Halacha for Thursday 16 Adar 5780 March 12 2020

Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

The Prohibition to Eat and Benefit From Chametz
The Torah (Shemot 13) states regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in your borders.”

Our Sages taught in Masechet Pesachim (21b among other places) through expounding certain verses that not only is Chametz prohibited for consumption on Pesach, it is also forbidden to benefit from Chametz on Pesach, meaning that even if one does not actually eat Chametz on Pesach, he still may not sell it to a non-Jew and the like on Pesach for this would mean that he is benefitting from this sale. Consumption of Chametz on Pesach is punishable by Karet (severance of one’s soul from the Jewish nation).

Chametz on Pesach Cannot Even be Nullified by a Ratio of One to One-Thousand
The prohibition of Chametz on Pesach is so severe that if Chametz gets mixed into other foods, it cannot be nullified even by a ratio of one to one thousand, which is not the case regarding other prohibitions.

For instance, regarding the prohibition of consuming blood, if one gram of blood falls into a pot of food, if there are sixty grams of food present against the one gram of blood that fell into it, the blood is considered nullified and this food is permitted for consumption. Regarding Chametz on Pesach, however, even if the food present is one thousand times the amount of the Chametz that fell into it, for instance if a tiny crumb of Chametz falls into a large pot of food, the entire pot of food becomes prohibited for consumption because of the crumb of Chametz that became mixed into it.

Therefore, one must be extremely careful regarding Chametz on Pesach to buy only food products that one is completely certain do not contain Chametz mixtures and are certified by a reliable Kashrut organization. Similarly, one should not rely on a non-Torah-observant Jew when he tells him that a certain food does not contain any Chametz, for instance if he says that a certain spice does not have any Chametz mixed into it, for it has already occurred that some people have transgressed the prohibition of Chametz because they had relied on a grocer with no believability. Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlit”a writes that it is proper for one not to purchase any food product designated for Pesach use without a reliable Kosher for Passover certification on every single item. The same applies even to things that do not seem problematic such as liquor, Arack, and the like. Nowadays, even products that look “innocent” pose major Kashrut problems during the rest of the year and especially during Pesach, as all products contain a multitude of ingredients, as we all know.

Dishes Which Have Absorbed Chametz
One may not use the same dishes that he uses during the rest of the year on Pesach, for these dishes have Chametz absorbed in them since when a hot food is inside these dishes, the walls of these dishes absorb its Chametz flavor, just as they absorb dairy or meat flavor. Thus, one must either use dishes that are specially designated for Pesach that have not been used for Chametz or kosher (make kosher for Pesach) his Chametz dishes. This will be better explained in following Halachot.

The Words of the Saintly Ari z”l and Maran zt”l
We have heard Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l quote the words of the saintly Ari z”l that one who is careful regarding Chametz on Pesach is guaranteed not to sin the entire year. Maran zt”l  recounted that once, the mother of Hagaon Rabbeinu Akiva Eiger questioned this, for we find many great Torah scholars who are meticulous regarding the prohibitions of Chametz and they nevertheless transgress various sins. Hagaon Rabbi Akiva Eiger answered that the words of the Ari z”l are similar to the words of our Sages in that one who is careful regarding Chametz is guaranteed not to transgress any eating related prohibitions throughout the year but this does not mean one will not sin throughout the year at all.

Maran zt”l adds based on the words of Rabbeinu Nissim that when our Sages promise that one will not sin, this only applies when the sinner is not at fault, i.e. Hashem only protects the righteous, those who are careful regarding Chametz, etc. only from incidents that are not in the individual’s control. However, if the person is slightly at fault, such as if one enters a restaurant that is not under the best Kashrut supervision, one will not merit divine protection and it is possible that one will transgress even sins of forbidden food consumption.

Based on this, Rabbeinu Nissim explains that the reason why King Solomon failed at the end of his life and his wives were able to lead his heart astray was because he tried to outsmart the Torah’s commandment of a king not marrying too many wives, for he claimed, “I will marry many wives and my heart shall not stray from Hashem!” At the end, his wives did indeed lead his heart astray. However, regarding matters about which one is not at fault at all and when one is careful with all his actions, such as the incident with Rabbi Chanina ben Gamliel, Hashem shall protect the individual from all failure.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

----------------------------- Correction: There was a typographical error at the end of yesterday's Halacha which stated that the prohibition to take haircuts and shave does not apply this year according to the Sephardic custom. Clearly, this is incorrect and all of the laws of the week durin......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha