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Seder Timing

Seder Timing

Question:
I’ve fairly recently begun to take my yiddishkeit more seriously and although my family keeps many aspects of halacha fully, there are certain issues that come up. We’ve always started our seders at a normal dinner time, something like 7 or 730pm, but I had a look at the zmanim for Ottawa (where I’ll be) and tzeis is only at at 8:15 on the night of the first seder. I know I won’t be able to convince my aunt to start an hour later, and I’m also not in a position where I want to offend everyone by not attending, so what would my best approach be? Should I show up at 7 and sit through things with everyone else but then re-do everything after tzeis? Is there anything I should keep in mind when the rest of the family is going through the seder (ex. should I avoid eating matzah until after tzeis or also until after I’ve redone the rest of the seder starting after tzeis)? Advice that is sensitive to family dynamics but also ensures that I will be yotzei my mitzvos for the seder night properly would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

If you can push off the start until 7:30 or 7:45 it will make things easier. You can sit with them and participate, but should only make kiddush and begin your seder after Tzeis.

Perhaps you could say a dvar Torah before the seder starts or find some other way to stall for time. This would benefit not only yourself but all the other participants. Making kiddush before Tzeis on Leil Haseder is bdieved at best, and according to a number of opinion they are not yotzei at all.

Maybe there is someone in the family you can speak to who could convince everyone [including your aunt] that it is worthwhile to start a little later.

You should merit to make a kiddush Hashem and enjoy Pesach!

Sources:

Beis Yosef, Siman 472, Taz ibid. s”k 1, See Chidushei Chasam Sofer beginning of Arvei Psachim.

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