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Is it really necessary to have leaven "removed" from one's property?

Is it really necessary to have leaven "removed" from one's property?

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Question:

Is it really necessary to have leaven "removed" from one's property during the eight days of Passover? My plan was to box it up and put it in my shed for the week. Is this acceptable according to Torah? If not, why?

Answer:

The prohibition against chametz is unique in that not only is its consumption forbidden (as is the case with most forbidden foods), and not only is it forbidden to derive any benefit from it (as is the rule regarding a select few forbidden food items), but we are actually prohibited from possessing any chametz for the duration of Passover. In the words of the Torah: "No leaven shall be seen of yours, and no leavening shall be seen of yours throughout all of your borders."1

According to the mystics, chametz is a metaphor for vanity and arrogance, substances which we must completely be rid of on Passover -- the holiday when we embark on our journey to freedom, spirituality, and the Torah. Click here for more on this topic.

Ridding one's home of all chametz or leavened foods during Passover is not simple. Most of us have pantries and freezers which are full of items which are not kosher for Passover. In addition, eliminating all chametz would also include thoroughly scouring every utensil, pan and pot which were used together with chametz items, to rid them of chametz residue.

So the rabbis conceived a halachic device whereby all chametz foods are stored in a closet or room (or more than one), which are then closed and sealed for the duration of the eight days of the holiday. On the morning before Passover the chametz is sold, and the areas wherein they are stored are rented, to a non-Jew. In this manner, the chametz no longer belongs to us, until the end of Passover when the chametz is bought back from the non-Jew.

So your shed would work out just fine!

The procedure of selling and buying the chametz involves many legal intricacies, it is thus necessary to delegate a competent rabbi to perform the sale on our behalf. You can delegate your local rabbi or use an online form to perform the sale.

Incidentally you need to sell the chametz which may be in any properties you own or rent. This would also include your office or business premises. If you have a home on the beach or in the mountains, whether you use it or not, you still need to sell the chametz that is within it, too.

Follow these links for more information about:

Chametz
Sale of Chametz

Best wishes,

Chani Benjaminson
Chabad.org

Footnotes
Chani Benjaminson is co-director of Chabad of the South Coast, coordinator of Chabad’s Ask the Rabbi and Feedback departments, and is a member of the editorial staff of Chabad.org.
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Anonymous May 23, 2014

Semantics--Not Religion Just as I said. You are choosing to interpret "in your borders" as legal ownership rather than physical location. This is man's interpretation of the sacred writings. The Torah clearly says not to have it in your house or on any other land that you own (i.e. your "borders".) And sorry, but merely signing a paper that says that you don't legally "own" your chometz does not remove it from "your borders". You are just kidding yourself for the sake of convenience. Reply

Shaul Wolf May 22, 2014

Re: Prohibition against owning chametz The first verse you quoted, from Exodus 13, concludes "in all your borders". In addition to the prohibition of Chametz being "in your houses" (Exodus 12), it may not be in any of your borders, including wherever the chametz may be found. Reply

Anonymous April 16, 2014

There is No Prohibition against Owning Chometz Nowhere in the Torah does it say that chometz cannot be owned during Passover. Here are the relevant passages:

1. 'It shall not be seen' (Bal Yeraeh) as it says: "No leavened bread shall be seen with you nor any leaven be seen in all your borders" (Exodus 13:7).

2. 'It shall not be found' (Bal Yimatzei), as it says: "no leaven shall be found in your houses for seven days" (Exodus 12:19).

3. The positive commandment of "you shall remove leaven from your houses" (Exodus 12:15).

If I own chometz but it's not in my house, that would clearly be in line with the specified prohibitions. (It also plainly states for SEVEN days (not eight), but that's a topic for another day.) The prohibition against ownership of chometz is man's interpretation of the sacred writings, and is questionable at best. Reply

Mary B. Goouch Toronto, Canada March 21, 2013

If I were a Rich Man ..... ! Have you heard of very wealthy people simply moving into a Guest House or a separate part of a house complete with everything "koshered" for Passover?
This "Passover Area" would, of course, have to be prepared for Passover but without all of the work for the common areas that has seen day-to-day living. Reply

Anonymous Camarillo, CA via chabadcamarillo.com February 13, 2011

What if the government prohibits renting? What if you live in a place where the zoning laws prohibit you from renting any part of your home?

Since Jewish law technically does not absolutely require the rental arrangement, you do not have a valid reason to violate the secular law.

However, storing the items in the home of a gentile would work. That way, you just have to rent/sell the items, and not the shed or closet or other part of your home. Reply

Stuart April 18, 2008

RE: Passover in the office Yes they may Reply

Anonymous San Jose, Costa Rica April 17, 2008

passover in the office Jag Sameaj! What happens with the non-Jews in an office that need to have lunch but can not afford to go out and eat at a restaurant during the entire week? Can they bring fruits, vegetables? Reply

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