By Rabbi Mordechai Frankel, Director, Institute of Halacha
The following contains halachic guidance concerning some of the common issues that arise when conducting a seder. In particular, it discusses preparation for the seder, the four cups of wine, and the obligation to eat matzoh and marror. It is by no means comprehensive. For a more comprehensive guide, see HaSeder HaAruch by Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Weingarten (three volumes, 1431 pages).
Preparations for the Seder
A person should complete all of the necessary preparations for the seder on Erev Pesach to enable him to start the seder without delay.1(If Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, he cannot prepare for the seder on Erev Pesach since he may not prepare for Yom Tov on Shabbos.) He may not prepare from one day of Yom Tov for the next day.
The following preparations should be made prior to Yom Tov:
1. If horseradish is being used for marror it should be grated.2If one forgot to do this, then he can grate it on Yom Tov if he employs a shinui and grates in an unusual manner, such as grating it onto the table rather than onto a plate.3
2. If lettuce leaves are being used for marror, they should be checked to ensure that they are not harboring insects.4To check romaine lettuce leaves one should separate the leaves, soak them in water, and then make a thorough leaf by leaf inspection. Soap should not be added to the water. Any insects which are found must be removed. He does not need to check the inside of the stalk for bugs, even if there is a hole in the stalk. He can use romaine stalks for marror instead of the leaves.5To do this, he should remove the leaves from the stalks and rinse them under a strong stream of water, rubbing the stalks during the rinsing. No further checking is required.
3. Prepare the karpas vegetable and the salt water into which it will be dipped.6Any vegetable can be used for karpas, except those which may be used for marror.7However the custom is to use celery,8 radishes,9 or cooked potatoes.10
4. Prepare the charoses.11 The ingredients for charoses typically include grated apples, almonds and other nuts,12 cinnamon, ginger and red wine. 13 The charoses should have the texture of apple sauce.14
5. The bone which will be used for the zroah on the seder plate should be roasted over a fire, as was the Korbon Pesach.15 Some people first boil the zroah and then singe it over a flame.16 It is preferable to use the bone from the zroah, the forearm of an animal or bird.17 The equivalent limb of a chicken is the part of the wing that is directly attached to the body.18 The zroah must have some meat on the bone.19 It may not be eaten on the seder night, because we do not eat roasted meat at the seder.20 The meat of the zroah (which has been cooked before Yom Tov) should ideally be eaten on the second day of Yom Tov, as it is not proper to dispose of the zroah in an unfitting manner.21
7. Open the wine bottles to be used at the seder. In particular, wine bottles which have a screw cap should be opened before Yom Tov.24 One should also open the boxes of matzoh which will be needed for the first days of Yom Tov.25
9. Set the seder table with elegant dishes and arrange the chairs which will be used for leaning.28 Although throughout the year one should minimize luxury as a zecher l’churban, on the seder night it is appropriate to use the finest dishes available.29 Some people have a custom that the husband arranges the kearah.30 There were gedolim who insisted on personally setting the table for the seder.31
10. Prepare the kearah. There are differing customs as to the layout of the various components of the kearah. One prevalent custom is that of the Arizal.32 According to this minhag, starting at the top of the kearah furthest from the leader of the seder, the zroah is placed on the right side of the kearah and the beitzah on the left side. The marror is placed in the middle of the kearah, with the charoses on the right and the karpas on the left a little further forward on the plate. The lettuce is placed at the bottom of the kearah nearest to the leader of the seder. Three matzohs are placed either underneath the kearah33 or outside the kearah next to the zroah and beitzah.34
Another custom is that of the Rema.35 According to this minhag, the karpas and salt water are placed nearest to the leader of the seder below the matzoh, the marror and charoses above the matzoh, with the beitzah and zroah above them furthest from the leader of the seder.
Below on the left is an illustration of the kearah according to the Rema; on the right the kearah according to the Arizal.
There are other customs regarding the arrangement of the items on the kearah. The Gra36 and Maharal37 each have differing customs. A person should follow his particular minhag.
Some have the custom to place a covering between each of the three matzohs, while others do not. and Maharal38 The matzohs should be covered before kiddush. and Maharal39 Often, families that join together for the seder have the custom to provide a separate kearah for the head of each individual household. and Maharal40
11. Make an eruv tavshilin, if necessary. This year 5769, Erev Pesach occurs on Wednesday and an eruv tavshilin is required outside of Eretz Yisroel. To make an eruv tavshilin, a person should take a baked item such as matzoh and a cooked item and Maharal41 such as fish, meat or an egg.42 He should hold the items43 and recite the text found in the siddur. The eruv tavshilin should not be eaten until all of the preparations for Shabbos are completed.44 It is customary to eat the eruv tavshilin at shalosh seudos.45
The Four Cups
One is required to drink four cups of wine at the seder;46 women have the same obligation as men.47 If a person drinks four cups of wine in a row, he is not yotzei this mitzvah.48 Rather, he must recite the haggadah and drink each of the arba kosos at the appropriate point.49 For this reason, he may not drink the fourth cup immediately after the third cup.50 A woman should make sure that she either recites the haggadah herself or hears the leader of the seder recite the haggadah, so that she will be able to drink the arba kosos at the appropriate times.51
The cup should hold the measurement of a reviis of wine.52 According to Rav Chaim Noeh, a reviis is calculated at 86 cubic centimeters of wine,53 (גימטריא כוס) which is equivalent to slightly less than 3 fl. oz. According to the Chazon Ish, it equals 150 cubic centimeters of wine(גימטריא כוס הגון) which is equivalent to slightly more than 5 fl. oz.54 Based on the ruling of the Mishna Berura, Rabbi Heinemann, shlita,55 states that it is necessary to use a cup which holds 3.8 fluid ounces.56
Ideally, a person should drink a reviis of wine.57 Some opinions state that if the cup holds more than a reviis he should drink the entire cup;58 others dispute this.59 If it is difficult to drink an entire reviis of wine, one should drink slightly more than half the cup.60 If a person has difficulty drinking four cups of wine, he should make sure that he has a cup that holds exactly a reviis so that he will need to drink only slightly more than half a reviis.61 For the fourth cup, he should either drink enough wine to be able to recite a brocha acharona himself or have someone be motzei him.62 It is preferable to drink the majority of the reviis at one time.63 If a person cannot do so, he should at least drink the majority of the reviis within kedei shtias reviis,64 which is approximately half a minute.65
