Eating the Matzah before Chatzos
By what time does the Afikoman have to be eaten by?
One must beware to eat the Afikoman prior to midnight. [The Chabad custom is to be particular in this matter only on the first night of Seder, while on the second night one can delay its eating until later. On the first night, if one is before in in middle of Shulchan Oreich and sees he will not be able to eat the Afikoman before Chatzos then he can perform the following Tnaiy/stipulation to fulfill his obligation according to all: As midnight approaches he is to eat a Kezayis of Matzah while leaning with intent to fulfill his obligation of Afikoman only if the ruling follows the opinion of Rebbe Elazar Ben Ezaria, but not if the ruling follows the opinion of Rebbe Akiva. He is then not to eat or drink until midnight. After midnight, he is to continue his meal, and Seder as usual. Upon reaching the official Afikoman he is to repeat the eating of Afikoman according to all its laws, fulfilling his obligation if the ruling follows the opinion of Rebbe Akiva. By making the above stipulation he adheres to the warning to eat the Afikoman before midnight, and at the same time does not transgress the prohibition of eating after his initial Afikoman.]
By when must one eat the Matzah [of Motzi Matzah] on the night of the Seder?
One is required to fulfill the Mitzvah of eating Matzah prior to midnight. [If one eats the Matzah only after midnight, some Poskim rule he does not fulfill his obligation and has thus lost the Mitzvah. Other Poskim rule he can nevertheless fulfill the Biblical Mitzvah up until Alos Hashachar. Other Poskim rule that this matter is left in question, and hence one is to be stringent like both opinions, and eat Matzah without a blessing. Practically, if one did not yet eat the Matzah and it is already after midnight, he is to eat the Matzah without the blessing of “Al Achilas Matzah.” If it is already close to midnight and one did not yet eat the Matzah, he is to skip from wherever he is holding and perform Motzi Matzah before midnight. The same applies to a person who awoke from a sleep moments before midnight that he should say Kadesh and immediately afterwards recite Motzi Matzah. This applies for both the first and second Seder.]
Until how late may one begin the Seder-May one delay eating Matzas Mitzvah [of Motzi Matzah] until past midnight?
No. One who does so enters into a question as to whether he has forfeited the Mitzvah, and hence is to eat Matzah without a blessing. Thus, those who desire to begin their Seder after the Mivtzaim Seder, must beware to at the very least eat the Matzah before midnight.
The Seder Checklist
- Erev Pesach Seder preparation list:
- Immerse new vessels in a Mikveh
- Don’t eat lettuce; apples; pears; nuts
- Wash and clean the lettuce. Don’t soak the lettuce that will be used for Maror, in water, for 24 hours.
- Roast the Zeroa-neck of the chicken. In years that Pesach falls on Shabbos, place wine in the Charoses before Shabbos. Alternatively, place the Charoses in a large amount of wine prior to the dipping, and mix with your finger. We are particular to add only some of the Charoses to the wine rather than its entirety, in order to keep some of the Charoses free from liquids.
- Prepare the Charoses: The Charoses is made from apples, pears, almonds and wine. It is our custom to only add the wine later on during the Seder.
- Do not roast any meat or poultry to be eaten for Seder night. One may roast fish. Don’t cook the meat in a pot without liquids, even if it will simmer in its own juice. One may roast the meat and then cook it.
- Set up the Seder table
- Check the Matzos for Kefulos.
- Separate Challah from the Matzos if needed.
- Make salt water
- Cook the egg for Beitza.
- If you don’t have a broken plate for the spilling of the wine by the Makos, then chip a plastic bowl before Yom Tov.
- Upon coming home:
- One is to return home immediately after Davening has concluded in order to begin the Seder right away.
- Prepare vessels of gold and silver and wear silk and expensive garments of all that Hashem has made available for ones family.
- One may feed the kids a little food before the Seder. Children below Chinuch may be given Matzah.
- One is to distribute nuts to the kids prior to the Seder.
- One is to begin the Seder as soon as he comes home, without delay.
