12. Bedikat Ĥametz after the Proper Time and the Status of One Who Rents a Hotel Room

The Sages ordained searching for ĥametz on the night of the fourteenth of Nisan. If one did not search at this time, he is required to do so on the fourteenth by day, and to say a berakha over the search. If one did not search before Pesaĥ at all, he must search on Pesaĥ, with a berakha. The fact that he nullified his ĥametz before Pesaĥ does not change this, because he is still required to fulfill the Sages’ enactment, and secondly, because there is a possibility that he will come across some ĥametz during Pesaĥ and, forgetting the prohibition, eat it. If, after Pesaĥ, one suddenly realizes that he did not perform bedikat ĥametz, he must do so, in order not to violate the rabbinic prohibition of ĥametz she-avar alav ha-Pesaĥ. This search, however, requires no blessing (SA §435).

One who rents a hotel room has the status of a tenant. This is because he pays for the room, it is at his disposal, he receives a key to lock and unlock it, and strangers and hotel personnel are only allowed to enter with his permission. Therefore, he is commanded to recite a berakha and search his room on the night of the fourteenth, and afterward he must nullify any ĥametz in his possession that may have gone undiscovered. One who checks into a hotel during Pesaĥ must inquire whether the rooms were searched for ĥametz. If they were not searched for ĥametz, but were merely cleaned in the routine manner, the guest himself is obligated to search. In this case, no berakha is required.

A hospital patient is required to search his room and his closet on the night of the fourteenth. However, no berakha is said over this search, since the room is not at his disposal; at any time he can be moved to a different room, and other patients can be moved into his room.[9]

A hotel owner is required to perform bedikat ĥametz in every room of his hotel, and if it is difficult for him to do this himself, he can hire a shali’aĥ. Regarding rooms rented to gentiles, or to Jews who do not perform bedikat ĥametz on the night of the fourteenth, a problem arises. On the one hand, the rooms are rented to them, and the owner cannot force them to keep halakha and search for ĥametz. On the other hand, if they vacate during the holiday, he will have to search their rooms immediately and remove any ĥametz left behind, and he might not have time to do this. The solution, therefore, is to sell or rent all the hotel rooms to a gentile before Pesaĥ, and to have the hotel owner serve as an intermediary during Pesaĥ between the gentile and the guests.

[9]. This is what Sidur Pesaĥ Ke-hilkhato 12:8 states regarding a hotel, and this is what Torat Ha-yoledet 43:1 states regarding a hospital. See also Piskei Teshuvot 437:1-2, which brings other sources regarding this matter.
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