Thirty days before the festival:-Part 1 [Chapter 1]
A. Learning the laws prior to the festival: [Chapter 1 Halacha 1]
- Starting from Purim, the 14th of Adar, it is a Mitzvah on every person to learn the laws of the festival until he is expert in them, and knows what is to be done.
- One should increase in learning these laws from Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
- It is proper to study the Tractate in Talmud relevant to the festival prior to each festival. Thus, prior to Pesach one is to study Miseches Pesachim.
B. Avoiding sticky Chametz starting from thirty days before Pesach: [Chapter 1 Halacha 2]
- From thirty days before Pesach, it is proper to be careful to avoid getting Chametz stuck onto surfaces, in a way that the Chametz will not be easily removable when Erev Pesach arrives.
C. Giving children play dough within thirty days before Pesach: [Chapter 1 Halacha 2]
- Many varieties of Play-doh 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.
- It goes without saying that Pesach arts and crafts should not be made using play-doh.
- 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.
D. Avoiding getting Chametz in Sefarim: [Chapter 1 Halacha 2]
- One is to be careful that crumbs do not fall into Sefarim beginning from Purim and onwards.
- If one is learning while eating, he is to verify that the Sefer is clean of any crumbs prior to closing it in order so he does not find the crumbs on Pesach.
- Regarding if one must check his Sefarim for Chametz, see Halacha 5
E. Laundry and ironing starch: [Chapter 1 Halacha 2]
- Ironing starches are made either from a legume flour, such as corn, or wheat flour. One may not starch one’s clothing or tablecloths with a Chametz starch if he plans to wear it on Pesach.
- This applies even if the starch is applied prior to thirty days before Pesach.
- One may however use a Kitniyus based starch, even within thirty days before Pesach.
F. Avoiding Matzah: [Chapter 1 Halacha 3]
- The Chabad custom is to abstain from eating Matzah starting thirty days before Pesach, which is from Purim and onwards.
- One is to avoid eating Matzah even if it is a Kefula, Nefucha, non-Shmura, or machine-made Matzah.
- It is disputed amongst Poskim if one may eat Chametz Matzah.
- Egg Matzah which has a strong taste of egg or fruit juice may be eaten.
- One may eat cooked Matzah, such as Matzah balls and the like.
- One may eat fried Matzah if one uses enough oil to alter the taste of the Matzah.
- 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 to a woman who is in a hospital after childbirth, and the hospital, which is already Kosher for Pesach, is only serving Matzah. If one has time before Shabbos, then one can fry the Matzahs with oil , thereby fulfilling both one’s Shabbos obligations and his custom.
- May a child eat Matzah during the thirty days? A child who is not old enough to understand the story of the exodus that is told to him [on the Seder night], may be fed Matzah throughout the thirty days, including on Erev Pesach, as well as on Pesach even prior to Kiddush, if needed. However, a child who can understand the story of the exodus that is told to him [on the Seder night] is forbidden to be fed Matzah on Erev Pesach, and thus according to the custom is to avoid eating Matzah during the thirty days. This law applies whether the child is a boy or a girl.