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Shabbat, 5 Sivan 5775 / May 23, 2015
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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Three

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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.

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