with the minor Jewish festivals of Chanukah and Purim, we have a rabbinical mitzvah to publicize the miracle ("pirsumei nisa" in Hebrew) that G-d performed for the Hebrews, that is, the miracle of redeeming the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. For this, we have a blessing ("brachah" in Hebrew) known as "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" ("Who has redeemed us and our fathers" in Hebrew; since at the Seder meal we are commanded to feel as if we ourselves were also redeemed from slavery in Egypt). In this blessing, we thank G-d for redeeming us, and for redeeming our forefathers, from slavery in Egypt. The blessing concludes by turning to the future, whereupon we ask G-d to allow us to celebrate in the redemption. During the Chanukah festival, we light candles and recite the special blessing known in Hebrew as "She-asa nisim" ("Who has performed miracles"). During the Purim festival, we read from the Megillah (biblical "Book of Esther") and also recite the "She-asa nisim" blessing. In both cases, we are fulfilling the commandment to publicize the miracle of redemption that each festival represents. However, for the Pesach/Passover festival, we also publicize the miracle but instead of reciting the "She-asa nisim" blessing, we replace it with the aforementioned "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing. We recite this blessing for the miracle of Pesach/Passover after we recite the first two psalms of Hallel (Psalms 113 and 114; "Hallel" means "praise" in Hebrew; "full" or "complete" Hallel is from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118 inclusive) for Pesach/Passover (Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal do not fulfill the obligation to recite Hallel for Pesach/Passover at the Seder meal; instead, they fulfill the obligation to recite Hallel at the Ma'ariv or Arvit evening prayer service, which can begin either after sunset or after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky or if the sky is cloudy, at 72 minutes after sea level sunset. This means that the end of the sunset period - including the twilight in the sky after sea level sunset - has arrived and nightfall is complete, and the calendrical Jewish day has ended, followed by a new Jewish day. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall in Jewish law is declared at 72 minutes after sea level sunset, and this is before the Seder meal begins). The "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing is immediately followed by the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing, then the blessing over the wine, and finally, the drinking of the second cup of wine during the Pesach/Passover Seder meal, which concludes the 5th Seder step. Keeping in mind that we are commanded to feel as if we ourselves were also redeemed from slavery in Egypt, in the 5th Seder step, we read or "tell" the story of Pesach/Passover. We try to experience the feeling as well as the meaning of being under the hardship of slavery under the Pharaoh of Egypt. While reading the conclusion of the Pesach/Passover story, which ended with the story of how we were redeemed from Egypt, we also try to experience the feeling of being redeemed ourselves. After the Pesach/Passover story has been read, we are beginning to realize and feel the full meaning of our redemption, and we then express this feeling by singing a song of gratitude to G-d for having redeemed us from slavery in Egypt known as "Dayenu" ["Enough" in Hebrew, as in approximately meaning: "It would have been enough (for us)" or "It would have been sufficient (for us)" or "It would have sufficed (for us)" in Hebrew]. After singing this song, we become more fully aware of the meaning of the miracle of Pesach/Passover and so we then recite the first two psalms of praise to G-d (Psalms 113 and 114) that are part of "Hallel" (Psalm 113 - Psalm 118 inclusive). After singing the first two psalms of Hallel, we are at a point at which we are fully grateful for the miracle of Pesach/Passover and so it is now appropriate to follow the first two psalms of Hallel with the "she-asa nisim" blessing which for Pesach/Passover has been changed to the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing. [Note regarding the opening blessing for Hallel for Pesach/Passover: for Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews whose ancestors came from either Spain and/or Portugal, and according to the customs that derive from the Chassidic Siddur of the 16th century Kabbalist (Jewish mystical) authority, Rabbi Isaac Luria, Hallel (including the opening blessing for "full" Hallel - meaning all six psalms of Hallel - which commands us to finish or complete "full" Hallel, known in Hebrew as: "Ligmor et HaHallel", meaning "to finish the Hallel" or "to complete the Hallel") is recited in the synagogue as part of Ma'ariv/Arvit (evening synagogue service) which can begin after one sees the appearance of three average-sized stars in the evening sky. This means that the end of sunset has arrived and nightfall is complete; hence, before the start of the Seder meal. For Ashkenazim (Jews whose ancestors came from either Central, Northwestern, and/or Eastern Europe), Hallel for Pesach/Passover is not read in the evening synagogue service in the late afternoon before sunset prior to the start of the Pesach/Passover festival and the Seder meal after sunset or nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. Instead, Hallel is read at the Seder meal, with the first two psalms read prior to the serving of the Seder meal and the remaining four psalms read after the completion of the Seder meal, but before the end of the Seder itself. For Ashkenazim, the opening blessing which commands us to read "full" Hallel is known as: "LiKro et HaHallel", meaning "to read the Hallel" in Hebrew, but for the Pesach/Passover Hallel which is read at the Seder meal, it is a custom for Ashkenazim to not read "LiKro et HaHallel" at the Seder meal and instead, simply recite the six psalms of Hallel at what for them is their proper times during the Seder (the first two before the Seder meal and the remaining four after the Seder meal) which in most other cases besides Pesach/Passover follow the opening blessing for Hallel. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for seven days, the first day is when "full" Hallel is done while on the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival, a shortened version of Hallel is done, that is, the custom is to omit reading the first 11 verses of each of the six psalms of Hallel out of empathy for the drowned Egyptians in the Pesach/Passover story, and to begin reading from the 12th verse onward. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, the custom is to do "full" Hallel on the first two evenings of Pesach/Passover while the remaining six days also have the same shortened version of Hallel as those who celebrate Pesach/Passover for seven days based on the same reasons. Empathy for the drowned Egyptians resulting in the shortening of Hallel for the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival derives from a Talmudic source, where it states: "The ministering angels were about to chant songs of praise as the Egyptians were drowning. The Almighty rebuked them, "My creatures are perishing in the sea, and ye are ready to sing" (Talmud, Megillah 10b). Therefore, the Talmudic rabbis decided that there could not be full rejoicing by the Hebrews after being saved from the Egyptian army at the "Sea of Reeds" or the "Red Sea" because the lives of Egyptians were lost in the "Sea of Reeds" or the "Red Sea", and this is reflected in the shortened version of Hallel for the remaining six days of the Pesach/Passover festival. Finally, Sephardic Jews also change the wording in the opening blessing for Hallel to say "Likro et HaHallel" ("to read the Hallel" in Hebrew) when Hallel is shortened, and to say "Ligmor et HaHallel" ("to finish the Hallel" or "to complete the Hallel" in Hebrew) when Hallel is full.]
  • Ga'al Yisrael ("Redeemer of Israel" in Hebrew) - Prior to commencing the Seder meal, and more specifically, just prior to reciting the blessing over the wine for the second cup of wine near the end of the 5th step in the Seder meal, we recite the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing (some have the custom to sing "Ga'al Yisrael" as a song of gratitude toward the end of the 14th Seder step known as "Hallel" at the Seder meal). When the Seder occurs on Motza'ei Shabbat ("After Sabbath" in Hebrew), many people, citing the Gemara of the Talmud (Pesachim 116b), change the text in the Ga'al Yisrael blessing to say "ve-nochal sham min ha-pesachim u-min ha-zevachim" in Hebrew which means "we will eat there (in Jerusalem) from the paschal offerings and from the general offerings", where "general offerings" here refer to the korban Chagigah [literally, "festival offering" in Hebrew) which is eaten before the consumption of the korban Pesach (literally, "Passover offering" in Hebrew, specifically referring to the lamb offering for the Pesach/Passover festival)]. However, there are a number of literary rabbinic sources such as Tosafot ("additions" or "supplements" in Hebrew; "Tosafot" are medieval commentaries on the Talmud by authors and editors who likely thought of their work as "additions" or "supplements" to the basic commentary on the Talmud done by the one of the leading rabbinical authorities of their era, Rashi), "the Mordechai" [a legal commentary on the Talmud by Mordechai ben Hillel (circa 1250-1298, a leading German rabbi and legal authority)] and other Rishonim who advocate the inverse reading: "min ha-zevachim u-min ha-pesachim", since one is supposed to eat the "zevachim" - the korban Chagigah - prior to the "Pesachim" - the korban Pesach. This sequence emerges from the obligation to eat the korban Pesach on a full stomach, which as a result, warrants the prior consumption of the chagigah. [Rishonim were the leading rabbis and legal decisors ("Poskim" in Hebrew refer to "legal decisors" who were rabbis who decided Jewish law or Halakhah in cases of law where previous rabbinical decisions were inconclusive; singular form: "Posek") from 1040 C.E. - 1400 C.E., that is, in the era before the writing of the code of Jewish law known as the Shulkhan Arukh and following the era of the Geonim, who were the leaders of Jewish academies of learning in Babylonia from the 6th century C.E. until the 11th century C.E.; "Rishonim" literally means either "the first" or "the former" in Hebrew, referring to the rabbis and poskim before the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh.]