Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seeing Chametz in Pesach

Q: Is there any prohibition of actually "seeing" Chametz during Pesach?

A: Two Pesukim in the Torah deal with Chametz prohibitions, which are not related to eating Chametz: 1. Lo Ierae... (Chametz shall not be seen) and 2. Lo Imatze... (There shall not be Chametz in your properties). The Talmud, our oral Law, explains that these two Pesukim are not to be taken literally and that they convey one single and identical prohibition: to ban the "possession" of Chametz during Pesach (the fact that there are two prohibitions for the same action is an exceptional and a unique case!). Thus, public opinion notwithstanding, there is absolutely no prohibition of "seeing" Chametz during Pesach. If we hide our Chametz in a closed closet or in our garage, but it still belongs to us, we are transgressing this strict double-prohibition of the Torah. The only way to comply with these two Mitzvot is by completely getting rid of the Chametz and by renouncing to the possession of any Chametz we still might unknowingly posses. It should be noted that any Chametz that has been in our possession during Pesach, regardless of the specific location in which it was hidden, is prohibited after Pesach for our consumption or even for deriving any other benefit from it.