Friday, April 8, 2011

Bedikat Chametz (searching for Chametz)

Today is the 4th day of Nisan, 5771

The night before the Seder, at the time of the appearance of the first three stars -- once our house is clean of Chametz and ready for Pesach-- we do the Bedikat Chametz, which is the last inspection in which we search for any Chametz food that might have remained in our property after cleaning.

This year, 5771/2011, the night of the Bedika will be on Sunday April 17, after 8:05 P.M. That night, with the aid of a candle or a flashlight, we search all spots in our house where we might have brought and/or stored food. We should especially search the kitchen, food storage rooms, the pantry, the refrigerator, the freezer and all other places in which we might have eaten or kept food. In the Bedika we are looking especially for Chametz "food" that we could have overlooked during the cleaning process, and not so much for Chametz 'crumbs', which are considered hefker -ownerless- by the Bitul (See yesterdays HOTD). The Sephardim, therefore, do not have the tradition to use of a feather and/or a knife, which is essentially needed for dealing with Chametz 'crumbs'. In this aspect, the Halakhic approach is definitely different from the Kabalistic approach, as the later emphasizes the mystical symbolism of Chametz and instructs that, even a Chametz crumb won't be found in our homes, regardless of its Halakhic status: hefker or ownerless.

Special attention should be given to cars, since it is not uncommon to eat or keep snacks in the car. Cars should be washed and cleaned before the night of the Bedika and then they should be searched for Chametz, usually after we search our homes. We should also search our office or place of work, because we often bring food there. If it is impossible to search these places right after we do the Bedika at home, it should be done before the Bedika or early in the morning of the following day.

Candle lighting in NYC: 7:09 PM
Shabbat ends in NYC: 8:18 PM


Printable List of Non-Chametz foods and products 5771

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024