An alcoholic wine should be used for the arba kosos.66 The wine can be diluted with grape juice.67 Rabbi Heinemann, shlita, is of the opinion that the resulting mixture should contain at least 4% alcohol.68 Therefore, wine which has 12% alcohol content can be diluted into ⅓ wine and ⅔ grape juice; alternatively, the wine can be diluted with water. Wine which has 12% alcohol content can therefore be diluted into ⅓ wine and ⅔ water, or ⅓ wine and ⅓ grape juice and ⅓ water.69 If a person cannot drink wine, then he can use grape juice for the four cups.70 A person who will become incapacitated is not obliged to drink the arba kosos.71
Red wine should be used for the seder.72 Throughout the year, it is preferable not to use wine which has been cooked for kiddush; the same is true for the seder.73 This is because uncooked wine tastes better than cooked wine.74 It is debatable as to whether pasteurized wine has the same status as cooked wine in this regard.75
A child who has reached the age of chinuch, about five or six years old,76 should also be given arba kosos to drink;77 however, it is not essential to do so.78 A child does not need to drink a full reviis of wine or grape juice and should rather drink meloh lugmav, the amount of wine he can hold in his cheeks.79 It is customary to give arba kosos even to younger children, although they can be given a minimal amount of grape juice.80
When drinking the first cup, a person should have in mind that he is fulfilling the obligations of both kiddush and the first of the arba kosos.81 A man should drink the arba kosos while leaning to his left side.82 If he did not lean while drinking the first, third or fourth kos, he should not drink that kos a second time.83 If he did not lean while drinking the third kos, he should drink another kos during the meal while leaning to his left side.84
Both men and women are commanded by the Torah to eat matzoh at the seder.85 A child who has reached the age of chinuch should also be given matzoh to eat at the seder.86
The matzohs being used for the mitzvah should be shemurah matzohs. This is matzoh that has been watched since the harvesting of the wheat to ensure that nothing has occurred which might cause it to become chametz.87 Many people have the custom to use only hand-baked matzohs for this mitzvah; others use machine matzohs.88
A person must eat one kezayis of matzoh at the seder.89 The Steipler Gaon90 and Rav Dovid Feinstein91 write that ideally one should eat ⅔ of a machine matzoh or the equivalent volume of hand-baked matzoh, which would be approximately half of a Tzelem Pupa hand matzoh.92 However, upon experimentation, Rabbi Heinemann found that half of a machine matzoh or ⅓ of a Tzelem Pupa hand matzoh contain the volume of matzoh necessary for a kezayis.93
A person who has difficulty chewing may crush the kezayis of matzoh before eating it.94 If necessary, he may also soak the matzoh in water to facilitate eating the kezayis.95 A person who is unable to eat or drink the prescribed amount of matzoh, marror or wine should consult his rabbi. Please refer to the article “Pesach Guide for those with Diabetes” for more information.
The kezayis of matzoh should be eaten within the time span of kedei achilas peras.96 The kezayis should preferably be eaten within two minutes.97 If this cannot be done, it should at least be eaten within three98 or four minutes.99 After everyone at the seder has finished netilas yadayim and returned to the table, the leader of the seder should take the three matzohs in front of him and recite the brocha of Hamotzi. The top and bottom matzohs, which are both whole, will serve as the lechem mishna.100 If feasible, he should then set down the bottom matzoh and recite the brocha of Al Achilas Matzoh while holding the top and broken middle matzoh.101 He should then give each person at the seder a kezayis, including within the kezayis some of the top and middle matzoh over which the brocha has been made.102
A person should preferably chew the matzoh without swallowing until he has a kezayis of matzoh in his mouth, and then swallow the kezayis at one time.103 In regards to this, one can rely upon the more lenient measurements of a kezayis and calculate it as being less than ¼ of a machine matzoh.104 People who find it impractical to swallow an entire kezayis at one time should instead eat the kezayis in the normal manner, while including some of the top and broken middle matzoh over which the brocha has been made.105
The Shulchan Aruch brings an opinion that one should eat a kezayis from the top matzoh followed by a second kezayis from the broken middle matzoh.106 However, a person who fulfills the requirement of eating a kezayis by eating the size of half of a machine matzoh is actually eating two kezaysim when calculated according to the more lenient measurements of a kezayis.107 It is, therefore, sufficient to eat the size of half of a machine matzoh in order to fulfill the opinion that suggests eating two kezaysim.108
Before eating, a person should have in mind that he is about to perform the mitzvah of eating matzoh.109 When reciting or hearing the brocha of Al Achilas Matzoh, he should also have in mind the eating of the afikomon.110
Nowadays, in the absence of the Korbon Pesach, it is no longer a Torah requirement to eat marror at the seder; however, there is a rabbinic obligation to do so.113 This obligation applies equally to men and women.114 Children who have reached the age of chinuch should also be given marror to eat, similar to an adult.115
A person may use romaine lettuce for the marror,116 although it must be checked before Pesach to ensure that it does not harbor insects.117 He may use either the leaves or the lettuce stalks for marror. 118 The lettuce does not need to be bitter,119 although there is an opinion that the lettuce must have some element of bitter taste.120 Some people have the custom not to use lettuce for marror.121
Raw horseradish may also be used for marror.122 It is customary for people using lettuce for marror to put some horseradish on the lettuce, although it is not necessary to do so.123 There is no need to use a lot of horseradish for this.124
A person must eat a kezayis of marror.125 The amount of lettuce which will displace 25 cm³ of water would constitute a kezayis, according to the Rav Chaim Noeh.126 This is equivalent to slightly less than 1 fl. oz. According to the Chazon Ish127 and Rav Dovid Feinstein,128 he should take 1.1 fl. oz. of lettuce for marror. Rabbi Heinemann is of the opinion that a person should take 1 fl. oz. of lettuce.129 One large lettuce leaf or two large stalks displaces approximately 1 fl. oz. of water.130
The kezayis of marror should be eaten within the time span of kedei achilas pras.131 The kezayis should preferably be eaten within two minutes.132 If this cannot be done, it should at least be eaten within three133 or four minutes.134 One does not lean when eating the marror.135
When Moshiach comes and the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt, we will offer the Korbon Pesach and there will once again be a Torah obligation to eat the Korbon Pesach with matzoh and marror on Pesach.136 Bimehera Yiboneh Hamikdash.
