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Thought for the Day: Start Hilchos Pesach 30 Days Before Pesach

This has not been a biking friendly winter in Chicago.  The up side of that generally sorry situation is that I am getting an extra hour and a half each week day to learn.  That hour and a half turns out to be very effective, because there are no distractions; no coffee to make, no one with whom to discuss "more important stuff".  Therefore, when I walked out this morning (after the beautiful breakfast that my wife had prepared for me even though she was tired and still acclimating to the polar vortex generated weather in Chicago, having just returned from two weeks in Florida) without my my Mishna Brura, I stopped dead in my tracks, did an about face and returned home.  I told my wife I was going back to hilchos Shabbos, having (thanks to the weather) finished hilchos Purim.  Then she said, "Shouldn't you be starting hilchos Pesach?"

Now, after 36 years, I have finally learned that when my wife begins, "Shouldn't you...?", she is not expressing an interrogative, but is politely phrasing an imperative.  More impressive is that, after 36 years, I have learned that she is usually correct.  (It's not impressive at all that she is usually correct, of course; the impressive part is that it has only taken my 36 years to realize that.)  Most impressive of all, though, is that I have begun, after only 36 years, to heed her advice.  Sometimes; baby steps.

Hilchos Pesach begins (429:1) with the halacha of starting to learn hilchos Pesach 30 days before Pesach.  Why?  Because there Pesach has a lot of laws.  That's why you need 30 days.  To learn all the laws of Pesach.  Don't make a mistake and think you can only get away with 29 days; the Mishna Brura makes a point of noting that you should start learning hilchos Pesach on Purim.  30 days.  Oh, and the Sh'lah haKodesh says that really you should learn masechta P'sachim.  And, of course, masechta Sukkah for Sukkos, after, of course, Yoma for Yom Kippur, after, of course, Rosh HaShanah for Rosh HaShana, and masechta Sh'kalim for Shabbos Sh'kalim; after, presumably, reviewing mesachta Shabbos every Shabbos.

So even though the Shulchan Aruch says to start learning hilchos Pesach 30 days before Pesach, I am going to go out on a limb here and start learning hilchos Pesach now, even though it is fully 45 days before Pesach.  I have two things to rely on: First, I am using the Dirshu Mishna Brura and learning all the additions, so I am reasonably confident that I will be learning hilchos Pesach even when 30 days before Pesach rolls (not matzah rolls, we haven't bruched since our second son-in-law joined the family) around; so I am not violating the 30 day rule so much as just getting a running start.  Second, my wife told me to.

She also asked me, "Shouldn't you be wearing your Neos?" (The best over boot ever.)  I have my pride and had already given in once, so of course, I said, "No... I looked at the weather report; no snow for today."  Apparently "lake effect snow" doesn't always make it into the forecast.  Give us another 36 years... she might make something of me yet.


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