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Shabbat, 19 Nissan 5773 / March 30, 2013

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Two, Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Three, Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Four

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Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Two

Halacha 1

It is a positive commandment from the Torah to destroy chametz before the time it becomes forbidden to be eaten, as [Exodus 12:15] states: "On the first day, destroy leaven from your homes." On the basis of the oral tradition, it is derived that "the first day" refers to the day of the fourteenth.

Proof of this matter is the verse from the Torah [Exodus 34:25]: "Do not slaughter the blood of My sacrifice with chametz," i.e., Do not slaughter the Pesach sacrifice while chametz exists [in your possession]. The slaughter of the Pesach sacrifice was on the fourteenth after midday.

Commentary Halacha

and to consider it as dust -- The Rambam describes the more practical aspects of the nullification of chametz in Chapter 3, Halachot 7-10. There, he requires a person to make a formal statement nullifying his chametz. That declaration is a Rabbinic requirement. According to the Torah itself, a firm resolve is sufficient, and no statement is necessary (Binyan Shlomo).

and to resolve within his heart that he possesses no chametz at all: -- doing so removes his legal ownership over the chametz.

all the chametz in his possession being as dust and as a thing of no value whatsoever -- If a person nullifies chametz within his heart and genuinely does not consider it as belonging to him, Torah law does not obligate him for the possession of chametz even if large quantities of it are found within his home.

Halacha 2

What is the destruction to which the Torah refers? to nullify chametz within his heart and to consider it as dust, and to resolve within his heart that he possesses no chametz at all: all the chametz in his possession being as dust and as a thing of no value whatsoever.

Commentary Halacha

What is the destruction to which the Torah refers? to nullify chametz within his heart -- The Kessef Mishneh quotes a different version of the text:

What is the destruction to which the Torah refers? to remove all chametz known to one from his property. [The chametz] which is unknown should be nullified...

This version implies that, according to Torah as well as Rabbinic law (See Halachah 2), we must rid our homes of all chametz of whose existence we are conscious; its nullification is not sufficient.

Nevertheless, the Kessef Mishneh brings a number of proofs from the Talmud and also quotes other commentaries of the Rambam, which maintain that the published text is correct and that the nullification of chametz is sufficient according to Torah law. He also quotes Hilchot Berachot 11:15, which emphasizes that "from the moment a person resolves in his heart to nullify it, the mitzvah of destroying [chametz] is fulfilled."

Halacha 3

According to the Sages' decree, [the mitzvah involves] searching for chametz in hidden places and in any holes [within one's house], seeking it and removing it from all of one's domain.

Similarly, according to the Sages' decree, we must search [with the intent to] destroy chametz by candlelight, at night, at the beginning of the night of the fourteenth [of Nisan]. [They instituted the search at that time] because all people are at home at night, and the light of the candle is good for searching.

A study session should not be fixed for the end of the thirteenth of Nisan. Similarly, a wise man should not begin to study at this time, lest he become involved, and thus be prevented from searching for chametz at the beginning of the time.

Commentary Halacha

According to the Sages' decree -- As explained in the previous halachah, according to the Torah, chametz may be within a person's property as long as he declared it ownerless. Nevertheless, the Sages forbade such practices and required all chametz to be removed from one's property.

Two reasons are given for this decree:

a) The nullification of chametz is dependent on the feelings of a person's heart. A person may possibly have difficulty totally removing all thoughts of ownership over the chametz from his heart (Rabbenu Nissim, Pesachim 2a).

b) In contrast to other prohibited substances, chametz is used throughout the year. Thus, were he allowed to leave chametz within his property, he might accidentally forget about the prohibition and eat it on Pesach (Tosefot, Pesachim 2a).

In addition to the restriction against possessing chametz, the Sages further expanded the scope of

[the mitzvah -- to destroy chametz so that it

involves] searching for chametz -- It must be emphasized that the obligation to search for chametz is Rabbinic in nature only when a person nullifies his chametz when required. Otherwise, the obligation stems from the Torah, for the prohibitions against possessing chametz and the commandment to destroy it require such a search. The Tzafnat Paneach quotes a number of examples that demonstrate how the existence of a Torah commandment obligates a person to check and search to see that it is being fulfilled correctly.

in hidden places and in any holes [within one's house] -- as clarified in Halachah 6, the obligation to search applies only to those holes and crevices in which chametz is usually placed.

seeking it -- Bedikat chametz

and removing it from all of one's domain -- Biyur chametz.

Similarly, according to the Sages' decree, we must search, [with the intent to] destroy, chametz by candlelight, at night -- The destruction of chametz at night refers to the statement חמירא כל, in which we nullify all the chametz of whose possession we are unaware. The chametz that we know about is either eaten or destroyed the next morning.

at the beginning of the night of the fourteenth [of Nisan] -- i.e., the night between the thirteenth and fourteenth of Nisan.

[They instituted the search at that time] -- in contrast to the day of the fourteenth, when the prohibition against possessing chametz begins (Pesachim 4a).

because all people are at home at night -- while during the day people are occupied outside their homes.

and the light of the candle is good for searching. -- during the day, its light would not be as effective.

A study session should not be fixed for the end of the thirteenth of Nisan -- Rabbenu Yonah allows a person to continue a study session on the night of the fourteenth if the session began while it was still day. Rav Yosef Karo accepts his opinion, but the Ramah does not. However, the Taz explains that leniencies may be made for public study sessions. Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah go further and allow public study sessions even after nightfall, provided the subject matter is not overly involving.

Similarly, a wise man should not begin to study [at this time] -- half an hour before nightfall (Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 431:3).

lest he become involved -- The Maggid Mishneh mentions that it is also improper to begin a meal at this time. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 431:2) also prohibits beginning work. Communal prayer is allowed.

and thus be prevented from searching for chametz at the beginning of the time -- There are two reasons for the preference in carrying out the search in the beginning of the night:

a) it is appropriate to carry out a mitzvah as soon as possible;

b) at the beginning of the night, there is still some daylight left, which will facilitate the search (Ra'avad, Commentary on the Rif).

Halacha 4

We do not search [for chametz] by the light of the moon, the light of the sun, or the light of a torch; only by the light of a candle. To what does this apply? to the holes and hidden places. However, for a porch which has much light, searching it by the light of the sun is sufficient.

The middle of a courtyard does not need to be searched, because birds are found there, and they eat all the chametz which falls there.

Commentary Halacha

We do not search [for chametz] by the light of the moon, the light of the sun -- if one searches by day; i.e., either one forgot to search on the night of the thirteenth and had to carry out the search the following day. Alternatively, one decided to search for chametz before the fourteenth of Nisan with the intention of keeping the room chametz-free afterwards (Jerusalem Talmud, Pesachim 1:1). The light of the sun is insufficient to check indoor areas carefully.

or the light of a torch -- Pesachim 8a explains that a person will be scared to placed a torch close enough to check small holes and crevices carefully lest he start a fire.

only by the light of a candle -- It is customary to use a candle made from beeswax.

When does this apply? to the holes and hidden places. However, for a porch -- a room with three walls and the fourth side open.

which has much light -- Pesachim 8a states that the same principle applies to the area directly under an aperture in the roof. The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 433:4) also applies this principle to the area directly opposite an open window.

searching it by the light of the sun is sufficient -- The Rambam's choice of phraseology clearly implies that it is not desirable to do so. Rather, even a porch should be checked at night by candlelight. Other authorities question this perspective, but it is accepted as halachah by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 433:1).

The middle of a courtyard -- Pesachim 8a states "a courtyard need not be searched." The Rambam adds the words "the middle" out of fear that the birds will not eat the chametz in the cracks and holes close to the wall. In this case as well, though other authorities are more lenient, the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 433:6) quotes the Rambam's opinion.

does not need to be searched because birds are found there, and they eat all the chametz which falls there.

Halacha 5

A hole in the middle of [the wall of] the house between a person and his colleague [should be searched by both individuals], each searching to the extent his hand reaches. [Afterwards,] each must nullify in his heart [any chametz in] the remaining portion.

[This applies to a hole in a wall separating two Jewish homes.] However, a hole between [the home of] a Jew and a gentile should not be searched at all, lest the gentile fear that the Jew is casting spells against him. All that is necessary for him to do is to nullify it within his heart.

Any place where chametz is not brought in does not need to be searched.

Commentary Halacha

A hole -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 433:4) applies the same principle to protrusions extending from a wall.

in the middle -- neither very high or low, see the following halachah.

of [the wall of] the house -- In previous generations, the walls of the homes were very thick and large holes would frequently be used for storage.

between a person and his colleague [should be searched by both individuals] -- for both may use it.

each searching to the extent his hand reaches. [Afterwards,] each must nullify in his heart [any chametz in] the remaining portion -- As mentioned in Halachah 2, according to Torah law, the nullification of chametz is sufficient.

[This applies to a hole in a wall separating two Jewish homes.] However, a hole between [the home of] a Jew and a gentile should not be searched at all, lest the gentile -- see the Jew looking intently through the hole by candlelight and

fear that the Jew is casting spells against him -- This might motivate him to harm the Jew. The Sages did not require a Jew to endanger himself to fulfill their decrees.

All that is necessary for him to do is to nullify it within his heart -- The Kessef Mishneh (and similarly, the Taz) require the Jew to check the hole for chametz by day.

Any place where chametz is not brought in does not need to be searched. -- This is a major principle governing the search for chametz. The Sages only obligated a search where it was likely that chametz might be found. Therefore, they did not require a person to search places into which he did not bring chametz. Nevertheless, places where babies might have brought chametz must be searched, even though adults might not necessarily bring chametz there.

Halacha 6

The upper and lower holes [in the wall] of a house, the roof of a balcony, a cow stall, chicken coop, hayloft, wine cellars or storage rooms for oil when supplies are not taken from them [in the midst of a meal], and storage rooms for large fish, need not be searched unless one brought chametz into them.

In contrast, storage rooms for beer, storage rooms for wine from which supplies are taken [in the midst of a meal], storage rooms for salt, candles, small fish, wood, and brine, the middle holes in a wall, and all similar places must be searched, for chametz is usually brought into them. However, if a person knows that he did not bring chametz into these places, they do not have to be searched.

When searching a wine cellar, [all that is necessary to] search are the two outer rows--i.e., the highest row and the one below it.

Commentary Halacha

The upper -- those above a person's reach (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 433:4)

and lower holes -- below three handbreadths high (ibid.). The Magen Avraham (433:8) emphasizes that if children are found at home, these lower holes must also be searched.

[in the wall] of a house -- This halachah continues the final clause of the previous one, listing a number of places into which chametz is generally not brought.

the roof of a balcony -- The commentaries explain that this refers to slanted roofs.

a cow stall, chicken coop -- Rashi, Pesachim 8a, explains that most likely, the animals and the chickens will eat any chametz brought there. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 433:6) qualifies this leniency explaining that it does not apply when a person definitely knows that chametz was brought into these premises one month before Pesach. (See Magen Avraham; the Makor Chayim brings a more lenient opinion.) In such an instance, he must search the premises on the night of the thirteenth by candlelight.

hayloft, wine cellars or storage rooms for oil when supplies are not taken from them [in the midst of a meal] -- Hence, there is little possibility that chametz was brought there.

and storage rooms for large fish -- Small fish may be taken out during the course of a meal. However, generally, a person will take large fish to prepare only before a meal and not in the midst of eating.

need not be searched unless one brought chametz into them.

In contrast, storage rooms for beer, storage rooms for wine from which supplies are taken [in the midst of a meal], storage rooms for salt, candles, small fish, wood, and brine -- In all these cases, the Sages regarded it likely that a person would get up in the middle of a meal while holding chametz in his hand to bring supplies from these storage rooms. Hence, they required such premises to be searched.

the middle holes in a wall -- On the surface, these holes were mentioned in the previous halachah, and their mention here is redundant.

and all similar places must be searched, for chametz is usually brought into them -- Thus, unless a person knows otherwise, he must act under the presumption that he brought chametz into these premises.

However, if a person knows that he did not bring chametz into these places, they do not have to be searched.

When searching a wine cellar -- where barrels of wine are stacked one on top of the other so that a person cannot enter the area where they have been placed

Halacha 7

We do not suspect that a weasel dragged chametz into a place where it is not usually brought. Were we to suspect [that chametz would be taken] from house to house, we would also have to suspect [that chametz might be taken] from city to city. There is no end to the matter.

A person who checked on the night of the fourteenth and placed ten loaves of chametz [on the side] and [later] found [only] nine must suspect [that chametz is present in his home,] and [hence], must search a second time, for definitely it was taken by a weasel or mouse.

