R’ Tzvi Yaakov Stein: Pesach Preparation



⁃ Any parts of the house that are going to be sold don’t have to be cleaned.

⁃ If you don’t sell real chametz, the parts of the house that are being sold should be perfunctorily checked for real chametz.

⁃ There is a disagreement if we’re required to clean/check for crumbs. Therefore we try to be strict and clean/check for them.

⁃ According to all opinions, crumbs on the floor and certainly in between the cracks of the floors and walls etc. are not a problem.

⁃ Any part of the house that’s cleaned with cleaners that have chemicals in them no longer needs to be checked for pieces of chametz smaller than the size of an olive.

⁃ Any places in the house that are difficult to get to can be sprayed with a chemical cleaner and that’s all that has to be done.

⁃ Cleaning is not necessary behind items that are not normally moved. This is because even if there is chametz behind it, there’s no chance that it’s going to be eaten. Examples are: refrigerators, ovens, washing machines, breakfronts etc.

⁃ Floors have to be mopped. No more than that.

⁃ Carpeting has to be vacuumed. No more than that.

⁃ Furniture has to be brushed. If there are pillows etc. they should be removed and checked.

⁃ Clothing that is going to be worn on pesach and that has pockets etc. needs to be checked. If the clothes were dry cleaned or washed with detergent then the clothing only needs to be checked for larger pieces of chametz but not for crumbs.

⁃ Seforim don’t need to be checked for chametz but if they will be brought to the table then they need to be checked.

⁃ Benchers (birchas hamazon) from all year round shouldn’t be used.

⁃ Children’s toys need to be checked and preferably washed.

⁃ The vacuum cleaner bag must be thrown out before pesach.

⁃ Brooms must be cleaned. Many have the minhag to get new brooms.

⁃ Cars must be cleaned including under and in between the seats. If there are areas that are not reachable then they can be sprayed with a chemical spray.

⁃ Only places in the house that food is normally brought to require checking. Ex. If you know that you never bring food into the bedrooms then it doesn’t require cleaning or bedikas chametz.

⁃ If there are children in the house then it’s considered like food can be anywhere and therefore everything in the house requires cleaning/bedika.


⁃ Refrigerator must be cleaned well including the hard to reach areas.

⁃ Lining the shelves of the refrigerator is not required but many have the minhag to line them.

⁃ The area directly above the stovetop (ex. range hood etc.) should be covered with foil.

⁃ The area under the cabinets that are above the countertops where hot food is placed should also be covered with foil.

⁃ Cabinets should be wiped down. Many have the minhag to line the shelves.

⁃ Tables that will be used with hot food should be lined with something that has some thickness to it.

⁃ Tablecloths and towels from all year round can be used but they should be washed with hot water and detergent.

⁃ Microwaves should preferably not be kashered for pesach. If necessary Kasher microwave: Clean well, make sure it hasn’t been used for 24 hours, boil water until it fogs up. The glass should have hot water poured on it.

⁃ To kasher utensils: Clean well, wait 24 hours from its last use and put it into boiling hot water in a pot that hasn’t been used in 24 hours and wait for it to reboil. Take it out and run it under cold water. Any clean pot that hasn’t been used in 24 hours can be used but many have the minhag to kasher the pot first.

⁃ Kasher counters: Don’t use with hot for 24 hours. clean well. dry. pour boiling hot water over the entire counter. Make sure that every spot gets hit with water from the initial pouring. Alternatively, pour hot water and then iron the entire surface. Any clean pot that hasn’t been used in 24 hours can be used but many have the minhag to kasher the pot first.

⁃ Kasher Stovetop: 1) place a large pot or heavy duty aluminum foil on each burner individually, preferably covering the entire burner (so the fire spreads as far as possible). 2) turn each burner on high for 20 minutes (don’t turn on all the burners at the same time). 3) cover the drip pan (the area in between each burner) with heavy duty aluminum foil for the duration of pesach. You don’t have to wait 24 hours before kashering.

⁃ Glass stovetops: the actual burner area is kashered after turning on high for fifteen minutes. The areas in between the burners can’t be kashered. Covering those areas may break the glass. Best is to get metal trivets and put them around each burner so that the pot rests on them and not on the glass.

⁃ Kasher oven: self clean – turn on self clean for the length of a cycle. Non self clean – Clean very well, turn it on high for an hour. It’s preferable to cover the inside of the door.

⁃ Hotplates and blechs etc. should preferably not be used. If necessary ask a Shaila.

⁃ From Star k: Barbecue Grill The grates of a barbecue grill must be kashered with libun gamur, which is not recommended for the average consumer. If a person purchases separate grates for Pesach, the rest of the grill can be kashered with libun kal, which can be accomplished relatively easily, as follows: If the grill comes with a cover, light the grill with coals or gas, close the cover, and allow it to burn on its highest setting for an hour. If the grill does not have a cover, follow the same procedure, but make sure that all surfaces of the grill are covered with coals. As with all items being kashered, it is crucial that the grill be cleaned thoroughly of all food residue, which is often a particular difficulty in a barbecue grill. In fact, if the grill has too many holes, cracks, and crevices where food may get trapped, one should refrain from kashering the grill at all.

⁃ Kasher stainless steel sinks: Don’t use with hot for 24 hours. Clean well. Dry. Starting at the drain, pour boiling hot water over the entire sink. Make sure that every spot gets hit with water from the initial pouring. Alternatively, hot water can be poured in to sink and a hot iron can be passed all around the bottom of the sink. (Not necessary to iron the sink walls) Any clean pot that hasn’t been used in 24 hours can be used but many have the minhag to kasher the pot first.