The following abbreviations have been used: M.B. – Mishna Berura, S.H. – Shaar HaTziyun, B.H. – Biur Halacha. All citations to Shulchan Aruch refer to section Orach Chayim.
1. Shulchan Aruch 472:1.
2. Rema 495:1 states that, although certain melachos are permissible on Yom Tov for food preparation, food which does not lose its taste at all should be prepared before Yom Tov. If such a food was not prepared before Yom Tov, it may be prepared on Yom Tov with a shinui. See M.B. 495:10, S.H. 495:12, B.H. ‘Miyhu’, that it is preferable to prepare such food before Yom Tov, rather than wait to prepare it on Yom Tov with a shinui. Food which would lose some of its taste if prepared before Yom Tov may be prepared on Yom Tov. However, there are opinions which are stringent and state that even in such a case one should only grind food on Yom Tov with a shinui, as stated by the Rema 504:1, M.B. 504:11, M.B. 504:19, S.H. 504:33. M.B. 473:36 states that one should take care not to eat the marror whole, which would be tantamount to a sakanah; rather, he should grate it and let it stand uncovered in order to lessen its sharpness. Based upon the above, it would seem that it would be preferable to prepare the marror before Yom Tov rather than prepare it on Yom Tov with a shinui. However, M.B. 473:36 states that the Gra would not grate the marror until the start of the seder due to concern that the marror may lose its sharpness to the extent that it would no longer be viable for the mitzvah. Nevertheless, it would seem that nowadays where we primarily are fulfilling the mitzvah with lettuce, this concern is no longer applicable and the horseradish should be grated before Yom Tov.
3. M.B. 504:19, S.H. 504:33. Orchos Rabbeinu vol. 2 page 73 states that the Chazon Ish and Steipler Gaon would grate the marror on Yom Tov without a shinui. See Orchos Rabbeinu ibid for a possible explanation. The Chazon Ish and Steipler Gaon did not use lettuce for marror, and it is probable that the leniency to grate without a shinui would be limited to such a circumstance. However, if lettuce is used for the marror and the horseradish is only an enhancement, then probably all would agree that if the horseradish is grated on Yom Tov it would be preferable to do so with a shinui. If Pesach occurs on Shabbos, then the marror must be grated on Erev Pesach. If a person did not do so, he may only cut up the horseradish close to the meal and should not cut it into very small pieces, as stated in M.B. 321:45.
4. M.B. 473:42.
5. Shulchan Aruch 473:5.
6. The Chayei Odom, kelal 130 dinnei haseder biketzara 1, states that the salt water should be prepared before Yom Tov, and if this was not done then one should put water in the cup first and then add the salt. M.B. 473:21 states that if Pesach occurs on Shabbos, a person should prepare the salt water before Shabbos. If he did not do so, and he does not have vinegar for dipping, then he should make a minimal amount of salt water. The implication of the Mishna Berura is that if Pesach does not occur on Shabbos there is no need to make the salt water before Yom Tov. However, it would seem that in order to expedite the start of the seder the Mishna Berura may agree with the Chayei Odom that it is commendable to prepare the salt water before Yom Tov.
7. M.B. 473:20. Mishna Berura ibid states that one should preferably use an item over which the brocha of Borei Pri Hoadama is recited, so that he will not have to recite this brocha over the marror.
8. Maharil, Minagei Maharil Machon Yerushalayim edition page 96, states that ‘afich’ is used for karpas. Teshuvos Chasam Sofer, Orach Chaim 132, quotes Rav Nosson Adler as identifying ‘afich’ as celery. Tosafos Yom Tov, Shabbos 9:5, identifies karpas as ‘petroselah’, which is parsley, and states that it is customary to use this for karpas at the seder. Magen Avrohom 473:4 questions the use of parsley for karpas. However, the Chok Yaakov 473:12 and Chayei Odom klal 130 kitzur dinei haseder 5 state that parsley can be used for karpas. Parsley must be checked before use to ensure that it does not harbor any insects.
9. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 118:2, Aruch HaShulchan 473:10.
10. Aruch HaShulchan 473:10.
11. M.B. 473:47. M.B. states that if one forgot to prepare the charoses beforehand it may be prepared on Yom Tov. However, M.B. 321:67 states that if Pesach occurs on Shabbos and one did not prepare the charoses beforehand, he should not make thick charoses (he should only make a ‘belilah rakah’), he should put the liquid in the bowl before adding the solid food, and mix the ingredients with a shinui. If he did not cut the apple before Shabbos, he should only do so close to the meal and not cut the apple into very small pieces, as stated in M.B. 321:45.
12. Rema 473:5 and M.B. 473:49 bring sources which compare Bnei Yisroel to these fruits.
13. Rema 473:5, M.B. 473:48.
14. Heard from Rav Heinemann, shlita.
15. Shulchan Aruch 473:4, M.B. 473:28-29. M.B. 473:32 states that it is forbidden to roast the zroah on Yom Tov, unless one is planning to eat it during the first day of Yom Tov; therefore, one should roast it before Yom Tov. If he forgot and roasts it on Yom Tov, then care must be taken to eat it the next day.
16. See Magen Avrohom 473:8 quoting Maharil, Piskei Teshuvos 473:12 and footnote 58.
17. Shulchan Aruch 473:4, M.B. 473:27.
18. Rabbi Heinemann, shlita, quoted by Reb Zev Stein in the pamphlet ‘KeKochvei HaShamayim LeRav’. The Pri Megaddim siman 473 aishel avrohom 7 writes that there are those who use the neck of a bird for the zroah, although he does not know why.