. The purpose of reciting the Ga'al Yisrael blessing is to once again - in a short declaration - thank G-d for redeeming us and our ancestors from Egypt. Why do we thank G-d? As with the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing, in the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing we thank G-d for redeeming us and our ancestors from slavery in Egypt because the text of the Haggadah states that we would still be enslaved today if not for the Exodus from Egypt or "Yetziat Mitzrayim" ("leaving Egypt" in Hebrew); in other words, we would have not attained our current metaphysical, religious status of B'nei Chorin ("free people" in Hebrew). "Mitzrayim" ("Egypt" in Hebrew) derives from the root Hebrew word "Meitzar" which means "narrow" or "constricted". Therefore, "Mitzrayim" also means "a place of narrowness" or "a place of constriction". "Leaving Egypt" means to ask G-d to help us overcome the places of constriction or places of narrowness represented by the barriers built by and imposed on ourselves that limit our ability to connect with our soul. By surmounting those barriers and reconnecting with our soul, we are then able to gain true inner freedom. One effective way of going beyond our own ego and reconnecting with our true inner self is by giving to others. In other words, by giving to others we in fact gain and strengthen a reconnection to our true inner self which in turn gives us our sense of inner freedom. Therefore, had it not been for our redemption from Egypt, it is likely that we would have remained in the spiritual state of being enslaved to the Pharaoh (king) of Egypt; in other words, we would have not advanced beyond the spiritual mindset of being a slave to an oppressive authority. The Exodus from Egypt converted us from "avadim l'avadim" ("servants of servants" in Hebrew) to avadim LaMakom" ("servants of G-d" in Hebrew), and so based on all the aforementioned explanations, we give our expression of thanks to G-d for having redeemed us from Egypt through the reciting of the "Asher ge'alanu ve-ga'al et avoteinu" blessing and the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing. In synagogue services, the "Ga'al Yisrael" blessing is recited immediately before the start of the "Amidah" - the collective name for the series of 19 blessings that is the central focus of all Jewish prayer services.
  • When Does The Second Day Of The Passover/Pesach Festival End? The second day of Pesach/Passover ends either at sunset or at nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows), where nightfall is defined in Jewish law as occurring either 72 minutes after sea level sunset or if it is a clear sky, when three medium-sized stars first appear and are sighted in the sky. There is also the custom to "extend" Shabbat (and Yom Tov) by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Shabbat (and Yom Tov) - anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before Shabbat and/or Yom Tov and up to a half-hour following Shabbat and/or Yom Tov. The amount of extended time added before and after Shabbat and/or Yom Tov depends on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • Partial Havdalah Ceremony To Usher Out The Yom Tov/Festival Day: After Yom Tov for the second day of Passover/Pesach is over either at sunset or at nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows), perform a shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony to formally mark the separation or distinction between Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover/Pesach and the secular weekdays which follow Yom Tov for the 2nd day of Passover/Pesach. The shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony involves reciting the Havdalah blessing over a cup of red wine.
Chol HaMoed (Intermediate Days of the Pesach/Passover festival)
1st Day of Chol HaMoedSunday, April 5th, 2015 (Nightfall Sunday to Nightfall Monday = 17th of Nissan)
  • What Customs Are Done During Chol HaMoed Days?
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • During Chol HaMoed days, it is customary to drink either a glass of wine or a glass of grape juice each day to commemorate the Passover/Pesach festival.
  • During Chol HaMoed days, we continue to consume Kosher for Passover foods and drinks.
  • During Chol Hamoed days, we can perform work as long as the type of work we perform does not fall under the 39 forms of forbidden work.
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
2nd Day of Chol HaMoedMonday, April 6th, 2015 (Nightfall Monday to Nightfall Tuesday = 18th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
3rd Day of Chol HaMoedTuesday, April 7th, 2015 (Nightfall Tuesday to Nightfall Wednesday = 19th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
4th Day of Chol HaMoed: (Erev Yom Tov, meaning "the Day Before the Holiday" in Hebrew; in this case, the 7th day of Pesach/Passover is a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for a Yom Tov day for Pesach/Passover applies to that day) (Eve of the 7th Day of the Pesach/Passover festival)Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 (Nightfall Wednesday to Nightfall Thursday = 20th of Nissan)
  • No Tefillin (phylacteries) are put on today.
  • In addition to the morning prayer service (called "Shacharit" in Hebrew), a special additional prayer is recited called Hallel, Musaf for Pesach. ("Musaf" means "additional" in Hebrew)
  • Since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath), we therefore must kindle a new flame before the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat day and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles [which when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat (this is the case in 2015 for the 1st day and 8th day), are also the Shabbat candles] at the start of the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat day, so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat to not only kindle the two Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles on the seventh day and eighth day of Passover/Pesach, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov and/or Shabbat available to use to re-kindle the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles in case one or both of the Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles on the seventh day and eighth day of Passover/Pesach accidentally burn out. To achieve this, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit from the time we kindled it just before Yom Tov/Shabbat begins to at least until the time when we need to use it to kindle the two Yom Tov and/or Shabbat candles either just after sunset or just after nightfall when Yom Tov and/or Shabbat begins. One can use a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle for this activity. The 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) and/or Shabbat candles on Friday night, either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
  • For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for 8 days, since there are two consecutive Yom Tov days that follow this day - the seventh day of Passover/Pesach and the eighth day of Passover/Pesach (Yom Tov days are "full" holidays, and in the case of Pesach/Passover, "full" festival days, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to those days) - and since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a new flame on Yom Tov and are only permitted to use a flame on Yom Tov that was created and hence, came into existence, prior to Yom Tov, we therefore must kindle a new flame not long before either sunset or nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) prior to the Yom Tov day for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach and use this new flame to kindle two Yom Tov candles at the start of the Yom Tov day for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach (which occurs immediately after sunset or nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and use this same flame to kindle two more Yom Tov candles at the start of the Yom Tov day for the eighth day of Passover/Pesach. To kindle the Yom Tov candles for the 7th day of Passover / Pesach and the Yom Tov candles for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach, one must prepare and kindle a candle that must be safely lit for more than 48 hours so that one can use this flame that existed before Yom Tov for the 7th day of Passover / Pesach and Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach to not only kindle the two Yom Tov candles on the seventh day and two more Yom Tov candles on the 8th day, but also to have this flame that existed before Yom Tov for the 7th day and Yom Tov for the 8th day available to use to re-kindle these candles in case any one of these four candles accidentally burn out. To achieve this, the new flame that exists before Yom Tov can be a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle [Yahrtzeit literally means "(a) year's time" or "time (of) year" in Yiddish, meaning another year has passed I.E. an anniversary; in this context, an anniversary of the passing of a close relative; colloquially, an annual time of memorial] I.E. a Memorial candle. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov. The 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle or Memorial candle will be used to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) candles on the 7th day of Passover/Pesach and the two Yom Tov candles on the 8th day of Passover/Pesach, either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. Additionally, the pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or as mentioned, a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov.