- When Pesach falls on Shabbos one is to recite Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil in an undertone upon returning from Shul.
- Prepare cushions on seat for leaning. Women don’t lean.
- Setting up the Kearah:
- Take three curved shaped Matzas. Verify that the Matzas are complete [Shaleim] and do not contain any folded [Kefulos] areas
- Place a plate on bottom, and place the Matzas on top of the plate
- First place the Yisrael and then the Levi, and then the Kohen. The Matzas are separated from each other with a cloth. The largest of the Matzas is to be used for Levi.
- Place the Simanim directly on top of the Matzah cover. We do not use small bowls to place it in.
- Dry the Maror prior to placing it on the cover.
- One is to use romaine lettuce and horseradish for both Maror and Chazeres. This means that both vegetables are to be placed by the area of Maror and likewise by the area of Chazeres. If the leaves of the Chazeres became dry then one cannot fulfill his obligation with them.
- The Rebbe used an egg with a shell.
- General Directives:
- Look inside the Hagadah prior to each step and read the Siman of that step.
- Always drink each of the 4 cups entirely in one shot.
- Lean by Matzah, Korech, Afikoman, 4 cups of wine. Lean to the left. This includes lefties. If one forgot to lean by the above required parts then by Matzah of Motzi Matzah [not Afikoman or Korech] and by the second cup of wine, one is to repeat the eating/drinking.
- Women do not have to lean
- The Shiurim:
- Matza 28.8 grams By Koreich and Afikoman, in time of need may take 21.2 grams
- Maror 27 grams Lechatchila if unable than 21.2.
- Achilas Pras: 4 Minutes.
Girls and boys who have reached the age of Chinuch, that can understand the story of the exodus, are obligated in the following:
- 4 Kosos;
- Birchas Hamazon
- Halel Hagadol
- Before Kiddush read each one of the Simanim.
- One may pour the wine for himself.
- Have in mind by Kadesh to drink more wine before the second cup.
- Drink the entire cup of wine in one shot without wait.
- Don’t drink wine or any alcohol until after Maggid and 2nd Kos [unless needs to]. May drink other beverages.
Purpose: Kiddush and Corresponds to the first of the four Geuloas “Vehotzeisi”.
- Before washing say the Simanim of Urchatz and Karpas.
- Wash just like bread but without a blessing.
- Don’t speak until after the Karpas is eaten.
- If one said a blessing of Al Netials Yadayim then follow this order: Do Yachatz; Motzi Matzah; Karpas without a bracha and then Maggid Maror etc
Purpose: So children wonder and ask and begin questions of the order of the Seder;
- Use onion for Karpas.
- Dip in salt water before saying the Bracha.
- Have Kavana to be Moitzi the Maror
- Eat less than 17 grams.
- Don’t say Bracha Achrona even if ate a Kezayis of Karpas.
- Don’t lean.
- Don’t return the remaining onion to bowl.
Purpose: So the children ask questions; Represents the slavery in Egypt; Samech Perech
- Break the middle Matzah [Levi] inside the cloth without seeing,
- Take the larger piece and break to 5 pieces and use for Afikoman
- Place Afikoman between two pillows
- The smaller half is placed back in between the two matzos. There should be at least a Kezayis remaining in the middle Matzah that is placed back, [and if there is not, then one should add Matzah to it].
Purpose: Poor man’s bread; Three Matzos are Avraham; Yitzchak and Yaakov; The reason we break the middle Matzah is because Yitzchak has two sides, laughter and severity.
- Each person is to say the Hagadah to themselves.
- Say the Hagadah with a Niggun and loudly
- Uncover all three Matzos throughout Maggid except for when the cup of wine is raised.
- Explain the Hagadah to the women and children so they all understand.
- Hei Lachma Anaya: The Matzah is to be lifted while this paragraph is said. [However the custom of the Rabbeim is to only reveal the matzos and not to actually lift them.]
- Mah Nishtana: Pour the 2nd cup of wine prior to Mah Nishtana.
- Before Mah Nishtana move the Kearah to the side [and cover it].
