07. The Procedure for Eliminating Ḥametz

As we have learned (section 4, above), we eliminate ḥametz from our homes both in deed and in thought. The process of removal consists of four stages: inspection (bedika), nullification (bitul), elimination (bi’ur), and nullification once again. Let us describe this in detail.

The process begins with the bedika on the evening of the 14th. The search is aimed at ensuring that we have no more ḥametz in our home other than the ḥametz that we are keeping to eat and to destroy. Immediately after the search, we nullify the ḥametz for the first time, and in doing so we eliminate the ḥametz in thought. The next morning, we physically destroy the remaining ḥametz in our possession in deed. It is customary to destroy it by burning it. After the burning, one nullifies any ḥametz in his possession for a second time, thus completing the process of eliminating ḥametz in thought.

There are two more possible ways of disposing of ḥametz: selling it to a gentile and declaring it ownerless. As noted, one violates bal yera’eh and bal yimatzei only for ḥametz in his possession, and it is only ḥametz that is in his possession that he is commanded to eliminate. Thus, if he sells the ḥametz to a gentile or declares it ownerless, he does not violate any prohibition on its account.

Thus, search, disposal, and nullification are actions directed against the ḥametz with the aim of eliminating it. In contrast, declaring the ḥametz ownerless and selling are not directed against the ḥametz to destroy it, but rather their aim is to remove the ḥametz from our possession so that we do not violate the ḥametz prohibitions. With the search, the disposal, and the nullification, we wage war against the ḥametz, whereas by selling it or declaring it ownerless, we evade the responsibility it places upon us. These are all ways to remove the ḥametz.

Now that we have learned the principles of the mitzva of removing the ḥametz, in the coming halakhot we will explain the laws of removal of ḥametz in detail. We will begin with the halakhot of the search for ḥametz, with which we begin our campaign against ḥametz. We will then continue on to the halakhot of nullifying and destroying ḥametz. Then we will address the laws of selling ḥametz to a gentile for one who wishes to preserve the value of his ḥametz and free himself from the need to destroy it.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman