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Pesach Customs And Information

 

718-627-8380—After 8 P.M.

 

PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER

 

By Rabbi Aron Mirocznik April 2004

 

The following contains only general information required to prepare for Pesach. Specific questions should be   directed to the Rabbi. The mere presence of a label or a Rabbi's stamp on a product is no guarantee of its Kashruth. If you are uncertain of the Rabbi's reliability, please ask Rabbi Mirocznik. Please be very careful of soft drinks, pepper, candies, cakes, wines, liquors, and all boxed, canned or bottled products that may be doubtful in any way. Kindly try to call me as early as possible about your questions, so that I may obtain the necessary information for you.

 

FAST OF THE FIRST BORN

 

Because the Bhorim, or first born of the Jews were spared when the first born of the Egyptians were smitten by the tenth plaque, all first born Jewish males fast Erev Pesach. If, however one attends a Seudot Mitzvah, one is not       required to fast. It is, therefore, customary in all Synagogues, that a Siyum or conclusion of a tractate of the Talmud is celebrated at the end of the morning services on this day. This is an occasion for rejoicing and feasting and the fast is   broken for those who attend. This year Passover begins on Monday evening, April 5th, (first seder) and the fast is observed on Monday.

Our Siyum will be held on Monday, April 5th, at 7:15 A.M.

 

CHOMETZ

 

Food or drinks made from wheat, rye, barely, oats and millet are subject to the laws of Chometz.  Grain vinegar and products containing vinegar, such as pickles, horseradish, etc., are Chometz. All articles made of flour, such as      Matzos, cake, macaroons, etc., require reliable Rabbinic endorsement for Passover. Such endorsement is also required for candy, soft drinks, wines, liquors, milk, canned fruits, dried fruits, detergents, tea, coffee, and all manufactured products that may contain Chometz ingredients, or may be prepared in Chometz utensils. ALL FRESH GREEN vegetables may be used, EXCEPT SWEET CORN, DRIED PEAS, BEANS, AND ALL KINDS OF LEGUMES.

 

UTENSILS THAT CANNOT BE KASHERED FOR PESACH

 

1. All earthenware utensils, chinaware and plastic dishes.

2. Utensils that may be damaged by hot water, e.g., when they are glued together.

3. Vessels that have cracks which are not accessible and cannot be reached by glowing.

4. Knives or other utensils with glued-on, or attached handles.

5. Vessels with narrow necks that cannot be cleansed from within.

 

OTHER ARTICLES

 

1. The laws of Kashering are detailed and complex. In all cases when Kashering becomes necessary, the Rabbi should always be consulted.

2. Every part of the oven or stove which may have been touched by food during the year must be thoroughly cleaned and scraped. They must be brought to a glowing heat. During Passover, special metal sheets are placed over the tops of the range wherever it will come into contact with Passover food or utensils.

3. Table-tops, refrigerators and all surfaces that will come into contact with food must either be Kashered or    covered in such a manner that no food will touch them.

4. Clothing containing starch may be worn. But, heavily starched tablecloths that will come into contact with food should not be used for Passover.

5. New plastic tablecloths and wax paper are permissible.

6. Babies and children unless critically ill, should not be fed CHOMETZ.  In special cases where formula and like preparations are involved, the Rabbi should and must be consulted.

 

THE SALE OF CHOMETZ

 

Any Chometz owned by a Jew during the Passover week is forbidden for use forever. If, therefore, anyone cannot dispose of all Chometz before Passover, he must arrange for Mechirat Chometz, or the sale of the Chometz to a non-Jew.

All such Chometz in your possession should be collected and placed in a spare room, closet or trunk and locked, not later than the morning of Erev Pesach. All Chometz dishes and utensils should be placed in a special closet or room until after Pesach, after having been thoroughly soured and cleansed. If the closet or room has no lock, fasten the door with twine so that it will be distinctive and difficult to open. You should then authorize the Rabbi to draw up a Bill of Sale and negotiate the transfer to a non Jew. The transaction is completely legal, giving the non-Jew all rights of ownership over the Chometz that has been sold to him. After the conclusion of the festival, the Rabbi (your agent) purchases the Chometz from the non-Jew. Until this Chometz has been re-purchased, it may not be used.

Please see Rabbi Mirocznik for selling of Chometz. You may call him at home, after 8 P.M. at (718) 627-8380.

 

THE SEARCH FOR CHOMETZ (BDIKAS CHOMETZ)

 

We are forbidden not only to eat Chometz, but to permit it to be "seen or found" in our homes. Therefore, we sell it, clean it out of our homes and make it HEFKER (renounce possession of it). Every house is thoroughly cleaned before Pesach. Even if you intend to spend Pesach away from home, IT MUST BE CLEANED OF CHOMETZ. All closets, cabinets, cupboards, and all places where one has placed or suspects the existence of Chometz, should be searched.

 

The final or formal search, called BDIKAS CHOMETZ, is conducted this year on Sunday, April 4th, directly after sunset. This must be a real search for Chometz. However, since we assume that the house has already been thoroughly cleansed, crumbs of bread are placed wherever Chometz was wont to be placed, so that the blessing pronounced before the search may have meaning. (This brocho-blessing, may be found at the beginning of the Hagadah).

 

The head of the household, or whoever he may designate, if he cannot possibly conduct the search himself,     proceeds from place to place with lighted  candle. Any Chometz found is gathered, and together with the receptacle and candle is completely wrapped together in a cloth or paper and tied with a string. (One should make certain that all the bread crumbs and other Chometz are collected). This Chometz is to be burned the following morning, and the KOL CHAMIRA - the formal renunciation of ownership is said.

 

BURNING THE CHOMETZ

 

All unsold Chometz must be burned not later than 11:30 A.M. on Monday, April 5th. This is BIUR CHOMETZ. The KOL CHAMIRA is again recited. The entire house should now be free of all Chometz. No Chometz may be eaten after 10:20 A.M. Monday morning.

 

A Happy and Kosher Pesach to all!