  • One must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles.
  • For some, it is the custom for the woman/women of the household to be the first to kindle the Yom Tov candles (for young girls, as soon as a young girl can say the Yom Tov blessing, her parents should provide her with a separate candlestick and teach her to kindle the Yom Tov candles. It is also preferable for the young girl to kindle her candle before her mother, so that her mother may assist her, if necessary).
  • Immediately after sunset or nightfall, depending on which authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, one then recites the associated blessing for Yom Tov (see just below here) to officially begin Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach, whereupon the day of Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach has officially begun. According to Jewish law, one must recite the blessing for Yom Tov before lighting the two Yom Tov candles (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27). Therefore, one must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. After reciting the Yom Tov blessing, kindle the two Yom Tov candles from a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was kindled before Yom Tov (as mentioned, the flame of a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used, or either a stove pilot light, or gas flame can be used). The time of sunset varies depending on one's geographic latitude and on where one is located. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles. For some Jewish people, however, the custom is to do the reverse: to first kindle the Yom Tov candles and then recite the Yom Tov blessing as they wish to perform these two rituals in the same order as is done for Shabbat. To satisfy the aforementioned Mishnah Berurah law to recite the blessing for Yom Tov before kindling the Yom Tov candles, these Jewish people first kindle the two Yom Tov candles and then they either close their eyes or shield their eyes with their hands and then recite the Yom Tov blessing whereupon they either open their eyes or remove their hands from their eyes and then look at the two lit candles which are now the two Yom Tov candles since Yom Tov begins after the Yom Tov blessing is recited. By reciting the Yom Tov blessing with either their eyes closed or their eyes shielded by their hands from viewing the two lit candles and then viewing what are now the two Yom Tov candles after reciting the Yom Tov blessing, it is as if they have recited the Yom Tov blessing before viewing the Yom Tov candles, and so this satisfies both their desire to follow the same order as Shabbat by first kindling the two candles and reciting the associated blessing and at the same time, satisfy the Mishnah Berurah law to first recite the Yom Tov blessing and then kindle the two Yom Tov candles.
  • Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Yom Tov, one places the kindled candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out ["Yom Tov" literally means "Good Day" in Hebrew, but it can also refer to a holy day or holiday or festival day in Judaism; more specifically, a "full" holiday or "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day since Passover/Pesach is a festival. As just mentioned, a Yom Tov festival day is a day where the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days (Yomim Tovim is the plural form of Yom Tov in Hebrew, and means either "holidays" or "holy days" or "festival days") for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days (most Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews, some Conservative Jews, and Jews living in Israel). For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days (some Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews, most Conservative Jews, and Jews living outside Israel), Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover.].
  • Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles and then recites the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has begun for him/her. It is the custom for women to kindle the Yom Tov candles, and if both men and women are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony, then the woman who kindles the Yom Tov candles and recites the Yom Tov blessing has begun Yom Tov for all who are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony. If no women are available to kindle the Yom Tov candles, then a man can do the ritual.
  • As just mentioned, after one lights the Yom Tov candles and then recites the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has begun for him/her, and if men and women are present at the ceremony, then Yom Tov has begun for all of them as well. If no women are available to kindle the Yom Tov candles, then a man can perform the ritual. Therefore, since one cannot extinguish a flame on Yom Tov, one should place the candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder so that it will be allowed to burn itself out.
  • The seventh day of Pesach/Passover is a Yom Tov day (full "holiday", and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day). In addition, since the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset or nightfall to nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and the custom is to "extend" the time for Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath) by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Yom Tov and adding it both before and immediately following Yom Tov, this extends the time for Yom Tov beyond 24 hours. The time added to Yom Tov can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom and up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom. However, the most popular starting time for Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath) and Jewish festivals and holidays is at 18 minutes before sunset and so we customarily begin Yom Tov at 18 minutes before sunset (or 30-40 minutes before sunset as is the custom for Jews living in Jerusalem, Israel). Since we are not allowed to create a new flame on Yom Tov (or Shaabbat/the Sabbath), one must either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before Yom Tov begins at sunset so that one can use either the kindled candle or the lit match at 18 minutes before sunset to kindle the two Yom Tov candles, which are also the two Shabbat candles when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat. After kindling the two Yom Tov candles, one then recites the associated blessing for Yom Tov. To achieve this, as just mentioned, one can either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before sunset and use the kindled candle or lit match to kindle the Yom Tov candles. The pre-existing flame can be either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame - in the latter case, a lit, 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used - either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov. Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Yom Tov (as well as Shabbat/the Sabbath), one either places the kindled candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out, or in the case of the lit match, drop the lit match into the metal tray where the Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself ["Yom Tov" means "holiday" in Hebrew; more specifically, a "full" holiday, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day which means that it is a day when the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover; plural form: "Yomim Tovim" in Hebrew, meaning "holidays"].
  • Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles, Yom Tov has begun for him/her.
  • Yom Tov Blessing: Recite the following Yom Tov blessing in transliterated Hebrew for Yom Tov for the seventh day of Pesach/Passover:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the candle of the Holiday (in this case, the festival day of Pesach/Passover).
  • No Shehecheyanu Blessing is recited on Yom Tov for the 7th day and - if one celebrates Passover / Pesach for 8 days - the 8th day of Passover / Pesach since we have already blessed the season on the first Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 7 days) as well as the second Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 8 days) of Passover / Pesach; that is, the 1st day and 2nd day of Passover / Pesach.
  • Next, recite the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov over the wine. The Kiddush is recited in order to formally begin a festive meal; in this case, for Yom Tov for the 7th day of Pesach / Passover. The Kiddush for Yom Tov begins with the recitation of the Yayin ("Wine" in Hebrew) blessing, which is a blessing made over a glass of red wine that thanks G-d for providing the "fruit of the vine" I.E. grapes for making wine, followed by the Kiddush blessing which mentions words about the holiness of Yom Tov (and of Shabbat when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat).