- Youngest son asks Mah Nishtana. If there is no son, then the youngest daughter is to ask.
- Each person is to repeat the Mah Nishtana after the children say it.
- After Mah Nishtana one returns the Kearah and reveals the Matzas.
- Vhi Sheamda: Cover Matzos and then lift Kos.
- Spilling wine:
- Spill the wine with the cup itself.
- Use a broken dish to pour the wine into.
- Have intent to spill the wrath when spilling the wine.
- Refill the wine after all spills are finished.
- Dayeinu: One is not to make a Hefsek by Dayeinu.
- Matza Zu: Hold onto the middle [and bottom] Matzah within the covering
- Maror zu: Place two hands on the Maror.
Purpose: Fulfilling Biblical command of Vihigadita; Say it in length and detail of miracles-Mitzvah applies until fall asleep.
- Prepare the Matzos for all the participants before the washing.
- One now washes for the Matzah just as he would wash before eating bread. A blessing is recited prior to the washing.
- Moitzi Matza:
- Holding the Matzas: Upon saying the blessing of Hamotzi one takes hold of the two whole Matzas and the middle broken Matzah. Immediately after this blessing one drops the bottom Matzah, and says the blessing of Matzah with only the top and middle Matzah in his hand.
- Having in mind: When saying the blessing over the mitzvah of eating Matzah one should also have in mind the Matzah eaten by Korech, as well as the Matzah eaten by the Afikoman.
- Each participant says both blessings themselves on their own pieces of Matzah.
- Salt: One does not dip the Matzah in salt. However one is to have salt on the table.
- How much to eat: One is to break off a Kezayis from both the whole and split Matzah and eat a Kezayis of each at the same time. One is to enter both kezeiysim into his mouth at the same time.
- Every participant is to eat 27 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes.
- The leader of the home is to give a piece of both the middle and upper Matzah to all the participants.
- Leaning: One must lean upon eating the Matzah. This applies to both Kizeisim eaten by the leader of the table. If one did not lean then he must re-eat another Kezayis of Matzah.
- Eat within Achilas Peras which is 4 minutes.
- Hefsek: Don’t talk of unrelated subjects until after Matzah of Korech
- An old or sick person may dip Kezayis Matzah in water to eat.
Purpose: Fulfilling Biblical command of eating Matzah.
- The Maror is to be eaten immediately after eating the Matzah.
- Lettuce and horseradish: For Maror we eat both from the lettuce leaves and horseradish that was placed for the top Maror.
- How much Maror: Try to eat 27 grams of Maror within 4 minutes. If this is difficult eat 17 grams worth of leaves which is approximately one large leaf or two medium leaves. Both the lettuce leaves and horseradish combine to make up this amount.
- Dipping the Maror in the Charoses: Before eating the Maror it is to be partially dipped into the Charoses. After the Maror is dipped into the Charoses one is to immediately shake it off.
- If the Charoses did not have wine added to it before Shabbos then: Dip some [not all] Charoses to a large amount of wine and mix it with ones hand or with the vessel itself, through shaking it.
- First dip the Maror in the Charoses and then say the Bracha.
- Have in mind: Have in mind the Maror of Korech upon saying the blessing over the Maror.
- How much time to eat: Eat the above amount within 4 minutes.
- Leaning: One does not lean.
- For the Maror of Korech we eat both from the lettuce leaves and horseradish of the second Maror [Chazeres].
- Eat a Kezayis of Matzah and a Kezayis of Maror simultaneously. Initially eat 27 grams of Maror and 27 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes. If this is difficult eat 17 grams of Maror, and 17 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes. Both the lettuce leaves and horseradish combine to make up this amount.
- Don’t dip Maror onto the Charoses. Simply dab on it some dry Charoses [without wine].
- Eat Leaning
- Eat within 4 minutes.
- Shulchan Orach:
- Begin with eating the egg dipped in salt water.
- Check the plates to avoid crumbs of Matzah prior to placing food on it.
- Don’t eat too much before Afikoman.
- We do not lean
Purpose: Fulfill Mitzvah of Seudas Yom Tov and freedom.