19. M.B. 473:27.
20. M.B. 473:32.
21. M.B. 473:32 quotes Chayei Odom as stating that it is wrong to throw away the zroah, as it is a lack of respect for the mitzvah. The optimal way to perform the mitzvah is to add the zroah to the food which is cooked on the second day of Yom Tov after the sedorim.
22. Shulchan Aruch 473:4, M.B. 473:32. Mishna Berura ibid. writes that if one does not intend to eat the egg on that day, then the egg cannot be roasted on Yom Tov and must be prepared before Yom Tov.
23. See Rema 476:2 that it is customary to eat a hard-boiled egg at the start of the seder meal.
24 M.B. 509:28. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 1:122 anaf 10 and Minchas Shlomo 1:91 section 12.
25 See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchassa 9:10-12 concerning one who forgot to open a container before Shabbos or Yom Tov.
26 Shulchan Aruch 472:1 states that on Erev Pesach one should leave the Beis Hamedrash early. Rashi and Rashbam, in their commentaries to Pesachim 109a, explain that this is in order for the children to rest during the day and not on the night of the seder.
27 Matteh Moshe siman 600 writes that it is customary to eat dairy food on Erev Pesach because dairy food makes a person drowsy. This will cause him to sleep during the day and be awake at the seder to tell the story of yetzias mitzrayim. However, we no longer have the custom to eat dairy products on Erev Pesach.
28 Shulchan Aruch 472:2.
29 M.B. 472:6.
30 Chidah, Moreh BeEtzbah siman 206, writes, “He himself should arrange the kearah for the night.”
31 The Hagaddah Shel Pesach ‘Chasam Sofer’ states, “The Chasam Sofer, zt”l, would personally set the table before going to shul, and he would beautify it with all kinds of splendor with great alacrity and tremendous happiness, in order to great the holy day.” The Hagaddah Shel Pesach ‘MiBeis Halevi’ hosohfos page 64 writes, “On Erev Yom Tov, the Beis Halevi would personally set the table and the utensils, with fear and love [of G-d], and with every utensil he would ask his family – ‘Does it look nicer this way or that way? Does the cup look nicer here or there?’ – and he would do similarly with the rest of the seder needs”.
32 Chayei Odom siman 130 kelalei haseder biketzara 1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 118:8, Be’er Haitiv 473:8, M.B. 473:26, Aruch HaShulchan 473:11.
33 The Arizal, quoted by Be’er Haitiv 473:8, states that the kearah should be ‘on’ the matzohs. Shulchan Aruch HaGraz 473:26 understands this to mean that the kearah should be on top of the matzohs. In order to facilitate this, the kearah is built with slots under the plate into which the matzohs can be inserted.
34 The Arizal, quoted by Be’er Haitiv 473:8, states that the kearah should be ‘on’ the matzohs. Kaf HaChayim 473:58 understands this to mean that the kearah should be next to the matzohs.
35 Rema 473:4.
36 Ma’aseh Rav 187.
37 Hagaddah Shel Pesach attributed to the Maharal page 41. However, it has been argued that the work is a forgery and was not written by the Maharal. See the essay of Rav Benedict in the journal Moriah, Sivan 5745, reprinted in the ‘Hagaddah Shel Pesach with the commentary Gevuros Hashem’ (published by Machon HaMaharal) volume 1 page 232. Rav Benedict points out that in the Maharal’s sefer Gevuros Hashem, which extensively discusses the Pesach seder, there is no mention of the kearah being arranged this way.
38 The Chayei Odom, kelal 130 dinei haseder biketzara 1, writes that this is an ignorant custom. However the sefer Taamei HaMinhagim #520 after quoting the Chayei Odom writes, “I asked many gedolim, yereim and sheleimim, and they all told me in unison that the minhag is to wrap the matzohs and place a covering between one matzoh and the next.”
39 Shulchan Aruch 473:4 states that the kearah is placed in front of the baal habayis after kiddush. However, Pri Megaddim Mishbetzos Zahav start of siman 486 states that our custom is to bring the kearah before kiddush. If this custom is followed, then the matzohs should be covered during kiddush, as stated by Shulchan Aruch 271:9, M.B. 271:41. Similarly, Matteh Moshe siman 613 quoting the Maharil (Minhagei Maharil, Machon Yerushalayim edition, page 95) writes, “Take the matzohs in order, one above the other, a first one and a second one and a third one, and wrap the matzohs with a covering so as to hide the bread from the shame that the wine for kiddush is preceding it”.
40 Shulchan Aruch 473:4 states that the kearah is placed in front of the baal habayis, and M.B. 473:17 states that there is no need to place a kearah in front of the other members of the household. Many people have the custom that, when families join together for the seder, they place a kearah in front of the head of each household, as pointed out in Piskei Teshuvos 472:11 and footnote 51. See also Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchassa volume 2 chapter 55 footnote 15, quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, and Halichos Shlomo Pesach chapter 9 footnote 65.
41 Shulchan Aruch 527:2.
42 M.B. 527:11.
43 See Maharsham 2:36.
44 Shulchan Aruch 527:16-17.
45 M.B. 527:48 states that the baked item should be eaten at Shalosh Seudos. Piskei Teshuvos 527:12 discusses when is the optimal time to eat the cooked item.
46 Shulchan Aruch 472:8, M.B. 472:24.
47 Shulchan Aruch 472:14, M.B. 472:44.
48 Shulchan Aruch 472:8.
49 B.H. 472:8 ‘Shelo’ states that if one drinks the arba kosos with a pause between each cup, but does not recite the haggadah in between, it is questionable whether he is yotzei.
50 M.B. 472:26.
51 End of B.H. 472:8 ‘shelo’.
52 Shulchan Aruch 472:9.
53 Rav Chaim Noeh, Shiurei Torah page 176. 86 cm³ = 2.91 fl. oz.
54The Steipler Gaon, Shiurin shel Torah page 65. 150 cm³ = 5.08 fl. oz.