    Here is the blessing over the wine in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam, Borei Pri Ha-gafen.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.



    The Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov is as follows:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Festival of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.
  • After reciting the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov, the Yom Tov day has officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov.
  • No Shehecheyanu Blessing is recited on Yom Tov for the 7th day and - if one celebrates Passover / Pesach for 8 days - the 8th day of Passover / Pesach since we have already blessed the season on the first Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 7 days) as well as the second Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 8 days) of Passover / Pesach; that is, the 1st day and 2nd day of Passover / Pesach.
  • There are some authoritative rabbinical opinions which state that it is only after reciting the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov that Yom Tov - in this case, the seventh day of Pesach/Passover - has officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Yom Tov. Additionally, if a woman kindles the Yom Tov candles and recites the Yom Tov blessing and then recites the kiddush blessing for Yom Tov, with both men and women present, then Yom Tov will begin for all who are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony.
Final Days of the Pesach/Passover festival
7th Day of Pesach/Passover (Shvi'i Shel Pesach or Shevi'i Shel Pesach); Erev Shabbat ["Day Before (the) Sabbath" in Hebrew]Thursday, April 9th, 2015 (Nightfall Thursday to Nightfall Friday = 21st of Nissan)
  • When does Yom Tov for the 7th day of Passover / Pesach begin? The answer is that Yom Tov for the 7th day of Passover / Pesach begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, or if one follows the custom to "extend" the day of Yom Tov by "borrowing" time from the day previous to Yom Tov (and adding it to the beginning of Yom Tov, meaning Yom Tov will begin earlier than the traditional time of starting just after sunset or just after nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows, and this starting time can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows) and by "borrowing" time from the day following Yom Tov (meaning time from the day following Yom Tov is appended to the Yom Tov day, extending the Yom Tov day beyond its traditional ending time of sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows, and this ending time can be anywhere up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows).