⁃ Pacifiers, bottles etc. that are washed with chametz should be put away and get new ones.

⁃ Expensive bottles, for ex. for nursing pumps, can be kashered as described above.

– High chairs should be cleaned and sprayed extremely well and the tray should be covered with contact paper.

⁃ Crockpots can’t be kashered.

⁃ Food processor/mixer can’t be kashered.

⁃ Indoor/George Foreman grill etc. can’t be kashered.

⁃ Rings and other jewelry that goes on the hand should preferably be kashered but at the minimum should be sprayed with cleaner and cleaned very well.

⁃ Braces/dentures should be cleaned well. Preferably don’t eat hot chametz within 24 hours of Pesach.

⁃ For those that can afford it, kashering shouldn’t be relied upon, special Pesach utensils should be used.

Bedikas Chametz

⁃ The night before Pesach any places that will be lived in on Pesach have to be checked for chametz.

⁃ Cleaning is supposed to be done before bedikas chametz. Not while you do bedikas chametz.

⁃ Bedikas chametz should be done immediately after nightfall.

⁃ No eating a meal or learning or any other activities until after bedikas chametz is done.

⁃ Taking a snack is allowed.

⁃ Maariv can be davened before or after doing bedikas chametz.

⁃ The bracha should be said while holding a candle. After checking any part of the house with the candle switch to a flashlight.

⁃ There should be no talking until after the entire bedikas chametz is completed and Kol Chamira is said.

⁃ Talking for bedikas chametz necessities is allowed.

⁃ If the bracha was forgotten then the bracha can be made until the bedika is completed.

⁃ If the Bracha was forgotten until after bedikas chametz was completed then a bracha can be made the next day before burning the chametz.

⁃ The minhag is for someone to put out ten pieces of bread to be searched for during the bedika.

⁃ Any places that food could have potentially been brought into needs to be checked.

⁃ If you forget to do bedikas chametz and you’re not home or you’re unable to do bedikas chametz then an agent can be used to check on your behalf.

⁃ If you forgot to do bedikas chametz or are unable to do bedikas chametz then do it the next day with a bracha.

⁃ After completing bedikas chametz, bittul chametz should be done.

⁃ Bittul is the process of renouncing ownership of any chametz that one may have wherever it may be.

⁃ You must understand what you’re saying when you are nullifying the chametz.

⁃ There’s an additional bittul chametz in the morning after burning the chametz.

⁃ Chametz should be done the night before leaving the house/apartment, as above.

Burning the chametz

⁃ The chametz can be burned at night but the minhag is to burn it during the day.

⁃ The chametz should be burned by the end of the fifth hour into the day.

⁃ The chametz should be burned until its charred.

⁃ Chametz should preferably not be placed into garbage cans that won’t be picked up before six hours into the day.

⁃ The additional bittul chametz should be done before the end of the fifth hour.

Selling of the chametz

⁃ Everyone is required to sell their chametz to a non Jew because nowadays there are many things that have chametz in them that we may not be aware of.

⁃ If you can’t or don’t want to clean certain areas or rooms etc. then they can be sold to the non Jew. Since they’re sold they belong to a non jew on pesach and they don’t belong to you so they don’t require cleaning.

⁃ Because the procedure is so complicated, the sale should only be done through a Rav.

⁃ Have in mind that you’re not only selling the chametz that you’re aware of, you’re also selling any chametz that you may have that’s anywhere in the world.

⁃ Since we’re not allowed to have chametz of a non Jew in our houses, therefore we also must sell or rent the places where the chametz is to the goy.

⁃ The Rav will usually require a signature on the document in addition to the seller picking up something that belongs to the Rav (usually a handkerchief or a pen etc.) and in exchange give the Rav the authority to sell his chametz.

⁃ The Rav is not acquiring your chametz. He’s just agreeing to sell it or get rid of it for you.

⁃ If you’re traveling east and therefore pesach will come earlier then you must notify the Rav so that he can sell the chametz at an earlier time.

⁃ According to the Halacha, all chametz can be sold for Pesach. However many are strict not to sell chametz gamur (real chametz) This is a chumra. Here’s a basic list from Star K website: CHAMETZ GAMUR: Beer, bread, cake, cereal with wheat, oats or barley, cookies, cream of wheat, couscous, farfel, licorice, malt extract, all oatmeal’s, oat flour, pasta, pretzels, rolled oats, soy sauce, wheat gluten/wheat protein. NOT CHAMETZ GAMUR: barley (pearled, raw and packaged, dry cake mixes, glue, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, corn flakes, cosmetics, extracts, flour, food coloring, gefilte fish, kitniyos, matza/ matza meal that’s not kosher for Pesach, medicines with chametz in them, modified food starch, Rice Krispies, salad dressing, vanillin, vinegar, vitamins, wheat germ, yeast, whisky
(some sell it some don’t).

⁃ Selling sourdough starter:

⁃ The reason why people don’t sell real chametz on Pesach is because the sale to the goy has some doubts because the actual chametz isn’t handed over to the goy. Therefore if you actually hand over chametz to the goy then most, if not all, would sell real chametz. The way to do this is as follows:

1. Explain to the goy (cleaning lady is best) that you’re selling then this chametz until after Pesach. You can tell them that you’re probably going to buy it back.

2. The goy should give you at least a nickel and then pick up the starter and bring it home with them.

3. Make sure the goy understands that it’s theirs and they can use it as they please.

4. Take a picture of the sourdough so that you’ll recognize that it’s yours after Pesach.

5. After Pesach tell them you want it back

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