Commentary Halacha

We do not suspect that a weasel dragged chametz into a place where it is not usually brought. -- Pesachim 9a states: "We do not suspect that a weasel dragged chametz from one house to another or from place to place." Rashi explains that this statement applies after the search for chametz was carried out. Once we have searched our homes, we need not worry that rodents brought new chametz there.

In contrast, the Rambam interprets the statement as applying before the search. There is no need to suspect that perhaps a rodent took chametz from a place where chametz is usually kept to a place where it is not usually brought. The Kessef Mishneh emphasizes that the two interpretations are not contradictory and both are halachically applicable.

Were we to suspect [that chametz would be taken] from house to house, we would also have to suspect [that chametz might be taken] from city to city. There is no end to the matter. -- There is always the possibility that chametz will be taken from one house to another. Hence, the Sages decided to ignore this possibility entirely.

A person who checked on the night of the fourteenth -- as required

placed ten loaves of chametz [on the side] -- to be used the following morning

and [later] found [only] nine must suspect [that chametz is present in his home,] and [hence,] must search a second time -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 439:7) relates that he may stop the second search as soon as one loaf is found. He may presume that this was the loaf that he originally put aside.

for definitely it was taken by a weasel or mouse -- The rodent may have eaten the chametz or removed it from the premises entirely. Nevertheless, a new search is required, for it is also possible that some chametz was left within the house (Pesachim 9a).

As mentioned in Halachot 2 and 3, according to Torah law we need not do anything more than negate our ownership over our chametz. Nevertheless, the Sages also required that we search for chametz and destroy it completely. However, when a person does not nullify his chametz, the obligation to search takes on the severity of a Torah commandment.

This and the following halachot (8 through 13) deal with circumstances which raise questions whether a second search is required. Throughout these halachot, the Rambam makes no mention of whether the owner of the house previously nullified his chametz or not. This fact is extremely important, for different principles apply to an obligation required by Torah law from those that apply to one instituted by the Rabbis. Indeed, other Rabbinic authorities (some of whom are quoted in the commentaries to the various halachot) devote much attention to this issue, clarifying at length whether the laws apply:

a) only when a person had already nullified (or can still nullify) his chametz, or;

b) even when the search for chametz is required by Torah law.

Since the Rambam does not explicitly state his opinion on this matter, it is impossible to be sure which perspective he adopts. However, when the chapter is considered in its entirety, it appears that these halachot describe a situation where chametz has already been nullified. Unless specified to the contrary, this should be assumed to be the case. Nevertheless, certain of the leniencies are also applicable even when the search takes on the severity of a Torah obligation.

Halacha 8

Similarly, a person who saw a mouse enter the house with chametz in its mouth after he searched [for chametz] must search a second time. [This applies] even if he found crumbs in the middle of the house; we do not necessarily presume that it already ate the bread in this place and that these are its crumbs. Rather, we suspect that it left the bread in a hole or window, and that these crumbs were [originally] located there. Hence, he must search again.

If he does not find anything, he must search through the entire house. If he found the bread that the mouse took when he entered, he need not search [further].

Commentary Halacha

Similarly, a person who saw a mouse enter the house with chametz in its mouth after he searched [for chametz] must search a second time -- In this instance as well, there is an obvious reason for the suspicion that chametz has been brought into the home.

[This applies] even if he found crumbs in the middle of the house; we do not necessarily presume that it already ate the bread in this place and that these are its crumbs -- for mice do not generally crumble food. (See the following halachah.)

Rather, we suspect that it left the bread in a hole or window, and that these crumbs were [originally] located there -- and accidentally ignored, and the mouse deposited the bread it was carrying elsewhere.

Hence, he must search again -- Though some authorities do not require a second search when the bread was small and most probably eaten by the mouse, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 438) do not accept this leniency.

If he does not find anything, he must search through the entire house -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 438:1) quotes this opinion as halachah. The Magen Avraham (based on the Tur) is more lenient. Rather than require that the entire house be searched, he maintains that searching the room that the mouse entered is sufficient.

If he found the bread -- even if it was no longer whole

that the mouse took when he entered -- He must be able to recognize this as the bread seen in the mouse's mouth

he need not search [further] -- and may presume that the mouse ate the rest of the bread.

Halacha 9

[A person who] saw an infant enter an already checked house with bread in his hand, followed him inside and discovered crumbs, need not search [again]. We may confidently assume that he ate the bread and that these crumbs fell from him while eating. Infants generally crumble food while eating, though mice do not.

If he does not find any crumbs, he must check [again].

Commentary Halacha

[A person who] saw an infant enter an already checked house -- checked for chametz

with bread in his hand, followed him inside and discovered crumbs, need not search [again]. -- The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 438:3) explains that if the child is intelligent enough to reply to questions, we should ask him what he did with the chametz and we may depend upon his reply.

We may confidently assume that he ate the bread and that these crumbs fell from him while eating -- Tosefot (Pesachim 10b) require a second search if the amount of crumbs does not equal the quantity of the original bread. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah favor the Rambam's opinion only when the person has nullified his ownership over his chametz. If not, the search takes on the seriousness of a Torah commandment. Hence, it must be repeated.

Children generally crumble food while eating, though mice do not -- Hence, the difference between this and the previous halachah.

If he does not find any crumbs, he must check [again] -- and the principles mentioned in the previous halachah apply.

Halacha 10

Nine piles of matzah and one of chametz were placed [aside]. A mouse came and took [something from one of the piles] and entered a house that had been checked. If we do not know whether it took either chametz or matzah, the house must be checked [again], for every instance where [a doubt arises and the presence of both the permitted and forbidden substances] is fixed, [is judged] as if they were present in equal amounts.

Commentary Halacha

Nine piles of matzah and one of chametz were placed [aside] -- For example, after the search for chametz, a person will still have some chametz in his property for use the following morning. However, he may already bring out his Passover matzot.

A mouse came and took [something from one of the piles] -- The Mishnah Berurah emphasizes that this decision applies only when we actually saw the mouse take from the piles. If no one saw the mouse, the ruling mentioned in the last clause of the following halachah applies.

and entered a house that had been checked -- for chametz

If we do not know whether it took either chametz or matzah, the house must be checked [again] -- as if it were definitely chametz, as prescribed in Halachah 8.

for every instance where [a doubt arises and the presence of both the permitted and forbidden substances] is fixed, [is judged] as if they -- the permitted and forbidden substances

were present in equal amounts -- The probability that the mouse took from the matzot is considered no greater than the probability that he took from the chametz.

This is a classic Talmudic case. Pesachim 9b draws a parallel to the following passage:

Nine butcher shops which all sell ritually slaughtered meat and one which sells meat which has not been slaughtered properly: should a person take meat from one of them without knowing from which he took (i.e., without knowing whether he purchased kosher or non-kosher meat), he must consider [the meat] forbidden because of the doubt involved.

In both cases, the permitted and forbidden substances remain in one place, and their existence is therefore considered as fixed (קבוע). In such instances, the fact that there is a much higher probability that the article in question was taken from the permitted substances is not considered significant, and the more stringent perspective is taken. See also Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 8:11.

Nevertheless, the Ra'avad and other authorities take issue with this halachah, explaining that the Talmud only made such a statement when a person has not nullified his chametz, and the responsibility to search the house stems from the Torah itself. However, if the person already nullified his chametz, the search is only a Rabbinic obligation. Hence, it should be judged more leniently.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that even though leniencies may generally be taken when doubts arise concerning Rabbinic obligations, the search for chametz is an exception. The entire obligation was instituted even when there was no definite knowledge that chametz existed. Hence, even in this case, a search must be made.

Though the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 439:1) accepts the Rambam's opinion, the Ramah and the other Ashkenazic authorities make the following qualification: If the person had already nullified his chametz and if the bread was small enough for the mouse to have eaten it entirely, a second search is not required.

Halacha 11

There were two piles: one of chametz and one of matzah, and two houses: one that had been searched and one that had not been searched. Two mice came; one took chametz and one took matzah [and they entered the houses] without our knowing which house the mouse holding the chametz entered...

Similarly, there were two houses which had been checked, with one pile of chametz before them. A mouse took [from the pile and entered a house]. However, we do not know which house he entered...

or we saw which one he entered, a person followed him, checked [for chametz], and did not find anything...

or he checked and found bread...

Similarly, when there were nine piles of matzah and one of chametz, and a loaf became separated from the piles, and we do not know whether it was chametz or matzah: If a mouse took the loaf that became separated and entered the house that had been checked:

In all of these cases, there is no need to check a second time, because the presence of the forbidden substance is not fixed.

Commentary Halacha

In contrast to the previous halachah, leniency can be taken in the following cases:

There were two piles: one of chametz and one of matzah, and two houses: one that had been searched and one that had not been searched. Two mice came; one took chametz and one took matzah [and they entered the houses] without our knowing which house the mouse holding the chametz entered... -- In such an instance, we presume that the mouse holding the chametz entered the unchecked house, and the mouse holding the matzah entered the checked house. Comparable decisions are found in Hilchot Terumah 13:14, Hilchot Issurei Biyah 9:29 and Hilchot Mikvaot 10:3.

Pesachim 10a emphasizes that this leniency is only rendered because once a person has nullified ownership over his chametz, the search is only a question of Rabbinic law. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 439:4) agrees to this principle, but offers an addition leniency: Even if the owner did not nullify his chametz, a second search is not required when the bread the mouse was holding is small enough to be eaten at once.

Similarly, there were two houses which had been checked, with one pile of chametz before them. A mouse took [from the pile and entered a house]. However, we do not know which house he entered... -- Each of the homes is judged individually. Since we do not definitely know that chametz was not brought into either of the homes, we need not change our original presumption and consider each one as free of chametz.

Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah 19:2 mentions a similar case, but reaches a more stringent conclusion. Leniency is only offered when the two people in question approach the Rabbis separately. If they come together, the case is judged more severely.

The Maggid Mishneh and the Kessef Mishneh both note this matter and explain that since the search for chametz is a question of Rabbinic law, greater leniency can be taken. Nevertheless, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 439:2) and other Ashkenazic authorities do not accept this decision and require a second search, should the owners of both homes approach the court together.

or we saw which one he entered, a person followed him, checked [for chametz], and did not find anything... -- Pesachim 10a compares this to a case in which a corpse was presumed to be found in a field. Though Rabbi Meir maintains that the field is considered ritually impure until the corpse is found, the halachah follows the Sages, who maintain that all that is necessary is to carry out a thorough search. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 439:6) states that this law applies even when the owner of the house had not nullified his chametz, and the search is required by Torah law.

or he checked and found bread... -- we presume that this was the bread the mouse had taken. Pesachim 10a compares this to a case where a field was suspected to contain a grave; the field was searched, and a grave discovered. Though Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel requires the entire field to be searched, Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi maintains that no further search must be made.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (ibid.) emphasizes that this leniency should only be followed when the owner of the house has nullified or can still nullify the ownership over his chametz. Otherwise, he must thoroughly search the entire house.

Similarly, when there were nine piles of matzah and one of chametz, and a loaf became separated from the piles, and we do not know whether it was chametz or matzah: If a mouse took the loaf that became separated and entered the house that had been checked -- The passage from Pesachim 9b concerning the ten butcher shops quoted in the commentary on the previous halachah, continues:

[If meat from these shops] is found, follow the majority.

The principle of קבוע - judging the permitted and forbidden substances as if they were equal - applies only when the doubt concerning the identity of the substance arises in the place where the presence of the forbidden substance has become fixed. Thus, since the meat has become separated (פירש) from its original place, this principle no longer applies and, as in most cases of mixtures, the decision depends on whether there is a greater number of kosher or non-kosher stores.

Similarly, in the case at hand: Since the loaf became separated from the piles before being taken by the mouse, there is no question of a prohibited substance having a fixed identity (קבוע). Hence, we follow the majority, and thus do not require a further search. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah emphasize that this leniency applies even if the owner of the house had not nullified the ownership over his chametz.

In all of these cases, there is no need to check a second time -- The Kessef Mishneh emphasizes that this is a complete thought in its own right.

because the presence of the forbidden substance is not fixed -- According to the Kessef Mishneh, this statement applies only to the final instance mentioned in the halachah as explained.

Halacha 12

A person who placed chametz in one corner and discovered it in another...

or who put aside nine loaves and found ten...

or a mouse came and took the chametz, and there is a doubt whether he entered this house or not...

In all these cases, he must search [the house again].

Commentary Halacha

In the following cases, a second search is required.

A person who placed chametz in one corner and discovered it in another -- Pesachim 10b explains that the Sages felt that it was likely that the chametz discovered was not the chametz lost. Rather, different chametz was placed in the other corner, and the first chametz, deposited elsewhere throughout the house. Hence, a new search is required (See also Hilchot Mitamei Mishkav U'Moshav 12:16.)

