Before Passover, the house needs to be cleaned so that all chametz (leavened products) are removed. Don't forget the bag of baby crackers in your diaper bag. What about the Purim treats your 3rd grader has stashed away in her desk? Gotta lift the sofa to get all that popcorn vacuumed up. While you are at it, you might as well throw some Spring cleaning in there - get out the summer clothes and put away the winter blankets and coats.
Aish HaTorah offers a comprehensive Passover Cleaning Guide
Now that the house is clean, it is time to run to the store to get all those specialty Passover foods and products. To minimize return trips to the store, make a careful shopping list. What you will be serving for Passover Seder? What dishes do you plan to make during the week? Once you have your Seder and weekly meals planned, try to create a shopping list that enables you to do all your Passover shopping in one stop.
3. Shabbat HaGadol:
Before you have looked up from the dusting and shopping, Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat before Passover, arrives. Shabbat HaGadol commemorates the beginning of the redemption. On the Sabbath before the Exodus, the Israelites in Egypt prepared the Pesach-lamb (Exodus 12:3). They explained to their neighbors that the lambs would be sacrificed just before G-d would slay the firstborn of Egypt. This frightened the firstborn children of Egypt. They begged Pharaoh to release the Israelites. When their request was denied, they rose in armed revolt. As a result numerous enemies of the Israelites were killed. On Shabbat HaGadol this year, it is best to serve easy-to-prepare food and to rest as much as possible. Then as soon Shabbat is over, you'll be ready to start your Passover cooking.
Now that the house is stocked, it is time to start to cook for the Seder. Better put aside at least two days to cook for the Seder, as many of the dishes are not ones you do everyday and you may be lacking some of the accessories with which you usually cook. Read these tips on cooking for Passover
5. Selling the Chametz:
We are commanded to have no chametz in our possession during Passover. Do we have to burn the closed bag of snitzel in the freezer? No. Our rabbis have made it possible for us to sell this chametz to a non-Jew prior to the holiday.
Generally, we sell the chametz to a Rabbi who in turn acts as an agent and sells it to a non-Jew. The sale is real in that the non-Jew can actually get the chametz if he/she wants. And if the non-Jew decides to keep the chametz, then he/she must pay for it after the holiday.
You can use this Official Online Form for Selling Chametz
to sell your chametz before Passover.
6. Searching for Chametz:
Finally it is the night before Passover, and it is time to gather your family in your sparkling clean home for Bidikat Chametz. See our quick, step-by-step page on How to Search for Chametz
. Once all the chametz in the house is found and burned, we are ready for the Passover Seder.
7. Planning the Seder:
Put thought into the kind of seder service you want. What Haggadah will you be using? If children will be at the seder, how can they help with preparations and what part can they play in the seder itself? Is there something you can do to make the seder especially memorable? Our neighbor dressed up like Elijah, and when it was time to open the door for Elijah he walked in, drank the cup of wine, and left. Once friends asked their guests to dress up like desert nomads, and they conducted their seder on the floor as if they were in a tent in the desert.
8. Preparing the Passover Plate:
It is important to prepare the six symbolic items - zeroa, beitza, karpas, maror, chazeret, charoset - which should go on the seder plate. See this quick, step-by-step page on How to Prepare the Seder Plate
9. Setting the Passover Table:
Each place setting should include a plate, flatware, a water glass, a wine glass, and a Haggadah. Keep soup bowls in the kitchen. Spread salt water dishes and wine or grape juice bottles out on the table. Place an empty wine glass in the middle of the table for Elijah. On the plate of the seder leader, first place the plate with the three pieces of matzah, and then put the seder plate on top. See this page on How to Set the Passover Seder Table
10. Happy Passover!:
Make your seder a memorable and enjoyable experience for the whole family. A nap before the seder is recommended for all, not just the kids, so that everyone arrives to the seder with good energy and spirit. During the seder, make sure everyone is involved and feeling a part of the story of the exodus.