    Though Yom Tov for the 7th day of Passover / Pesach has begun, we must officially begin Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) by performing the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing and we must also kindle two Yom Tov candles.

  • The two Yom Tov candles for the seventh day of Pesach/Passover are kindled with a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was already in existence by having been lit before Yom Tov; that is, one can use the flame of the aforementioned 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle.
  • Reciting the Yom Tov blessing before or after kindling the Yom Tov candles: There is a Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27) which states that one must recite the Yom Tov blessing before kindling the Yom Tov candles. On Shabbat, or the Sabbath, one first kindles the two Shabbat candles and then one recites the Shabbat blessing, so that one may be able to re-kindle the Shabbat candles if one or both of them accidentally burn out, since Shabbat does not officially begin until the Shabbat blessing is recited. Since some Jewish people prefer to follow the same order of kindling candles for Yom Tov and then reciting the blessing for Yom Tov as they do for Shabbat while fulfilling the Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah that states that one must first recite the blessing for Yom Tov and then kindle the Yom Tov candles, they fulfill both by first kindling the two candles - which are not yet Yom Tov candles since one did not yet recite the blessing for Yom Tov - and then they recite the Yom Tov blessing with one's eyes either closed or with one's hands covering one's eyes. After the person finishes reciting the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has officially begun, and the person then either opens their eyes or removes their hands from their eyes to view for the first time on this Yom Tov what are now the two Yom Tov candles. This method fulfills both the custom to follow the order of first kindling the candles and then reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as is done for Shabbat, as well as to first recite the blessing for Yom Tov while shielding one's eyes from the two candles and then viewing the two Yom Tov candles for the first time after reciting the Yom Tov blessing.
  • Immediately after sunset or nightfall, depending on which authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, one then recites the associated blessing for Yom Tov (see just below here) to officially begin Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach, whereupon the day of Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach has officially begun. According to Jewish law, one must recite the blessing for Yom Tov before lighting the two Yom Tov candles (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27). Therefore, one must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. After reciting the Yom Tov blessing, kindle the two Yom Tov candles from a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was kindled before Yom Tov (as mentioned, the flame of a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle can be used, or either a stove pilot light, or gas flame can be used). The time of sunset varies depending on one's geographic latitude and on where one is located. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles. For some Jewish people, however, the custom is to do the reverse: to first kindle the Yom Tov candles and then recite the Yom Tov blessing as they wish to perform these two rituals in the same order as is done for Shabbat. To satisfy the aforementioned Mishnah Berurah law to recite the blessing for Yom Tov before kindling the Yom Tov candles, these Jewish people first kindle the two Yom Tov candles and then they either close their eyes or shield their eyes with their hands and then recite the Yom Tov blessing whereupon they either open their eyes or remove their hands from their eyes and then look at the two lit candles which are now the two Yom Tov candles since Yom Tov begins after the Yom Tov blessing is recited. By reciting the Yom Tov blessing with either their eyes closed or their eyes shielded by their hands from viewing the two lit candles and then viewing what are now the two Yom Tov candles after reciting the Yom Tov blessing, it is as if they have recited the Yom Tov blessing before viewing the Yom Tov candles, and so this satisfies both their desire to follow the same order as Shabbat by first kindling the two candles and reciting the associated blessing and at the same time, satisfy the Mishnah Berurah law to first recite the Yom Tov blessing and then kindle the two Yom Tov candles.
  • Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Yom Tov, one places the kindled candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out ["Yom Tov" literally means "Good Day" in Hebrew, but it can also refer to a holy day or holiday or festival day in Judaism; more specifically, a "full" holiday or "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day since Passover/Pesach is a festival. As just mentioned, a Yom Tov festival day is a day where the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days (Yomim Tovim is the plural form of Yom Tov in Hebrew, and means either "holidays" or "holy days" or "festival days") for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days (most Reform-Jews, some Conservative-Jews, and Jews living in Israel). For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days (some Reform-Jews, most Conservative-Jews, and Jews living outside Israel), Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover.].
  • Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles and then recites the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has begun for him/her. It is the custom for women to kindle the Yom Tov candles, and if both men and women are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony, then the woman who kindles the Yom Tov candles and recites the Yom Tov blessing has begun Yom Tov for all who are present at the Yom Tov candle-lighting ceremony. If no women are available to kindle the Yom Tov candles, then a man can do the ritual.
  • As just mentioned, after one lights the Yom Tov candles and then recites the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has begun for him/her, and if men and women are present at the ceremony, then Yom Tov has begun for all of them as well. If no women are available to kindle the Yom Tov candles, then a man can perform the ritual. Therefore, since one cannot extinguish a flame on Yom Tov, one should place the candle used to kindle the Yom Tov candles in a secure holder so that it will be allowed to burn itself out.
  • At the end of the seventh day of Pesach/Passover: Yom Tov for the seventh day of Pesach/Passover ends at either sunset or nightfall on Saturday, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. Nightfall (defined in Jewish law as "the end of sunset") is the point in time when it grows dark enough for three average-sized stars to be visible in the sky; this is anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour after sunset, depending on one's geographic latitude and where one is located. If the sky is cloudy, then nightfall occurs at 72 minutes after sunset.
  • No Havdalah for the 7th day of Passover / Pesach when celebrating Passover / Pesach for 8 days: The 7th day of Passover/Pesach is a Yom Tov day and is followed by another Yom Tov day, the 8th day and final day of Passover/Pesach for those who celebrate Passover/Pesach for 8 days. Therefore, no Havdalah ceremony is performed when a Yom Tov day is immediately followed by another Yom Tov day since both days are of equal holiness. The ceremony of Havdalah is only performed when moving from a holy time frame to a comparatively lesser holy time frame, that is, either at the end of Shabbat/the Sabbath (when a "full" Havdalah is performed regardless of whether the day following Shabbat/the Sabbath is a Yom Tov day or a regular weekday since Shabbat/the Sabbath is the holiest of all time frames), and at the end of a Yom Tov day that is immediately followed by a regular weekday (when a "partial" Havdalah is performed since a Yom Tov day is holier than a regular weekday but not as holy as Shabbat/the Sabbath hence only a "partial" Havdalah ceremony is performed).
8th Day of Pesach/Passover (Achron Shel Pesach or Acharon Shel Pesach) (Shabbat = Sabbath)Friday, April 10th, 2015 (Nightfall Friday to Nightfall Saturday = 22nd of Nissan)
  • When does Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach begin? The answer is that Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach begins either just after sunset or just after nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, or if one follows the custom to "extend" the day of Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach by "borrowing" time from the day previous to Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach (and adding it to the beginning of Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach, meaning Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach will begin earlier than the traditional time of starting just after sunset or just after nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows, and this starting time can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows) and by "borrowing" time from the day following Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach (meaning time from the day following Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach is appended to the Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach day, extending the Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach day beyond its traditional ending time of sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows, and this ending time can be anywhere up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on the rabbinical opinion one follows).

