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.