55 Heard from Rabbi Heinemann, shlita.
56 It is clear from the Gemara, Eruvin 83a, that a lug is equivalent to the volume of six eggs. A reviis, which is ¼ of a lug, is therefore equivalent to the volume of 1½ eggs. Tzlach, Pesachim 109, argues that the eggs referred to by chazal are twice the size of present day eggs, and a reviis is therefore equivalent to the volume of three present day eggs. M.B. 271:68 and B.H. 271:13 ‘Shel’ state that for a deoraissa obligation a person should be stringent and accept the larger measurement, whereas for a derabbonon obligation he can accept the smaller measurement. M.B. and B.H. ibid also state that for kiddush on Friday night, which is based on a deoraissa obligation, it is optimal to take into account the more stringent measurement and consider a reviis as equivalent to the volume of three present day eggs or, lechatchilah, to consider a reviis as equivalent to the volume of two present day eggs. Rav Chaim Noeh, Shiurei Torah Shaar 3, disagrees with the Tzlach and is of the opinion that the eggs referred to by chazal are the same size as present day eggs. However, the Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 39, forcefully argues that the eggs referred to by chazal are twice the size of present day eggs, and is of the opinion that one should accept this measurement for both deoraissa and derabbonon obligations. Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita, sefer Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder, states that the volume of a large present day egg is 2.2 fl. oz. and the volume of 1½ eggs is 3.3 fl. oz. (He further states that this measurement is somewhat stringent, as it is probable that it is sufficient to calculate with an average sized egg, which would yield a measurement of 2.9 fl. oz. As is apparent, this final result is very similar to the conclusion of Rav Chaim Noeh, whose calculations yielded a measurement of 2.91 fl. oz.). Rav Bodner, sefer Kezayis Hasholem, page 24 footnote 24, states that his measurements show that a large egg has a volume of 1.87 fl. oz. He further states that he discussed the issue with Rav Dovid Feinstein, who agreed that this was a more accurate measurement. Accepting that an egg has a volume of 1.87 fl. oz., then 1½ eggs would have the volume of 2.8 fl. oz. However, as mentioned above the Mishna Berura states in regard to kiddush on Friday night that lechatchilah one should consider a reviis as equivalent to the volume of two present day eggs. Accepting that an egg has a volume of 1.87 fl. oz., two eggs would have a volume of 3.74 fl. oz. Rabbi Heinemann, shlita, measured a present day egg as having the volume of 1.9 fl. oz. The volume of two eggs would therefore equal 3.8 fl. oz. Consequently, Rabbi Heinemann is of the opinion that a cup which holds 3.8 fl. oz. or more may be used for the seder.
57 Shulchan Aruch 472:9, M.B. 472:30.
58 Chok Yaakov 472:20 quoting Bach, Shulchan Aruch HaGraz 472:19.
59 Chok Yaakov 472:20 states that the implication of the poskim is that there is no need to drink more than a reviis of wine. He also states that the minhag follows this approach. See also Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 60.
60 Shulchan Aruch 472:9, M.B. 472:30.
61 M.B. 472:33. Rov reviis, the majority of a reviis, is equivalent to a ‘moleh lugmav’, the amount of liquid that a person can hold in one of his cheeks. B.H. 472:9 ‘veyishteh’ states that a larger person, whose moleh lugmav is greater than a rov reviis, would need to drink his moleh lugmav and a rov reviis would not be sufficient.
62 M.B. 472:30.
63 M.B. 472:34 writes that ideally the rov reviis should be drunk at one time. Rav Dovid Feinstein, sefer Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder, explains that it does not mean that the rov reviis must all be drunk it in one sip, rather it means that the rov reviis should be drunk without taking the cup from one’s mouth. Machatzis Hashekel 472:11 understands that the whole reviis should be drunk without pause. However, Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder challenges this opinion and concludes that only rov reviis need be drunk without pause.
64 M. B. 472:34 states that one should take care to drink the majority of the cup in less time than kedei shtias reviis.
65 Heard from Rav Heinemann, shlita. M.B. 472:34 and S.H. 472:49 discuss whether a person who took a longer time than this to drink the kos should drink the kos a second time. If this happened with one of the last two cups of the arba kosos he should not drink the kos again. If it happened with one of the first two cups then, as we have the custom not to drink in between the cups, the kos should not be drunk again. However, if drinking the rov reviis took more than the time of kedei achils peras, then the kos must be drunk again. Therefore, even if the rov reviis is not drunk within half a minute it should be drunk in less than two minutes which is the most stringent measurement of kedei achilas peras, as stated in Shiurin shel Torah page 65.
66 Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder, quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, states that alcoholic wine should preferably be used for the arba kosos, and a person should push himself to drink the arba kosos in this optimal manner. See also Pri Chadah end of siman 483 and Mikrai Kodesh (and footnotes entitled Harerei Kodesh) Pesach volume 2 page 35.
67 M.B. 472:37 states that the wine for arba kosos can be diluted, although it cannot be diluted to the extent that it could no longer be used for kiddush.
68. Heard from Rav Heinemann, shlita.
69 Rema 204:5, as interpreted by M.B. 204:32 and M.B. 272:16, states that the type of wine that is made nowadays can be diluted one part in six and still retain the brocha of Borei Pri Hagofen. However, the Eliyohu Rabba as quoted in Machaztis Hashekel 204:16, and Pri Megaddim siman 204 aishhel avrohom 16, disagree. They state that because our wine is weaker than the wine available at the time of Chazal, the brocha of Shehakol would be said over wine which is diluted more than one part to one. Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita, sefer Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder, states that Rav Moshe Feinstein followed the ruling of the Mishna Berura that wine diluted one part in six retains the brocha of Borei Pri Hagofen. Nonetheless, the wine used for the arba kosos should not be diluted to this extent because such a mixture would only be minimally alcoholic, and possibly may no longer be considered sufficiently alcoholic for the arba kosos. Hilchos Chag Bechag (Chag HaPesach), page 422, states that it is customary to dilute ⅓ wine with ⅔ grape juice. Rabbi Heinemann, shlita, is of the opinion that the mixture should retain a 4% alcohol content. Therefore, wine which has 8% alcohol content should not be diluted more than half wine and half grape juice.
