Misc. matters which begin to apply thirty days before Pesach?
- It is proper to beware from using Chametz in a way that will be difficult to remove on Erev Pesach.
- One is to be careful that crumbs do not fall into Sefarim beginning from Purim and onwards.
- One is not to starch ones clothing or tablecloths with Chametz starch.
- Matzah: It is our custom not to eat Matzah starting thirty days before Pesach, which is from Purim and onwards. [Others have the custom to avoid eating Matzah starting from Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Others avoid eating it starting from the night of the 14th. According to all it is forbidden to eat Matzah starting from the day of the 14th, which is Erev Pesach.
- Bedikas Chametz: One who will be traveling from home before Pesach must check his house prior to leaving, if he does not plan to sell his Chametz in that area to a gentile. See The Laws of Bedikas Chametz for the full details of this issue.
- Buying Haggadahs: One is to buy a personal Haggadah for each of his children. The Haggadahs are to contain pictures and designs in order to arouse the interest of the child.
- Buying Pesach vessels: One is to buy nice Keilim for Pesach.
- Avoid saying “This meat is for Pesach”: One is not to say on any item that “it is for Pesach”. Rather he should say that “it is for Yom Tov”. This applies especially to meat.
Giving children play dough within thirty days before Pesach:
Many varieties of Play dough are made of actual Chametz. The company brand Play-doh, which is the main manufacturer of the item, makes the compound from flour, water, and food coloring. Therefore, in compliance with the above law, it is suggested that children not be given play-doh to play with, starting from Purim and onwards. There are alternative brands of Play-dough that do not contain Chametz, and thus would not pose a problem in their use over [Chol Hamoed] Pesach.
According to our custom may one eat Matzah Kefula or Neufchatel within thirty days before Pesach?
No. One is to avoid eating Matzah even if it is a Kefula or Nefucha, and hence is considered like Chametz. However there are opinions which allow eating such Matzah until Erev Pesach even for those which avoid Matzah starting thirty days beforehand.
According to our custom, may one eat non-Shmura Matzah within thirty days before Pesach?
According to our custom, may one eat machine made Matzah that is Kosher for Pesach, within thirty days before Pesach?
According to our custom, may one eat machine made Chametz Matzah within thirty days before Pesach?
Some Poskim rule one may eat machine made Chametz Matzah. Others rule one is to avoid even machine made Chametz Matzah. Practically one may be lenient, if on Pesach one is particular to only eat handmade Matzos, in which case one may eat machine made Chametz Matzah up until the night of the 14th.
According to our custom, may one eat egg Matzah [Matzah Ashira] within thirty days before Pesach?
Yes. However this is only allowed if the eggs or other fruit juices added to the Matzos have altered the taste of the Matzah.
According to our custom, may one eat Gebrocks within thirty days before Pesach?
If the Matzah is cooked in liquid, such as Matzah balls, it is allowed to be eaten within thirty days before Pesach. This applies even if the Matzah balls are made from Kosher for Pesach Matzah flour.
May one eat Matzah dipped in wine and the like?
According to our custom, what is one to do if the only available bread for the Shabbos meal is Matzah?
One may eat the Matzah regularly. One is not required to perform Hataras Nedarim in such a circumstance. This certainly applies if a woman is in the hospital after birth, and the hospital, which is already Kosher for Pesach, is only serving Matzah for bread. If one has time before Shabbos, then one can fry the Matzah with oil, and thus fulfill both one’s Shabbos obligations and his custom.
Is one to increase in Simcha in the month of Nissan?
Rashi [on Taanis 29a] explains the reason for the increasing in joy in the month of Adar is due to the miracles that occurred on Purim and Pesach. Some Poskim rule based on this that one is to increase in joy also in the month of Nissan. Others however explain that Rashi does not intend to novelize a new law of increasing in joy in Nissan but rather is explaining why the month of Adar is meritorious.