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 439:9) states that if the same amount of chametz that was lost is found there is no need to search further if the owner had already nullified the ownership over his chametz. The Mishnah Berurah grants an even greater leniency and frees the owner of the necessity to search, without placing any qualifications on the chametz discovered, as long as he has nullified his chametz.

or who put aside nine loaves and found ten -- Pesachim 10a compares this to the following case: "A person put aside 100 dinars of money designated as ma'aser sheni (the second tithe, to be used only to purchase food in Jerusalem) and discovered two hundred."

In Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 6:3, the Rambam declares that none of the money is considered as ma'aser sheni. In both instances, we suppose that the substance put aside was taken away and a new substance substituted for it. Accordingly, the Magen Avraham emphasizes that the owner cannot cease his search until he finds nine piles of chametz. This law applies even if the owner has nullified his ownership over the original nine piles of chametz.

or a mouse came and took the chametz, and there is a doubt whether he entered this house or not -- Pesachim 10a likens this to a case when a person traveled through a valley in which one of the fields was known to possess a grave. Though he is unsure of whether he entered the field containing the grave or not, he must consider himself ritually impure (See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah 20:9.)

The Ra'avad's text of the Mishneh Torah contained an additional clause:

or there were nine piles of chametz and one pile of matzah: A loaf became separated from them and it is not known whether it was chametz or matzah. A mouse came and took it into a checked house.

The Kessef Mishneh rejects the inclusion of this clause because in the previous halachah, the Rambam had already stated that once a substance is separated from its original place, its identity is determined on the basis of the majority.

In all these cases, he must search [the house again].

Halacha 13

A mouse entered a house with a loaf in its mouth. Afterwards, a mouse left there with a loaf in its mouth; we presume that the same mouse who entered originally was the one which ultimately left, and [the owner] need not search [again]. If the first mouse which entered was black and the one which left was white, he must search [again].

If a mouse entered with a loaf in its mouth and a weasel left there with a loaf in its mouth, he must search [again]. If a weasel left there with a mouse and a loaf in its mouth, he does not have to search [again]. [We may presume] that this is the loaf which was in the mouse's mouth.

If a snake enters a hole with a loaf in its mouth, there is no obligation to bring a snakecharmer to remove it.

Commentary Halacha

A mouse entered a house with a loaf -- of chametz

in its mouth. Afterwards, a mouse left there with a loaf in its mouth; we presume that the same mouse who entered originally was the one which ultimately left, and the [owner] need not search [again]. -- The Pri Chadash (Orach Chayim 438:1) follows this decision even when the owner did not nullify his chametz. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav follows his opinion, though the Tur requires the owner to nullify his chametz or search.

If the first mouse which entered was black and the one which left white -- Obviously, the mouse which left is not the same as the mouse that entered, and it is not likely that one mouse took the chametz from the other (Pesachim 10b). Hence,

he must search [again] -- even if he has already nullified his chametz (Pri Chadash, Shulchan Aruch HaRav).

If a mouse entered with a loaf in its mouth and a weasel left there with a loaf in its mouth, he must search [again]. -- Even though it is possible that the weasel took the chametz from the mouse, that probability is not strong enough to free the owner from the obligation to search (Pesachim, ibid.). This applies even if he nullifies his chametz (Pri Chadash, Shulchan Aruch HaRav).

If a weasel left there with a mouse and a loaf in its -- the weasel's

mouth, he does not have to search [again] -- Even though one might say that unless the chametz is found in the mouse's mouth, we cannot be sure that it is the same. Nevertheless, since it is possible that the mouse dropped the chametz out of fear (Pesachim ibid.)

[We may presume] that this is the loaf which was in the mouse's mouth -- The Talmud left this questioned unanswered (תיקו). The Pri Chadash and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav explain that this decision applies only when the owner nullifies the ownership over his chametz. In such an instance, the question is only one of Rabbinic law (for according to Torah law, the nullification is sufficient). Hence, the Rambam chooses the more lenient opinion.

If a snake enters a hole with a loaf in its mouth, there is no obligation to bring a snakecharmer to remove it. -- This question is also left unanswered by the Talmud (Pesachim, ibid.). Therefore, the Rambam again chooses the more lenient view.

Halacha 14

When chametz is [discovered] on a very high beam, [the owner] is obligated to bring a ladder and remove it, for it might fall from the beam. If chametz is in a pit, [the owner] is not obligated to bring it up. All that is necessary is for him to nullify [ownership over it] in his heart.

Commentary Halacha

When chametz is [discovered] on a very high beam, [the owner] is obligated to bring a ladder -- even if he must rent the ladder

and remove it, for it might fall from the beam -- and the owner might come to eat it.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 438:11) and the Mishnah Berurah explain that this obligation applies even if:

a) generally, the owner would not have access to this beam;

b) he already nullified his ownership over the chametz.

If chametz is in a pit -- to which a person does not have easy access

[the owner] is not obligated to bring it up. -- The Maggid Mishneh emphasizes that a person is not allowed to store chametz in a pit. However, should chametz accidentally fall into the pit before it becomes forbidden...

All that is necessary is for him to nullify [ownership over it] in his heart -- However, if he had not nullified ownership over his chametz and did not discover the chametz until after it becomes forbidden, he is obligated to remove the chametz from the pit (Mishnah Berurah).

The Tosefta (Pesachim 3:3) states: "Chametz which fell into a pit is considered as if it has been destroyed;" implying that even nullification is unnecessary. However, the Tzafnat Paneach differentiates between the two cases, explaining that our halachah refers to a pit to which a person could descend if required. In contrast, the Tosefta refers to a pit which is totally inaccessible, or accessible only with extreme difficulty. Since the owner cannot make use of his chametz, there is no necessity for him to nullify his ownership of it.

Halacha 15

A block of yeast which was designated to be used as a seat: If its surface was coated with mortar, it is [considered as] destroyed and we are permitted to keep it [on Pesach].

The dough in the cracks of a kneading trough: If a size of an olive [of dough] exists in one place, one is obligated to destroy [the dough under all circumstances]. Should there be less than that amount: If it serves to reinforce the broken pieces of the kneading trough or to plug a hole, it is [considered] negligible because of its minimal size. If not, one is obligated to destroy it.

Two [quantities of dough, each] half the size of an olive were found in separate places, and a string of dough connects them: We check whether the [pieces of] dough themselves are lifted up when the string of dough is picked up. If they are, one is obligated to destroy [them]. If not, one is not obligated to destroy [them].

Commentary Halacha

A block of yeast which was designated to be used as a seat -- Generally, all prohibitions against eating forbidden foods do not apply after the food is no longer fit for human consumption. Nevertheless, additional stringencies are placed on chametz, because it may be useful as a leavening agent even if it is no longer fit to be eaten by a human being. Hence, it is not nullified until it is no longer fit even for animal consumption. (See Ra'avad, Maggid Mishneh, Kessef Mishneh Halachah 1:2.)

If its surface was coated with mortar -- The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 442:42) explains that if the surface of the block is covered with mortar, it does not become forbidden even though it is still fit to be eaten. This act clearly implies that the owner no longer considered the chametz as food.

it is [considered as] destroyed and we are permitted to keep it [on Pesach] -- Its possession does not violate the prohibition against owning chametz.

The Taz emphasizes that only the prohibition against owning chametz is lifted. Even if the chametz is unfit for animal consumption, a person is forbidden to eat it on Pesach should he desire to do so.

The dough in the cracks of a kneading trough: If a size of an olive [of dough] exists in one place -- As mentioned in Halachah 1:1, the size of an olive is considered the minimum amount for which one is liable for the transgression of most of the Torah's prohibitions.

one is obligated to destroy [the dough under all circumstances] -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav emphasizes that this applies even when one has nullified his ownership over this chametz or covered it with mortar. The size of an olive is considered as a significant amount and must be destroyed at all times.

Should there be less than that amount -- of dough in one place, though there are many smaller pieces of dough throughout the kneading trough

If it -- the dough

serves to reinforce the broken pieces of the kneading trough or to plug a hole, it is [considered] negligible -- and thus, part of the kneading trough

because of its minimal size -- and, therefore, need not be destroyed.

If not -- If the dough does not serve a useful purpose

one is obligated to destroy it -- for the obligation to search after and destroy chametz applies to all quantities of that substance, even if they are smaller than the size of an olive (Maggid Mishneh).

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 442:28) explains that dough which has not become stuck to the cracks of the kneading trough must be removed. However, leniency may be taken regarding dough stuck in the cracks of the kneading trough, even though it does not serve a purpose. Should the owner nullify his ownership over his chametz, that dough need not be destroyed if:

a) the entire kneading trough contains less than an olive size of chametz stuck to its sides;

b) the dough has become dirty and unfit for consumption.

Two [quantities of dough, -- used to fill cracks in the kneading trough

each] half the size of an olive were found in separate places, and a string of dough connects them -- Thus, the question is raised:

Are the two considered as a single quantity, and hence obligated to be destroyed; or

Can they be considered as separate entities, and thus allowed to be kept?

We check whether the [pieces of] dough themselves are lifted up when the string of dough is picked up. If they are, one is obligated to destroy [them]. If not, one is not obligated to destroy [them]. -- This leniency applies only to dough that strengthens the kneading trough. Otherwise, they must be destroyed (Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 442:35).

Halacha 16

To what does the above apply? to [pieces of dough stuck to] a kneading trough. However, [if a similar situation is discovered] within a house, one is obligated to destroy [the dough] even if, when the [connecting] thread [of dough] is lifted up, the pieces of dough are not raised up with it. [This stringency was instituted] because the [smaller portions] may sometimes be brought together.

If half of an olive size [of dough] was found in a house and another half in the second storey;

or if half of the size of an olive was found in a house and another half in [the adjoining] porch;

or if half of the size of an olive was found in a room and another half in an inner room;

Since these portions of dough which are less than the size of an olive are found stuck to the walls, beams, or floors [of the house], one is not obligated to destroy them. All that is necessary is to nullify them in one's heart.

Commentary Halacha

To what does the above -- leniency

apply? to [pieces of dough stuck to] a kneading trough. However, [if a similar situation is discovered] within a house -- whether the dough is used to fill cracks in the house or not

one is obligated to destroy [the dough] even if, when the [connecting] thread [of dough] is lifted up, the pieces of dough are not raised up with it -- Based on this decision, whenever there is more than the size of an olive of dough in the same room, we are obligated to destroy any and all pieces of dough in the room, even if they are not connected by strings of dough.

[This stringency was instituted] because the [smaller portions] may sometimes be brought together -- when the house is swept, and thus produce a quantity the size of an olive (Rashi, Pesachim 45b).

If half of an olive size [of dough] was found in a house and another half in the second storey -- where it would be unlikely for the two halves to come together (ibid.);

or if half of the size of an olive was found in a house and another half in [the adjoining] porch -- where there is a greater probability of the two small portions of chametz coming together

or if half of the size of an olive was found in a room -- Generally, the word בית means "house." However, it is often used to mean "room."

and another half in an inner room -- where the probability is even greater.

Since these portions of dough which are less than the size of an olive are found stuck to the walls, beams, or floors [of the house] -- This is a major point of debate among the halachic authorities. Rabbenu Asher (Pesakim, Pesachim 3:2) writes that the dough need not be stuck to the walls of the house. However, the Maggid Mishneh and the Kessef Mishneh oppose that thesis. They argue that the only reason for leniency is that when the dough is stuck to the walls of the house, it is considered as part of the house and not as an entity in its own right.

one is not obligated to destroy them. All that is necessary is to nullify them in one's heart. -- After describing the above laws in detail, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 442:30) concludes:

The above represents the law itself. However, the Jews are holy and have customarily accepted greater stringencies upon themselves. They scrape away even the slightest amount of chametz, even if it is stuck to the walls of a home or utensil. They have accepted the stringency of scraping down all benches, chairs, and walls that have come into contact with chametz.

Halacha 17

A person who rents out a house on the fourteenth [of Nisan]: Behold, [the tenant may operate] under the presumption that it has been searched and he need not search.

[Furthermore,] even if we must assume that the person who rented out the house did not search [it], should a woman or a minor say: "We have searched it," they are believed, for everyone's statements are accepted with regard to the destruction of chametz.

Everyone is acceptable to search [for chametz], even women, slaves, and minors. The latter applies only when the minor has sufficient understanding to search.

Commentary Halacha

A person who rents out a house on the fourteenth [of Nisan] -- One might suppose that the sequence of this halachah and the following halachah should be reversed. First, the Rambam should state who is obligated to search for chametz, and only then the fact that we can rely that this search was properly carried out. Indeed, Pesachim 4 and the Shulchan Aruch follows that sequence when discussing these laws.

