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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

SPECIAL EDITION II: New link for List of Non-Chametz Products For Pesach

Today is the 3rd day of Nisan, 5771

Understanding Chametz possession

What makes so exceptional the prohibition of Chametz is that, unlike any other forbidden food, it includes the ban of its 'possession'. There are three Mitzvot in the Torah related to this prohibition: bal year'e and bal ymatze (Chametz, 'shall not be seen', and 'shall not be found'), and tashbitu (disown, dispossess your Chametz before Pesach begins). Strictly speaking, these three Mitzvot are fulfilled at once by a process called 'bitul'. A formula by which we declare that we renounce to the ownership of any Chametz that belong to us, regardless of where that chametz is located.

But the Rabbis saw that there were some 'practical' issues with just declaring our Chametz owner-less. First, we may 'say' that we do not own anymore our Chametz, but, if we posses something valuable, are we really meaning that we renounce to its possession? Second, Chametz is the most common food, so even if we declare it owner-less and thus we fulfill those 3 Mitzvot, keeping any edible Chametz at home, might cause us to eating it accidentally...

There are four steps we should take to fulfill the 3 Biblical commandments and the rabbinical instruction: First, we should clean our houses, cars, offices and other properties before Pesach to identify and remove all chametz in our properties. Second, we should run a final 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 before and during the Bedika (Biur Chametz) and finally, we have to perform a verbal legal declaration or statement that whatever Chametz we may still own anywhere, which was not detected and eliminated by us, does not belong to us anymore and from now on it is considered ownerless (hefker) as the dust of the earth (Bitul Chametz).

We will explain each one of these steps in the coming HOTD.

Click here to download the List of Non-Chametz products for Pesach

A wall of lies, uncovering the lies of "Israel Apartheid week", by AISH

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SPECIAL EDITION List of Non-Chametz Products For Pesach

Today is the 2nd day of Nisan, 5771

During Pesach, our community adheres to the highest standards of observance , in terms of cleaning the house of Chametz and consuming exclusively Kosher for Pesach (KFP) products, for example. Whenever possible, every product we buy should bear the KFP certification.

The products contained in the attached list do not contain Chametz and are authorized for Pesach 5771, especially in case one cannot afford or cannot find the Kosher for Pesach certified products.
The products mentioned in this list do not bear a special Kosher for Passover certification, but THEY MUST BE BOUGHT BEFORE PESACH AND CAN ONLY BE USED IF THE PACKAGE IS NEW AND UNUSED.
The authorization of these products is only for Sephardim, since the Ashkenazi custom includes other prohibitions like Kitniot, etc. (For a list of products which follows the Ashkenazi tradition click here:
This list is a compilation based on information I obtained from Kosher for Pesach lists elaborated by experts Orthodox rabbis.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PESACH: Getting your kitchen ready for Pesach

Today is Rosh Chodesh Nisan (1st day of Nisan), 5771

During Pesach, it is forbidden to use the same cooking utensils or tableware that was used year-round for Chametz. It is customary and most recommendable to have a separate set of cookware and tableware for Pesach. If this is not possible, one can still use some of the year round utensils after a process called: Hagala, which is a form of sterilization that serves to eliminate any traces of Chametz absorbed in the utensil's walls.

All different types of Hagala follow one single principle: Kebol'o Kakh Polto, which means that the expulsion of any substance of Chametz absorbed in the walls of a utensil, will occur in the same way that those particles were absorbed there in the first place. The process of Hagala is different for each type of utensil, depending on the material from which it is made, and the way we use it.

Some examples of Hagala

Glass: According to the Sephardic Minhag, any clear-glass utensils like cups or even plates used throughout the year for Chametz should be thoroughly washed and they can then be used for Pesach without any further Hagala.

Metal: All tableware like forks, spoons or knives should be thoroughly cleaned and then immersed in a pot of boiling water. Then, they are washed with cold water and can be used for Pesach.

Porcelain: Ceramic, pottery or porcelain china and tableware that are used throughout the year for Chametz are not suitable for Pesach. In other words Hagala does not sterilize them; therefore they cannot be used for Pesach. (There are some exceptional cases in which they might be used. Ask a Rabbi for details).

Sink and countertops: The sink, even when made of porcelain, should be cleaned by pouring on it boiling water. Countertops and tables, if possible, it should be poured on them boiling water. If that is not possible they should be covered to use them for Pesach. For a regular table, after it is cleaned, just cover it with a new or a Pesach tablecloth.

Awesome Pesach video!!!

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

PESACH: Kitchen appliances Kosher for Pesach

Today is the 29th day of Adar II, 5771

Dishwasher: After you thoroughly clean the dishwasher, run it on a complete cycle without dishes but with detergent (For priceless information about a perfect cleaning for your dishwasher see: Then the dishwasher becomes Kosher for Pesach. Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Hayim (Shelita) recommends when possible to replace the dishwasher racks or to use an added base to cover the year round racks. In any case, you need to make sure that no chametz residue got stuck in the dishwasher racks or elsewhere.

Oven: The oven should not be used for 24 hours. Then you must clean it thoroughly and, if it is a self-cleaning oven, you run one self-cleaning cycle and the oven is Kosher for Pesach. If it is not a self-cleaning oven, after you thoroughly clean it, let the oven run on the highest temperature setting for approximately one hour, including the racks, then the oven is Kosher for Pesach.

Microwave: Take a bowl of water, with some detergent or soap in it, and then let it boil in the microwave until the microwave walls are filled with its steam. The vapor penetrates the walls rendering the microwave Kosher for Pesach. (If you can't do this and you need to use a year round microwave for Pesach, cover completely the food with a container or Ziploc products, Saran wrap or any other hermetic microwavable covers).

Refrigerator/freezer: Clean it and wash thoroughly each of its parts, making sure there are not chametz left-overs stored or stuck in its walls.

Satire: How to cut the Matza in two exact halves? (a Japanese tip!)

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