Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Posts tagged ‘Bedikas Chametz’

Laws pertaining to Preparing the House for Pesach – Part III

Kashering the Kitchen, its furniture and accessories.

A. The main body of the kitchen area itself needs a thorough cleaning and bedikah since this is the main place where chametz is found throughout the year. With regards to the obligation to perform bedikas chametz on the main floor space, as we have mentioned in previous weeks, one can rely on cleaning alone, but with regards to the corners and crevices/grooves, under the fridge and between the cupboard, one needs to perform a bedikah as well.

B.  Kitchen Cupboards:

One needs to remove all the contents of the shelves and clean them well so that  not even a single crumb will remain.  One also needs to perform a thorough bedikah even though one has used cleaning materials there, due to a fear that some crumbs may fall into a utensil or food.  The main bedikah revolves around the corners and hinges (where for example “soup almonds” or pasta pieces can fall).  NOTE: Even though one has cleaned there, one needs to do a bedikas chametz before one places the Pesach utensils and food there, as afterwards it is not possible to perform a bedikah.  Many are negligent in this point since when they do the bedikah on the night of the 14th, the shelves are already full of Pesach goods and it is difficult at that point to remove everything and thereby perform a thorough bedikah – and what usually happens is one ends up only superficially looking over the shelves and this is not considered a bedikah at all!

Cupboards that one intends to include when selling one’s chametz, do not require cleaning or bedikah.

There are those that line their cupboard shelves with paper/plastic lining or the like, but it seems that if the selves are made of Formica, there is no need to line them at all as this minhag of covering them comes from yesteryear where most shelving was made of solid wood which had many grooves and there was no real way to clean them well.  Conversely today, when one is able to clean such smooth surfaces well, there is no need.  However, if one was not able to clean one’s surfaces appropriately or there are some grooves or cracks etc, there is room to follow this minhag.

C. Kitchen Drawers:

One has to follow the laws described above in regards to the Kitchen cupboards, but one needs to be even more careful with regards to the corners and railings of the drawers. After one has cleaned them well, one needs to perform a bedikah.  If it is during the day, one can take the drawers into the sunlight (E.g. by the window) and perform the bedikah; if at night, with a flashlight.

Also over here, if one has performed the appropriate bedikah and there is no separation between the bottoms and the sides of the drawers, one does not need to line them with paper/plastic lining (or the like).  However, if one still suspects there may be some chametz in the grooves, instead of the lining, it is possible to spray some detergent there or to seal the grooves with tape.

D. Bread Drawers:

The correct minhag is not to use these at all on Pesach.  One who does in fact make use of this space, should seal all the corners and grooves with tape as even after cleaning, it is very likely still to have crumbs of chametz there.  Also the railings in the case of such drawers, would need to be cleaned exceptionally well and then sprayed with detergent afterwards in case any remaining crumbs should fall into the drawers below.

E.  Drying Racks:

According to the main essence of the Halacha, it is enough to clean the drying racks well.  However, in the case of drying racks built into the cupboards, it is likely that they may have absorbed steam from chametz and therefore, when steamed again during Pesach, the racks will exude this chametz to the Pesach utensils.  Therefore, it would appear that one should kasher them with steam.  In practice, one should boil water in an electric urn/kettle and while it is still boiling steam, hold/place the kettle under the drying racks letting the steam of the kettle draw out any chametz that it may have absorbed.

F.  Counter tops:

One needs to clean these surfaces extremely well and carefully because they will be used on Pesach itself.  It would  appear that according to the strict fulfillment of the precept, one should perform a bedikah on them as well.  In practice, most people in Eretz Yisrael do not have real granite (which is normally a mixture) and therefore it is not possible to kasher them.  One is therefore required to cover them.  It is preferable to cover them with a thick enough material that will not tear on Pesach e.g. pvc, or 100 micro foil.  If one uses such material, there is no need to perform Hagalah (pour boiling water over the counter tops) prior to covering it.  If one wants to be scrupulous, one should not place any hot pots on the surface directly, but rather on an intermediary place-holder between the counter and pot.  Note: those who have genuine stone/granite or stainless steel counter tops should ask a halachic authority about the methods of kashering them, due to the complexity involved which we are unable to go into over here.

G. Ceramic Tiles

One should clean these surfaces (backsplash etc) well, since they are susceptible to absorbing steam given off by, or from splashes of chametz.  Should these surfaces come in contact with a Pesach pot etc, the pot could absorb the taste of the chametz.  In practice, hagalah would not help with ceramic since it is porous and therefore one should cover these surfaces with the likes of regular aluminum foil.