Possibly, the Rambam's choice of sequence can be explained as follows: The motivating principle of many of the previous halachot is that once a person has nullified the ownership over his chametz, the search is merely a Rabbinic obligation. Hence, many leniencies can be taken.

Because of that same principle...

Behold, [the tenant may operate] under the presumption that it has been searched. -- Pesachim 4b questions whether we can rely on this presumption or not and does not arrive at a conclusion. Nevertheless, the Rambam's statements can be understood in light of the Pesakim of Rabbenu Asher. He explains that if ownership over the chametz is negated the obligation to search is only Rabbinic. When doubt arises regarding matters of Rabbinic law, the more lenient position may be accepted.

and he need not search. -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 437:2) qualifies this statement, requiring the prospective tenant to ask the owner of the house if it has been searched. However, if he cannot possibly ask the owner, he need not search the house. However, this applies only when the tenant has the opportunity to nullify his ownership over any chametz that may be found within the home.

[Furthermore,] even if we must assume that the person who rented out the house did not search [it] -- and we know that before Pesach, chametz had definitely been kept within the home (Mishnah Berurah)

should a woman or a minor say: "We have searched it," they are believed -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah emphasize that this law applies only if the chametz has been nullified. Otherwise, the statement of a woman or child may not be relied upon.

Generally, a woman's statements are accepted even as regards Torah prohibitions. However, an exception is made in this case because the search for chametz involves much effort. Hence, our Sages worried that perhaps a woman might state that she had made a thorough search even though she had merely made a superficial inspection (Tosefot, Pesachim 4b)

for everyone's statements are accepted with regard to the destruction of chametz.

Everyone is acceptable to search [for chametz], even women, slaves- Tosefot (ibid.) states that slaves are believed in matters where a woman's word is accepted.

and minors -- Eruvin 58b and Ketubot 28a quote instances where a child's statements are not accepted even with regard to Rabbinic prohibitions. However, we may rely on their word regarding the search for chametz, because they are capable of performing the search.

The latter applies only when the minor has sufficient understanding to search -- i.e., he has reached the age where his parents have begun to educate him about the prohibition against possessing chametz.

Halacha 18

A person who rents a house to a colleague: If the fourteenth [of Nisan] falls before [the landlord] gave the keys to [the tenant], the landlord is responsible for searching. If the fourteenth falls after the keys have been transferred, the tenant is responsible for checking.

When a person rents out a house under the presumption that it has been searched and [later, the tenant] discovers that it has not been searched, [the tenant] is responsible for searching it and [cannot nullify the transaction by claiming that it was carried out] under false premises. This applies even when it is customary to hire people to search, since, behold, he is performing a mitzvah.

Commentary Halacha

A person who rents -- Different rules apply to a sale (Rabbenu Nissim).

a house to a colleague: If -- the beginning of the

the fourteenth [of Nisan] -- i.e., the night between the thirteenth and the fourteenth

falls before [the landlord] gave the keys to [the tenant] -- Rashi (Pesachim 4a) explains that giving the keys to the tenant represents the transfer of ownership of the house to the tenant. Whoever is the rightful owner of the property at the time the obligation to search begins must carry out this mitzvah.

However, Tosefot and most other halachic authorities explain that giving the keys does not formalize the act of transfer. Thus, the Maggid Mishneh explains that in this instance, the rental agreement has been concluded beforehand. Nevertheless, since the landlord is still in possession of the keys, the tenant is not able to conduct the search. Hence, the responsibility becomes that of the landlord.

the landlord is responsible for searching. -- He is required to undertake this search, even though he has abandoned ownership over any chametz that might be left in the house and does not violate the prohibitions against possessing chametz because of it (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 437:1).

If the fourteenth falls after the keys have been transferred -- Based on the statements of Rabbenu Nissim and the Maggid Mishneh, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 437:1) states that this applies only once the rental agreement has been formalized through an acceptable kinyan (act of contract). However, the Mishnah Berurah mentions other opinions that require a search even if the tenant has not formalized the rental agreement.

the tenant is responsible for checking -- Even though the chametz was left by the landlord, when the tenant takes over the landlordship of the house, he becomes the owner of all its contents, including the chametz.

When a person rents out a house under the presumption that it has been searched, and [later, the tenant] discovers that it has not been searched -- If the landlord is available, the tenant must ask him whether the house has been searched or not.

[the tenant] is responsible for searching it -- He must carry out the mitzvah even though he made an explicit condition requiring the landlord to do so.

and [cannot nullify the transaction by claiming that it was carried out] under false premises. -- Under certain conditions, a person can nullify a business agreement on the grounds that it was carried out under false premises.

This applies even when it is customary -- in that locale

to hire people to search since, behold, he is performing a mitzvah -- Pesachim 4b explains that the need for searching the house is not the real factor motivating him to retract his agreement, because every Jew desires to perform mitzvot, even if doing so requires financial expense.

Based on the Maggid Mishneh, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 437:3) requires the landlord to reimburse the tenant if it is customary to hire people to search. After all, the house was rented with the explicit condition that it had been searched.

Halacha 19

A person who sets out to sea or one who leaves in a caravan within thirty days [of Pesach] is obligated to search [for chametz]. [If he leaves] before thirty days [prior to Pesach], he is not obligated to search. However, if he intends to return before Pesach, he must search before departing, lest he [be delayed and] return Pesach eve at nightfall, when he will have no opportunity to destroy [the chametz]. However, if he does not intend to return, he does not have to search.

Similarly, a person who makes his house a storage room: If he does so within thirty days [of Pesach], he is required to search and then bring in the goods he wants to store. Over thirty days before Pesach: If he intends to remove the goods before Pesach, he is required to search and then bring in the goods he wants to store; if he does not intend to remove the goods before Pesach, he does not have to search.

Commentary Halacha

A person who sets out to sea or one who leaves in a caravan within thirty days [of Pesach] is obligated to search -- Furthermore, any chametz which he knows about must be removed from his possession (Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 436:1.

[for chametz]. -- at night by candlelight before he departs (Magen Avraham). However, no blessing is recited (Shulchan Aruch).

The Shulchan Aruch emphasizes that this law applies only when a person does not leave anyone else at home (e.g., a wife or older child) who could conduct the search at the customary time.

[If he leaves] before thirty days [prior to Pesach] -- Thirty days before Pesach, we begin "asking and explaining the laws of the holiday." Hence, from that time onward, concern is shown for all the Pesach laws (Pesachim 6a).

he is not obligated to search. However, if he intends to return before Pesach -- Even if his intention is to return far before Pesach, if there is a likelihood that his return may be delayed until the holiday, he must search before departing (Chatam Sofer).

he must search before departing -- even if he departs at the beginning of the year (Pesachim 6a).

lest he [be delayed and] return Pesach eve at nightfall -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah maintain that this law applies only when the person is going on a sea voyage or caravan where delay is a frequent phenomenon. A person who sets out on a sure land journey is not obligated to search before he departs.

when he will have no opportunity to destroy [the chametz]. -- As stated in Halachah 1:9, the prohibitions against possessing chametz begin after the conclusion of the fifth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan. From that time onward, it is forbidden to nullify any chametz that we possess.

However, if he does not intend to return -- until after Pesach

he does not have to search -- Nevertheless, he is obligated to nullify any chametz that might be in his possession on Pesach eve. This nullification takes effect even though he is very far from the chametz in his home (Ramah, Magen Avraham).

Similarly, a person who makes his house a storage room -- chametz which is buried under more than three handbreadths of other substances is considered as having been removed from a person's property and need not be uncovered and destroyed before Pesach. (See Halachah 3:11.) Thus, making the house a storeroom and covering any chametz with more than that amount of other material would free him from the obligation of searching (Rashi, Pesachim 6a).

However, the Sages explain that this leniency applies only to chametz which accidentally becomes covered by other substances.

If he does so -- intentionally covering the chametz with other goods

within thirty days [of Pesach], he is required to search and then bring in the goods he wants to store -- Once the thirty-day period when the Pesach laws begin to be studied arrives, one is obligated to search.

Over thirty days before Pesach: If he intends to remove the goods before Pesach, he is required to search -- The Kessef Mishneh (and the Shulchan Aruch) quote certain opinions that do not obligate a search, explaining that it is far less likely that the person will be delayed in removing his goods and bring about a situation where he will uncover the chametz on Passover eve.

and then bring in the goods he wants to store; if he does not intend to remove the goods before Pesach, he does not have to search. -- The Mishnah Berurah (437:15) explains that most authorities allow this leniency only when the owner has only a suspicion, but no definite knowledge of chametz. However, if he definitely knows that chametz is found under the goods, the chametz must be removed. Nevertheless, there are some opinions that do not require the removal of chametz whose existence is known.

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Three

Halacha 1

When a person checks and searches on the night of the fourteenth [of Nisan], he should remove [all] chametz from holes, hidden places, and corners, and gather the entire amount together, putting it in one place until the beginning of the sixth hour and [then,] destroy it. If he desires to destroy it on the night of the fourteenth, he may.

Commentary Halacha

When a person checks and searches on the night of the fourteenth [of Nisan], he should remove [all] chametz from holes, hidden places, and corners -- In the second chapter (Halachot 2:3-2:6), the Rambam discusses the theoretical aspects of the search for chametz. In this chapter, he concentrates on their practical application.

and gather the entire amount together, putting it in one place until the beginning of the sixth hour -- when the obligation to destroy chametz begins (Halachah 1:9)

and [then,] destroy it -- as explained in Halachah 11, below.

If he desires to destroy it on the night -- The Ramah (Orach Chayim 445) explains that though chametz can be destroyed through any means, some choose to burn it, utilizing the means required to dispose of notar (leftover sacrificial meat). Just as notar cannot be burned until the morning, similarly, those who follow this custom should not burn their chametz at night.

of the fourteenth, he may -- There is an advantage to waiting to destroy the chametz. As explained in the following halachah, we are allowed to save a certain amount of chametz to eat on the morning before Pesach. By saving the chametz found in the search, we will remember to destroy all the chametz that we possess.

Halacha 2

The chametz which was put aside on the night of the fourteenth, so that it can be eaten on the next day until [the end of] the fourth hour, should not be spread out and scattered in every place. Rather, it should be put away in a utensil or in a known corner, and care should be taken concerning it. Otherwise, should some be found lacking, he would have to search for it and check [the house] a second time, for mice might have dragged it away.

Commentary Halacha

The chametz which was put aside on the night of the fourteenth -- The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 434:1) explains that the same law applies to the chametz found in the search. Nevertheless, only the chametz set aside for eating is mentioned, for it is possible that no chametz will actually be found in the search.

so that it can be eaten on the next day until [the end of] the fourth hour -- as stated in Halachah 1:10

should not be spread out and scattered in every place. Rather, it should be put away in a utensil or in a known corner, and care should be taken concerning it -- Accordingly, Shulchan Aruch cautions that the chametz should be covered by a bowl, placed in a cabinet, or hung from the ceiling.

Otherwise, should some be found lacking, he would have to search for it and check [the house] a second time, for mice -- Pesachim 9b also mentions the possibility of children taking this chametz.

might have dragged it away -- Halachah 2:7 explains that a person who finds less chametz than he set aside must search the entire house again. Similarly, if we see a mouse taking the chametz, a second search is required.

Halacha 3

When the fourteenth falls on the Sabbath, we search for chametz on the night before Sabbath eve, the night of the thirteenth. We set aside [enough] chametz to eat until [the end of] the fourth hour on the Sabbath day. The remainder should be destroyed before the Sabbath.

If some of the chametz remains on the Sabbath day after the fourth hour, he should nullify it and cover it with a utensil until the conclusion of the first day of the festival, and then destroy it.

Commentary Halacha

When the fourteenth falls on the Sabbath -- the Pesach holiday being celebrated Saturday night. According to the fixed calendar we follow, this is an infrequent, but not totally uncommon, phenomenon.

we search for chametz on the night before Sabbath eve -- Thursday night

the night of the thirteenth -- between the twelfth and the thirteenth. Searching with a candle is forbidden on the Sabbath itself. Hence, the search for leaven is carried out on Thursday night. The chametz that is collected is burned on Friday morning.

We set aside [enough] chametz to eat -- on Friday and on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, we are obligated to eat bread at both the evening and morning Sabbath meals.

until [the end of] the fourth hour on the Sabbath day -- when the Rabbinic prohibition against eating chametz (Halachah 1:9) takes effect. Before that time, the chametz saved for the Sabbath meals should have been completed and disposed of in a way other than burning - e.g., throwing it in the toilet.

