Monday, April 15, 2019

The 13 special Shabbats each year and how we baked Matzot in the concentration camps with a  Passover guide and  Happy  April  15--tax day

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Love Yehuda Lave

Dear all, soon Pesach will be upon us

Every adult has a responsibility to avoid these dangers.1.  During the house cleaning, do not leave Economica lying around, or the open bottle or near food. It is a poison. Many cleaning fluids are poisons.Wash you hands well, after any cleaning, and before any food preparation.2. Little children or grandchildren in the house:- Everybody is busy as the Holyday approaches.   Keep an eye on them, what are they doing?  Are they playing with glass, electrical gadgets, old electrical cords [electrification], water tubs or on ladders. [many accident with kids happen just before Pesach].3. On the phone:  while you are on the phone with your long lost 'cousin' or that distant relative who calls every year from 'zin-land; what is happening around you?Is the pot boiling over, is the front door wide open, is that 2 year old still in the tub, is the vacuum cleaner still working, 'who is playing with matches?'   If the phone rings, first -as a rule - stop what you are doing...completely- and then answer the phone.4...Who has allergies in your house? What relative is coming for the Seder and HE has an allergy? [What will you do if he gets a rash, or anaphylaxis??]5...If your drive off to go shopping, to pick up the kids, or go away for the Seder:- is the gas off?, are the windows closed? how easy is it for  a burgler to get in?, are the kids alone in the house?    Are you driving carefully, and using the safety belt.6...Medications:  Those who take medications, are you prepared? Do you have enough?  Are you eating well, and are you over -tired? If your are stressed? can the medications you take -compensate for the extra 'problems' in your body?7...Last point:- Pesach and the Seder night [or 2 nights], is a festival, a joyous period and a family event...If your family constellation [including that obnoxious aunt], is a negative; then cut down on the 'bad' visitors...and just have your FESTIVAL with the good people around you.   It is your Seder, why are you forced to suffer through YOUR Seder or festival?? Enjoy the month of Nissan, and the festival:.....Steve Sattler

13 Special Shabbats on the Jewish Calendar By Menachem Posner

On the Jewish calendar, every Shabbat is known by name of the Torah portion read that week. Some weeks—often related to a special haftarah (selection from Prophets) or Torah reading added to that day's service—the Shabbat is given an additional, unique name. Here are the 13 Shabbat names to know:

1. Shabbat Shuvah (or Shabbat Teshuvah)

The week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a time of intense introspection and repentance—teshuvah in Hebrew. This is the theme of the haftarah, which starts with the words, Shuvah Yisrael ("Return, oh Israel").1

This week is a most auspicious time to rectify the failings and missed opportunities of the past and positively influence the coming year. The master kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria ("Ari") taught that the seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (which will always include one Sunday, one Monday, etc.) correspond to the seven days of the week. The Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur includes within itself all Sundays of the year; the Monday embodies all Mondays, and so on. Shabbat Shuvah is thus the archetypal Shabbat—the juncture in time at which we are empowered to influence every Shabbat of our year.

Read: The 10 Days of Repentance

2. Shabbat Bereishit

The annual cycle of Torah readings ends and begins anew on the joyous holiday of Simchat Torah, when we read the final portion of V'Zot HaBerachah and the opening lines of the first portion, Bereishit. On the following Shabbat, the full portion of Bereishit is read from the Torah. It is said in the name of the third Chabad Rebbe (known as the Tzemach Tzedek), that the way one conducts oneself on Shabbat Bereishit sets the tone for the entire year. Like a caboose following a long railroad train, this Shabbat helps us collect the spiritual energy of the past month, ensuring that we remain on track for the long haul ahead.

Read: What Is Shabbat Bereishit?

3. Shabbat Chanukah

The eight days of Chanukah will always coincide with at least one and sometimes two Shabbats. When this happens, there are special haftarah readings, and Chanukah candles are lit earlier than usual on Friday afternoon and later on Saturday night, since fire may not be handled on Shabbat itself.

