Chapter: Pesaĥ

3. Laws Regarding Bitul Ĥametz

Most Rishonim agree that, in principle, it is not necessary to recite the bitul ĥametz aloud. It is possible to nullify the ĥametz “in one’s heart,” i.e., to mentally regard his ĥametz as null and consider it as the dust … Continue reading

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4. The Custom of Bi’ur Ĥametz by Burning

As we have learned, in addition to bitul ĥametz, the Sages ordained the active elimination of all ĥametz remaining after breakfast on the morning of the fourteenth, and any ĥametz that was found during bedikat ĥametz (including the ten pieces … Continue reading

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5. Ĥametz in the Garbage

On the morning of the fourteenth of Nisan the question arises: Must ĥametz that has been placed in the garbage also be destroyed? If the garbage bin belongs to a Jew or is located on his property, he is obligated … Continue reading

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6. Ĥametz Found after the Onset of the Prohibition

If one finds ĥametz in his possession after the sixth hour of the day, he must dispose of it immediately. After midday, if one forgot to nullify the ĥametz in his possession, he is obligated by Torah law to eliminate … Continue reading

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1. Sparing Ĥametz from Destruction by Selling It to a Gentile

By midday of the fourteenth of Nisan, every Jew must have disposed of the ĥametz in his possession. In the past, Jews would plan their food purchases and their meals so that by Pesaĥ they would have finished consuming any … Continue reading

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2. How the Practice of Selling Ĥametz Spread

About 400 years ago, many Jews living in Europe began to support themselves through the production and sale of whiskey. This was because the barons, the landowners, would often contract Jews to manage their affairs, and it was common for … Continue reading

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3. For Whom Is the Ĥametz Sale Intended Today?

In recent generations, new storage methods have been introduced that allow us to preserve food products for long periods of time. As a result, food manufacturers and dealers are in constant possession of large inventories of food, and they need … Continue reading

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4. The Laws of the Sale

Every Jew, before selling ĥametz, should read the authorization contract he will be signing, so that he understands that he is empowering the rabbi to sell his ĥametz, and that the sale is absolute. Nonetheless, if instead of reading the … Continue reading

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5. The Deadline for Selling Ĥametz and the Status of One Visiting Israel or Abroad

The sale must take place while it is still permitted to derive benefit from ĥametz, for when the sixth hour of the day of the fourteenth of Nisan arrives, and it becomes forbidden to derive benefit from ĥametz, it likewise … Continue reading

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6. Ĥametz That Was Sold – Its Status after Pesaĥ

After Pesaĥ, it is best not to use the ĥametz that was sold until one can assume that the rabbi has bought it all back. When necessary, though, one may take out some ĥametz immediately after Pesaĥ with a willingness … Continue reading

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1. Even a Drop of Ĥametz Renders Food Forbidden

In general, when a forbidden food becomes mixed with a permitted food, it is batel be-shishim (rendered insignificant if the forbidden food constitutes less than one sixtieth of the mixture); in such small quantities, it does not contribute flavor. At … Continue reading

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2. Can a Mixture Containing a Drop of Ĥametz Be Salvaged?

As we have learned, the laws of ĥametz are uniquely strict: even a miniscule amount of ĥametz mixed with a permitted food renders the entire mixture forbidden for consumption or benefit. However, most poskim maintain that if the ĥametz is … Continue reading

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3. Can Ĥametz That Was Nullified before Pesaĥ Regain Its Status (“Ĥozer Ve-ne’or”) on Pesaĥ?

The Rishonim disagree over this fundamental question: Is ĥametz that was batel be-shishim before Pesaĥ ĥozer ve-ne’or (“reawakened.” i.e., its nullification is reversed) when Pesaĥ arrives, or does its bitul before Pesaĥ mean that it cannot be ĥozer ve-ne’or? If … Continue reading

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4. Ĥozer Ve-ne’or in Practice

SA 447:4 rules that when ĥametz is batel be-shishim before Pesaĥ it is not ĥozer ve-ne’or, and therefore it is permissible to eat such a mixture on Pesaĥ. This is because, according to the Torah, ĥametz is batel be-shishim even … Continue reading

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5. Does Ĥametz That Imparts Foul Taste (“Noten Ta’am Li-fgam”) Render a Mixture Forbidden?

There is a well-known rule that something that imparts foul taste (“noten ta’am li-fgam”) does not render a mixture forbidden. For example, if non-kosher meat falls into a pot of kosher food, and the quantity of kosher food is sixty … Continue reading

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6. The Torah Law Concerning Ĥametz Mixtures

The Torah law concerning a ĥametz mixture is complicated and subject to dispute among Tanna’im, Amora’im, Rishonim, and Aĥaronim. We shall summarize its laws here succinctly. The Torah declares that one who eats a kezayit of ĥametz on Pesaĥ incurs … Continue reading

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1. Matza Ashira (“Egg Matza”)

The ĥametz that the Torah forbids is comprised of flour and water. If flour was kneaded with fruit juice – even if the dough sits a full day and rises – it is not considered ĥametz since rising of this … Continue reading

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2. Becoming Ĥametz Once It Has Been Baked, and the Status of Matza Sheruya (Soaked Matza; “Gebrokts”)

Once matza has been completely baked, the flour in it loses the capacity to become ĥametz, even if it is soaked in water for a long time. An indication that the matza is fully baked is that a crust has … Continue reading

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3. Sephardic and Ashkenazic Approaches to Keeping Kosher on Pesaĥ

In general, there are two fundamental approaches to kashrut on Pesaĥ. According to most poskim, the laws of ĥametz on Pesaĥ are no different than the laws of all other forbidden foods, with one exception: all other forbidden foods are … Continue reading