The remainder should be destroyed before -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 444:2) suggests burning the chametz on Friday morning, to prevent confusion arising in future years. However, if one is prevented from doing so, the chametz may be destroyed later on with no compunctions.

the Sabbath -- The Ra'avad notes that in Pesachim 49a, the majority opinion accepts this decision only as regards Terumah. In contrast, other chametz need not be destroyed until the appropriate time on the Sabbath.

The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 444) explains that the Rambam's decision is based on Pesachim 13b, which differs from the opinion in Pesachim 49a. However, even according to the Rambam, the obligation to destroy the chametz before the Sabbath is not a hard and fast rule. On the contrary, our halachah itself states that one is allowed to keep all the chametz he needs for the Sabbath meals. Rather, this can be seen as good advice, facilitating the destruction of chametz, which is much easier before the Sabbath than on that sacred day.

If some of the chametz remains on the Sabbath day after the fourth hour, he should nullify it -- so he is no longer the owner and thus does not transgress the prohibitions against possessing chametz.

The halachic authorities note that even when the person does not have any chametz which he knows about, he should nullify his chametz before the beginning of the sixth hour, as is done on Pesach eve every year.

and cover it with a utensil -- so it is not seen. This obligation is derived from Pesachim 6a, which states such a law as regards chametz discovered on the first day of the festival.

until the conclusion of the first day of the festival, and then destroy it -- The Rambam forbids destroying the chametz after the fourth hour on the Sabbath itself for the following reason: Since it can no longer be eaten, it is considered muktzeh and cannot be moved any longer.

A basic question is asked concerning the Rambam's statements: Until the beginning of the sixth hour on Pesach eve, a person may benefit from chametz by giving it to a gentile or feeding it to an animal. Therefore, it should not be considered muktzeh until that time.

The Rivosh explains that since eating is the most important use of chametz, it is considered muktzeh once it can no longer be eaten. However, the Bach considers "the fourth hour" a printing error and amends the Rambam's text to read "the fifth hour." All Ashkenazic halachic authorities decide accordingly. Nevertheless, the Magen Avraham justifies the Rambam's statements, explaining that they apply in a situation where there is no gentile or animal to give the chametz to.

In practice, the following procedure is suggested when Pesach falls on Saturday night. The transfer of chametz and Pesach pots, dishes, and cutlery is carried out on Thursday night or Friday, and no chametz is cooked afterwards. The Sabbath meals should be totally kosher for Pesach and prepared in the Pesach pots. Four small challot are kept in a special place for the evening and morning meals (two for each meal).

They are eaten away from the table, and afterwards, the crumbs are collected and flushed down the toilet. Otherwise, the meals are eaten as all the other meals of the Pesach holiday itself.

As mentioned, it is forbidden to eat chametz on the fourteenth of Nisan after the fourth hour of the day (usually around 9:20 AM). To complete the eating of the above-mentioned challot before this hour, certain synagogues may have to conduct their morning services at an earlier time than usual.

Halacha 4

A person who has many loaves of bread that were Terumah and must burn them on the Sabbath eve; he should not mix the pure loaves together with the impure loaves and burn them. Rather, he should burn the pure loaves alone, the impure ones alone, and the ones [whose status is] left pending alone.

He should leave a sufficient quantity, but no more than necessary, of the pure loaves to eat until [the conclusion of] the fourth hour on the Sabbath day.

Commentary Halacha

A person who has many loaves of bread that were Terumah and must burn them on the Sabbath eve -- i.e., when Passover comes out Saturday night and the chametz must be destroyed on Friday as explained in the previous halachah.

should not mix the pure loaves together with the impure loaves and burn them -- for we are forbidden to cause Terumah to become ritually impure (Rashi, Pesachim 14a). Even though we are destroying the Terumah, we must be careful it does not become impure.

Rather, he should burn the pure loaves alone, the impure ones alone, -- Based on Pesachim 15b and 20b, the Kessef Mishneh and Rabbenu Manoach explain that the same principles apply when burning Terumah every Pesach eve until the end of the sixth hour. However, afterwards, when chametz is forbidden according to Torah law, no differentiation is made, and both pure and impure Terumah are burned together.

and the ones [whose status -- as Terumah

is] left pending -- because of a question which arose whether they became impure or not. Generally, they would not be used as food for perhaps they are impure, nor are they burned immediately as impure Terumah, because perhaps they are pure, and the destruction of pure Terumah for no purpose is forbidden. Rather, they are left until they are no longer fit for use, and then burned.

alone -- Pesachim 15a asks rhetorically: How can we burn the Terumah of questionable status with that which is definitely impure? Perhaps Elijah will come and determine that the former was, in fact, pure.

He should leave a sufficient quantity, but no more than necessary -- These words of qualification are added as regards Terumah in contrast to other chametz. (See the previous halachah.) Other chametz is fit to be eaten by all people or beasts. In contrast, Terumah can be eaten only by a priest's household. Hence, greater precautions should be taken not to leave over extra amounts (Rabbenu Manoach).

of the pure loaves to eat until [the conclusion of] the fourth hour on the Sabbath day -- when the prohibition against eating begins and they must be destroyed.

Halacha 5

A person who either inadvertently or intentionally did not search on the night of the fourteenth should search on the fourteenth in the morning. If he did not search on the fourteenth in the morning, he should search at the time for destroying [the chametz]. If he did not search at the time for destroying the chametz, he should search in the midst of the festival. If the festival passed without his having searched, he should search after the festival to destroy whatever chametz he might find which [he possessed] during Pesach, since we are prohibited against benefiting [from such chametz].

Commentary Halacha

A person who either inadvertently or intentionally did not search on the night of the fourteenth should search on the fourteenth in the morning -- Even though searching with a candle at night is preferable, as explained in Halachot 2:3-4, if that is impossible the search should be carried out as soon as possible the following morning.

If he did not search on the fourteenth in the morning, -- There is an advantage to carrying out the search in the early morning. In this manner, there will be no last minute pressure or tension to complete the search and the destruction of chametz before the prohibition against possessing chametz takes effect.

he should search at the time for destroying [the chametz] -- before the completion of the fifth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan.

If he did not search at the time for destroying the chametz, he should search in the midst of the festival -- Pesachim 10b explains that even though by searching for chametz a person exposes himself to the possibility of eating the chametz that he finds, nevertheless, a person searching to destroy chametz is highly unlikely to lose sight of the prohibition against eating it.

The obligation to search for chametz in the midst of the festival emphasizes that the Rambam conceives that the mitzvah to destroy chametz applies, not only before Pesach begins, but throughout the holiday. Indeed, this concept can be seen in the Rambam's words describing the mitzvah in the preface to this text. There, he explains that the mitzvah is to destroy chametz "from" and not "on" the fourteenth of Nisan.

[It must be noted that the adoption of such a position represents a change of mind for the Rambam. In Sefer HaMitzvot (positive mitzvah 156) and in the earlier handwritten texts of the Mishneh Torah, the Rambam writes that the mitzvah is to destroy chametz "on the fourteenth."]

The definition of the term "in the midst of the festival" is the subject of debate among the commentaries. Some define it as "in the midst of Chol HaMoed," explaining that since chametz is muktzeh and cannot be moved or destroyed on the first day of the festival, there is no need to search for it at that time (Rabbenu Manoach).

Nevertheless, the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 435:1) and the other Ashkenazic halachic authorities require a search on the first day of Pesach itself even though it is Yom Tov. Should chametz be found, it should be covered with a utensil.

If the festival passed without his having searched, he should search after the festival, to destroy whatever chametz he might find which [he possessed] during Pesach -- This applies even if the person nullified his chametz, and thus did not transgress the prohibitions against possessing chametz on the holiday. Were he not to destroy this chametz, it would be obvious that he had not totally negated his ownership over the chametz, and thus his nullification would be proven as invalid retroactively.

since we are prohibited against benefiting [from such chametz] -- as mentioned in Halachah 1:4.

Halacha 6

When a person checks for chametz on the night of the fourteenth, on the day of the fourteenth, and during the festival, he should recite the [following] blessing before he begins to search:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the destruction of chametz.

He must check and search in all the places where chametz is brought in, as was explained. If he searches after the holiday, he does not recite a blessing.

Commentary Halacha

When a person checks for chametz on the night of the fourteenth, on the day of the fourteenth -- Though, as explained in Halachah 2:3, the search for chametz is only a Rabbinic obligation if one nullifies his chametz, blessings are also recited when fulfilling Rabbinic commandments. (See Hilchot Berachot 11:3.)

and during the festival -- This emphasizes that, as explained in the previous halachah, even when searching during the festival, one fulfills a positive commandment.

he should recite the [following] blessing before he begins to search: -- Pesachim 7b emphasizes that all blessings should be recited before the performance of the mitzvah.

"Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the destruction of chametz." -- Pesachim (ibid.) debates whether the blessing should state על ביעור חמץ (concerning the destruction of chametz) or לבער חמץ (to destroy chametz), and reaches the conclusion stated by the Rambam.

Hilchot Berachot 11:15 explains that it is not proper to state "to destroy chametz," since from the moment the person decides to nullify the chametz, the mitzvah to obliterate chametz has been completed according to Torah law. Hence, the expression "concerning the destruction" is more appropriate.

The blessing mentions "the destruction of chametz," for that is the ultimate aim of the search.

He must check and search in all the places where chametz is brought in, as was explained -- in Halachah 2:3.

If he searches after the holiday, he does not recite a blessing -- Though the Sages also required the search after Pesach, carrying out such a search is not considered the fulfillment of a Rabbinic commandment. The prohibitions against possessing, and hence the mitzvah to destroy, chametz are completed by the end of Pesach. This search is not considered as an end in its own right, but rather was instituted merely to prevent a person from eating the chametz, which is forbidden according to Rabbinic decree.

A parallel can be drawn to the following instance (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 57): Fowl were attacked by beasts of prey and wounded to the extent that they would not recover. Even though they did not die immediately, the Sages required that they be slain, lest another Jew not be aware of their wounds and slaughter them to eat as kosher birds. Needless to say, no blessing is required when killing them for these reasons (Shulchan Aruch HaRav).

Halacha 7

When he concludes searching, if he searched on the fourteenth at night, or on the fourteenth during the day before the sixth hour, he should nullify all the chametz that remains in his possession that he does not see.

He should say: "All chametz which is in my possession that I have not seen, behold, it is nullified and must be considered as dust."

However, if he searched after the beginning of the sixth hour and onward, he can no longer nullify it, for it is not in his possession, since benefiting from it is forbidden.

Commentary Halacha

When he concludes searching, if he searched on the fourteenth at night, or on the fourteenth during the day before the sixth hour, he should nullify all the chametz -- as stated in Halachah 2:2.

that remains in his possession -- Pesachim 6b states that the Sages feared that even after a thorough search has been conducted, the possibility exists that perhaps, some chametz will have been overlooked.

that he does not see -- for the chametz that is seen must be destroyed, as stated in Halachah 2:3.

He should say -- The text in most Haggadot is in Aramaic, because that was the language of the common people in Talmudic times. A person who does not understand that text must make the declaration in a language that he comprehends.

"All chametz which is in my possession that I have not seen -- Since this statement is being made while it is still possible to benefit from chametz, we do not nullify all the chametz we possess. It is customary to make a second statement nullifying the chametz after burning the chametz in the morning, and in that statement we nullify all chametz "that I have seen or not seen, that I have destroyed or I have not destroyed."

behold, it is nullified and must be considered as dust." -- The text in most Haggadot states "dust of the earth." Job 28:6 uses the expression עפרות זהב "gold dust," a substance with obvious worth. By stating "the dust of the earth" we imply that we attach no value to the chametz at all.

However, if he searched after the beginning of the sixth hour and onward -- Though the prohibition against possessing chametz during the sixth hour is only Rabbinic in origin, the Sages enforced their decree and gave it the same strength as Torah law.

Halacha 8

Thus, a person who does not nullify [his chametz] before the sixth hour and discovers chametz which he:

considered important and [valued] in his heart,

then forgot at the time of the destruction of chametz,

and hence did not destroy,

transgresses [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found."

Behold, he has neither destroyed nor nullified [his chametz], and nullification at this time would not be effective, for [the chametz] is no longer in his possession. Even so, the Torah considers it as if it were in his possession, to obligate him for [transgression of the commandments:] "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found."

[Therefore,] he is obligated to destroy it whenever he finds it. If he finds it on the day of a festival, he should cover it with a utensil until the evening, and then destroy it. [If the chametz] was consecrated property, there is no need to cover it with a utensil, for regardless, everyone shies away from its use.

Commentary Halacha

Thus, a person who does not nullify [his chametz] before the sixth hour -- The Ra'avad questions the phraseology used by the Rambam, noting that the prohibitions against owning chametz do not begin until the evening. On the day of the fourteenth of Nisan, there is only a positive commandment to destroy chametz.

