Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Cleaning for Pesach Refresher Course!

This year's Pesah is going to be like no Pesah we have had in living memory. Please read this refresher on how to clean Pesah and please try to stay calm I know this won't be as hard as you think it is.

Pesah cleaning doesn’t have to be a full spring cleaning and it doesn’t have to take from Purim just to get it all done. Here is a quick guide for Pesah cleaning which can be done with a medium of fuss.  It is incumbent upon us to clean before Pesah but we are not required nor is it recommended to arrive at the Seder exhausted.

In order to change our attitudes, we must know the halakha. There are so many Pesah preparations that are done unnecessarily, where if you want to do them for extra credit, that's fine. But it's important to understand what is necessity and what is voluntary.

Here is a guide based on Rav Aviner on How to get ready for Pesah in just one day!

If you are going away for Pesah and will not be at home during the entire holiday, you can be lenient and not clean for Pesah. You should sell all of the hametz in the house, including all of the crumbs - but not just the crumbs on their own, because that would have no halachic value. It is possible, however, to sell the food in the cabinets and closets including the "hametz dirt." If someone is staying in your house, you need to clean the rooms which will be used. The remaining unused rooms must be closed off with tape, and you must sell any hametz which is in them.

There is still the question of how to fulfill the mitzvah of Bedikat Hametz (the search for hametz). If you arrive at your Pesah destination by the fourteenth of Nissan, perform the search there. If you arrive on the morning of the fourteenth, you should clean well and check a small room, i.e. the entrance way and not sell the hametz in that room. You must also perform the search for hametz, with a blessing, in the rooms in which you will live during Pesah - if no one else has done so.

Hametz which is less than a "Kezayit" may not be eaten, but it is not included in the Torah prohibition.  Usually, only rooms in which children are allowed to bring sandwiches or cookies are likely to contain such big pieces of hametz. A room in which people do not walk around with food does not need to be cleaned at all.

Only search for hametz in places in which there is a reasonable chance of finding it. It is nearly impossible for hametz which is an inch square to be hidden inside a book! Everybody knows their kids' habits. Peek, and open here and there. Regarding crumbs in the corners of the house:

1. They are not a "Kezayit."

2. They are inedible to a dog. If there is bread behind a cabinet in an unreachable place, nobody will get to it on Pesah and it is as if it is buried - just as you do not have to search under stones or under the house's foundations, since nobody will take hametz from there.

By the way, start "Bedikat Hametz" in a place where hametz was used, so the blessing will apply to it.


There may be cookies in your kids' pockets. Even the crumbs must be removed, since a child may put his hand into his pocket and then into his mouth. Toys must also be checked. However, you may put some or all of the toys away, and buy new toys as a present for the holiday! This serves a double purpose of saving work and making the children happy.

Bathroom Cabinets: These may contain hametz, such as wheat germ oil and alcohol derived from wheat. What a waste to clean it. Close and tape the cabinets and include it in the sale of hametz.

Couches: You have to check between the pillows. It is an interesting experience to find lost objects.

Dining Room: You do not have to clean everything, just the place where people eat, i.e. the chairs and the table. Chairs: If the chairs are clean, there is no need to clean them. If the kids throw cereal or other things on them and they do not look clean, clean it with a wet rag. Table: Covering with tablecloths.

High Chair: If it is plastic, it may be immersed in a tub with boiling water and cleaning agents. Clean the cracks with a stiff brush. It is unnecessary to take the chair apart, because whatever is in the cracks and holes is inedible to a dog.

Kitchen: This room must be thoroughly cleaned and not one crumb of hametz left.

For all the appliances see the Vaad Guide pages 17-20

Refrigerator: Clean it, but it does not have to be a lot of work. It is best to eat up all hametz before Pesah, but if expensive hametz food products are left over, i.e. frozen foods, they may be wrapped up well, labeled "hametz," stored in the back of the freezer/refrigerator and included in the list of hametz sold before Pesah.

Food Pantry: Do not clean. It is a waste of time. Seal, put sign or sticker not to use and include it in sale of hametz.

Dishes, shelves, and drawers that will not be used on Pesah may be sealed, and need not be cleaned. There are those who are strict to clean even the things which are used for hametz, but one can be lenient on account of three reasons, each of which would be enough:

1. We sell all the crumbs together with the sale of hametz.
2. The dishes are clean - nobody puts a dirty dish away in the cabinet.
3. Even if there is "hametz dirt," it is definitely less than a "Kezayit."

Humrot - Being Strict

If you know that you are being stricter than Halakhah requires, and you choose to be strict, you deserve a blessing. If you have a strong desire to clean a lot, you deserve a blessing, especially for Pesah, "whoever is strict deserves a blessing." You should not, however, force a stricture on yourself, but accept it with love.

Pesah Allegre!

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