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Passover Preparations

Passover Preparations

Who is this chametz guy, and how do I get rid of him?


Chametz means “leavened grain.” On Passover, not only do we not eat chametz, we mustn’t even own it. If a food or drink contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation—it’s chametz. Which means that any processed food or drink today can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.

Problem is, our homes are infested with the stuff. That’s why we go on a full spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover. We attack any and all areas where food may enter (don’t bother with places where food never comes). We move the furniture, oven and fridge; search beneath the sofa cushions; and wipe chairs, cupboards and bookshelves clean. Then there’s the office, the coat pockets and the car.

Problem is, our homes are infested with the stuff. That’s why we go on a full search-and-destroy missionThe major target, of course, is the kitchen. After cleaning it, use foil or paper to line all surfaces that may come in contact with food.

You’ll want separate utensils and appliances for Passover use. If this is not possible, some kitchen items can be made kosher for Passover. Click here for more on this.

The Sellout

Now you’re thinking, “What about my Ballantine’s 30-Year single malt whiskey and my kid’s Cheerio-Man masterpiece?” For these items, there’s an alternative: simply ensure that they do not belong to you during Passover.

Take the chametz you want to save—the food, the drinks and the utensils used throughout the year (and not koshered for Passover)—and store them away in a closet or room that you will lock or tape shut. Then, authorize an experienced rabbi to make a legally binding sale according to both Jewish and civil law (click here to do this online). He will sell all your chametz just before Passover, and buy it back as soon as the holiday is over. The night Passover ends, after the rabbi has purchased back your chametz, you can already break out that single malt for a l’chaim.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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1000 characters remaining Staff April 20, 2016

To Ruthy Check out this link for all the info you need for your Seder Reply

Ruthy Mass April 19, 2016

What do I need for the Passover table, Passover dish. Foods?
Where can I find the story and questions of Passover that is read during the meal.?
Thank youa Reply

Marsha Myerowitz March 26, 2015

This is a great article. It not only explains how to get ready for Passover, but it is done in a funny way. It's hard work and hard to let go of these things, but it can be done; and making us laugh makes it easier! Reply

David Pinto Montreal March 19, 2015

Koshering for Pesach This reminds me of a publication from the frum community that I saw a few years ago that suggested for a certain type of koshering, that one use a blowtorch. It then added that only people trained in the use of a blowtorch should use it! Well, I should hope so!!! Reply

Anonymous milan March 19, 2013

pesach cleaning This Pesach I need to kosherize a few pieces of cutlery and other stuff through hagalah, but I was told that my fire rings, hobs etc have to be kosher l'Pesach BEFORE I do the immersion. What are my options for that particular operation? I was told that spraying a few drops of alcohol on the kitchen hobs and then setting fire to them would be sufficient. I am not sure though - this phase has never been clear to me and I would like to do it to the best.

Thank you! Reply

Tommy Bayfield, CO April 7, 2012

The search for chametz It isn't enough to search our usual feeding spots and any other horizontal surface. You must do some intuitive thinking. We know about the oven and perhaps under the 'fridge' which are good hiding places for a crumb. What about the toaster? Turn it upside-down and give it a good shake over the sink. Surprise! I even had crispy raisins fall out.

God rewards your effort. You are not perfect. He is. You can't do a perfect job of cleaning. Just do your best. God knows your heart and your intent. When you think you are done, and you have sincerely done your best, pray about it. He'd love to hear from you. Reply

Anonymous Dudley, MA March 29, 2012

why be so neurotic? If you can sell your chametz to a non-Jew and you work full-time so you can't be obsessive about cleaning top to bottom, can't you make a good faith effort to clean at least the kitchen and not feel bad that you can't get every nook and cranny? Including the car if you don't eat in it? Reply

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