Work, eating, or studying Torah prior to performing the Bedika

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Prohibition of doing work, eating, or studying Torah prior to performing the Bedika:[1]

On the eve of the 14th, it is Rabbinically forbidden to eat a meal [see Q&A], study any Torah[2], or do any of the works forbidden to be done before Mincha and Maariv, beginning from a half hour before nightfall.[3]

Asking one’s friend to remind him:[4] One may begin to learn within a half hour before nightfall if he tells a friend, who is not learning, to remind him when the time of Bedika arrives at nightfall. [However, it does not help to appoint a friend to remind oneself at the time of Bedika to allow one to do mundane matters within a half hour before the Bedika.[5]]

If one has a set Torah Shiur: If one has a set shiur in Shul after davening [Mincha or Maariv], of group learning of Halacha which does not involve pilpul/depth, then the group should not nullify the Shiur [even after nightfall] and are to do the Bedika after the Shiur is over.[6] However, when the lesson involves Pilpul [in depth analysis] it is forbidden even in shul, even if one has a set lesson.[7] [The above only applies by a public shiur, however, a private Shiur that one learns on his own or with a Chavrusa, may not be studied within a half hour prior to nightfall.[8]]

If one began an activity before the time of Bedika, must he stop when nightfall arrives?[9] If one began one of the above-mentioned activities prior to a half hour, and certainly if he started to do it within the half hour, then he is obligated to stop when the Bedika time arrives [at nightfall].[10] [However, if one began one of the above-mentioned activities prior to the half hour period before nightfall, then he does not need to stop when the half hour point arrives, and he may rather continue the activity until nightfall.[11]]

If the fast of the first born is pushed up to Thursday, may the firstborn eat before Bedikas Chametz?[12] When Pesach falls on Sunday, the fast of the first born is pushed up to Thursday the 13th, which is Erev Bedikas Chametz. In such a situation, if a Bechor who is fasting has many rooms to check, and it is difficult for him to continue fasting until its conclusion, then he may eat a little prior to performing the Bedika as only an actual meal was forbidden to be eaten. Alternatively, he is to appoint an emissary to perform the Bedika while he eats.



May one snack within the half hour period before nightfall?

Yes.[13] However, once nightfall has begun, it is forbidden to continue eating even a mere snack.[14]

Definition of snack: One may eat fruits without limit until nightfall.[15] One may eat up to a Kebeitza [55 grams] of bread or Mezonos.[16] One may drink without limit until nightfall.[17]


May someone who was appointed an emissary to do the Bedika, eat prior to doing the Bedika?[18]

It is proper not to do so.[19]



[1] Admur 431:5

[2] The reason: One may not [begin to] study even one chapter [of Mishna] within the half hour, even if he could finish the chapter prior to nightfall, as there is suspicion that perhaps due to his concentration/iyun in his learning, he will forget about the Bedika obligation, and will thus continue learning. Alternatively, we suspect that perhaps he will come to a novel concept while learning [which he did not think of learning originally] and will spend time researching this new topic until a certain time past nightfall, while there is still some daylight left [for him to be able to learn with, and will thus end up not fulfilling the obligation to check ones home immediately upon nightfall]. [Admur ibid]

[3] The reason one may not do these actions: Due to worry that if one does not begin the checking immediately upon coming home he may come to forget to check.

The reason the prohibition begins a half hour before: From the time that one usually comes home, until the time of the checking by nightfall, is approximately half an hour [before nightfall]. [Admur ibid] Thus, the Sages established to avoid the above actions beginning from that time.

When checking past the 14th: If one forgot to check for Chametz on the night of the 14th, and then remembered on the day of the 14th, then it is forbidden for him to do any of the above-mentioned items until he performs the Bedika. [Admur ibid] If, however one only remembered past the 6th hour on Erev Pesach, then it is a Biblical/Rabbinical command to immediately search and destroy the Chametz due to the owning prohibition.

[4] Admur 431:11

[5] Admur Kuntrus Acharon 431:2

[6] Admur 431:9

The reason: As it is possible for them to check afterwards, and the mitzvah of Bedika will not be completely nullified [by them delaying it, as opposed to if they skip their learning lesson, in order to do the Bedika, that the entire lesson will be nullified]. There is no suspicion that by allowing them to learn their lesson they will perhaps continue on in their learning and they will forget about the Bedika obligation, as in any event they must go home to sleep, as certainly they will not sleep in the shul, and when each one of them will come to his home, he will remember the Bedika obligation. [Admur ibid]

[7] Admur 431:10

The reason: The reason for this is because there is suspicion that perhaps one will learn in such depth of pilpul to the point that his mind will be so involved in the pilpul that he will forget the Bedika obligation even upon him returning home. [Admur ibid]

[8] Pashut from Admur ibid; M”A 431; Beir Heiytiv 431:4; Mishneh Berurah 431:7

[9] Admur 431:6; Rama 431:2

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that if one began to learn while still day then one does not need to stop. [Michaber 431:2] Some explain this to mean that if he began learning beheter, then he does not have to stop, just as is the law by the reading of Shema, while if he began learning after the time, Bi’issur, then he does need to stop according to all being that Bedikas Chametz is Biblical so long as bittul was not yet done. [M”B 431:10]

[10] The reason: As although one will check after he completes the activity, nevertheless he is still nullifying the institution of the sages, which instituted to check immediately at nightfall when there is still some daylight around. [Admur ibid; M”B 431:10]

[11] M”B 431:12; Implication of Admur 431:6

[12] Admur 470:7; M”A 470:4

[13] M”B 431:6

[14] Based on Admur 431:6

Ruling of Admur: From Admur ibid it is implied that once nightfall begins it becomes completely forbidden to do anything, even to eat a mere snack, as the obligation is to check immediately upon nightfall. However, Tzaruch Iyun from 470:7 where Admur rules regarding a Thursday Taanis Bechoros, that he may be lenient and eat prior to the Bedika, as only a meal was forbidden to eat beforehand.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one may snack before doing the Bedika, even after nightfall. [M”B 431:6]

[15] M”B 431:6

[16] M”B ibid; Peri Megadim 431 A”A 4

[17] Piskeiy Teshuvos 431:6

[18] Piskeiy Teshuvos 431:7

[19] One should be stringent, although from the letter of the law it is allowed, being that it is not the obligation of the emissary to do the Bedika.

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