70 M.B. 472:37. Teshuvos VeHanhogos 2:243 states that a sick person or old person can lechatchilah use grape juice for arba kosos and notes that gedolim, such as the Chebiner Rav and the Brisker Rav, used grape juice for arba kosos. Hilchos Chag Bechag (Chag HaPesach) page 415 quotes Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, as stating that the Chazon Ish used grape juice for the arba kosos. Halichos Shlomo Pesach 9:11 states that Rav Shlomo Auerbach concurred that a person who has difficulty drinking wine can lechatchilah use grape juice for arba kosos. Furthermore, the Shulchan Aruch HaGraz 472:17 states that the drinking of the arba kosos should be pleasant as befits a person expressing his freedom from slavery. One should be aware that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Minchas Shlomo 1:4, states that the ratio of dilution one part in six applies only to wine and not to grape juice. Rav Elyashiv, shlita, is also of this opinion as quoted in sefer Vezos Haberacha page 116 and sefer Hilchos Shabbos BeShabbos page 386. According to this viewpoint, grape juice which is used for arba kosos should not be mixed with more than a little amount of water.
71 Shulchan Aruch 472:10 states that even a person who does not generally drink wine because it is harmful or distasteful should force himself to drink the arba kosos. However, M.B.472:35 states that this ruling does not include a person who would become incapacitated from drinking the arba kosos.
72 Shulchan Aruch 472:11 states that one should obtain red wine for the seder. The Rema 472:11 states that a person should use red wine for the seder unless he has white wine of better quality. M.B. 272:10 states that throughout the year it is preferable to obtain red wine for kiddush on Shabbos.
73Shulchan Aruch and Rema 272:8, M.B. 272:23, Shulchan Aruch 472:12, M.B. 472:39.
74 M.B. 272:19.
75 Minchas Shlomo 1:25 states that even the Rishonim who are of the opinion that one does not recite a brocha of Borei Pri Hagofen over cooked wine would agree that one does recite Borei Pri Hagofen over pasteurized wine. This is because there is little difference in taste between pasteurized and non-pasteurized wine. The average person, and possibly even the expert, would not notice any difference in taste between the two wines. For this reason, Minchas Shlomo states that the laws of stam yayin apply to pasteurized wine even though they do not apply to cooked wine. Rav Elyashiv shlita, Kovetz Teshuvos 1:75, also states that the laws of stam yayin may apply to pasteurized wine. However, Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 2:52 and Yoreh Deah 3:31, is of the opinion that the laws of stam yayin do not apply to pasteurized wine. It is not clear whether he would also treat pasteurized wine as cooked wine with regard to kiddush. The Meiri, Bava Basra 97, is of the opinion that cooked wine cannot be poured on the mizbeach even if the cooking did not result in any taste change, and therefore ideally should not be used for kiddush. Presumably, the Meiri would consider pasteurized wine as being in this category.
76 Chok Yaakov 472:27. See also the comments of Shulchan Aruch HaGraz 472:25. Shulchan Aruch HaGraz ibid states that, for this issue, all rulings which apply to boys that have reached the age of chinuch will also apply to girls who have reach the age of chinuch.
77 Shulchan Aruch 472:15.
79 M.B. 472:47.
80 Chok Yaakov 472:27 quoting Maharil (Minhagei Maharil, Machon Yerushalayim edition, page 94), and Kaf Hachaim 472:91. The Chavos Yair in his sefer Mekor Chaim (Piskei Dinim 472:15) states that it is customary to give wine (or grape juice) to even small babies.
81 M.B. 473:1 states that before kiddush, a person should have in mind that he intends to fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush as well as the mitzvah of arba kosos, as kiddush is also the first of the arba kosos. He further states that some people have the custom to state this verbally. He adds that before reciting the Haggadah one should think or verbalize that he is going to fulfill the mitzvah of sippur yetzias mitzrayim. See also Haggadah Shel Pesach MiBeis Halevi page 93 which records the announcement that the Beis Halevi would make at the start of the Seder.
82 Shulchan Aruch 473:2.
83 Shulchan Aruch 472:7 states that a person who drank one of the arba kosos without leaning must drink that kos a second time. However, the Rema disagrees and states that if he drank the third or fourth kos without leaning he should not drink the kos a second time.
84 Shulchan Aruch 472:7 states that a person who drank one of the arba kosos without leaning must drink that kos a second time. However the Rema disagrees with this. Rema 472:7 and M.B. 472:21 state that if he drank the first kos without leaning he should not drink it again, unless he had specific intent when saying the brocha that he would drink wine in between the first and second kos. M.B. 472:7 and S.H. 472:31 state that if he drank the second kos without leaning, he should drink it again during the meal while leaning to his left side, unless when he made the brocha he intended not to drink wine during the meal.
85 The Torah refers to the first night of Pesach as “the night you should eat matzohs.” There is a Torah obligation to eat matzoh on the first night of Pesach and a rabbinic obligation on the second night, as stated by M.B.475:44. Women have the same obligation as men, as stated by M.B. 472:44.
86 M.B. 343:2 states that a father has an obligation regarding the chinuch of his children. M.B. 343:3 states that the age of the child when this obligation begins is not a constant, and will depend upon the act that is being taught and the maturity of the child. M.B. 269:1 states that in regard to kiddush the age of chinuch would be six or seven years old. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, quoted in Halichos Shlomo Pesach 9:43, states that a child who is unable to eat a kezayis of matzoh in the time span of kedei achilas peras has not reached the age of chinuch for this mitzvah.
87 Shulchan Aruch 553:4 states that it is good to watch and ensure that no water comes into contact with the wheat which will be used for the matzohs mitzvah from the time of the harvesting of the wheat. See also M.B 553:21-22. B.H. 553:4 ‘tov’ states that the Pri Chodosh is of the opinion that this is a necessity. B.H. 460:1 ‘ein’ states that this would be a rabbinic obligation, as the Torah obligation of watching to ensure that the matzoh does not become chometz is limited to the acts of kneading and baking.