    Though Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach has begun, we must officially begin the Yom Tov (holiday, or in the case of Pesach/Passover, a festival day) by performing the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing and we must also kindle two Yom Tov candles.

  • After either sunset or nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows [Nightfall (defined in Jewish law as "the end of sunset") is the point in time when it grows dark enough for three average-sized stars to be visible in the sky; this is anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour after sunset, depending on one's geographic latitude and where one is located], the woman or man - depending on one's custom - of the household uses a pre-existing flame - in this case, meaning a flame that was kindled before Yom Tov for the 7th day of Pesach/Passover [either from a stove pilot light, gas, or a long lasting candle flame (in the latter case, usually the 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle as previously mentioned that was used to kindle the two Yom Tov candles for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach), either of which were activated or lit before Yom Tov for the seventh day of Passover/Pesach, since striking a match is prohibited on Yom Tov] - to light the two Yom Tov (holiday, or in this case, festival day) candles for the eighth day of Passover/Pesach. To summarize, the woman or man must light the two Yom Tov candles after either sunset or nightfall from a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was already lit I.E. already in existence before this Yom Tov day (the 8th day and final day of Pesach/Passover) and before the 7th day of Pesach/Passover.
  • The two Yom Tov candles for the eighth day of Pesach/Passover are kindled with a pre-existing flame, meaning a flame that was already in existence by having been lit before Yom Tov for the 8th day of Passover / Pesach as well as before Yom Tov for the 7th day of Passover/Pesach since we are not permitted by Jewish law to create a flame on Yom Tov (and Shabbat/the Sabbath); that is, one can use the flame of the aforementioned 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle.
  • One must be careful not to accidentally extinguish the flame of each of the two Yom Tov candles once they are lit following the recitation of the Yom Tov blessing as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov. However, if one uses a 50-hour Yahrtzeit candle I.E. Memorial candle whose flame was created just before Yom Tov, then one can use this flame to re-kindle the two Yom Tov candles if either of them have been accidentally extinguished on Yom Tov. In addition, it is permissable by Jewish law to transfer an existing flame - meaning a flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov - from one place to the next place, as in using an unlit match to be kindled using the flame on Yom Tov that existed before Yom Tov, and then use the flame of the now-lit match to kindle the two Yom Tov candles.
  • Reciting the Yom Tov blessing before or after kindling the Yom Tov candles: There is a Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah (Talmud, Mishnah, Berurah 263:27) which states that one must recite the Yom Tov blessing before kindling the Yom Tov candles. On Shabbat, or the Sabbath, one first kindles the two Shabbat candles and then one recites the Shabbat blessing, so that one may be able to re- kindle the Shabbat candles if one or both of them accidentally burn out, since Shabbat does not officially begin until the Shabbat blessing is recited. Since some Jewish people prefer to follow the same order of kindling candles for Yom Tov and then reciting the blessing for Yom Tov as they do for Shabbat while fulfilling the Talmudic law in Mishnah Berurah that states that one must first recite the blessing for Yom Tov and then kindle the Yom Tov candles, they fulfill both by first kindling the two candles - which are not yet Yom Tov candles since one did not yet recite the blessing for Yom Tov - and then they recite the Yom Tov blessing with one's eyes either closed or with one's hands covering one's eyes. After the person finishes reciting the Yom Tov blessing, Yom Tov has officially begun, and the person then either opens their eyes or removes their hands from their eyes to view for the first time on this Yom Tov what are now the two Yom Tov candles. This method fulfills both the custom to follow the order of first kindling the candles and then reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as is done for Shabbat, as well as to first recite the blessing for Yom Tov while shielding one's eyes from the two candles and then viewing the two Yom Tov candles for the first time after reciting the Yom Tov blessing.
  • The final day of Pesach/Passover - the 8th day - is a Yom Tov day (full "holiday", and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "full" festival day, meaning the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day). In addition, the 8th day of Pesach/Passover this year falls on Shabbat, or the Sabbath. Therefore, since the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset or nightfall to nightfall (depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows) and the custom is to "extend" the time for Shabbat by "borrowing" time from both the day previous to and following Shabbat and adding it both before and immediately following Shabbat, this extends the time for Shabbat beyond 24 hours. The time added to Shabbat can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom and up to a half-hour after sunset or nightfall depending on one's custom. However, the most popular starting time for Shabbat and Jewish festivals and holidays is at 18 minutes before sunset and so we customarily begin Shabbat at 18 minutes before sunset (or 30-40 minutes before sunset as is the custom for Jews living in Jerusalem, Israel). Since for this year the 24-hour period for the 8th day of Pesach/Passover - a Yom Tov day - falls within the 25-hour period of Shabbat, and we are not allowed to create a new flame on Shabbat or on Yom Tov, one must either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before Shabbat begins at sunset so that one can use either the kindled candle or the lit match at 18 minutes before sunset to kindle the two Shabbat candles, which are also the two Yom Tov candles when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat. After kindling the two Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, one then recites the associated blessing for Shabbat and for Yom Tov as one blessing. To achieve this, as just mentioned, one can either kindle a candle or strike a match not long before 18 minutes before sunset and use the kindled candle or lit match to kindle the Shabbat candles/Yom Tov candles. Since it is prohibited to extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov, one either places the kindled candle used to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles in a secure holder and allow the candle to burn itself out, or in the case of the lit match, drop the lit match into the metal tray where the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself ["Yom Tov" means "holiday" in Hebrew; more specifically, a "full" holiday, meaning the full application of Jewish law applies to that day and in the case of Pesach/Passover, a "Yom Tov" day means a "full" festival day which means that it is a day when the full application of Jewish law for Pesach/Passover applies to that day; Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and seventh day of Pesach/Passover for Jews who celebrate the Pesach/Passover festival for seven days. For Jews who celebrate Pesach/Passover for eight days, Yom Tov days or Yomim Tovim days for Pesach/Passover include the first day and second day of Pesach/Passover plus the seventh day and eighth day of Pesach/Passover; plural form: "Yomim Tovim" in Hebrew, meaning "holidays"].
  • Note that accepting Shabbat is on an individual basis, which means that each member of the household must accept Shabbat individually by each kindling Shabbat candles. The most common custom is to kindle two Shabbat candles per member of a household. Why two Shabbat candles? Because two Shabbat candles represent the two important biblical references to Shabbat: (1) "Remember the Sabbath" (Shemot/Exodus 20:8), and (2) "Observe the Sabbath" (Devarim/Deuteronomy 5:12). However, there is a custom that if a woman is married, she kindles two Shabbat candles, and if a woman is unmarried, she kindles one Shabbat candle. Therefore, when a person in a household kindles one or two Shabbat candles 18 minutes before sunset on Friday, this means that Shabbat has begun for the person who kindled the Shabbat candles.
  • In addition, Yom Tov, like Shabbat, is also accepted on an individual basis, and so after a person kindles the two Yom Tov candles, Yom Tov has begun for him/her.
  • Prior to lighting the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, it is customary to recite the Minchah (afternoon prayer service) prayer and then put some money into a charity box ("tzedakah pushkah", where "tzedakah" means "charity" in Hebrew, and "pushkah" means "box" in Yiddish). It is the custom for the woman/women of the household to be the first to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles (for young girls, as soon as a young girl can say the Shabbat/Yom Tov blessing, her parents should provide her with a separate candlestick and teach her to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles. It is also preferable for the young girl to kindle her candle before her mother, so that her mother may assist her, if necessary). Using the kindled candle, light the two Shabbat/Yom Tov candles 18 minutes before sunset (the custom in Jerusalem, Israel, is to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles 30-40 minutes before sunset). Recite the associated blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov (see just below here). The time of sunset varies depending on one's latitude.
  • After the woman lights the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, Shabbat/Yom Tov has begun for her. Therefore, since one cannot extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov, the woman should place the candle used to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles in a secure holder so that it will be allowed to burn itself out. If one chooses to strike a match in order to use the lighted match to kindle the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, then after kindling the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles, one should allow the lighted match to drop into the metal tray where the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles are standing in order to allow the match to extinguish itself, since the person who kindled the Shabbat/Yom Tov candles cannot extinguish the match because Shabbat/Yom Tov has begun for her/him, and, as mentioned, one cannot extinguish a flame on Shabbat and/or on Yom Tov.
  • After lighting the Sabbath/Yom Tov candles, the woman then welcomes in a special guest known as the "Sabbath Queen" ["Shabbat Ha-Malka" in Hebrew), who, in Jewish mystical tradition, is the "Shechinah" (the "dwelling" or the "settling" in Hebrew, meaning the dwelling or settling presence of G-d, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem, but also a dwelling or settling in a special sense, meaning a dwelling or settling of divine presence, to the effect that, while in proximity to the Shechinah, the connection to G-d is more readily perceivable. The Sabbath Queen, being the Shechinah, is the nurturing and loving Divine Presence that expresses the "feminine" aspects of G-d - the Compassionate One.)]. How does the woman welcome in the Sabbath Queen? She does this by first stretching her hands out towards the candles. Then she moves her hands inward in a circular motion and performs this circular motion three times, which represents the ushering in of the Sabbath Queen. Following this, the woman then covers her eyes with her hands and recites the following Sabbath/Yom Tov blessing in transliterated Hebrew, since this day is both the Sabbath and Yom Tov; in this case, the eighth day of Pesach/Passover:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat veShel Yom Tov.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the candle of Shabbat and of the Holiday (in this case, the festival day of Pesach/Passover).

    After reciting the blessing, while the woman has her face covered by her hands, it is customary for the woman to offer a private prayer for anything that she desires. After this private prayer is offered, the woman removes her hands from her face and says a traditional wish to all who are present. This wish is either a wish for a "Gut Shabbos" ("Good Sabbath" in Yiddish) or a wish for a "Shabbat Shalom" ["Sabbath (of) Peace" in Hebrew].
  • No Shehecheyanu Blessing is recited on Yom Tov for the 7th day and - if one celebrates Passover / Pesach for 8 days - the 8th day of Passover / Pesach since we have already blessed the season on the first Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 7 days) as well as the second Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 8 days) of Passover / Pesach; that is, the 1st day and 2nd day of Passover / Pesach.
  • Next, recite the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov over the wine. The Kiddush is recited in order to formally begin a festive meal; in this case, for both Shabbat and Yom Tov for the 8th day of Pesach / Passover. The Kiddush for Yom Tov/Shabbat begins with the recitation of the Yayin ("Wine" in Hebrew) blessing, which is a blessing made over a glass of red wine that thanks G-d for providing the "fruit of the vine" I.E. grapes for making wine, followed by the Kiddush blessing which mentions words about the holiness of Yom Tov and of Shabbat when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat.