In the event that Shabbat Chanukah coincides with Rosh Chodesh Tevet, this is one of the rare occasions when three Torahs are removed from the ark for the Torah readings.

Read: Shabbat Chanukah Haftarah Companion

Illustration by Sefira Ross 4. Shabbat Shirah

The portion of Beshalach tells of our ancestors' miraculous trip through the Red Sea and how Moses and Miriam led them in songs of praise. Our sages tell us that the birds in the sky joined their singing. For this reason, it is customary to put out food for the birds for this Shabbat, which is known as Shabbat Shirah, the "Sabbath of Song." (To avoid the possibility of transgressing the laws of Shabbat, the food should be put out on Friday, before the onset of Shabbat).

Read: The Parting of the Red Sea

5. Shabbat Shekalim

When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, each Jew contributed an annual tax of one half-shekel which was due on Nissan 1. The collection was announced one month prior, on Adar 1, so the Torah reading on the Shabbat which falls on or before Adar 1 is supplemented with the verses that relate G‑d's commandment to Moses regarding the first giving of the half-shekel.2 This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Shekalim.

The Shekalim haftarah continues on the same theme, discussing the efforts of King Jehoash (9th century BCE) to earmark communal funds for the upkeep of the first Holy Temple.3

Read: All About Shekalim

6. Shabbat Zachor

On the Shabbat before Purim, the holiday when we celebrate the foiling of Haman the Amalekite's plot to destroy the Jewish people, the weekly Torah reading is supplemented with the Zachor ("Remember!") reading in which we are commanded to remember the evil of Amalek and to eradicate it from the face of the earth.4

According to many Halachic authorities, there is a Biblical requirement (for all men) to hear the Zachor reading.

The special Zachor haftarah discusses G‑d's command to King Saul to destroy the people of Amalek.5

Read: Who Was Amalek and the Amalekites?

7. Shabbat Parah

The Torah reading of Parah is added to the weekly reading on the penultimate Shabbat of the month of Adar (or on the last Shabbat when Rosh Chodesh Nissan is on Shabbat). Parah details the laws of the red heifer and the process by which a person rendered ritually impure by contact with a dead body was purified.6

When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, every Jew had to be in a state of ritual purity in time for the annual Passover offering. Today, though we're unable to fulfill the Temple-related rituals in practice, we fulfill them spiritually by studying their laws. As such, we study and read the section of Parah in preparation for the upcoming festival of Passover.

Read: What Was the Red Heifer?

8. Shabbat Hachodesh

A special reading called "Hachodesh" is added to the regular Shabbat Torah reading the week of or before Nissan 1. Hachodesh recounts G‑d's historic communication to Moses two weeks before the Exodus regarding the Jewish calendar, the month of Nissan, and the Passover offering.7

9. Shabbat Hagadol

The Shabbat before Passover is called Shabbat Hagadol ("The Great Shabbat") in commemoration of the miracle that occurred in Egypt on this day, heralding the Exodus five days later. Fearing the impending death-of-the-firstborn plague, the Egyptian firstborns rose up against Pharaoh and demanded that Israel be set free. In this way, G‑d smote Egypt from within.

Shabbat Hagadol customs include reading a portion of the Haggadah (from Avadim hayinu... to ..lechaper al kol avonotainu), which tells the story of the Exodus; it is also customary for the rabbi of the community to deliver a lecture in which he elaborates on the laws of Passover and their significance, in preparation for the festival.

Read: All About Shabbat Hagadol

10. Shabbat Chazon

The most somber period on the Jewish calendar is the nine days leading up to (and including) the Ninth of Av, when we mourn the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem. The Shabbat before the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Chazon ("Shabbat of Vision") after the opening words of the day's haftarah, which is the third of the series of readings known as "The Three of Rebuke." On this Shabbat, say the Chassidic masters, we are granted a vision of the Third Temple; we may not see it with our physical eyes, but our soul sees it and becomes empowered to break free of our present state of galut (exile and spiritual displacement) and bring about the Redemption and the rebuilding of the Temple.

