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To see all the responses, visit our Pesach Questions Blog Page.

Pesach 2017

Check out this page for all of your Pesach needs!

Chametz SaleClick here to sell your chametz online.  Deadline is Thursday, April 6th!

Community Biyur Chametz:  Monday, April 10, from 7:00 AM - 11:30 AM ONLY in the City Parking Lot East of B'nai David-Judea. NO BURNING WILL BE PERMITTED AT THIS LOCATION AFTER 11:30 AM! You may also drop off food for SOVA.  The parking lot will be closed to vehicles - please don't park or stop in the alley! Special thanks to Councilman Paul Koretz & his staff, and to Rabbi Summers & Anshe Emes.

Kashering Day: Come to BDJ on Tuesday, April 4th between 11:00 AM  and 5:00 PM for all your Pesach kashering needs! All are welcome, members given priority. Please bring a towel.

pre-pesach learning at Bdj

Annual Haggadah Seminar - Rav Yosef and Rabbanit Alissa will share Haggadah insights that you can take directly to your Seder. Tuesday, April 4 from 8:00-9:00 PM at the home of Zev and Na'amit Nagel.


Shabbat HaGadol Drasha with Rav Yosef - Please join us at BDJ on April 8 at 5:15 PM in the Main Sanctuary for the annual Shabbat HaGadol Drasha, followed by Mincha at 6:35 PM. This is one of the two times during the year when we are able to take an idea, develop it fully and explore its impact on the way we live.  It is also an opportunity to (hopefully) discover a new religious perspective with which to enhance Pesach.

Of course the Shabbat HaGadol Drasha isn’t for everyone. It’s only for folks between the ages of 14-25, 26-40 and 41-97. Attendance will also be limited only to people who do not have children and to those who do. (Childcare will be provided for those who do!) So if you meet the criteria, we look forward to seeing you


Halachah How To: Leaving for Pesach

Here's a perennial Pre-Pesach question: If I am leaving town before Pesach, what are my obligations relative to Bedikat Chametz (the search for chametz)? The answer is best understood if we first have clarity regarding the purpose of the search.

The Torah applies an unusual degree of stringency to the prohibition of chametz. In addition to not eating chametz, we are also prohibited to own chametz.  By law, we can dispossess ourselves of our chametz and thus avoid the prohibition, merely by "nullifying" the chametz  through the recitation of the familiar formulae that we recite each year. (You can find them in the Siddur, or at the beginning of almost any Haggadah). However, the Talmudic sages obliged us to actually search for (and destroy) our chametz anyway, to address two concerns that they had.

 They were concerned that if we failed to actually search our premises: (1) we might find chametz during Pesach and unthinkingly eat it before we remember that it's Pesach, and (2) our nullification might be less than whole-hearted if we suspect that there is actually still some valuable chametz in the house somewhere. Thus, the obligation to search on the night preceding Pesach.

However, given people's (apparently eternal) propensity to not be home for Pesach, the sages formulated the obligation so that it actually devolves upon us 30 days before Pesach. So as long as we are leaving fewer than 30 days before the chag, we are obligated to search, albeit without the bracha, on the night before we leave. This is true even if we will not be home at all over the course of Pesach (see concern #(2) above.)

Along similar lines the question is often asked how hotel-goers may fulfill the mitzva of "the burden of Pesach."  The concern is a serious one, as the Talmud reports that one of the 3 questions we are asked upon arriving in Heaven is, "did you dislocate any joints in your remembering of the Exodus?"


Halachah How To: Pesach   

1.  בדיקת חמץ (THE SEARCH FOR CHAMETZ)

The mitzvah to do בדיקת חמץ (the search for chametz) falls upon our shoulders 30 days before Pesach. What that means in practical terms, is that even though you may be leaving your home before Pesach, and not coming back until after Pesach, you are still obligated to do the בדיקה

What’s the procedure if you are leaving town?  On your last night in town, you would use a candle as normal, and you would recite the ביטול   (nullification of chametz) afterwards. The only difference is that you would not recite the bracha.  On erev Pesach, you should recite the final ביטול, wherever you are. There is no requirement to burn the chametz on erev Pesach if you did an “early בדיקה, but if you wanted to take your “found” chametz with you, and burn it on erev Pesach wherever you are, that’s fine too. 

Everyone staying in town will do the bedika, with the bracha on Sunday night.


By Monday morning we will mostly have consumed, given away, or arranged for the sale of our chametz. But what about any small amount of chametz that may be in your garbage can? Does it still belong to you? This is an important question, as we will presumably be making chametz deposits into our garbage today and tomorrow, which will not be picked up by the city until Friday!

So the good news is, that this chametz actually doesn’t belong to you. This is both because your act of throwing it away is an expression of disowning it, and because long before Friday you will have recited the bittul (nullification of chametz).  As a result you cannot violate the prohibition of owning chametz as a result of what is in your garbage can.

HOWEVER, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe O.C. 3:57) points out, that the positive mitzvah of destroying our chametz applies to any chametz that is on our property, even if we have disowned it. As such, we would either need to burn it on Monday morning, or remove it from our property. Thanks to the good offices of Councilmember Paul Koretz, the latter may be done by depositing leftover chametz in a city dumpster that is already situated in the parking lot next to the shul.