Most commentaries explain that the Rambam himself intended this interpretation. However, some note that Rashi (Pesachim 4b) does maintain that the prohibitions against owning chametz begin on the fourteenth, and they maintain that the Rambam shares this view (See Responsa, Nodah BiYhudah, Orach Chayim 20).

and discovers chametz -- Tosefot (Pesachim 21a) states that a person does not violate the prohibition against possessing chametz unless he becomes conscious of the chametz in his possession. As long as he is unaware of its existence, he does not violate the prohibition.

which he considered important and [valued] in his heart -- Tosefot (Pesachim 6b) states that the prohibitions only apply when the chametz has an intrinsic value, in contrast to crumbs.

then forgot at the time of the destruction of chametz, and hence did not destroy, transgresses [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found."

Behold, he has neither destroyed nor nullified [his chametz], and nullification at this time would not be effective, for [the chametz] is no longer in his possession -- as stated in the previous Halachah.

Even so, the Torah considers it as if it were in his possession, to obligate him for transgression of the commandments: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found." -- Pesachim (6b) compares the possession of chametz at this time to digging a pit in the public thoroughfare. The pit does not belong to the person who dug it; nevertheless, he must pay for any damages it causes.

Similarly, with regard to chametz, since one is forbidden to benefit from it, it is no longer considered in one's possession and cannot be sold, bartered, or given away. Nevertheless, the person retaining it is still liable for transgression of the prohibitions involved.

[Therefore,] he is obligated to destroy it whenever he finds it. If he finds it on the day of a festival -- when the chametz is considered muktzeh, and hence cannot be moved.

he should cover it with a utensil until the evening, and then destroy it. -- This statement raises questions among many of the commentators. In Halachah 3, the Rambam also mentions covering chametz with a utensil. However, in that instance, the person had already nullified his possession of the chametz, and thus his possession of chametz violated only a Rabbinic prohibition.

In contrast, this instance describes chametz that has not been nullified, and thus the violation of a Torah prohibition is involved. Nevertheless, the Rambam considers the Rabbinic prohibition against mukzteh as important enough to override the fulfillment of a Torah commandment. Furthermore, the Kessef Mishneh explains that since the person himself desires to destroy the chametz, and the only reason he fails to do so is the Rabbinic commandment, he is not considered to have violated the Torah's prohibitions against possessing chametz.

This view is not accepted by all authorities. Many explain that since three Torah mitzvot (the two prohibitions against possessing chametz and the positive commandment to destroy chametz) are involved, their observance overrides the prohibitions of muktzeh. Others maintain that even if the prohibition against muktzeh must be observed, the chametz can be destroyed by burning it in the place where it is located.

Nevertheless, in practice, the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 446:2), the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, and the Mishnah Berurah do not accept the latter view, and advise waiting to destroy the chametz until after the holiday. They explain that a person is allowed to light a fire on a festival only if doing so increases his festive joy. Hence, they prohibit burning the chametz in that manner. However, they mention that, if it is possible, a gentile may be asked to destroy the chametz. Furthermore, in the diaspora, a Jew is also allowed to destroy chametz he finds on the second day of a festival.

[If the chametz] was consecrated property -- consecrated for use in the Temple;

there is no need to cover it with a utensil, for regardless, everyone shies away from its use. -- Property consecrated for use in the Temple may never be used for mundane purposes. (See Halachah 4:2.)

Halacha 9

A person who left his house before the time for destroying chametz in order to fulfill a mitzvah or in order to partake of a feast associated with a mitzvah - e.g., a feast associated with betrothal or marriage - and recalls that he possesses chametz at home. If it is possible for him to go back, destroy it, and then return to the fulfillment of the mitzvah, he should return. If not, he should nullify [ownership over the chametz] in his heart.

Should he go out to save from a troop of attackers, from a [flooding] river, from a fire, from [being buried] under fallen objects, all that is necessary is for him to nullify it in his heart. Should he go out for his own purposes and remember that he possesses chametz at home, he must return immediately.

How much [chametz] must be present [to require] him to return? the size of an egg. If there is less than the size of an egg, it is sufficient for him to nullify it in his heart.

Commentary Halacha

A person who left his house before the time for destroying chametz in order to fulfill a mitzvah -- The Mishnah (Pesachim 49a) mentions a person who goes out to slaughter the Paschal sacrifice or circumcise his son. The Rambam postulates that the same applies to anyone who leaves his home to perform any mitzvah.

or in order to partake of a feast associated with a mitzvah -- Partaking of such a feast is also considered as equivalent to the fulfillment of a mitzvah. As an example of such a feast, the above Mishnah mentions a feast associated with a betrothal.

e.g., a feast associated with betrothal or marriage -- In Judaism, marriage is a two stage process. Betrothal (אירוסין) involves the consecration of a woman as a wife. However, the new couple do not live together as man and wife until marriage (נישואין) (See Hilchot Ishut 10:1-2.)

who recalls that he possesses chametz at home. If it is possible for him to go back, destroy it, and then return to the fulfillment of the mitzvah, he should return -- home, and thus, fulfill the mitzvah of destroying chametz as required by the Sages.

If not -- If returning home to destroy the chametz will cause him to neglect the fulfillment of the mitzvah with which he is involved,

he should nullify [ownership over the chametz] in his heart -- for by doing so, he fulfills the mitzvah of destroying chametz according to Torah law.

The above applies when the person can still nullify his ownership over the chametz. However, if the person recalls the possession of chametz after the beginning of the sixth hour, he must return to destroy his chametz even if he is involved in the performance of a mitzvah. The only exception is the burial of a corpse who has no one else to tend to him (Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 444:11).

Should he go out to save -- people's lives

from a troop of attackers, from a [flooding] river, from a fire, from [being buried] under fallen objects, all that is necessary is for him to nullify it in his heart. -- The Maggid Mishneh explains that since human lives are at stake, one should not think of returning, but should nullify the chametz, since according to Torah law, that is all that is required. The Kessef Mishneh goes further and explains that saving the people's lives supersedes all matters. Hence, even if a person has time to return home to destroy the chametz, he should first deal with saving the lives, for that is the primary concern.

Though the primacy of saving lives is accepted by all authorities, the Magen Avraham qualifies the matter. If the person knows for sure that he will be able to return home, destroy his chametz, and still have time to save the people's lives, he must destroy his chametz first.

Should he go out for his own purposes -- to deal with his own business affairs

and remember that he possesses chametz at home, he must return immediately -- to destroy it. Even if he has already nullified it, the Sages required him to fulfill the mitzvah as they ordained.

How much [chametz] must be present [to require] him to return? the size of an egg -- The prohibition against eating chametz applies regarding a size of an olive (one third the size of an egg, according to the Rambam). However, the Sages showed leniency, since the nullification of chametz is sufficient according to Torah law. They did not require a person to return to destroy chametz unless a quantity the size of an egg, the measure associated with ritual purity and impurity, was found.

If there is less than the size of an egg, it is sufficient for him to nullify it in his heart -- as required by Torah law. The above applies when the person can still nullify his ownership over the chametz. However, beyond the beginning of the sixth hour, if the person has not nullified his chametz he must return to destroy even an amount the size of an olive. However, should he possess less than an olive's size of chametz, there is no need especially to destroy the chametz.

Halacha 10

A person who put aside a rolled dough at home, [forgot about it,] went out and remembered after he had left [home]: Should he be sitting before his teacher and fear that the dough will become leavened before he can come [home], behold, he may nullify [ownership over the dough] in his heart before it becomes leaven.

However, if [the dough] has already become leavened, his nullification is not at all effective, for he has already violated [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found." He must destroy it immediately when he returns home.

Commentary Halacha

A person who put aside a rolled dough -- a dough that was kneaded, but which had not yet risen.

at home -- This halachah, a quote from Pesachim 7a, describes a situation which occurs after the sixth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan or later, when chametz has become forbidden.

[forgot about it,] went out and remembered after he had left [home]: Should he be sitting before his teacher -- and thus leaving would be a sign of disrespect to his teacher.

This example is given by the Talmud. Nevertheless, when quoting this halachah, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 444:8) states: "Were he busy with other matters," implying that the law applies even when one's intent is not necessarily associated with a mitzvah.

and fear that the dough will become leavened before he can come [home,] -- and bake it as matzah

behold, he may nullify [ownership over the dough] in his heart before it becomes leaven -- Since the dough has not become leaven, its possession is still permitted. Hence, a person is still entitled to nullify his ownership of it.

Once he has nullified his ownership of the dough, its presence in his house does not constitute a violation of the prohibitions against the possession of chametz, because it no longer belongs to him.

At present, people very infrequently bake matzah on Pesach itself in Ashkenazic communities. However, it is customary to do so in certain Sephardic communities. When preparing the dough, the women always nullify their ownership of any small pieces of dough that become stuck to the kneading pin or bowl before they become leavened, so that they will not possess even the slightest amount of chametz. (See Hagahot Maimoni.)

However, if [the dough] has already become leavened, his nullification is not at all effective -- just as one cannot nullify one's ownership of other chametz after the end of the sixth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan (Halachah 8).

for he has already violated [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found." He must destroy it immediately -- or cover it with a utensil if this occurs on the day of the festival itself.

when he returns home -- Furthermore, he must return home to do so as fast as possible.

Halacha 11

How must chametz be destroyed? It may be burned; crumbled and tossed to the wind; or thrown into the sea. If the chametz is hard and the sea will not cause it to dissolve speedily, one should crumble it and then throw it into the sea.

If other substances fell upon chametz and it was covered by three handbreadths or more of earth, it is considered as having been destroyed. [Nevertheless,] one must nullify [ownership over] it in one's heart if the sixth hour has not arrived.

A person who gave it to a gentile before the sixth hour need not destroy it.

If one burns it before the sixth hour, he is permitted to benefit from the charcoal that remains during Pesach. However, if he burns it from [the beginning of] the sixth hour and onward, since benefit may not be derived from it, it should not be used as fuel for an oven or range. One may not bake or cook with it.

If one did bake or cook [using the chametz as fuel], it is forbidden to derive benefit from that loaf or that dish. Similarly, it is forbidden to derive benefit from the charcoal that remains from it, because it was burned after benefit from it became forbidden.

Commentary Halacha

How must chametz be destroyed? -- Halachah 2:2 explains that the mitzvah "to destroy chametz" is fulfilled by nullifying one's ownership of it. This halachah refers to the Rabbinic prohibition to destroy all known chametz; alternatively, to the destruction of chametz discovered after the beginning of the sixth hour.

It may be burned; crumbled and tossed to the wind; or thrown into the sea -- Other authorities (Tosefot, Pesachim 27b) explain that this applies only when destroying chametz before it becomes forbidden. Once it is forbidden, it can be destroyed only by burning.

If the chametz is hard and the sea will not cause it to dissolve speedily, one should crumble it and then throw it into the sea. -- In his commentary to the Mishnah (Pesachim 2:1), the Rambam writes that dried bread should be crumbled "a lot" before being thrown to the sea. Pesachim 28a records a debate among the Sages whether it is necessary to crumble all chametz before throwing it to the sea. There is extensive debate among the commentators regarding the Rambam's interpretation of this passage. Most halachic authorities (Taz, Orach Chayim 445:1) require chametz to be crumbled even before it is tossed into the sea.

If other substances fell upon chametz and it was covered by three handbreadths or more of earth -- The Mishnah (Pesachim 31b) states this law applies when "a dog will no longer search for it." The Gemara explains that a dog will not search more than three handbreadths deep.

it is considered as having been destroyed. [Nevertheless,] one must nullify [ownership over] it in one's heart if the sixth hour has not arrived -- Thus, even if the chametz is uncovered during Pesach, it will no longer be within one's possession (Rashi, Pesachim ibid.).

A person who gave -- or sold

it to a gentile before the sixth hour need not destroy it -- Pesachim 5b notes that Exodus 13:7, the verse prohibiting the possession of chametz, states: "No chametz will be seen for you." The addition of the latter phrase implies that there is no prohibition against chametz that belongs to a gentile being found in one's domain during Pesach. The following chapter discusses this subject in depth.

If one burns it before the sixth hour, he is permitted to benefit from the charcoal that remains during Pesach -- Tosefot, Pesachim 21a explains that once chametz has been burned to the extent that it is not fit for a dog to eat, there is no prohibition involved in its use.

However, if he burns it from [the beginning of] the sixth hour and onward, since benefit may not be derived from it, it should not be used as fuel -- while it is being burned.

for an oven or range -- Shabbat 38b defines a range as an earthenware vessel in which coals can be placed, with two holes upon which to place two pots, and an oven as a larger structure.