Watch: The Story Behind Shabbat Chazon

The Third Temple: © Haya Berkowitz 11. Shabbat Nachamu

The Shabbat after the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Nachamu ("Shabbat of Consolation") after the opening words of the day's haftarah, Nachamu, nachamu ami ("Comfort, comfort My nation).8 This is the first of the series of readings known as "The Seven of Consolation" read in the seven weeks between the Ninth of Av and Rosh Hashanah.

Watch: Isaiah's Double Vision

12. Shabbat Chol Hamoed

The intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot are quasi-holidays known as Chol Hamoed. Shabbat Chol Hamoed has an added layer of festivity; the weekly Torah reading cycle is suspended, and a selection related to the holiday is read instead.

13. Shabbat Mevarchim

The Shabbat before the start of a Jewish month (Rosh Chodesh) is known as Shabbat Mevarchim, "the Shabbat when we bless." On this day, during the synagogue service, we recite a blessing for the new month and announce the timing of Rosh Chodesh.

Read: More About Shabbat Mevarchim

(Woman In Prayer - by Sefira Lightstone) Footnotes 1.

Hoshea 14:2.


Exodus 30:11-16.


II Kings 11:17-12:17.


Deuteronomy 25:17-19.


I Samuel 15:2-34.


Numbers 19.


Exodus 12:1-20.


Isaiah 40:1.

By Menachem Posner Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor at, the world's largest Jewish informational website. He has been writing, researching, and editing for since 2006, when he received his rabbinic degree from Central Yeshiva Tomchei Temimin Lubavitch. He resides in Chicago, Ill., with his family. More from Menachem Posner  |  RSS © Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.

How We Baked Matzah in a Nazi Labor Camp By Asharon Baltazar

Three men, all prisoners, could think of nothing but the imminent festival of Passover. As thousands of Jews—including their own relatives—were being sent to their deaths on a daily basis, Yaakov Friedman, Moshe Goldstein, and Rabbi Yekusiel Halberstam (the Klausenburger Rebbe) had the bravery and presence of mind to secure matzah for Passover 1945.

Here is Moshe Goldstein's account of the amazing turn of events that afforded them the ability to observe the Festival of Freedom amidst abysmal suffering and death:

In the days preceding Passover, the war was nearing its end. The relentless droning of American aircraft filled the German skies, followed by the whistling hail of bombs that pounded the Mühldorf railway complex into rubble.

Spared of destruction were the nearby forced labor camps where we toiled under the harshest conditions. We prisoners celebrated this mighty display of Allied destruction, but the anxiety of our German overseers ran high. The railway was vital to the war efforts, and orders were issued to immediately repair the damage. The Germans decided to send a group of 12 Jewish slaves to begin the cleanup.

I knew the work would be excruciating but I hoped that perhaps I would find some food amidst the rubble.I volunteered to go. I knew the work would be excruciating but I hoped that perhaps I would find some food amidst the rubble.

We arrived at a scene of utter devastation. Freight cars lay on their sides, smoke rising from gaping holes. Stretches of railing were ripped off the ground and tossed aside in twisted heaps. Nearly every building suffered extensive damage. It was clear some of the cars were unrepairable.

I managed to disappear between the rows of trains that were still upright. It took a while, but I eventually found a boxcar from Hungary loaded with wheat in burlap sacks. Wheat! And so close to Pesach! G‑d had granted us a good start, but how could I possibly smuggle the wheat into the camp?

Reb Yaakov Friedman and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

A faint groan from amid the wheat sacks caught my attention. There, in a dark corner of the boxcar, lay a man, crushed by the enormous weight of the grain. The man mumbled something more, which I recognized as Hungarian, my native tongue. I saw he wore the gray uniform of an SS officer.

"What happened?" I asked.

The SS officer moaned weakly about being pinned under the sacks.

"I understand. Let me help you."

As I approached, I noticed the officer's boots, deep black in color and luxurious in appearance. On my own were bits of tattered leather, barely held together.