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4. Principles of Kosher Supervision on Pesaĥ

There is a fundamental question regarding the laws of kashrut on Pesaĥ: what is the status of foods that are not normally made with ĥametz all year round? Are they kosher for Pesaĥ as they are, without any special supervision, … Continue reading

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5. Milk from an Animal That Ate Ĥametz

One issue that the foremost Aĥaronim dealt with is the status of milk which came from a cow that ate ĥametz. Clearly the milk itself does not contain ĥametz, for it was digested and completely transformed to the point that … Continue reading

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6. Meat and Eggs

The status of beef and chicken in this regard is the same as that of milk. If the animal was slaughtered before Pesaĥ, there is no halakhic problem, even if it had eaten ĥametz. However, since the stomach may contain … Continue reading

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7. Medicines on Pesaĥ

Medicines are the subject of some of the most common questions on Pesaĥ. There is concern that pills contain wheat-based starch. The purpose of the starch is to solidify and harden the pills. Had the starch been produced from potatoes … Continue reading

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8. Citric Acid

Citric acid is used to flavor juices, jams, candies, and various food items. In the past it was produced from lemons and other fruit, but nowadays it is produced industrially from wheat flour. Although during the production process the flour … Continue reading

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9. Soaps and Cosmetics

Poskim disagree whether body ointments that contain ĥametz may be used on Pesaĥ. While soaps, shampoos, and creams are not made from ĥametz, they sometimes contain grain alcohol or other ĥametz derivatives, leading to queries about their status on Pesaĥ. … Continue reading

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1. The Origins of the Ashkenazic Custom

The ĥametz prohibited by the Torah is produced from one of the five types of grain: wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye. Other species such as rice and millet, even if they rise, do not undergo the same fermentation process … Continue reading

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2. The Sephardic Custom

During the era of the Rishonim, all Sephardic communities ate kitniyot and rice during Pesaĥ, though they were careful to pick out forbidden grains. Indeed, R. Yosef Karo writes (Beit Yosef §453) that nobody worries about “such things except for … Continue reading

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3. Spouses from Different Communities

The following question arises frequently nowadays: what should a married couple do when one spouse comes from a family that refrains from kitniyot and the other from a family that eats kitniyot? A similar matter was addressed by one of … Continue reading

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4. Prohibited Species

The familiar foods included in this custom are: rice, alfalfa, peas, millet, sorghum, chickpeas, fenugreek seeds, sunflower seeds, mustard, buckwheat (kusemet, not to be confused with kusmin – spelt – which is a forbidden cereal grain), cumin, vetch, black-eyed peas, … Continue reading

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5. Rules Governing This Custom

People who adhere to the custom of not eating kitniyot may keep them in the house during Pesaĥ and derive benefit from them, for example, by lighting a lamp with kitniyot oil (Rema 453:1). One who does not eat kitniyot … Continue reading

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6. Kitniyot That Never Touched Water and Kitniyot Oils

We are not stricter with kitniyot than we are with the five cereal grains, so whatever is acceptable regarding these grains is kosher for kitniyot, too. Thus, kitniyot that have not come into contact with water, or that have come … Continue reading

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7. Extenuating Circumstances, the Sick, and Babies

Clearly, the Ashkenazic custom to refrain from kitniyot cannot be stricter than the prohibition against ĥametz itself. Therefore, in extenuating circumstances like drought or famine, leading halakhic authorities permitted eating kitniyot. In actuality, rabbis have often disagreed whether the need … Continue reading

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1. When Does Taste Absorbed into Utensils Render Their Contents Forbidden?

Though the walls of pots and other vessels appear solid and impervious, they actually absorb the taste of food cooked in them. Thus, if one cooks non-kosher meat in a pot, its flavor gets absorbed into the pot’s walls, and … Continue reading

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2. Ĥametz Utensils on Pesaĥ

Vessels used throughout the year with hot ĥametz foods cannot be used during Pesaĥ since heat causes vessels to absorb the taste of ĥametz. In order to use such utensils during Pesaĥ, one must first remove the taste of the … Continue reading

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3. Releasing through the Same Method as Absorption (“Ke-bole’o Kakh Polto”): Hagala and Heavy Libun

The most basic principle of koshering cooking utensils is that forbidden taste is released from the vessel in the same manner that it was absorbed: “ke-bole’o kakh polto.” There are two principal media through which utensils absorb taste: boiling liquid … Continue reading

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4. Defining the Difference between Absorption through Liquid and Absorption through Fire: the Status of a Frying Pan

Even when a baking tray is coated with oil to prevent sticking, the absorption that occurs during the cooking process is considered to be by means of fire, thus requiring heavy libun to render it kosher. Only when the oil … Continue reading

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5. Heavy and Light Libun: Does Temperature Affect Absorption?

Heavy libun means heating a utensil by fire until any ĥametz taste in it is incinerated. One indication that libun has taken place is that the utensil undergoing libun becomes so hot that sparks fly from it when it is … Continue reading

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6. Koshering Vessels That Absorbed Ĥametz Prior to the Onset of the Prohibition

We have learned that if a utensil absorbs a forbidden food by means of fire, it must be koshered by fire. It is important to note that this principle applies only when non-kosher food has been absorbed. For example, if … Continue reading

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7. Utensils Likely to Be Damaged by Libun; Baking Trays

As we have learned, the objective of libun is to incinerate all taste absorbed into a utensil. To that end, the utensil must be heated to a very high temperature (more than 300ºC). There are two ways to tell that … Continue reading

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8. The Principles of Hagala

As we have learned, a pot absorbs the taste of the foods cooked in it. Cooking has the capacity to mix the tastes of different foods with one another, and just as cooking can cause the taste of meat to … Continue reading

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