Halacha for Thursday 10 Nissan 5784 April 18 2024

Some Detailed Laws Regarding the Search for Chametz- 5784

As we discussed yesterday, we search for Chametz on the eve of the Fourteenth of Nissan. This year (5784), we will search for Chametz this coming Sunday night.

The Blessing on the Search
Before beginning the search, one should recite: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Asher Kideshanu Be’Mitzvotav Ve’Tzivanu Al Bi’ur Chametz.” This blessing can be found in any Pesach Machzor.

The reason we mention “Bi’ur Chametz” (elimination of Chametz) in the blessing as opposed to the search for Chametz is because the point of the search is to eliminate the Chametz from one’s possession, which is the primary Mitzvah.

Speaking During the Search
One may not speak between the blessing and the beginning of the search so as not to cause an interruption between the blessing and the act of the Mitzvah. During the course of the search, one may speak about matters related to the search, such as asking one’s family members what is in a specific box and the like. However, one should not speak about unrelated things until the search has concluded and the text of renunciation of Chametz has been recited. Nevertheless, if one spoke about even unrelated matters during the search, one need not repeat the blessing.

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing
The Poskim disagree whether or not one should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon the search pf Chametz. The Peri Chadash rules that one should indeed recite this blessing. However, in practice, one should not. If one, however, wishes to cover all opinions, one should bring a new fruit to one’s home, have it handy during the “Al Bi’ur Chametz” blessing, begin search a little (so that there is no interruption), and the recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing and continue with the search. After concluding the search and reciting the renunciation text, one should recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing and eat the fruit. As we have explained, this is not compulsory and is merely a pious practice. (Chazon Ovadia- Pesach, page 45)

Searching the Car
If one has a car, one must search the car for Chametz by candlelight or flashlight. Even if the car was thoroughly cleaned beforehand, one must search it on the night of the Fourteenth of Nissan. (ibid, page 52)

What Should be Done with the Chametz?
Any Chametz found during the search, including Chametz designated to be eaten the next morning (before the latest time to eat Chametz) should be wrapped well in a plastic bag and kept in a secure place so that it does not scatter. This is especially true in households with young children, and one must make sure they do not wander around the house when they are eating Chametz after the search. Furthermore, they should not be allowed to handle the Chametz without supervision.

The Latest Time to Eat Chametz
On Erev Pesach, which falls out this coming Monday this year (5784), the latest time for eating Chametz is at approximately 9:55 AM in Jerusalem and approximately 10:05 AM in New York. The latest time to eliminate and sell Chametz is at approximately 11:15 AM in Jerusalem and approximately 11:30 AM in New York. Every location around the world should use trusted halachic calendars in that place to determine these times.

Burning and Renouncing Chametz
The morning after the search for Chametz, we take the Chametz found in the house and burn it. After the burning ceremony, we once again recite a text of renunciation of Chametz, as is printed in Pesach Machzorim. There is a slight difference between the text recited at night versus that recited the next morning, in that in the morning we recite:

“Any Chametz (leaven items) which is in my possession, which I have seen and which I have not seen, which I have destroyed and which I have not destroyed, is hereby nullified and shall be like the dust of the earth.”

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