"I'm going to take off your shoes," I said. "That way, you'll feel less restrained, and then we'll see what we can do."

Once I had undone the laces, I slipped the heavy boots off. Then, wielding whatever strength and hate I could muster, I swung at the man's head. I took the boots and continued my search.

I knew I did not have much time and I needed to think of a way to bring in as much wheat as possible without the guards knowing. Lugging the sacks through the main gates didn't even occur to me; the wheat would be confiscated and I would be shot without a second thought.

I rummaged around some more, and discovered two pairs of pants. I put them on and cinched the bottoms around my ankles with some rope. I was then able to pour a small quantity of wheat into the space between the two pairs of pants. Once my legs were filled with as much wheat as I dared carry, I began the long walk back to the camp.

The bombings left the Germans rattled and fearful, and for the initial days following the air raid, the inspection of prisoners at camp gates was enforced almost half-heartedly. I was thus able to smuggle in a fairly large amount of wheat.

We had wheat, but now what?

Reb Sender Direnfeld, a fellow inmate and a Belzer Chassid, offered to hide the wheat, and amazingly, he managed to keep it away from prying German eyes.

Later, an old mill was procured from somewhere. We ground the wheat in the dead of night, and using a clean piece of cloth, sifted the flour from grit.

Next we needed fuel for a fire.

During one stint in the field, I asked everyone to find a stick and carry it back to the camp. The branches were conspicuous and caught the attention of a German guard. He motioned me over.

"Why is everyone with a stick?"

"What difference does it make? People want to walk around with a stick," I answered.

We had flour and we had fuel. We were ready to bake matzah.

One night just before Passover, we set about baking matzah. Near the barrack door stood a prisoner, standing guard with fearful eyes.

We lit a fire under a metal can which functioned as our oven, and the Matzah baking—under Nazi noses—began. The Rebbe, Reb Yaakov, and I mixed the flour and kneaded the dough. We worked quickly, not only because of the strict 18-minute limit, but also because of the ever-present danger of being caught. We ended up with 20 small matzahs.

On Pesach eve, after returning from work, our small group sat down for the Seder. On wooden slats around us lay sleeping bodies, exhausted from the relentless work. For those celebrating, the hardships of the Holocaust and daily camp life melted away as we experienced the Biblical redemption from Egypt. Unable to sit for long, we each ate an olive-sized piece of matzah, the taste of tears mingling with the matzah crumbs in our mouths.

We could not sit leisurely and recite the Haggadah, but in those moments we each prayed—more fervently than ever before or ever since—the words that still ring in my ears: "Next year in Jerusalem."

Adapted from Yaakov Friedman's memoirs, Tiferet Yaakov (Hebrew), written by his son-in-law, Rabbi Sholom Horowitz.

Jokes from my sister to lighten up the mood

Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?         ·

What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?

 If poison expires is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?         ·

Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?         ·

Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?        

· Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.        

· Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.         ·

The word "swims" upside-down and backwards is still "swims".         ·

Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, and scissors is just as hard as trying to win.      

 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.  

Information about Pesach - Holidays in Israel

Pesach, or Passover, is a major holiday in Jewish tradition, and is one of the three pilgrimage holidays, along with Sukkot and Shavuot.

These are the holidays on which the whole Jewish people would come to Jerusalem in ancient times, when the Holy Temple was there, and would offer animal and grain sacrifices. Since the destruction of the Temple, a few of the holiday traditions have been retained, without the pilgrimage and the sacrifices, and many new traditions have been added. 

Pesach, which starts on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan (usually in April), lasts for seven days (8 days outside of Israel) and is celebrated to commemorate the exodus from Egypt - one of the main stories in the history of the Jewish people and in western culture in general.

According to the Torah, the Israelites lived in Egypt, and were enslaved by the Egyptians. Moshe (Moses), an Israelite who grew up in the palace of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, became a leader of the Israelites and asked Pharaoh to allow them to return to the Land of Israel. When Pharaoh refused, Moshe led a campaign that culminated in his people's hurried departure from Egypt, toward the Sinai desert, where they lived for 40 years.