88 When machines were built to bake matzohs, the gedolim of that time debated whether this would be acceptable for matzohs mitzvah. Rav Shlomo Kluger was stringent whereas Rav Yosef Shaul Natansohn (author of Teshuvos Shoel U’meishiv) was lenient, as recorded in Sdei Chemed volume 7 page 397. These machines were hand powered. When electric machines were built, the gedolei hador further debated whether this would be acceptable for matzohs mitzvah. The Maharsham 4:129, 9:31 was stringent and the Divrei Malkiel 4:20 was lenient. The Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 6:10, states that tzitzis can be made by machine; presumably, the same would be true for matzohs mitzvah. However, Hilchos Chag Bechag (Pesach) page 337 states that the Chazon Ish himself did not rely on this and instructed that machine matzohs should not be used for matzohs mitzvah.
89 The Rambam, Hilchos Chometz U’matzoh 6:1, states that there is a Torah obligation to eat matzoh on the night of the 15th of Nissan, and once a kezayis has been eaten the mitzvah has been fulfilled.
90 M.B. 486:1 states that there is a dispute as to whether a kezayis is the size of half a beitzah or ⅓ of a beitzah, and he concludes that for a Torah obligation such as eating matzoh one should be stringent. He further states that for a Torah obligation, one should be stringent and follow the opinion that the eggs referred to by chazal are twice the size of present day eggs. Based on this, he should eat the amount of matzoh which has the same volume as a present day egg. Shiurin shel Torah page 65 states that a present day egg weighs 50 grams. Shiurin shel Torah page 66 further states that measurements show that the size of half a regular sized machine matzoh is clearly larger than the amount required. However, he writes in a footnote, “This measurement was done about 25 years ago, or slightly less; however after a number of years the opportunity arose to repeat the measurement and it was apparent that half of a machine matzoh did not fill a vessel which would hold 50 grams, and the deficiency was noticeable, which forces me to say that not all matzohs have equal amounts of flour in them. Since this is a Torah obligation, it is appropriate to ensure that the first kezayis be approximately the size of ⅔ of a machine matzoh in order to satisfy all viewpoints”.
91 Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita, Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder, writes that the matzoh which is eaten for the kezayis should have the volume of 1.5 fl. oz. Rabbi Bodner, sefer Kezayis Hashalem page 91, states that this is equivalent to the size of ⅔ of a machine matzoh. Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder further states that this measurement is given for the first night of Pesach, when there is a Torah obligation to eat matzoh. However, on the second night of Pesach one can be more lenient.
92 Rav Heinemann, shlita, has said that half of a machine matzoh is equivalent to ⅓ of our hand baked matzoh. If so, ¾ of a machine matzoh would be equivalent to half a hand baked matzoh.
93 Heard from Rav Heinemann shlita. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 66 writes that the Steipler Gaon noted that the Chazon Ish would take ¼ of a hand baked matzoh as a kezayis for both achilas matzoh and korech, and eat additional matzoh during the meal while leaning so as to fulfill the mitzvah without any doubt. Orchos Rabbeinu ibid further states that the Steipler Gaon would hand out to the participants at the seder a kezayis of matzoh which was the size of one’s palm and fingers excluding the thumb, and would note that it was customary for the Chazon Ish to do the same.
94 B.H. 461:4 ‘yotzei’.
95 M.B. 461:17. M.B. 461:18 states that it is permissible for a healthy person to dip matzoh in water if he does not soak it. See further S.H.461:32. M.B. 458:4 states that there are ‘ anshei maaseh’, scrupulous people, who are stringent and do not cook matzoh or let it become wet for the duration of Pesach. This is due to the concern that there might be some residual flour below the surface of the matzoh which could become chometz upon contact with water. This is the custom of not eating gebrochts. See further Shaarei Teshuvo 460:1.
96 M.B. 475:9.
97 Shiurin shel Torah, page, 67, based on Chasam Sofer 6:16.
98 Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:41, states that one should be stringent in the measurement of kedei achilas peras and eat the kezayis within three minutes. Aruch HaShulchan 202:8 states that the length of kedei achilas peras is three or four minutes. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 70 writes that Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, asked the Chazon Ish for the measurement of kedei acholas peras, and the Chazon Ish replied that it is approximately three minutes.
99 Shiurin shel Yorah page 67 states, “It is necessary to eat the matzoh in kedei achilas peras; preferably, it is fitting to be concerned for the opinion that one should not linger from the beginning until the end of the kezayis for more than two minutes, at least one should take care not to draw out the eating of the kezayis for more than four minutes.”
100 Shulchan Aruch 475:1, M.B. 475:2.
102 Shulchan Aruch 475:1, M.B.475:2, M.B.475:6. M.B. 475:8. Piskei Tesuvos 475:2 describes an alternative custom for the recitation of the brachos and division of the matzoh. The leader of the seder makes the brocha of Hamotzi and then divides the kezayis of matzoh for each person at the seder. He includes within the kezayis some of the matzoh over which he made the brocha. Each individual then recites the brocha of Al Achilas Matzoh.
103 M.B. 475:9.
104 Shiurin shel Torah siman 11 states that fundamentally the Chazon Ish paskened in accordance with Rav Chaim of Volozhin who stated that the measurement of a kezayis is not a constant, rather it is measured as the average size of an olive in each generation. Shiurin shel Torah further states that at a maximum, a present day olive would have the volume of ⅓ of a present day egg. Therefore, based on his statement that ⅔ of a machine matzoh contains the volume of a present day egg, two ninths of a machine matzoh would contain the volume of a kezayis. Rav Bodner, sefer Kezayis Hasholem page 24, states that the average present day olive is measured as having the volume of 0.2 fl. oz. Based on his statement that ⅔ of a machine matzoh contains 1.5 fl. oz., a present day kezayis would be equivalent to less than one tenth of a machine matzoh. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 67 quotes the Steipler Gaon as stating that the very suggestion that one should swallow a kezayis of matzoh at one time is proof of the Chazon Ish’s position concerning the size of a kezayis. See also Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 pages 66-69 concerning the amount of matzoh that should be eaten.
105 See Shulchan Aruch 475:1. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 70 writes, “Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita told me that for a number of years he attended the seder of the Chazon Ish, who ate one kezayis of matzoh and did not put it all in his mouth at one time but ate it in the normal manner within three minutes.” Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 66 similarly quotes the Steipler Gaon as saying that one should eat the matzoh in the normal manner. See also Halichos Shlomo Pesach 9:41 and Halichos Shlomo Tefillah page 380, quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.
