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. Known as bedikat chametz (בְּדִיקַת חָמֵץ), 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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