According to Jewish tradition, during this long journey in the desert, led by Moshe and his brother Aharon, the Israelites became a united people as they prepared to conquer the Land of Israel.


Pesach names

Pesach is also called the holiday of Freedom, and this aspect of the holiday is emphasized in the rituals and prayers: the exodus from slavery to freedom symbolizes physical and spiritual redemption and man's aspiration to be free. 

Another important element of this holiday is family togetherness. On the eve of the holiday, called Seder night, due to the ceremonial Seder meal that is celebrated that evening, whole extended families gather around one table. It is also an important Jewish precept to invite others who have no family with whom to celebrate the holiday.

Another name for Pesach is the holiday of Unleavened Bread. The story of the exodus from Egypt relates that the Israelites left Egypt hurriedly and the dough they had prepared had no time to rise, so they baked it into matzah, unleavened bread. One of the important precepts of this holiday is the abstinence from eating leaven - any baked goods prepared with flour and allowed to rise, or prepared foods containing flour. Instead of bread, Jews eat matzah. Religious (and traditional) Jews observe this aspect of the holiday meticulously.

One more name for Pesach is the holiday of Spring, marking the season in which Pesach is celebrated.

The first day of the holiday, as well as the last day (which is known as the "second holiday") are holy rest days, on which all productive work is forbidden. The intermediate days are called Chol ha-Mo'ed, and are part-holiday, part-regular days. 


Holiday Customs


How is pesach celebrated?

Prohibition on eating leaven - Throughout the seven-day holiday, the prohibition against eating leaven - called chametz - is in effect, in commemoration of the matzah that the Israelites ate on their hurried journey out of Egypt. The prohibition includes all types of bread and baked goods made of flour dough, and also all types of pasta. 

Eating matzah - Matzah is flat bread made from unrisen dough. Apart from during the ceremonial Seder meal, eating matzah is not compulsory, but for most Israeli families (religious and traditional alike) matzah is the accepted alternative to bread throughout the holiday.

Biur chametz - the eradication of leaven - In the weeks prior to Pesach, Jews customarily clean their homes thoroughly to ensure that not one crumb of chametz remains. Non-religious Jews often use this custom as an opportunity to "spring-clean" their homes and create a holiday atmosphere. The religious view this as a precept that must be strictly observed, and follow a special process to remove chametz even from their dishes and cooking utensils, or they use special dishes just for Pesach. On the night before the day on which Pesach begins, it is customary to search in all the corners of the house by candlelight, to make sure there are no crumbs anywhere. The State of Israel, as a representative of the Jewish people, customarily sells all the chametz in Israel to a non-Jew at a symbolic price (and buys it back immediately following the holiday).

The Seder - This is a lengthy ceremonial meal held on the eve of the holiday (the evening before the first day of the holiday). The family gathers around the holiday table for the Seder - the reading of the Haggadah and the holiday meal. The Haggadah is a compilation of texts from Jewish tradition - passages from the Bible, from the Mishna, commentaries and songs, whose main theme is the exodus from Egypt. The purpose of the reading of the Haggadah is to transmit the Pesach tradition from one generation to the next (thus fulfilling the Torah precept, "and you shall tell your son"), and the rituals are designed first and foremost to arouse the children's curiosity. The rituals during the Seder are all symbolic, such as the eating of matzah and bitter herbs, the drinking of four goblets of wine, singing together, and of course the big meal.

Afikoman - In order to encourage the children to stay awake throughout the Seder, it is customary to hide a special piece of matzah, called the Afikoman, somewhere in the house, and the children have to find it. Whoever finds it usually gets a prize.


Pesach in Israel

The first day of Pesach, and similarly the last day (the "seventh day of Pesach" or "second holiday") are holy rest days on which productive work is forbidden. Almost all Israeli businesses are closed on these days.

The intermediate days (Chol ha-Mo'ed) are half-holiday, half regular weekday. Many offices and businesses are only open half a day (usually the morning), and many Israeli families go on vacations or day-trips out of town. Since this period is also a vacation period from school, take into account that many vacation sites will be full of Israeli families. 