    Here is the blessing over the wine in transliterated Hebrew:

    Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam, Borei Pri Ha-gafen.

    In English:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who creates (or created or Creator of) the fruit of the vine.



    The Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov is as follows (the first paragraph relates to Shabbat and Creation):

    And it was evening and it was morning, The sixth day. And the heaven and the earth and all their hosts were completed. And on the seventh day G-d finished His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it He rested from all His work which He, G-d, created to make (Bereshit/Genesis 1:31, 2:1-3).

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King (or Master or Sovereign) of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and sanctified us by His commandments. And You, G-d, have given us lovingly {on the Sabbath, say the following: Sabbaths for rest}, festivals for rejoicing, holidays and seasons for gladness, {on the Sabbath, say the following: this Sabbath day and} this day of the Festival of Matzos, this day of holy assembly, the season of our freedom {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love}, a holy assembly commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

    For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath and} Your holy festivals {on the Sabbath, say the following: in love and favor}, in gladness and joy, have You granted us as a heritage. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies {on the Sabbath, say the following: the Sabbath,} Israel and the festive seasons.
  • After reciting the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov, both Shabbat and Yom Tov - in this case, the eighth day of Pesach/Passover - have officially begun for the person who recited the Kiddush blessing for Shabbat/Yom Tov.
  • No Shehecheyanu Blessing is recited on Yom Tov for the 7th day and - if one celebrates Passover / Pesach for 8 days - the 8th day of Passover / Pesach since we have already blessed the season on the first Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 7 days) as well as the second Yom Tov day (if one is celebrating for 8 days) of Passover / Pesach; that is, the 1st day and 2nd day of Passover / Pesach.
  • Yizkor Memorial Service ["Yizkor" means "May (G-d) Remember" in Hebrew, it is from the Hebrew root word "zakhor", meaning "remember"]; after the Yizkor Memorial Service, for certain Chassidim such as the Chabad-Lubavitch sect, there is a special meal eaten late in the afternoon known as the "Seudas Moshiach", meaning "feast (or meal) for Messiah". Although this meal comes at the close of Pesach/Passover, the Chabad-Lubavitch believe that it represents an historic beginning in that on the final day of Pesach/Passover, the Haftarah scriptural reading from the Book of Isaiah introduces a prophetic vision of the glorious era of the Moshiach, who will return all Jews to Israel from our exile. In essence, the Chabad-Lubavitch believe that Pesach/Passover did not end with the Exodus but is a continuous process that began with Moses and will end with the arrival of Moshiach or the Messiah. They believe that one is incomplete without the other. The "Seudas Moshiach" festive meal is celebrated by eating matzah and drinking four cups of wine around a table and saying "L'Chayim!" ("To Life!" in Hebrew), which is a salutation for best wishes. This ritual was introduced by the Chassidic founder, the "Baal Shem Tov" and later Chassidic Sages, where participants join together around a table to express their thoughts, yearnings, hopes, feelings, and belief in the coming redemption. The festive meal concludes with the singing of melodies and tunes and ends on a high note with the fervant hope of Jewish faith in the future.
  • Full Havdalah Ceremony To Usher Out The Yom Tov/Festival Day: After nightfall (or if one follows the authoritative rabbinical opinion to extend Shabbat, about a half-hour after nightfall), to officially usher out Shabbat and Yom Tov for the eighth day of Passover/Pesach which in this year fell on Shabbat, one must perform the full Havdalah ceremony which formally marks the separation or distinction of Shabbat (and in this case, also of the eighth Yom Tov day) from the secular weekdays which follow. The full Havdalah ceremony - which is usually preceded by some verses from the Hebrew Bible - includes and is performed in the following order: The full version of the Havdalah ceremony involves reciting 4 blessings in the following order: (1) The blessing over the wine over a cup of red wine; (2) The blessing over and the smelling of sweet spices which symbolize the sweetness of Shabbat, meaning reciting the blessing over the spices over a spice box containing spices and/or herbs; (3) The blessing over the fire, meaning the kindling of the two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick or lighting two separate Havdalah candles - whichever is being used - and the recitation of the aforementioned blessing for fire, and (4) The blessing of Havdalah over the same cup of red wine that was used for the blessing over the wine. The Havdalah blessing is a formal declaration that in this case marks the separation or distinction between Shabbat (which in this case includes Yom Tov occurring on the same day as Shabbat) and the secular weekdays; (5) Zemirot ("prayer songs" in Hebrew) such as "Hamavdil" ("He Who Distinguishes" in Hebrew) are also sung at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony. When the Havdalah ceremony has concluded, the one who recited the Havdalah blessing to in this case formally mark the separation between Yom Tov and the secular weekdays drinks the wine or grape juice. It is a custom to overfill the cup so that it flows over to symbolize a good sign for the new week as in "My Cup Runneth Over" or "My Cup Overfloweth" (Tehillim 23:5 or Psalms 23:5). The full Havdalah ceremony involves the use of the five senses to make us more aware of the completeness of ourselves vis-a-vis the completeness of the holiness of Shabbat, which in this ceremony formally marks its being complete and hence, its ushering out. When Yom Tov is followed by the secular weekdays, only a "partial" version of the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. This simply means that the "partial" or shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony only involves the recitation of the formal declaration that marks the separation of Yom Tov from the secular weekdays - known as the Havdalah blessing, along with the blessing over the wine during the Havdalah ceremony and the drinking of the wine at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony - and does not involve the kindling of either two Havdalah candles or two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick, whichever is being used, and the recitation of its associated blessing for fire as well as the smelling of the sweet spices and the recitation of its associated blessing. If for whatever reason the Havdalah ceremony cannot be performed at the required time, it can be performed as late as Tuesday afternoon (Talmud, Mishnah, Tractate Pesachim 105a, 106a, 107a). As mentioned, the full Havdalah ceremony is performed anytime from after nightfall to midnight on Saturday to formally usher out Shabbat (Shabbat actually ends at nightfall on Saturday but by Jewish law, we must formally usher it out, and as mentioned, there is a custom to extend Shabbat about a half hour beyond nightfall), but if for whatever reason one cannot perform the Havdalah ceremony by midnight on Saturday evening, then Havdalah can be performed anytime until Tuesday evening at nightfall, but without the use of the Havdalah candle(s) nor the spice box containing the spices and/or herbs, and the omission of the recitation of the associated blessing for each (that is, the blessing over the fire and the blessing over the spices/herbs, respectively). Havdalah ("separation" or "distinction" in Hebrew) is a formal way of separating or distinguishing the holy time of Shabbat from the ordinary time of the secular weekdays that follow Shabbat in order to demonstrate that Shabbat time is a different and more special kind of time than the time period for the secular weekdays, as Shabbat time gives us a taste or idea of what Messianic times will be like: in other words, one long, Shabbat - a time of eternal justice and peace for the Hebrew/Jewish people and ultimately, for all humanity. In Judaism, we work during the secular weekdays toward bringing about the perfection of the world which we get a taste of at the end of the week with Shabbat, which is an ever- constant reminder to us to strive during the secular weekdays toward bringing Messianic times upon us. The Havdalah ceremony is a beautiful ceremony. In fact, "Havdalah" means "separation" in Hebrew, and derives from the Hebrew word "l'havdil" which means "to separate". One only performs the Havdalah ceremony when one is going from a higher level of holiness ("Kodesh" means "Holiness" in Hebrew) to a lower level of holiness. In terms of Shabbat or the Sabbath day, a Yom Tov day (either a holiday or festival day), and a secular weekday (a non-Shabbat day and non-Yom Tov day), the order from most to least holiest time is as follows: Shabbat, Yom Tov, and the secular weekdays. When a Yom Tov day is followed by a secular weekday, a shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony is performed. When Shabbat or the Sabbath is followed by either a Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In a rare calendrical situation, if a Yom Tov day falls on Shabbat or the Sabbath and is followed by either another Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In this situation, the time of Shabbat, or the Sabbath, is the higher level of holiness time in relation to the holiness time of the secular weekdays which follow Shabbat. The following link provides further information about Havdalah **.
  • Yom Tov for the eighth day of Passover/Pesach as well as the Pesach/Passover festival itself, ends at either sunset or nightfall, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows.
Isru Chag (literally means "bind the festival" in Hebrew)Saturday, April 11th, 2015 (Nightfall Saturday to Nightfall Sunday = 23rd of Nissan)
  • "Isru Chag" is a day that was created by the people of Israel in order to bask one more day in the close feelings to G-d and in the spiritual joy of the Pesach/Passover festival. It serves as a bridge between the lofty holiness of the Pesach/Passover festival and descending back into the mundane activities of everyday life. "Isru Chag" (or "Isru Hag") is also a day which the people of Israel created to traditionally depart from Jerusalem and return to their homes after gathering for the "Shalosh Regalim" (the three pilgrimmage festivals of Pesach/Passover, Shavuoth, and Sukkoth). For observant Jews, this also means that they return to putting on tefillin (phylacteries) for the morning prayers.