G. Faucets

One should clean them well and pour boiling water over them.  The process is as follows:  First, one should open the hot water and let the water flow until the tap itself becomes hot and then pour boiling water over the tap at the same time.  With regards to removable faucets with a hose, since there are parts that do not get very hot when the hot water is turned on, one should pour boiling water on the hose etc as well.

Laws pertaining to Preparing the House for Pesach – Part II

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

A. Rooms in the House & furniture that need cleaning and Bedikas Chametz:

All rooms of the house that are suspected of having Chametz brought in require cleaning and Bedikas Chametz.. This is because there are times in which a person entered such a room in the middle of his seuda and there is therefore a fear that he may have left some Chametz behind.  This applies even more so when there are children in the house who go from room to room with Chametz.  Bedrooms are an issue in regards to the sick who ate in the bed.  One also needs to perform Bedikas Chametz under the beds it is not uncommon for Chametz to fall there.  This applies even more so to places in which one eats, such as the kitchen, dining-room and living room including the space in-between or under the cupboards if one is able to gain access with his hands.

B.  After cleaning, what are the rules of Bedikas Chametz in these places:

After one has washed the floor with cleaning materials in the open area of the room, there is no need to perform Bedikas Chametz.  With regards to the corners of the room, even though they are halachically considered “holes” or “grooves” requiring Bedikah, since anything remaining would becomes “unfit for a dog to eat” due to the cleaning materials, according to the essential Halacha there is no need to perform Bedikas Chametz there, however, in practice it appears that one should check in there in a superficial manner.

C.  Bathrooms (without toilet) in general require cleaning and Bedikah as it is not uncommon for Chametz to be brought in there during a Seuda, especially on Erev Pesach where one may wash his hands before or after a meal.   Restrooms (containing a toilet) require bedikah when there are children in the house. (Many make the mistake of not performing a bedikas chametz in these places.  So, if one wants to perform bedikas chametz “b’tehara” (“in purity”) without having to do netilas yadayim again, he should leave the restroom till last.

D.  Cupboards outside of the kitchen: The Poskim write that there is a fear that one may have needed something in the middle of a seuda from a cupboard and inadvertently left some Chametz behind.  Therefore, any cupboard that is suspected of having Chametz requires bedikah.  However, if one is used to washing ones hand before opening such cupboards, there would be no need to clean and perform bedikah there.  Furthermore, if access to the higher parts of the cupboards require a chair or ladder, there is no need to clean and perform bedikas Chametz there.  If there are children in the house, any place that they can access would in fact require cleaning and bedikah.  Even more so, cupboards that have children’s toys are certainly considered to be places containing Chametz and would therefore require cleaning and bedikah.

The practical ways to clean and perform bedikas Chametz in cupboards and those places suspected of containing chametz:

  • One should remove all the contents from the shelves and drawers (both fixed and removable) and clean them.
  • One also needs to clean all the surfaces of the cupboard (sides, back bottom etc) and it is preferable to clean these surfaces with cleaning materials as this process will invalidate any remaining chametz there.  Shelves that one is able remove and clean, do not require bedikas chametz.  However, fixed shelving and the bottom of the cupboard do require bedikah in the corners.  Drawers should be removed and cleaned and when performing bedikas chametz, only require superficial checking (unlike the shelves).

E.  Bookshelves: With regards to bookshelves (open or closed) that are in a place where one eats throughout the year, the lower sections are considered to be places almost certain to contain Chametz, even more so in the case of children in the house.  However, the higher less accessible places do not require bedikas chametz.

F.  Clothes: If one’s clothes are laundered, there is no need to clean the pockets to perform bedikas chametz  there since, after laundering, there is unlikely to be any remaining chametz, and any chametz would be deemed invalid by the laundering process.  However, with regards to those clothes that one intends to wear on Pesach, it would seem appropriate to clean their pockets even though they have been laundered in order that no crumbs should inadvertently enter one’s food.  This process of cleaning the pockets after laundering, entails turning them inside-out and dusting them off.

If one was not able to launder his clothes in general before Pesach, one should clean the pockets and hems (as these are considered places suspected of  chametz), and should perform bedikas chametz in the sunlight or under the light of the room on them.  It would be considered a fine bedikah and therefore, one would not need to reform bedikas chametz on the night of the 14th again.