Most Israeli restaurants observe the kosher food laws of Pesach, and many places will offer kosher-for-Pesach alternatives to regular foods.

Many small eateries are closed for their annual vacation on Pesach, to avoid the necessity of making the premises kosher for Pesach. In recent years, particularly in Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities, there has been a relaxing of the stringent observance of Pesach in restaurants, and you will be able to find restaurants that serve bread, cakes and pasta dishes. Please note: not only bread products, but also beer is not kosher for Pesach.

Passover begins this year on Friday evening, April 19 and continues until nightfall, Friday, April 26, 2019.

As we all prepare for the Festival of Freedom, we bring you a brief overview of how and when to prepare your home for Passover, along with a daily holiday schedule for the entire holiday. If you have any further questions please consult your local orthodox rabbi or, in case you don't have one, feel free to write to us at

Please read this guide in its entirety before the beginning of the holiday. Some holiday items need pre-holiday "action." We welcome you to print it and carry it with you in the days before Passover for easy reference, and to distribute this guide to whomever will benefit from it.

Your Passover Guide - 2019

Operation Zero Chametz

Passover is a holiday that mandates our complete involvement, not just during its eight days but for weeks before. Aside from the regular holiday obligations, we are also commanded (Exodus 13:3–7): "No leaven shall be eaten . . . For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread . . . and no leaven shall be seen of yours [in your possession]."

We accomplish this by cleaning and inspecting our homes well before Passover, and gradually eliminating chametz from every room and crevice. This intensive cleaning takes place in Jewish homes throughout the world.

What Is Chametz (Chometz)?

The Very Short Answer

Chametz (also spelled "hametz" or "chometz") is any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has come into contact with water and been allowed to ferment and "rise."

In practice, just about anything made from these grains—other than Passover matzah, which is carefully controlled to avoid leavening—is to be considered chametz. This includes flour (even before it is mixed with water1), cake, cookies, pasta, breads, and items that have chametz as an ingredient, like malt.

The Biblical Basis

Just before the nation of of Israel left Egypt, G‑d commanded them to sacrifice the paschal lamb and then eat it with unleavened matzah and bitter herbs.2 G‑d then told them that they should replicate this feast every year on the anniversary of the Exodus: "It shall be for you a remembrance . . . seven days you shall eat matzah, and on the first day you should remove all se'or (sourdough, a leavening agent) from your homes. Anyone who eats chametz (leaven) from the first day to the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel."

When Is It Forbidden?

According to Jewish law, it is forbidden to eat chametz after the fourth halachic hour3 on the morning before Passover. It is forbidden to derive any benefit from chametz at the fifth hour, and all chametz should be burned before the sixth hour. From then until after Passover, chametz is completely forbidden.

Why does the prohibition start before Passover begins?

The Torah states: "You shall slaughter the Passover sacrifice to the L‑rd, your G‑d. . . . You shall not eat leaven with it."4 Tradition interprets this to mean that the prohibition of chametz starts from the time when the Passover sacrifice could be offered: from midday of the 14th of Nissan.5

To prevent people from transgressing the prohibition inadvertently, the sages decreed that the prohibition of eating chametz starts two hours before midday, and the prohibition of deriving any benefit starts one hour prior to midday.

To see the relevant halachic times for your area, click here.

Getting Rid of Chametz

Long before Passover begins, we clean our homes, offices, and any other place that belongs to us to rid our homes of chametz. Although it's praiseworthy to be stringent on Passover, keep in mind that dust isn't chametz. The main purpose of cleaning and searching for chametz is to remove any chametz that one may come to inadvertently eat or derive benefit from during Passover. This obligation of getting rid of chametz does not extend to inedible chametz or tiny crumbs or particles of chametz that are soiled or spoiled. So the key areas to focus on are things that may come in contact with food, since we are forbidden to eat anything with even a trace of chametz.

The kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned, and all surfaces should be covered or koshered. Additionally, if you're using your regular utensils or appliances for Passover, they will need to be koshered. If finances permit, it is better (and easier) to simply buy a set of Passover utensils. For more on the specifics of getting rid of chametz and koshering your kitchen, click here.

Some non-food items, such as vitamins and cosmetics, may contain chametz and will need to be disposed of or sold (see below). Please consult with a rabbi for a list of permissible and prohibited items.

The Search

On the eve of the 14th of Nissan, with just 24 hours to go to the Seder, we search our property—including home, office and car—for any chametz that may have been missed in the cleaning process.

The custom is to conduct the search using a candle, feather, wooden spoon and a (paper) bag for collecting any chametz found. Have someone place 10 pieces of bread throughout the house to be found during the search.6

Before we start the search, we recite the blessing (found here). No interruption should be made between reciting the blessing and the start of the search. Additionally, during the search, we only discuss that which pertains to the search for chametz.

In order to ensure that we remember to conduct the search on time, it is forbidden to eat or even learn Torah after nightfall until after the search has been completed.

The Nullification

Following the search for chametz, we recite a "nullification statement" renouncing all ownership of any chametz that, unbeknownst to us, may still be in our possession. The nullification statement should be said in a language that you understand, and can be found here.

Through nullifying our chametz, we consider it as no more than dust and thus ownerless, thereby fulfilling the mitzvah of removing chametz from our possession.

The Sale

Utensils used for chametz (and chametz itself that you are reluctant to dispose of) may be sold to a person who is not Jewish for the duration of Passover. (Some have the custom not to sell any real chametz, although this is not the Chabad custom.)

The sold chametz and utensils should be set aside in a designated place (e.g., closet or cabinet), which is rented to the non-Jewish buyer until after Passover. This storage place should be clearly marked, so no one can take anything from there through force of habit.

The sale of chametz to the non-Jew is not a symbolic sale, but a legally binding transaction, and must therefore be conducted by a competent rabbi.

After writing a bill of sale, one may leave the chametz in his home without transgressing the prohibitions of not seeing or having chametz, since the chametz no longer belongs to him.

For more about the sale of chametz, click here.

To arrange for the sale of your chametz, click here.

The Burning

On the 14th of Nissan, before the sixth hour of the day, we burn any chametz that we still have. This includes the bag of chametz from our search the previous night.

After the chametz is burned, we again recite a nullification statement. However, this nullification statement has a slightly different wording than what was said at night after the search for chametz. The statement recited at night includes only chametz that was missed in the search, but doesn't include chametz set aside to be sold or eaten in the morning. When we burn the chametz, the statement includes all chametz that may still be in our possession, and serves as a final "safety measure" for a chametz-less Passover.

The text can be found here.


Due to the gravity of the prohibition of chametz, the medieval Ashkenazic rabbis also forbade the consumption of any kitniyot (very loosely translated as "legumes") on Passover, since they can be confused with the forbidden grains. This includes (but is not limited to): rice, corn, soybeans, stringbeans, peas, lentils, mustard, sesame and poppy seeds. This ban was accepted as binding law by Ashkenazic Jewry.

The prohibition extends only to the consumption of kitniyot; there is no obligation to destroy or sell kitniyot products before Passover, and we can derive benefit from kitniyot products (e.g., pet food) during Passover.

For more on kitniyot, click here.

Chametz After Passover

Due to the severity of the prohibition of owning chametz on Passover, the rabbis of the Talmud established an after-the-fact penalty for owning any chametz products during Pesach. This prohibition is known as chametz she'avar alav haPesach. One may not consume or even derive benefit from such chametz, and if chametz is found either on or after Passover that was owned by a Jew during Passover, it needs to be destroyed.

So, what does that mean on a practical level? When you're purchasing chametz products after Passover from a Jewish-owned store, the owner cannot have owned that chametz during Passover. If he did, you'll need to refrain from purchasing any chametz products there until it is deemed that a sufficient amount of time has passed for all of those chametz products to have been sold. Consult your local rabbi with any questions regarding stores in your area.