- Eat the Afikoman before Chatzos. [12:43] On the second night in the Diaspora one can eat it until morning.
- Eat two Kezeisim [54 grams] of Matzah within 4 minutes. If this is difficult, eat only one Kezayis [27 grams] and intend that the Kezayis serve to commemorate whichever subject requires commemoration. Try to eat 27 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes. If this is difficult then eat 17 grams.
- Stipulate if can only eat one Kezayis.
- Eat leaning. Bedieved no need re-eat.
- Eat on same table. Don’t switch tables.
- Pour the cup of Eliyahu.
- After pouring the cup of Eliyahu pour the third cup before Birchas Hamazon.
- Don’t place the Mayim Achronim on the lips.
- No drinking after 3rd cup, not even water.
- One may drink entire 3rd cup even if has much more than Revius.
- Pour the 4th cup
- Shefoch Chamascha is very auspicious time to ask for things from Hashem.
- Open all doors to the public.
- There is no need to finish Hallel before Chatzos.
- One may finish Hallel in a different house.
- One is to make a Zimun for Hallel.
- Don’t make an interval between the end of Hallel and drinking the 4th cup.
- Pour the wine of the Kos Shel Eliyahu back into the bottle. One sings Keili Ata of the Alter Rebbe upon doing so.
- After the Seder:
- Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after having drunk the 4th cup, until one awakens from sleep of that night.
- Discuss and deal with the laws of Pesach and the story of the Exodus until one is overcome by sleep.
- Say an abridged version of Kerias Shema. One only says the 1st paragraph of the Shema and then goes straight to Hamapil. On the 2nd night of Pesach however one says the regular paragraphs as is said on any Yom Tov.
 Admur 477/6; Siddur Admur; Sefer Haminhagim [English] p. 75; Michaber 477/1; This follows the opinion of Rebbe Elazar Ben Azaria in Pesachim 120b; Zevachim 57b; Tosafus Zevachim ibid; Megillah 21a; Piskeiy Tosafus Pesachim 334; Zevachim 33; Rosh 10/38 in name of Rabbeinu Tam; Rabbeinu Chananel in Arvei Pesachim; Semag in name of Riy; Mordechai end of Pesachim; Rabbeinu Yerucham 5/4; Conclusion of Or Zarua; Hapardes 9/16-26 “It is forbidden to eat Matzah after midnight”; See Biur Halacha 477/1 “Viyihei Zahir”
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the Pesach may be eaten until Alos Hashachar, and accordingly, one fulfills his obligation of Matzah until Alos. [Rebbe Akiva in Pesachim and Zevachim ibid; Rambam Karban Pesach 8/15; Chametz Umatzah 6; Rif [brought in Mishkanos Yaakov 139] Rav Hamaggid; Baal Haitur; Or Zarua in name of Rav Yaakov of Krubil; Kol Bo 90; See Biur Halacha 477/1 “Viyihei Zahir”] Accordingly, there are those who are even initially lenient to eat the Afikoman after midnight even on the first night. [Minhagei Chasam Sofer; Netziv; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 605; Minchas Yitzchak 9/48; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 477/3]
The Rebbe’s custom: Rabbi Shmutkin of Chabad Michigan told over that he participated in many Sedarim at the Rebbe’s household. He was appointed in charge of letting the Rebbe know the time in order to keep track of Chatzos. The Rebbe would ask him the time at various segments of the Hagada. Hence, we see the Rebbe was very particular to eat the Afikoman prior to Chatzos, unlike those who are lenient in this matter.
 The reason: Just as the Karban Pesach was only eaten until midnight [so too the Matzah]. [Admur ibid] As the verse states Al Matzos Umerorim Yochluhu, thus teaching us that the eating of Matzah is connected, and follows similar laws, to the Pesach regarding its conclusion of eating. [Admur 458/2]
 Sefer Haminhagim ibid
 Avnei Nezer 381; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 477 footnote 5; See previous footnotes and opinions mentioned there for the full understanding of this stipulation.
