Preparation for Pesach:

  1. Thirty days before Pesach one should start learning the halachot of Pesach. The 30 days begin from Purim itself.  All the more so, on the holiday itself one should learn the halachot of Pesach.

  2. This doesn't mean that a talmid chacham should stop his regular learning to learn halacha of the upcoming holiday, but rather it means that a question about hilchot pesach is given precedence to questions not about pesach.

  3. Also it is very important for the (local) Rabbi to give shiurim informing people of the halachot of Pesach.

 

Tachanun, Fasting, and Eulogies:

  1. There's no Tachanun for the entire month of Nissan.

  2. According to Ashkenazim, one shouldn’t fast during Nissan; even an individual who has Yehrzheit shouldn’t fast during Nissan.  However, according to Sephardim, one shouldn’t establish a communal fast during Nissan. However, an individual is permitted to fast, such as for a Yehrzheit during Nissan, except on Pesach and Rosh Chodesh.

  3. There aren't supposed to be communal fasts or eulogies during the month of Nissan.

  4. A bride and groom the day of their wedding may fast during Nissan even on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

  5. It’s permissible to fast a Tanit Chalom, a fast made to rectify a bad dream, during Nissan.
     

Parshat HaNesiyim

During the first 13 days of Nissan, there is a nice minhag, for the first 12 days to read the Parsha of the Nesiyim for that day (found in Bamidbar 7), and on the 13th day to read the first four pesukim of Parshat Bahalotcha.  The minhag is to read it from a chumash.

Maot Chitim

  1. It’s proper to give Maot Chitim, charity to the poor in order that they have money for Matzah on Pesach.

  2. It’s permissible to give Maot Chitim from money of Maaser Kesafim, a tith of one’s money.

Shabbat Hagadol

Why is it called Shabbat HaGadol?

  1. Some explain that it's called Shabbat HaGadol because that was the Shabbat when a miracle occurred for the Jews in Egypt that the Egyptians didn't say anything when the Jews took sheep, which was the Egyptian god, in order to slaughter them for Pesach.

Haftarah

  1. There are a number of Minhagim about which Haftara to read when Erev Pesach is on Shabbat HaGadol, and each community should follow its own custom

Drasha of the Rabbi

  1. The minhag is for the Rabbi of the community to give a Drasha on Shabbat HaGadol on Hilchot Pesach. However, if Shabbat HaGadol falls out on Erev Pesach, the Drasha should take place a week earlier.

  2. If the Rabbi who usually gives the Drasha on Shabbat HaGadol is in mourning and there’s no other Rabbi to make a Drasha, it’s permissible to give the Drasha.

Greetings on Shabbat Hagadol

  1. The minhag is to greet one another saying "Shabbat Hagadol Mevorach" on Shabat Hagadol.

Reading the Haggadah in advance

  1. On Shabbat HaGadol, the minhag is to read the Haggadah from Avadim Hayinu until LeChaper Al Avonotanu.

              Birchat Ilanot (Blessing of the Trees)

Which Trees Suit the Bracha Requirements?

  1. It is permissible to make a Bracha on a tree that was planted or guarded during Shemitta year.

  2. It is permissible to make a Bracha on a tree that is within 3 years of being planted even though it is considered Orlah.

  3. One should not make the Bracha on a tree which was made from grafting two species, however, there is what to rely on to make the Bracha.

  4. One should only make the Bracha on a fruit tree and not a barren tree. However, if one made a Bracha on a barren tree one shouldn't make another Bracha upon seeing a free bearing tree.

  5. It is questionable whether one may make a Bracha on a fruit tree which did not produce fruit the year one makes the Bracha.

Text of Bracha

  1. The text of Birchat Ilanot is ברוך אתה ה׳ אלוקינו מלך העולם שלא חיסר בעולמו כלום וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובות ליהנות בהם בני אדם.

Who is obligated?

  1. Men are obligated to recite the Birchat Ilanot.

  2. Although there is a discussion if women are obligated since it could theoretically be considered a time-bound mitzvah, nonetheless, the poskim hold that women may recite Birchat Ilanot.

Timing

  1. It is preferable to say the Birchat Ilanot in Nissan, however, if one has not yet made the Bracha, it is permissible to make it even after Nissan, and after the fact one may also recite the Bracha before Nissan. Nonetheless, in places that the trees bud in Adar one may make the bracha in Adar.

  2. Preferably, one should say Birchat Ilanot the first time one sees a budding tree in Nissan, however, if one did not one may still recite Birchat Ilanot even if one previously saw a budding tree and did not make the Bracha the first time.

  3. The Bracha is recited when the tree starts to bloom, meaning carry flowers, and leaves are not enough. If the tree's buds matured into fruits one may no longer make the Bracha. However if some of the fruit begin to grow and some flowers and buds remain one may still say the Bracha.

  4. One may say Birchat Ilanot even on Shabbat, yet it is preferable to make it during the week if it does not result in one missing out on making the Bracha altogether.

  5. One may say Birchat Ilanot even at night if there is enough light for one to distinguish between trees that are blooming and ones that are not.

  6. In Australia trees bud in Elul and Tishrei one should therefore say Birchat Ilanot in those months rather than in Nissan.

Procedure

  1. It is preferable to gather a minyan (10 people) in order to make the Bracha of Birchat Ilanot.

  2. It is better for one person to say the Bracha out loud and everyone else to say it quietly to themselves.

  3. A blind person cannot make Birchat Ilanot, however, it is proper to listen to the Shaliach Tzibbur make the Bracha.

  4. One may make the Bracha even if one sees the tree through glasses (including sunglasses).

  5. Preferably the Bracha should be recited on trees located outside of the city.

How many trees are needed to be able to make Birchat Ilanot?

  1. One should only make the Bracha upon seeing two fruit trees. However, some argue that one may make the Bracha even on one tree.

  2. It's sufficient to have two trees of the same type but it is preferable to have at least two different types of trees.

Halachot Of Nissan

© 2017 by Shalom Magazine