 Igros Kodesh 8/219; See Igros Moshe 1/155 [Appendix]
The reason: Although from the letter of the law it is permitted to eat Matzah prior to Erev Pesach [471/4], nevertheless some are accustomed to avoid eating Matzah thirty days beforehand, as the entire reason behind not eating Matzah is so one does not experience the Mitzvah prior to its proper time, just like one may not have relations with an Arusa until Nessuin takes place. Accordingly, it is proper to avoid eating Matzah starting thirty days beforehand, as is the ruling with all matters relating to Pesach. Nevertheless, the Sages did not desire to establish such a decree due to difficulty for it to be upheld by the public. It was therefore only prohibited on Erev Pesach. [Igros Moshe ibid] Alternatively the reason is in order so the Matzah be new and beloved onto the person. [Likkutei Maharich Seder Hanhagas Chodesh Nissan p. 3b]
 Shvus Yaakov 471/7 based on Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 471/3; Beir Heiytiv 471/5; M”B 471/12; Igros Moshe 1/155 writes that many are accustomed like this ruling. Lev Chaim 2/88 writes it is a mere stringency and not required from the letter of the law
The reason: They follow the same reasoning explained in the previous custom, of avoiding Matzah for thirty days. Nevertheless they only avoid from Rosh Chodesh, as according to Rav Shimon Ben Gamliel, the Chametz laws relevant to Pesach only being to apply two weeks before hand and not from thirty days. [Igros Moshe ibid]
Other Opinions: Some Poskim ridicule the custom to avoid eating Matzah before Erev Pesach. [Orchos Chaim Spinka in name of Meoreiy Or “Od Lamoed” p. 35b] There he writes that one should not say that many [Rabim] are accustomed to avoid eating Matzah starting from Rosh Chodesh, but rather one should read Rakim [ignoramuses] are accustomed to avoid eating Matzah before Erev Pesach, as they are arguing on the decree of the Sages which only decreed on Erev Pesach.
 M”A 471/6 in name of Ran; So rules Igros Moshe 1/155; Rav Poalim 3/27
 Sichas Purim 1987 brought in Otzer Minhagei Chabad Purim 238
 Play dough can be made in a variety of ways. Most Play-doughs on the market consist of flour and water. Home-made recipes will include salt, flour or corn starch, a vegetable, canola, or olive oil and cream of tartar. Nevertheless there are some companies that make it from other non-chametz ingredients. Such non-Chametz play doughs are commonly called Plasticine [Plastalina in Hebrew] or silly putty. One is to verify the brand that is being used and the ingredients they use to make their dough. Nevertheless most play doughs using real flour will feel softer than regular silly putty or Plastalina and can hence be told apart.
 Ingredients provided by the Play-Doh company “Hasbro”: The compound is primarily a mixture of water.
 Based on 471/7 that it is forbidden to eat this Matzah on Erev Pesach as perhaps the Nefucha or Kefula is not Chametz. Seemingly the same would apply regarding our custom to avoid Matzah within thirty days before Pesach. See Chikreiy Minhagim p. 154
 Mishnas Yaakov 3/471
 As from the letter of the law these Matzos are Kosher for Pesach.
 As from the letter of the law these Matzos are Kosher for Pesach. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 471 footnote 16]
 Mishneh Halachos 6/102; Mishnas Yaakov 3/471
 As one is only forbidden from eating Matzos on Erev Pesach if they are possibly Kosher for Pesach, as is evident from the ruling of Admur ibid regarding eating Kefula and Nefucha on Erev Pesach and regarding the allowance to eat Kneidlach.
 Matzah Mitzvah 12 footnote 29; Mikraeiy Kodesh Pesach 2/25; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 471/4; Chikreiy Minhagim p. 151
 As although the packaging of these Matzos state they are Chametz, this is not for certain, as it is possible that some of the Matzos were indeed baked within 18 minutes. Furthermore even if the Matzos are Chametz since they have the taste of Matzah they are to be avoided. [See Maharsha Pesachim 99b]
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 471 footnote 16 writes that this is the accepted ruling he has received from Rabbanim and Morei Horaah. The reasoning is because the taste of these Matzos is not similar at all to handmade Matzah.
 As even on Erev Pesach it is permitted to be eaten. [471/4]
 As one cannot fulfill his obligation with cooked Matzah, and only Matzah which one can fulfill his obligation with is one forbidden from eating on Erev Pesach. Hence certainly within 30 days before Pesach it may be eaten. [471/8]
 In 461/13 Admur records a dispute regarding if Matzah dipped in wine and the like is valid for fulfilling the Mitzvah of eating Matzah on the night of Pesach. Admur concludes that one does not fulfill his obligation, and hence he must eat the Matzah again, even for Afikoman. However if he is sick or old and cannot eat regular Matzah dipped in water, then he may do so in order to fulfill the Mitzvah at least in accordance to one opinion. From this it would seem that it is permitted to eat Matzah dipped in fruit juices prior to Pesach. Vetzaruch Iyun!
