In preparation for Pesach, we dispose of any chametz from within our midst. There are a number of ways we accomplish this removal:
1. Cleaning Before the Holiday- we carefully clean our homes, automobiles, offices, and possessions to rid of them of chametz. Likewise, pots and other utensils employed in the preparation and service of food which are used year round are not to be used on this yom tov. Despite the fact that the utensil might be perfectly clean, it use is forbidden due to the absorption of chametz taste that is in the vessel which would be transferred into the non-chametz food if used on Pesach. As such, it is important to kasher any utensils you might need over the holiday that have been used during the year.
The general rule regarding this process is that utensils made of metal, wood, and natural rubber can be kashered, whereas china, earthenware, and glassware should not. [Please be aware that exceptions can be made in cases of great necessity.] Any utensil that is to be kashered should first be cleaned thoroughly from any dirt or residue. Any substantial rust (not a mere discoloration or the like) on the inside of a vessel should be removed as well. If there are significant cracks and crevices on the inside of a utensil that can not be cleaned well and thus might have dirt trapped inside, it also presents a serious concern.
This year in Congregation Israel we will be having experts in the field of kashering from the ‘GO KOSHER' organization running this activity. It will be taking place in shul on Sunday, April 17th, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Please contact me to reserve a 15 minute slot.
2. Bedikas Chametz- the night of the 14th of Nisan (this year Thursday, April 21st), about 20 minutes after sunset (sunset is at 7:44 pm) we search our domain to make sure there is no chametz of which we are unaware. We search with a candle or flashlight, checking all areas where chametz might have been brought during the year. A blessing is said before beginning the search. There is a custom to leave out 10 pieces of bread to be found during the bedika. Some also have a custom of using a feather, and wooden spoon in the search.
NOTE: If one will not be home on the 14th of Nisan, a messenger should be appointed to do it for you on this night. If this is not feasible, do the bedika yourself the night before you leave home (WITHOUT the bracha).
3. Bittul- after we have finished our search at night, we declare all chametz in our possession, unknown to us, to be considered ownerless, like the dust of the earth. If one does not understand the Aramaic text of this statement, it should be recited in English.
4. Biur- on the morning of the 14th of Nisan (Friday, April 22nd), one takes any remaining chametz, and eats it before the end of the fourth halachic hour (this year at 10:05 am), or destroys it (many have a custom to burn it) by the sixth hour (11:23 am this year). After ridding ourselves of all chametz we make the Bittul declaration once again, this time adding that no matter where it is, or if we know about it, the chametz is to be considered ownerless, like the dust of the earth.
5. Mechiras Chametz- any chametz products we do not want to dispose of, we need to sell to a non-Jew so we are not in violation of owning chametz over Pesach, thereby forbidding its use after the holiday. To arrange for the sale of your chametz items please see me. [If that is not feasible, please phone me.] Please call or text in advance to confirm an appointment. For walk-ins, I will be available at the shul most nights after Mincha/Ma’ariv.
NOTE: It is recommended, if possible, not to sell actual chametz, such as bread, noodles, grain cereals, and the like.
May our efforts to have a Chag Kosher V’Sameiach be rewarded with much success.
NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!!!