106 Shulchan Aruch 475:1. M.B. 475:9 states that one should insert the two kezaysim into his mouth, chew them, and then swallow the first kezayis at one time. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 69 states that the Steipler Gaon was of the opinion that this applies only to the leader of the seder. B.H. 475:1 ‘kezayis’ questions the necessity of eating two kezaysim and quotes sources to the contrary. He concludes with the words ‘tzarich iyun’. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 pages 69-70 quotes Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, as stating that the Chazon Ish told him that he eats only one kezayis, not because it is difficult for him to eat two but because the halacha follows the opinion that it is necessary to eat only one kezayis.
107 As stated above, fundamentally the Chazon Ish paskened that a kezayis is measured as the volume of a present day olive, which is smaller than the volume of ¼ of a machine matzoh.
108 Heard from Rav Heinemann shlita. Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder also shares this opinion. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 66 quotes the Steipler Gaon as stating that although he eats two kezaysim of matzoh, he does not take care to ensure that one kezayis comes from the top matzoh and the other from the middle matzoh, as any two kezaysim are sufficient, and he does not attempt to insert both kezaysim in his mouth at the same time.
109 See Shulchan Aruch 475:4, M.B. 475:34, B.H 60:4 ‘yesh omrim’, B.H. 60:4 ‘veyesh omrim’, M.B. 60:10 quoting the Chayei Odom.
110 S.H. 477:4.
111 Shulchan Aruch 475:1, M.B. 475:10.
112 M.B. 472:22.
113 M.B. 473:33.
114 M.B. 472:45.
115 See M.B. 443:2.
116 Shulchan Aruch 473:5 states that one should ideally use chazeres for marror. M.B. 473:34 identifies this as lettuce. Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder states that it is customary to specifically use romaine lettuce.
117 M.B. 473:42.
118Shulchan Aruch 473:5, M.B. 473:38.
119 Chayei Odom 130:3, Shulchan Aruch HaGraz 473:30, M.B. 473:42, Aruch HaShulchan 473:16.
120 Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 124 comments on Pesachim 39a. See further the letter written by the Steipler Gaon which is reproduced at the end of the sefer Hilchos Chag Bechag (Chag HaPesach).
121 See Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 74.
122 Shulchan Aruch 473:5 states that tamcha may be used for marror. M.B. 473:34 identifies this as horseradish. Shulchan Aruch ibid. and M.B. 473:39 state that the horseradish has to be raw and cannot be cooked.
123. Aruch HaShulchan 473:14. See also Piskei Teshuvah 473:18 footnote 102. Halichos Shlomo Pesach 9:48 discourages this.
124 See the letter that the Netziv wrote to his son, printed in Pesachim 39a, in which he discourages using horseradish for marror due to the difficulty of eating it.
125 Shulchan Aruch 473:5, M.B. 473:41. See the letter written by Reb Akiva Eiger, printed in Chut HaMeshulash pages 205-206.
126 M.B. 486:1 states that there is a dispute as to whether a kezayis is the size of half a beitzah or ⅓ of a beitzah, and there is an additional dispute as to whether the eggs referred to by chazal are the same size or twice the size of present day eggs. M.B. ibid. states that with regard to marror, which is nowadays a rabbinic obligation, one can assume that the eggs referred to by chazal are the same as present day eggs, and one should ideally measure a kezayis as being the size of half an egg. Rav Chaim Noeh, Shiurei Torah page 191, states that half a present day egg has a volume of 28.8 cm³. 28.8 cm³ = 0.97 fl. oz.
127 Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 100 and 39:17, rules that the eggs referred to by Chazal are twice the size of present day eggs, and that one can accept that a kezayis is ⅓ of a beitzah. Accordingly, a kezayis is equivalent to the volume of ⅔ of a present day egg. Shiurin shel Torah page 65 states that a present day egg has a volume of 50cm³. Therefore, a kezayis will have a volume of 33.3 cm³. 33.3 cm³ = 1.13 fl. oz. Shiurin shel Torah siman 11 states that fundamentally the Chazon Ish paskened in accordance with Rav Chaim of Volozhin, who states that a kezayis is measured as the average size of an olive in each generation, and a present day olive would at a maximum have the volume of ⅓ of a present day egg. Shiurin shel Toarah concludes by stating that due to the fact that nowadays marror is a rabbinic obligation, one who has difficulty eating marror can rely upon this smaller measurement. See further the letter written by the Steipler Gaon which is reproduced at the end of the sefer Hilchos Chag Bechag (Chag HaPesach). Therefore, a person who has difficulty eating marror, should take a volume of marror equivalent to ⅓ of a present day egg, which calculates as 17cm³. 17cm³ = 0.58 fl. oz.
128 .Kol Dodi Al Hilchos HaSeder.
129. Heard from Rav Heinemann shlita. This is in accordance with the view of Rav Chaim Noeh.
130 Rav Bodner, sefer Kezayis Hashalem pages 98-101, states that one large lettuce leaf or two large lettuce stalks contain the volume of a kezayis. This was calculated in accordance with the view that a kezayis is equivalent to 0.96 fl. oz.
131 M.B. 473:43. See also S.H. 473:60.
132 Shiurin shel Torah page 67, based on Chasam Sofer 6:16.
133 Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:41, states that one should be stringent in the measurement of kedei achilas peras and eat the kezayis within three minutes. Aruch HaShulchan 202:8 states that the length of kedei achilas peras is three or four minutes. Orchos Rabbeinu volume 2 page 70 writes that Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, asked the Chazon Ish for the measurement of kedei achilas peras, and the Chazon Ish replied that it is approximately three minutes.
134 Shiurin shel Yorah page 67 states, “It is necessary to eat the matzoh in kedei achilas peras: preferably, it is fitting to be concerned for the opinion that one should not linger from the beginning until the end of the kezayis for more than two minutes; at least one should take care not to draw out the eating of the kezayis for more than four minutes.”
135 Shulchan Aruch 475:1. M.B. 475:14 states that if a person does lean while eating the marror it is also fine.
136 See Berachos 12b-13a.