 The reason: As avoiding Matzah throughout the thirty days is only a custom, and is not required from the letter of the law, while eating a meal with bread on Shabbos is required from the letter of the law. One is thus required to break his custom for the sake of fulfilling the Mitzvah of the Shabbos meal. [See Admur 613/19 “There is no custom to allow the prohibited but rather to prohibit the allowed”.]
 The reason: If a circumstance came up, in which it poses difficulty for one to keep his Chumra, Hiddur, or custom, then if it is unusual to accept this Hiddur even in such circumstances, then one is not required to perform Hataras Nedarim. [M”A 581/12; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Degul Merivava ibid and Yoreh Deah 214/1; Rama 568/2; 581/2 [regarding a Bris during Bahab or Aseres Yimei Teshuvah]
Opinion of Michaber and Shach: The Michaber 214/1 rules regarding the Hiddur of fasting during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, that even if one became weak, he is required to do Hataras Nedarim. The Shach 214/2 explains that the reason for this is because only those circumstances that are publicly known not to be included within the Hiddur, such as eating during a Bris Mila during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, do not require Hataras Nedarim. However an unexpected circumstance is included in the Hiddur and thus requires Hataras Nedarim. The Degul Merivava ibid argues against the Shach’s explanation, and says the Michaber’s ibid ruling referred to a case that due to weakness the person wanted to revoke forever his custom, and for this everyone agrees that Hatara is required.
 Rav Cohen, as she may even eat on Yom Kippur.
 How much oil is one to use, and does the frying affect the blessing of the Matzah?
If the Matzah is a Kezayis in size when fried: Then irrelevant of the amount of oil used, even if the Matzah is deep fried, it remains Hamotzi. [Seder 2/12]
If the Matzahs are less than a Kezayis in size prior to frying: If the Matzah was less than a Kezayis in size from the start of the frying, then a very minute amount of oil is to be used for the frying, but to the point that the taste of the Matzah changes, as when a very minute amount of oil is used, simply so the dough does not stick, the Matzah remains Hamotzi according to all. [Seder 2/11] If however one uses a larger amount of oil then it is disputed as to its blessing, and the main ruling follows that it is Mezonos and Al Hamichyah. [See Seder 2/12-13 that there are two disputes in this matter, one regarding if frying is considered cooking or baking [Seder 2/12], and another in whether cooking less than Kezayis breads makes it become Mezonos [Seder 2/13]. Thus in order to avoid turning the Matzah into Mezonos, one should use a minute amount of oil if the Matzah pieces are less than a Kezayis. However one must use enough oil to change the taste of the Matzah as in such a case the Matzah is now considered Matzah Ashira, and one can no longer fulfill his obligation with it.
If the Matzahs started off a Kezayis and through the frying became less than a Kezayis in size: The Matzah is Mezonos unless a very small amount of oil was used, simply so the dough does not stick, in which case it remains Hamotzi. [See Seder 2/12-13]
 As Matzah that is fired and receives the taste of oil becomes Matzah Ashira. It is however disputed whether Matzah that fried [not deep fried] is considered cooked or baked. If however it is deep fried then according to all opinions the Matzah is invalid also due to being cooked.
 Elya Raba 685/8; Chas am Soffer 160 based on Rashi Taanis 29a
 Shieilas Yaavetz 2/88; Likkutei Sichos 16 p. 344
The Rebbe [Likkutei Sichos 16/345] explains Rashi to mean that the entire month is a meritorious month for the Jewish people due to the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu was born on this month, and it is due to his merit that we merited the miracles of Purim and Pesach. This is why Rashi also mentioned Pesach in his explanation. Shieilas Yaavetz 2/88 explains the reason for mentioning Pesach is because this shows that the miracles continued for two months and hence we increase in joy in Adar and not Chanukah, as by Chanukah the miracles were for only one month.