One may not bake or cook with it -- even after it becomes charcoal.

If one did bake or cook [using the chametz as fuel], it is forbidden to derive benefit from that loaf or that dish. -- Nevertheless, this prohibition applies only if there is enough charcoal from the chametz to sustain a fire sufficient to cook or bake by itself (Shulchan Aruch HaRav).

Similarly, it is forbidden to derive benefit from the charcoal that remains from it, because it was burned after benefit from it became forbidden. -- Temurah 34a states that we may benefit from the ashes of any substance that must be destroyed by burning. In contrast, if a substance may be destroyed by other means, we are prohibited from benefiting from its ashes.

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Four

Halacha 1

The Torah (Exodus 13:7) states: "No chametz shall be seen for you." Perhaps, if it were buried or entrusted to a gentile, he would not transgress the commandment? The Torah (Exodus 12:19) states: "leaven should not be found in your homes," [implying] even if it is buried or entrusted.

Perhaps he would only transgress [the commandment] when chametz is [found] in his house, but if it were outside his house, in a field or in another city, he would not violate [the commandment]? The Torah states (Exodus 13:7): "[No leaven shall be seen for you] in all your territory" - i.e., in all your possessions.

Perhaps a person will be obligated to remove from his property chametz that belongs to a gentile or that was consecrated? The Torah states (ibid.): "No [leaven] shall be seen for you." [We may infer]: You may not see your own [leaven]. However, you may see [leaven] belonging to others or which was consecrated.

Commentary Halacha

The Torah (Exodus 13:7) states: "No chametz shall be seen for you." Perhaps if it were buried -- because the chametz is not "seen."

or entrusted to a gentile -- because ostensibly, the leaven is not "for you."

he will not transgress the commandment? The Torah (Exodus 12:19) states: "leaven should not be found in your homes," [implying] even if it is buried or entrusted -- it is still "found in your homes." The place in which a watchman keeps an entrusted article is also considered "your homes."

The prohibition against entrusting chametz to a gentile is not explicitly stated in the Talmud. It can be derived from the leniency allowing one to maintain possession of chametz belonging to a gentile mentioned at the conclusion of the Halachah. Some authorities explain that the Rambam derived the concept from the Mechiltah of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

In his commentary on the Torah (Exodus 12:19), the Ramban differs with the concept in its entirety and states that a person does not transgress the prohibition against possessing chametz when it is entrusted to a gentile. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 440:4) accepts the Rambam's opinion. No later halachic authorities question the matter.

Perhaps -- if the latter verse were taken as the source of the prohibition

he would only transgress [the commandment] when chametz is [found] in his house -- as that verse states

but if it were outside his house, in a field or in another city, he would not violate [the commandment]? -- Therefore,

The Torah -- includes the verse originally mentioned which

states (Exodus 13:7): "[No leaven shall be seen for you] in all your territory" - i.e., in all your possessions -- in the totality of a person's domain.

Perhaps a person will be obligated to remove from his property chametz that belongs to a gentile or that was consecrated? -- for that is also "seen." Therefore,

The Torah states (ibid.): "No [leaven] shall be seen for you." -- From the addition of the latter phrase

[we may infer]: You may not see your own [leaven]. However, you may see [leaven] belonging to others -- for that is not "for you." The rules governing this concept are the major subject of this chapter.

or which was consecrated -- for use in the Temple, or to be sold for the purposes of the Temple. Once an article has been consecrated, it no longer belongs to its original owner and becomes the property and responsibility of the Temple treasury. Property consecrated to be given to charity is not governed by these rules.

Halacha 2

[From the above,] you can learn that chametz belonging to a Jew which was left in his possession, even though it is buried, is located in another city, or is entrusted to a gentile, causes him to violate [the commandments]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found."

Chametz that either was consecrated or belongs to a gentile, and is located within a Jew's property, even if it was with him at home--behold, this is permitted, for [the chametz] is not his. Even if it belonged to a resident alien under the authority of the Jewish people, we need not force him to remove the chametz from his property on Pesach.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to construct a partition at least ten handbreadths high in front of chametz belonging to a gentile, lest one come to use it. [With regard to chametz] that has been consecrated, this is unnecessary; everyone shies away from consecrated property, lest they infringe on [the prohibition of] מעילה.

Commentary Halacha

[From the above,] you can learn that chametz belonging to a Jew which was left in his possession, even though it is buried, is located in another city, or is entrusted to a gentile, causes him to violate [the commandments]: "[chametz] shall not be seen" and "[chametz] shall not be found" -- for in each of these instances, chametz was present within a Jew's possession on Pesach.

Chametz that either was consecrated or belongs to a gentile and was in a Jew's possession, even if it was with him at home -- As evident from the following halachah, this law applies only when the Jew does not accept responsibility for the chametz.

behold, this is permitted, for [the chametz] is not his -- the Jew's,

Even if it belonged to a resident alien -- Hilchot Melachim 8:10 and Hilchot Avodah Zarah 10:6 define this term as referring to a gentile who keeps the seven universal laws given to Noah's descendants. A gentile who accepts these rules of behavior may be granted the privilege of living in Eretz Yisrael.

under the authority of the Jewish people -- Pesachim 5b emphasizes that even a gentile who lives in a Jew's home may keep chametz during Pesach.

we need not force him -- the Jew

to remove the chametz from his property on Pesach -- Some manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah state: "We need not force him (i.e., the gentile) to remove his chametz from our property."

Nevertheless, it is necessary to construct a partition at least ten handbreadths high in front of chametz belonging to a gentile -- A similar partition is not required when a gentile entrusts other forbidden objects to a Jew. As mentioned above, greater stringencies are taken regarding chametz than other forbidden substances, since the use of chametz is permitted during the entire year.

lest one come to use it. -- The Kessef Mishneh notes that in Halachah 3:8, the Rambam considers covering the chametz with a utensil as a sufficient measure to prevent the use of the chametz. Two explanations are offered why, in the present instance, a more stringent measure is required:

a) the amount of chametz the gentile entrusted for safekeeping is probably too large to be covered by utensils;

b) covering the chametz with a utensil is only a temporary measure, intended to be effective only until the end of the day of the festival. Once that day is concluded, the chametz must be destroyed. In contrast, in this instance the chametz will remain in the Jew's possession throughout the entire holiday. Hence, more severe measures must be taken.

The Ramban and the Ba'al HaItur do not accept this requirement and maintain that if a Jew does not accept responsibility for the chametz, he is not obligated to construct a partition. All that is necessary is that the chametz be placed out of the way. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 440:2) and the later halachic authorities all follow the Rambam's opinion.

[With regard to chametz] that has been consecrated, this is unnecessary; everyone shies away from consecrated property, lest they infringe on [the prohibition of]

מעילה. -- Leviticus 5:15-16 describes the prohibition of מעילה, the misappropriation of consecrated property for personal use.

Halacha 3

A gentile who entrusted his chametz to a Jew: Should the Jew accept the responsibility of paying for the worth of the chametz if it is lost or stolen--behold, he is obligated to destroy it. Since he accepted responsibility for it, it is considered as though it were his.

If he did not accept responsibility for it, he may keep it in his domain and may eat from it after Pesach, for it was in the gentile's possession.

Commentary Halacha

A gentile who entrusted his chametz to a Jew: Should the Jew accept the responsibility of -- caring for the chametz as a watchman would, and

paying for the worth of the chametz if it is lost or stolen -- due to factors other than his personal negligence. Rashi and Rabbenu Asher obligate a Jew to destroy any chametz belonging to a gentile for which he has accepted responsibility, even if his responsibility is less than that specified above. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 440:13,16) and the Mishnah Berurah advise following the latter opinion.

behold, he is obligated to destroy it -- before the sixth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan.

Since he accepted responsibility for it -- and would have to pay for it if it is lost.

Pesachim 5b offer two possible explanations why the chametz is considered as if it belongs to the Jew. One opinion maintains that throughout the Torah, an article that causes financial liability is considered as one's responsibility.

Another opinion maintains that in this instance, since the Torah adds a special commandment "leaven should not be found," extra stringency must be taken. From this discussion, we see that the responsibility to destroy this chametz stems from the Torah itself, and is not merely a matter of Rabbinic decree.

it is considered as though it were his -- and, hence, must be destroyed. Tosefot, Pesachim 6a maintains that if a Jew designates a specific place within his home for the gentile and tells him to place his chametz there, he is not obligated to destroy it even though he accepted responsibility for it. Rashi does not accept this position. From the Rambam's omission of the matter, we may assume he also follows Rashi's view (Lechem Mishnah).

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 440:1) quotes the Rambam and hence, requires the acceptance of the more stringent position. However, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (440:16) and the Mishnah Berurah (440:3) mention certain leniencies based on Tosefot's position.

If he did not accept responsibility for it -- the gentile's chametz

he may keep it in his domain -- without transgressing the prohibitions against possessing chametz

and may eat from it after Pesach -- in contrast to chametz possessed by a Jew during Pesach which is forbidden to be used (Halachah 1:4)

for it was in the gentile's possession -- Pesachim 6a mentions a situation where a gentile brings chametz that he wishes to entrust to a Jew, and the latter designates a particular portion of the house for him to put the chametz. Under such circumstances, there is no need to destroy the chametz.

There are some authorities who explain that the Talmud is speaking about a situation in which the Jew accepted responsibility for the chametz. Nevertheless, since he told the gentile to put it in one specific place, it is considered as if that place belongs to the gentile, and thus the chametz is not found in the Jew's possession.

The Rambam does not accept this interpretation and requires the gentile's chametz to be destroyed whenever a Jew accepts responsibility for it. Though the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah mention the more lenient opinion, they require that the more stringent approach be followed.

Halacha 4

Should a gentile who forces his way upon people entrust his chametz to a Jew: If the Jew knows that if it is lost or stolen, [the gentile] will obligate him to pay for it--forcing and compelling him to pay even though he did not accept responsibility--he is obligated qo destroy it. It is considered as though it were his, for the gentile holds him responsible for it.

Commentary Halacha

Should a gentile who forces his way upon people -- a literal translation of the word אנס. Some editions of the Mishneh Torah use the expression אלם instead. However, the intention remains the same, regardless of which term is used.

entrust his chametz to a Jew: If the Jew knows that if it is lost or stolen, [the gentile] will obligate him to pay for it -- This law is derived from the following passage (Pesachim 5b): Ravvah told the inhabitants of Mechuzah: "Destroy the chametz belonging to the king's soldiers." Since the army would hold the Jews responsible if it were stolen, it was considered their property.

forcing and compelling him to pay even though he did not accept responsibility -- In the previous halachah, the Rambam requires a Jew to destroy chametz only if he willingly accepts responsibility for it. Nevertheless, in this instance,

he is obligated to destroy it. It is considered as though it were his, for the gentile holds him responsible for it -- whether the Jew willingly accepts that responsibility or not. Certain opinions maintain that this law applies only when the secular law of the land would uphold the gentile's view, as in the instance cited from Pesachim, and not when a private individual takes the law into his own hands (Maggid Mishneh). Nevertheless, this differentiation is not accepted by most halachic authorities.

Halacha 5

A Jew who gives his chametz to a gentile as security for a loan and tells him: "If I do not bring the money between today and such and such a date, you acquire the chametz [retroactively] from the present moment," the chametz is considered as in the gentile's possession and is permitted to be used after Pesach. This applies if the date specified was before Pesach.

However, if he did not tell him: "you acquire the chametz [retroactively] from the present moment," that chametz is considered as an article entrusted to the gentile, and it is forbidden to benefit from it after Pesach.

Commentary Halacha

A Jew who gives his chametz to a gentile -- before Pesach, transferring it into the latter's domain

as security -- The Aruch relates that the word רהן means security in Arabic.

for a loan and tells him: "If I do not bring the money between today and such and such a date, you acquire the chametz [retroactively] from the present moment" -- This specific statement is required, because although a Jewish lender is considered to have acquired a certain degree of ownership over an article given him as security, this principle does not apply with regard to a gentile (Pesachim 31b, Maggid Mishneh).

the chametz is considered as -- payment for the loan. Hence, it is

in the gentile's possession -- In a responsa (no. 252), the Rambam writes that it is as if the Jew sold the chametz to the gentile outright.

and is permitted to be used after Pesach -- as is all chametz that belonged to gentiles during the holiday.

This applies if the date specified was before Pesach -- more specifically, before the sixth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan.

The Ra'avad disagrees with this law and maintains that if this stipulation was included, the chametz is considered as belonging to the gentile even if the date mentioned is after Pesach. The Rambam maintains that since the Jew has the right to redeem his chametz during Pesach, it is still considered his (Rabbenu Ephraim). In this instance, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 441:1) accepts the Ra'avad's view.

