ביום הראשון

There is a Pasuk in פרשת בא that is grossly misunderstood. The wording is as follows: אך ביום הראשון תשביתו שאור מבתיכם, But on the first day, leaven shall be removed from your homes.

The difficulty is how to translate the ביום הראשון, the first day.

The Karaites and other groups that only followed the written law, had a real problem with this ביום הראשון. They took it to mean, “Sunday”. Therefore, they would remove Chametz the Sunday before Pesach. This year Pesach is Friday night so that it could mean to the Karaites an extra week of no Chametz!

We, of course, follow the Oral Law, the תורה שבעל פה. We know from our tradition that יום הראשון means Erev Pesach on the fourteenth of Nissan. On that day, we remove the חמץ and by noon we are biblically forbidden to eat and possess that forbidden substance known as חמץ. It is critical that we follow the Oral Law hand in hand with the Written Law.