The goldena medina keeps comin’ through! 


Halachah How To: Sedarim

Thanks to daylight saving time, nightfall will be occurring rather late on the nights of the Sedarim this year. As you may know (and as is indicated on the BDJ Pesach schedule) we actually need to wait until nightfall to begin the Seder. This is because all of the mitzvot of the Seder, including the drinking of the 4 cups, can only be performed when it is halachikly “night”. This effectively pushes Kiddush to 8:02 PM this year. All of this creates a potential problem relative to children’s participation in the Seder. By the time we reach the eating of matza and maror, they may already be asleep. Let me make the following suggestion if none of the more conventional solutions (e.g., afternoon naps) proves successful. Begin the seder at 8:02, but break the Magid section into 2 parts, with one part done before the meal, and the other part after. The pre-meal part should include the sections specified by the Talmud as the bare bones of the Magid. These sections are: • Mah Nishtana • Avadim Hayinu • At first our ancestors were idolaters • The section from “My father was a wandering Aramean,” through the ten plagues • From “Rabban Gamliel” to the end If this dividing of the Magid will enable the children to participate in matza and maror, it is well worth doing. If this too won’t do the trick, I’d suggest a “model seder” for the kids before the officially appointed hour.


 Halachah How To: Pesach Products

Please do avail yourself of the Pesach products lists published by Rabbi Eidlitz and by the OU (available on the back wall). The most valuable pages are those which list products than can be used WITHOUT any specific Pesach certification.  Here are a few “product” items especially worth review:


Quinoa: The Star-K and the OU both have brands of quinoa bearing a “P” for Peach use. As the quinoa-for-Pesach war has settled out,  the accepted practice is that quinoa is most definitely NOT kitniyot, but the possibility of accidental admixture with grains calls for a Pesach Supervision.


Pet Food: The prohibition of chametz includes a prohibition on feeding chametz to our animals (though we can feed them kitniyot - as long as they weren’t born in Eastern Europe). Rabbi Eidlitz lists non-chametz pet foods.


Milk and eggs: A custom developed long ago to purchase these before Pesach. After all, milk and eggs came from the farm just outside of town where chickens, cows and chametz interacted freely. A minute amount of chametz that had found its way into an egg (not sure how) or into milk BEFORE Pesach was halachikly null and void, but not so if it found its way in ON Pesach. Thus the custom. Rabbi Eidlitz adds that Vitamin D additives in milk create a similar (and more actual) issue. If you run out of milk on Pesach, you should buy at the kosher stores, who will have Pesach-certified milk available.


Cosmetic items etc.: Though these may contain chametz, because they are inedible they MAY be used on Pesach. Medicines taken in pill form may be used on Pesach without need for an ingredient check, Medicines taken in chewable or liquid form need to be chametz-free for Pesach. Rabbi Eidlitz has good lists on non-chametz medications, and I have a more exhaustive one if you have a question. 



Halachah How To: Kashering appliances for Pesach

Microwave: Assuming that you use your microwave as most of us do, primarily for defrosting and warming as opposed to actual cooking, you may kasher it in the following way: Carefully and thoroughly clean all surfaces. The grate-like area on the inside wall should get special attention. After at least 24 hours have elapsed since the microwave’s most recent use, bring a cup of water to boil in the microwave, so that the microwave fills with steam.  Finally (an extra “chumra” for Pesach), cover the surface onto which you place the dishes inside the microwave.  Wax paper is good as long as you replace the wax paper should it become wet.

Urn:  After cleaning both interior and exterior surfaces, and at least 24 hours after its most recent use, fill the urn, plug it in, and allow it to reach its maximum temperature.  After you empty and unplug the urn, bring it over to the sink and simply pour boiling water over the sides, taking care to keep the water away from the electrical component.

Mixers and blenders: Carefully clean the appliance to the point at which you are completely confident that is free of any food particles or residue. If you have used these appliances with hot food, then all detachable metal or glass components should be kashered. Metal can be kashered via “hag’alah” (boiling water) or in the same way that glass can be kashered (see below).

Dishwasher: Carefully and thoroughly clean all surfaces. After at least 24 hours have elapsed since the dishwasher’s most recent use, run the dishwasher – with soap – on the longest, most powerful cycle it has.

Glass: Ashkenazim do not kasher glass baking utensils for Pesach. However, Pyrex or Duralex glassware that has been cooked in may be kashered via hag'alah (placed in boiling water). Glass into which hot liquids were poured can be kashered in one of two ways. You can pour boiling water over and into them (at least 24 hours after their most recent “hot” use). Or you can fill them with cold water (again, at least 24 hours after their most recent “hot” use), leave them in the water for 24 hours, and then repeat that same process two more times. As a practical tip, it might be easiest to simply place the glass into a large tub and fill the tub with cold water, covering all the glass inside. Drinking glasses that were never used with hot liquids at all simply need to be carefully washed for Pesach use, though the prevalent custom is to use the filling/soaking method anyway.






Tue, 28 March 2017 1 Nisan 5777