Laws pertaining to Preparing the House for Pesach – Part I

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

Many people are mistaken in regards to preparing the house for Pesach in that on the one hand, they clean more than is necessary according to the Halacha, yet on the other hand, they overlook those areas that are halachically obligated to be cleaned.   In the upcoming weeks we will B”EH try to clarify these points.

General rules

i) The goal of cleaning the house for Pesach is specifically for the preparation of the Mitzvah of “Biur Chametz” (“Burning the Chametz”).  And since it is impossible to remove all the Chametz in one short period of time, we need to start preparing by cleaning the house well in advance.  Therefore, in preparing for the mitzvah it is appropriate only to clean in those places that are likely to have Chometz, and it is certainly not necessary to clean or check those places where there is no chance of Chametz. 

That being said, our sages give us the guidelines as to which places are most likely to contain Chametz, thereby to check and clean in those places specifically, and which places that are not likely to contain Chometz and can be ignored without checking or cleaning.

ii) The mitzvah of Bedikas Chametz (“checking for Chometz”) is on the night of 14th Nissan and it is possible to bring forward the search up to thirty days before Pesach.  Since today we have significantly larger homes with many cupboards etc the need for checking versus that of previous generations, makes it very difficult to remove all the articles from these places for the requirement of checking on the night of the 14th Nissan, as is required. Therefore, it is not merely good advice to start checking in advance, it almost becomes an obligation.  And so, there are definitely places that one can check early in advance and which do not have to be re-checked on the night of the 14th itself.

iii)  Checking for Chametz must meet three conditions:

1. It must be at night.

2. It must be by the light of a candle.

3. One must guard the place that was checked so that no Chametz will have a chance to enter there again.  If one does not guard this place after checking, one will need to re-check it on the night of the 14th.  (For example, those places where small children go, need to be securely sealed.  That being said, if it is impractical to protect the place appropriately, then one needs to check it as close to Pesach as possible.)

iv) Checking for Chametz as we mentioned needs to be done with a lit candle.  However, any search that is performed before the 14th can be performed l’chatchila (to begin with) using a flash-light!  In fact, it would seem preferable when performing a check before the 14th to use a flash-light, since checking with a candle makes it difficult to check appropriately due to the fact that people are afraid to burn/damage fabric or char the walls etc.  On the 14th however, we must check with a candle as we have no power to chance the decrees of our Sages.

Note:  One cannot rely on the light of the room itself when performing the checking, because it does not adequately illuminate the corners of the room, or under/between the furniture, and these places specifically are the main places halachically obligated for checking.

v)  For what does one need to search and remove?

According to the Poskim, it appears that one is Halachically obligated to remove even small “clean” (edible) crumbs.  However, crumbs that are “dirty”, where “there is no concern of them being eaten” do not require checking or removal.  And so, crumbs that are found on the floor are not obligated by the Halacha for removal.  Also, crumbs that are “not clean” and which are found in cupboards do not need removal either.  However, cupboards that contain food or vessels that are specifically used for Pesach, one would need to remove even such “dirty” crumbs because we are concerned that they may end up in the food and one will eat them inadvertently.  Therefore, only where such crumbs would not be considered “fit for a dog to eat” would we not need to remove them.

vi)  Can one rely on the cleanliness of a place without having to perform Bedikas Chametz?

In practice, there are various types of cleanliness:

1. General cleanliness of a place does not nullify the obligation.

2. If the place is cleaned with specific attention to there not being any crumbs, one does not have to perform Bedikas Chametz there.  Therefore “smooth” places that are cleaned well, would not require Bedikas Chametz.

3. With regards to places that have holes and grooves like corners of a cupboard, drawer, or window sill, it would not suffice to rely on cleanliness and not perform a check. However, if these places were cleaned with a needle or cleaning-cloth in such a way that deem the crumbs inedible, then it would in fact help in removing the obligation to check such a place.

That being said, one who is stringent about Bedikas Chametz in respect to those places that have holes and grooves, even though they were cleaned well before, will find Blessing and the Poskim write that the reason for this is that, even though we are sure that we have cleaned there in an appropriate way, our Sages obligate us to ascertain that the cleanliness is in fact valid (in the same way that for example, a factory needs to perform “Quality Assurance” on its products after manufacturing.)

Next week, I”YH we will clarify what is considered to be a place that has had Chometz in it and that which is not.

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