Nevertheless, this leniency applies only when the Jew willingly foregoes any right to the chametz and considers to have repaid his loan with it. Should the Jew decide to redeem his chametz after Pesach, he is retroactively considered the owner and is liable for possessing chametz throughout the holiday.

However, if he did not tell him: "you acquire the chametz [retroactively] from the present moment," -- even if the day of payment is fixed before Pesach

that chametz is -- not considered as repayment for the loan. Rather, it is

considered as an article entrusted to the gentile -- to ensure payment. Hence, it is still considered as the Jew's property

and it is forbidden to benefit from it after Pesach -- as stated in Halachah 1:4.

The Ra'avad disagrees with this point as well, maintaining that if the date mentioned is before Pesach, the chametz becomes the gentile's property, and the Jew does not transgress the prohibitions against possessing chametz.

The difference between the Rambam and the Ra'avad revolves around the principle of Asmachtah, an agreement which was never intended to be fulfilled. The Ra'avad maintains that, generally, the fact that a borrower does not specify that the security would retroactively become the lender's property implies that he never really intended to sell it to him and always considers it as his own. Thus, were such a transaction to be carried out between Jews, the Ra'avad maintains that the security would never become the lender's property. However, he explains that this law applies only regarding business dealings carried out between Jews, and not to those involving gentiles. Therefore, in this instance, the chametz given as security becomes the gentile's property.

In contrast, the Rambam does not consider such an agreement an Asmachtah. However, he does not accept a gentile's right to an article given as security. Hence, though the date for repayment passes before Pesach, he still considers the article as belonging to its original Jewish owner.

In this matter, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav follows the more stringent view if the chametz is worth more than the loan, and forbids its use after Pesach. However, if it is not worth more than the loan, that text and, similarly, the Mishnah Berurah, require the Jewish borrower to redeem his chametz before Pesach. However, if he fails to so, they allow people to rely on the Ra'avad's opinion and benefit from the chametz.

Different laws apply to chametz given to a Jew as security by a gentile or by another Jew. In the former instance, a Jew is considered the owner of the chametz if the agreement included the clause specifying retroactive ownership, even though the time for payment is not fixed until after Pesach. If the agreement lacked that clause, and the Jew is not held responsible for the chametz (see Halachah 3 above), the Jew is not liable for that chametz (Shulchan Aruch). Nevertheless, other authorities do not accept this decision.

Halacha 6

A Jew and a gentile are traveling together in a ship, and the Jew possesses chametz. When the fifth hour [on the fourteenth of Nisan] arrives--behold, he should sell it to the gentile or give it to him as a present. He may return and buy it back from him after Pesach, as long as he gives it to him as an outright present.

Commentary Halacha

A Jew and a gentile are traveling together in a ship -- This halachah is a quote from the Tosefta, Pesachim 2:6. Nevertheless, it is worthy of question why the Rambam quotes that source verbatim. Often, when mentioning such a law, the Rambam will eliminate particulars that are extraneous to the principle he wishes to communicate.

and the Jew possesses chametz -- in the ship or in other places.

When the fifth hour [on the fourteenth of Nisan] arrives - behold, he should sell it to the gentile -- Today, in many Jewish communities, the sale of chametz to gentiles is an almost indispensable element in the observance of Pesach. Nevertheless, the details of the sale and the legal provisions which,

a) on one hand, ensure that the gentile is the sole legal owner of the chametz on Pesach, and

b) assure the Jewish owner of receiving the goods in return, or their monetary equivalent

are a technical matter which has been discussed by the Rabbis in their responsa over the generations. For this reason, it is not advisable for a person to sell his chametz himself. Rather, he should entrust the local Rabbi with the responsibility of carrying out the sale.

or give it to him as a present -- Hilchot Avodah Zarah 10:4 states that we should not give presents to gentiles. However, in this instance, giving such a gift will prevent a Jew from violating a Torah prohibition. Hence, there is no objection.

The halachic authorities emphasize that the sale or gift of chametz to the gentile must be formalized by a kinyan (legal transaction) recognized by both Torah and secular law. Thus, the gentile becomes its legal owner.

He may return and buy it back from him after Pesach -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 448:3) states: "Even though the Jew who sells it to the gentile knows that he will not touch it at all, but will watch it for him until after Pesach and then return it to him, it is permitted."

as long as he gives it to him as an outright present -- This expression excludes conditional gifts or sales, as explained in the following halachah.

Halacha 7

The Jew may tell the gentile: "Rather than buy a manah's worth [of chametz], come and buy two hundred [dinars'] worth [of chametz]... Rather than buy from a gentile, come and buy from a Jew. Perhaps I will need [chametz] and will buy from you after Pesach."

However, he cannot sell or give [chametz] to him on condition. If he does so--behold, he transgresses [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found."

Commentary Halacha

The Jew may tell the gentile -- This is a continuation of the above Tosefta, ibid. 2:7.

"Rather than buy a Manah's worth [of chametz], come and buy two hundred [dinars'] worth [of chametz] -- i.e., don't buy a small amount from me; buy a larger quantity. Alternatively, some interpret this quote within the context of the circumstances mentioned in the Tosefta, and explain that the gentile was buying provisions for the journey for himself. The Jew tells him: "Don't buy enough only for yourself; buy for me as well."

Rather than buy from a gentile, come and buy from a Jew -- i.e., from me

Perhaps I will need [chametz] and will buy from you after Pesach." -- The halachic authorities even allow the Jew to promise the gentile a profit. These statement are permitted as long as the Jew does not make a binding commitment. The intimation that he will repurchase the chametz after Pesach is not considered significant.

However, he cannot sell or give [chametz] to him on condition. -- This includes all conditional agreements, not only those requiring the gentile to return the chametz after Pesach.

If he does so - behold, he transgresses [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found." -- For until that condition is fulfilled, the Jew remains the owner of the chametz.

The above restrictions apply even if the condition is phrased in a manner in which, once the gentile fulfills the condition, he retroactively becomes the owner of the chametz from the time the agreement was originally made. We fear that, perhaps, the gentile will not fulfill his commitment, and thus the Jew will remain the owner of the chametz. Hence, even though the chametz was in the physical possession of the gentile during Pesach, the Jew might be its legal owner. See also Radbaz, Vol. 5, Responsum 1416.

Halacha 8

[A person] who possesses a mixture of chametz transgresses [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found" because of it; for example: pickle-brine, Babylonian kotach, and Median beer, which are made from flour.

[The same applies] to other similar substances which are eaten. However, a substance which contains a mixture of chametz, but is not fit to be eaten, may be kept on Pesach.

Commentary Halacha

[A person] who possesses a mixture of chametz transgresses [the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found" because of it -- As explained in Halachah 1:6, according to the Rambam a person who eats a mixture of chametz does not transgress the same Torah prohibition as one who eats chametz itself. Hence, he is not liable for the punishment of כרת. The Maggid Mishneh explains that the possession of these mixtures only violates the prohibitions against possessing chametz when they contain a substantial amount of chametz (at least the size of an olive in a quantity to be eaten בכדי אכילת פרס).

Rav Moshe HaCohen maintains that even the possession of a smaller amount violates these prohibitions. Rav Yosef Caro supports this view in the Kessef Mishneh. Although he does not explicitly state so in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 442:1) when discussing this law, the later authorities (Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Mishnah Berurah) accept this opinion as binding.

for example: pickle-brine -- a mixture containing brine, fish-hash, flour, and sometimes wine.

Babylonian kotach, and Median beer -- See Halachah 1:6 for a description of these substances.

which are made from flour.

[The same applies] to other similar substances which are eaten -- or drunk.

However, a substance which contains a mixture of chametz, but is not fit to be eaten -- by human beings.

may be kept on Pesach -- This is called חמץ נוקשה, "hardened chametz," and is permitted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 447:12). See the following halachot. However, if the substance is originally intended for human consumption and then becomes spoiled, one is considered to have violated the prohibitions against possessing chametz until it becomes spoiled to the extent that it will not be eaten by a dog. (See Halachah 11.)

Halacha 9

How is [the latter principle] applied? A tanner's trough into which one placed flour and animal hides: Even if this was done one hour before [the time chametz must be] destroyed, one may keep it. If one placed flour [in the trough] without animal hides three days before [the time chametz must be] destroyed, one may keep it, for the [chametz] has surely become spoiled and rotten. Within three days, one is obligated to destroy it.

Commentary Halacha

How is [the latter principle] -- allowing one to keep chametz unfit for consumption

applied? A tanner's trough into which one placed flour and animal hides -- The flour is useful in drying out the hides and absorbing their natural moisture. See also Shabbat 79a ("There are three hides").

Even if this was done one hour before [the time chametz must be] destroyed -- the end of the fifth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan

one may keep it -- for as soon as the flour comes in contact with the hides, it is no longer fit for consumption.

If one placed flour [in the trough] without animal hides three days before [the time chametz must be] destroyed, one may keep it, for the [chametz] has [surely] become spoiled and rotten -- from the residual moisture and odor left in the trough. If the chametz was placed in the trough

within three days -- of the end of the fifth hour on the fourteenth

one is obligated to destroy it -- for it may not have spoiled.

Halacha 10

Similarly, an eye salve, a compress, a plaster, or Tiriac into which chametz was placed may be kept on Pesach, for the nature of the chametz is spoiled.

Commentary Halacha

and the like, though one may keep it [during Pesach] -- as stated in Halachah 10.

eating it is prohibited -- Though the mixture is generally not used for human consumption, the fact that an individual eats from it shows that he considers it as food. Hence, it is prohibited.

until after Pesach -- Nevertheless, a person may benefit from it on Pesach (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 442:24, Mishnah Berurah).

Even though it contains only the smallest amount of chametz -- less than the size of an olive בכדי אכילת פרס, as in Halachah 1:6.

eating it is forbidden -- Nevertheless, in the case of danger to life or limb, one may use a remedy which is chametz in the midst of Pesach (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 466:5, Mishnah Berurah).

Halacha 11

Bread itself which has become moldy and is no longer fit for consumption by a dog, or a compress that has become spoiled, need not be destroyed.

Clothes which were washed with starch and, similarly, papers which were stuck together with chametz, and other like cases, may be kept on Pesach. Their [possession] does not constitute a [violation of the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found," for they no longer have the form of chametz.

Commentary Halacha

Bread itself which has become moldy and is no longer fit for consumption by a dog -- in contrast to chametz which is not human food, as mentioned in the previous halachot, and is permitted once it is no longer fit for human consumption.

Rav Chayim Soloveitchik (Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 15:1) differentiates between the two cases as follows. Chametz itself is a forbidden substance. Hence, it must be spoiled to the point that a dog cannot benefit from it. In contrast, the other substances are merely mixtures of chametz. They are only forbidden because they contain the taste of chametz. Hence, once that taste is no longer suitable for human consumption, there is no reason why they should remain forbidden.

He continues relating that, as stated in Halachot 11 and 12, chametz that is obviously designated for purposes other than food can be used even though it has not become spoiled. Thus, one could explain that once the chametz in the above mixtures becomes unfit for human consumption, it is clearly not food. In contrast, bread which is originally made for that intent must spoil more.

or a compress -- This compress differs from the one mentioned in the previous halachah. It is made from wheat and figs that have been chewed, and is then applied to an infected area. (See Bava Kama 102a.) It is not mixed with bitter medications, and hence is generally fit to be eaten before it becomes spoiled.

that has become spoiled -- beyond being fit for consumption by a dog. Rabbenu Manoach emphasizes that it must become spoiled before the prohibition against chametz takes effect. Otherwise, it must be destroyed.

need not be destroyed -- for in its present form it is no longer considered useful.

Clothes which were washed with starch -- made from wheat

and, similarly, papers which were stuck together with chametz, and other like cases, may be kept on Pesach -- This law is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch. However, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 442:3) states that if the chametz is visible as a separate entity, it must be destroyed.

their [possession] does not constitute a [violation of the prohibitions]: "[leaven] shall not be seen" and "[leaven] shall not be found," for they no longer have the form of chametz -- i.e., they are not in the form of food. Halachah 2:15 provides a similar example: a mound of yeast that has been set aside as a seat.

Halacha 12

A substance which is not eaten by people, or one which is generally not eaten by people, with which chametz has become mixed-- e.g., Tiriac and the like, though one may keep it [during Pesach], eating it is prohibited until after Pesach. Even though it contains only the smallest amount of chametz, eating it is forbidden.

Commentary Halacha

A substance which is not eaten by people, -- even if it has not been spoiled to the point that it is unfit for human consumption (Rav Chayim Soloveitchik, ibid.)

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