Monday, March 22, 2010

PESACH, Owning Chametz

7th of Nisan, 5770

The prohibition of Chametz is one of the strictest proscriptions of the Torah, and significantly, one of the best-kept traditions by Jews worldwide. The Mashadi Community is extraordinarily careful in fulfilling this Mitzvah. In our Community women spend “literally” months cleaning their houses for Pesach, following a strong ancient Mashadi tradition of adherence to the highest standards for this Mitzvah.

What is exceptional about the prohibition of Chametz is that, unlike any other forbidden food, it includes the ban of its “possession”. Possession is purely a “legal” concept. During Pesach it is forbidden to possess Chametz, even though we don’t see it or even if it is not physically within our property. During Pesach, there cannot be any Chametz which belongs to us.

Therefore, there are four steps we follow to strictly avoid this Biblical prohibition: First, we clean our houses, cars, offices, etc. before Pesach. Second, we have to search all our properties to make sure that we have removed everything Chametz from them (Bedikat Chametz). Third, we have to physically dispose or get rid of any Chametz found in our properties (Biur Chametz) and fourth, we perform a verbal legal declaration stating that whatever Chametz we may own anywhere, we renounce to its possession and from now on, it is considered owner-less and it does not belong to us anymore (Bitul Chametz).