* (Note that in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar, a day is defined as beginning either at sundown or nightfall depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows, and is also defined as ending either at sundown or nightfall on the following day; again, depending on the authoritative rabbinical opinion one follows. The exception is the day of Shabbat. Why? The origin for beginning the Jewish day at nightfall derives from the opening verses of the Torah, where it says at the end of each of the first six days of Creation: "And there was evening and there was morning, on the ___ day." Therefore, the start of Shabbat, like the other six days of Creation, began at nightfall. However, the ancient rabbis wanted to extend the time for Shabbat, due to the holiness and peacefulness of Shabbat, and due to it being the only holiday to be mentioned in the Ten Commandments (4th Commandment: "Remember/Observe the Sabbath Day to keep it holy"). So they "borrowed" time from the day previous to Shabbat - authoritative rabbinical opinions vary from 15 minutes to a half-hour, but the majority agree that it should be at least 18 minutes - and added the time to the starting time for Shabbat at sunset to extend Shabbat's beginning from sunset on Friday to anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour before sunset, with the majority of Jewish people following the authoritative rabbinical opinion to begin Shabbat at least 18 minutes before sunset on Friday. In addition, the ancient rabbis also "borrowed" time from the day following Shabbat - about a half-hour - and added that time to the end of Shabbat at nightfall on Saturday, making Shabbat about 25 hours long instead of 24 hours long.):

** "Havdalah" means "separation" in Hebrew, and derives from the Hebrew word "l'havdil" which means "to separate". One only performs the Havdalah ceremony when one is going from a higher level of holiness ("Kodesh" means "Holiness" in Hebrew) to a lower level of holiness. In terms of Shabbat or the Sabbath day, a Yom Tov day (either a holiday or festival day), and a secular weekday (a non-Shabbat day and non-Yom Tov day), the order from most to least holiest time is as follows: Shabbat, Yom Tov, and the secular weekdays. When a Yom Tov day is followed by a secular weekday, a shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony is performed. When Shabbat or the Sabbath is followed by either a Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In a rare calendrical situation, if a Yom Tov day falls on Shabbat or the Sabbath and is followed by either another Yom Tov day or a secular weekday, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. In this situation, the time of Shabbat, or the Sabbath, is the higher level of holiness time in relation to the holiness time of the secular weekdays which follow Shabbat. Therefore, as mentioned, the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed to usher out and formally mark the "separation" of the holy day of Shabbat from the secular weekdays which follow. The full Havdalah ceremony includes and is performed in the following order: the blessing over a cup of wine (containing at least 2.9 fluid ounces of wine or grape juice if wine cannot be drunk), the blessing for and the smelling of sweet spices which symbolize the sweetness of Shabbat, the kindling of either two Havdalah candles or two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick, whichever is being used, and the recitation of the associated blessing for fire, and finally, the formal declaration of the marking of the separation between Shabbat and either the secular weekdays or a Yom Tov day (known as the Havdalah blessing, as distinguished from the Havdalah ceremony, the latter which took its name from the Havdalah blessing). Zemirot ("prayer songs" in Hebrew) such as "Hamavdil" ("He Who Distinguishes" in Hebrew) are also sung at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony. When the Havdalah ceremony has concluded, the one who recited the Havdalah blessing to in this case formally mark the separation between Yom Tov and the secular weekdays drinks the wine or grape juice. It is a custom to overfill the cup so that it flows over to symbolize a good sign for the new week as in "My Cup Runneth Over" or "My Cup Overfloweth" (Tehillim 23:5 or Psalms 23:5). The full Havdalah ceremony involves the use of the five senses to make us more aware of the completeness of ourselves vis-a-vis the completeness of the holiness of Shabbat, which in this ceremony formally marks its being complete and hence, its ushering out. When Yom Tov is followed by the secular weekdays, only a "partial" version of the "full" Havdalah ceremony is performed. This simply means that the "partial" or shortened version of the Havdalah ceremony only involves the recitation of the formal declaration that marks the separation of Yom Tov from the secular weekdays - known as the Havdalah blessing, along with the blessing over the wine during the Havdalah ceremony and the drinking of the wine at the conclusion of the Havdalah ceremony - and does not involve the kindling of either two Havdalah candles or two interwoven Havdalah candles that are joined at the wick, whichever is being used, and the recitation of its associated blessing for fire as well as the smelling of the sweet spices and the recitation of its associated blessing. If for whatever reason the Havdalah ceremony cannot be performed at the required time, it can be performed as late as Tuesday afternoon (Talmud, Mishnah, Tractate Pesachim 105a, 106a, 107a).


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