Halacha for Monday 10 Nissan 5778 March 26 2018

Searching for and Renouncing Chametz

The Laws of Searching for Chametz
On the eve of the Fourteenth of Nissan, which will fall out this year (5778) this coming Thursday night, one must search for Chametz by candlelight. The candle must be made of wax (or congealed paraffin oil, common nowadays) as per the enactment of our Sages. If one does not have a candle but he does have a small enough flashlight that one will be able to stick into places where he must check properly, one may use such a flashlight if necessary. One is obligated to search in every room in the house where Chametz is found; even if one is certain that Chametz has never been eaten in this room, one must still check it. The same applies regarding balconies, gardens, cars, and the like.

Regarding washed clothes that were placed in drawers and closets after being washed, one is not obligated to check the pockets of these clothes for Chametz, even if these clothes belong to young children, since the Chametz has surely become inedible due to the various laundry detergents and inedible Chametz is not considered Chametz prohibited on Pesach, as we have already established.

The Proper Time for the Search
The proper time for searching for Chametz is approximately twenty minutes after sunset (if one was unable to search at this time he may still search and recite a blessing even later on during the night). One may not partake of bread or cake more than a “Kebetza” (approximately 54 grams) before searching for Chametz starting from a half-hour before the proper time of the search. Nevertheless, less than a Kebetza of bread or cake or even more than a Kebetza of fruits, vegetables, rice, and the like, may in fact be eaten before performing the search. Sunset this year in New York City is at approximately 7:15 PM making the proper time for the search at approximately 7:40 PM.

 

The Customary Ten Pieces of Bread
Some have the custom to hide ten pieces of well-wrapped bread throughout the house, so that they may be found by the person searching for Chametz. Those who follow this custom should be exceedingly careful to write down the locations of the ten pieces of Chametz, so that in the event that one (or more) piece(s) is/are not found, they will be able to be located using this list.

 

Renouncing Chametz
After completing the search for Chametz, one must verbally nullify the Chametz by reciting: “Kol Chamira De’Ika Birshuti De’La Chazitei U’dla Bi’artei Livtil Velehevei Ke’Afra De’Ar’ah.” (English Translation: “Any Chametz (leaven) which is in my possession, which I have not seen and I have not destroyed, is hereby nullified and should be considered like the dust of the earth.”) One must recite this verbal renunciation in a language one understands, for if not, one does not fulfill one’s obligation of renouncing Chametz. It is customary to repeat the text of the renunciation three times in order to strengthen the matter (it is preferable to add during one of the three recitations: “Livtil Velehevei Hefker Ke’Afra De’Ar’ah,” English Translation: “Is hereby nullified and is rendered ownerless like the dust of the earth.”)

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5778, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av This Year (5778)

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal. Nevertheless, this year, 5778, since the fast of Tisha Be&r......

Read Halacha


The Laws of the Beginning of the Fast when Tisha Be’av Falls Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. May Hashem soon switch it to a month of joy and celebration. This year, 5778, there are some unique laws we must discuss since the Ninth of Av falls out on Shabbat and the fast is thus postponed until Sunday. The Jewish Nation’s Fortune During ......

Read Halacha

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 ......

Read Halacha