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Search for Chametz

Search for Chametz

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Courtesy of the Shluchim Office
Courtesy of the Shluchim Office

The process of creating a chametz-free environment comes to its climax the night before Passover. We conduct a veritable “search and destroy” mission to find any remaining chametz in our home and eradicate it. The search is traditionally conducted with a beeswax candle, using a feather, wooden spoon, and a paper bag for collecting any chametz found. It is customary to place ten pieces of bread throughout the house to be “found” during the search. These should be wrapped in paper or some other flammable wrapping (but not silver foil, as it does not burn), and perhaps then in plastic bags to prevent crumbs. It’s a good idea to write down the locations of the hiding places, in case some of the pieces aren’t found.

On the evening before Passover, as soon as the sun is down, gather the household together, light the candle, and recite the following blessing:

Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi
E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov
Ve-tzi-vo-nu Al Bee-ur Cho-metz.

Or, in translation:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us concerning the removal of chametz.

Next, hold the lit candle and search for chametz in every room, as well as any other area of the home that may have chametz, such as the basement, attic, garage, or car. Even once a house is thoroughly cleaned, there is often still a bagel crust or a Cheerio hiding in some overlooked cranny.

When you’re done, take all the chametz that was found in the search, wrap and seal it securely, and place it in a conspicuous spot. This chametz will be joined with all remaining chametz in your home, and burned the next morning. Food intended to be sold or eaten later should similarly be carefully put aside.

When you’ve completed the search, and done your best to get rid of any possible chametz, gather the family back together and recite the "Kol Chamira" declaration, translated below, nullifying all unknown chametz and relinquishing it from your ownership.

All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, which I have neither seen nor removed, and about which I am unaware, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

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Anonymous Nj via chabadde.com April 9, 2017

Hi:

Please always add the Hebrew as well. Thanks for all you do. .. Reply

Chabad.org Staff April 20, 2016

Yes! A kosher and happy Pesach Reply

Gary Silverberg April 20, 2016

If you're alone in the house, are you aloud to distribute the 10 pieces yourself then do your own search? Reply

Stuart Hershkowitz STATEN ISLAND April 19, 2016

You say "paper bag" but I remember using a white rag or handkerchief to collect the chometz and burning everything the next morning. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org March 30, 2016

"Biur" chametz means ridding chametz from our possession, the process of which begins when we search our homes for chametz. Reply

Lenny March 30, 2016

Why do we say al beer chamets when we check for chamets. Reply

Yisroel Cotlar Cary NC via chabadchayil.org April 13, 2015

It is permitted to use a flashlight for the search but there is something unique about keeping the tradition of specifically using a candle. Many will, for this reason, make sure to conduct the entire search with a candle. (Of course, responsible adults!)

Some begin with a candle and switch to a flashlight afterwards (or for the more difficult-to-reach areas) Reply

Steven Cardonick Orlando, Florida via chabadchayil.org March 31, 2015

What about a flashlight??
It is much safer than using a candle. Reply

Yisroel Cotlar Cary, NC January 4, 2013

There are mystical reasons why it is specifically ten pieces that are used. You may also enjoy the explanation given in this article:

chabad.org/870652 Reply

Anonymous January 3, 2013

Is there a specific reason why there are 10 pieces and not another number? Reply

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