 The reason: As according to Reb Elazar Ben Ezaria, the prohibition of eating after the Afikoam only applies so long as the Mitzvahg is stioll applicable, which in his opinion is only until midnight. Thus, when one intends to eat the Afikoman before midnight only according to his opinion, then the prohibition of eating afterwards only applies until midnight. After midnight he may resume eating according top all, as if we rule like Rebbe Akiva, then he did not yet fulfil the Mitzvah of Afikoman, per his stipulation, and if we rule like Reb Elazar Ben Azaria, the obligation was already fulfilled and expired.
 Admur 458/2 “One is required to eat the Matzah prior to midnight, just like the law regarding the Karban Pesach which may only be eaten until midnight,”; Admur 639/20 “And one is to beware to eat in the Sukkah prior to midnight, just as is required regarding eating Matzah”; 477/6 regarding Afikoman; See 472/2 regarding the Hekesh being used to obligate eating Matzah after Tzeis Hakochavim [Vetzaruch Iyun why the end time was not mentioned in this Hekesh, and why we make the Hekesh for the end time only regarding Matzah and not the four cups, also Tzaruch Iyun why in 475/20-23 no mention of Chatzos was made; See here: http://shulchanharav.com/text.asp?index=128712&arc_id=138425]; Michaber 477/1 and Beis Yosef 477 regarding Afikoman; Degul Merivava 477; Shaareiy Teshuvah 477/1; M”B 477/6 “One must be very careful”; Biur Halacha 477; Kaf Hachaim 477; Piskeiy Teshuvos
 The reason: As just like the Karban Pesach may only be eaten until midnight, so too the Matzah may only be eaten until midnight, as the verse states Al Matzos Umerorim Yochluhu, thus teaching us that the eating of Matzah is connected, and follows similar laws, to the Pesach [Admur 458/2] This follows the opinion of Rebbe Elazar Ben Azaria, brought next.
 Reb Elazar Ben Azaria in Pesachim 120b; Zevachim 57b; Tosafus Zevachim ibid; Megillah 21a; Piskeiy Tosafus Pesachim 334; Zevhacim 33; Rabbeinu Chananel in Arvei Pesachim; Semag in name of Riy; Mordechai end of Pesachim; Rabbeinu Yerucham 5/4; Conclusion of Or Zarua; Hapardes 9/16-26 “It is forbidden to eat Matzah after midnight”; See Biur Halacha 477/1 “Viyihei Zahir”
 Rebbe Akiva in Pesachim and Zevachim ibid; Rambam Karban Pesach 8/15; Chametz Umatzah 6; Rif [brought in Mishkanos Yaakov 139] Rav Hamaggid; Baal Haitur; Or Zarua in name of Rav Yaakov of Krubil; Kol Bo 90; See Biur Halacha 477/1 “Viyihei Zahir”
 Rosh; Rashba; Ran end of Megillah chapter 2; Rokeiach
 Degul Merivava 477; Shaareiy Teshuvah 477/1; P”M 477 M”Z 1; Derech Hachaim; Tov Ayin 38/87; Ikarei Hadat 19/14; Misgeres Hashulchan 119/11; Aruch Hashulchan 477/5; M”B 477/6; Biur Halacha ibid; Kaf Hachaim 473/16; 475/64; Beis Halevi 1/34; Nitei Gavriel 91/1
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the final ruling of the Talmud is like Rebbe Akiva that the Mitzvah of Matzah applies throughout the night, until Alos Hashachar. [Mishkanos Yaakov 139; Or Yisrael 475; Or Sameiach 6/1; Sdei Chemed Mareches Chametz Umatzah 14/11; See Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 1]
 Degul Merivava 477; Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid; M”B 477/6; Ashel Avraham Butchach 477; Kaf Hachaim 477/10
 Admur 481/1 “There is no difference between the first and second night in any other matter”; Nitei Gavriel 91/5
Other opinions: Some Poskim defend the practice of those who recite a blessing over the Matzah even after midday. [Darkei Chaim Veshalom 605; See Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 6]
 See Halacha ?? where this matter was discussed in detail