This prohibition does not apply to kitniyot, since one is permitted to own it on Passover.

On a Spiritual Note

Chametz and matzah are almost the same substance, containing the same ingredients of flour and water. The one key difference is that while chametz bread rises, filling itself with hot air, the matzah stays flat and humble.

Thus, chametz represents that swelling of ego that enslaves the soul more than any external prison. It is for this reason that once a year on Passover, when we celebrate our freedom from slavery and our birth as a nation unto G‑d, we are extremely careful to eradicate any chametz that we may have.

The flat, unpretentious matzah represents the humility, self-effacement and commitment that are the ultimate liberators, enabling us to connect to G‑d without our egos getting in the way. And that is why eating matzah on Passover is so fundamental to our faith.


The medieval Jewish sages placed a ban on eating legumes (kitniyot) on Passover, because they are similar in texture to chametz—even bread can be made out of their flour—so people might assume that if, for example, cornbread can be eaten on Passover, wheat or rye bread can be eaten too. This prohibition includes rice, beans and corn. This injunction was unanimously accepted by Ashkenazic Jews; many Sephardic Jews, however, continue to eat kitniyot on Passover. If you are Sephardic, speak to your rabbi to determine your family and community tradition.

The prohibition is only with regards to consumption of kitniyot; there is no obligation, however, to destroy or sell kitniyot products before Passover.

Read More About Kitniyot

Getting Rid of Chametz (Chometz)

Search and Destroy
Any area where one can reasonably suspect that chametz might have been brought throughout the year must be thoroughly cleaned. This includes the home, office, cars, garage, etc. Check carefully to ensure that no crumb is left behind: check and clean desks, drawers, closets, clothing pockets (especially the children's), pocketbooks, briefcases and attache cases, beds, dining and living room furniture, bookcases, etc.

If You Can't Destroy it, Sell It
Chametz that you don't want to destroy, and utensils used throughout the year (and not koshered for Passover), should be stored in closets or rooms which will be sealed for the duration of Passover. The chametz should be sold to a non-Jew through a rabbi. Click here to sell your chametz online.

Preparing the Kitchen

Every part of our homes is cleaned for Passover, but we pay special attention to the kitchen, because (a) that's where most of our chametz hangs out during the year, and (b) we will be using our kitchens to prepare our Passover food.

Dishes and Utensils
Today, most Passover-savvy homes have a special set of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and other utensils for Passover use only. If necessary, certain year-round utensils can be used—provided they are koshered for Passover. This gets rather complex—you'll need to consult a competent rabbi about your particular utensils, but you can click here for the basic koshering procedures.

Thoroughly clean and scour every part of the stove. Heat the oven to the highest temperature possible for 1–2 hours. Heat the grates and the iron parts of the stove (and the elements, if electric) until they are red-hot. It is suggested that the oven and the stove top should be covered with aluminum foil afterwards for the duration of Passover.

Microwave Ovens
Clean the oven thoroughly. Fill a completely clean container, that was not used for 24 hours, with water. Turn on the microwave and let it steam heavily. Turn it off and wipe out the inside.

To use the microwave during Passover, use a flat, thick, microwave-safe object as a separation between the bottom of the oven and the cooking dish. When cooking or warming, the food should be covered on all sides.

For 24 hours before koshering the sink, do not pour hot water from chametz pots into it. Meticulously clean the sink, boil water in a clean pot which was not used for 24 hours, and pour three times onto every part of the sink, including the drain stopper. Then line the sink with foil or liner.

Refrigerator, Freezer, Cupboards, Closets, Tables, and Counters
Thoroughly clean and scrub them to remove any crumbs and residue. Afterwards, place a heavy covering over those surfaces that come into contact with hot food or utensils.

Tablecloths and Napkins
Launder without starch.

Cars, Garages, etc.
Vacuum your car or van; thoroughly clean your basement, garage, or any property you own. Special care should be taken with items you will be using, or rooms you will be accessing, during Passover.

Passover Shopping

While shopping for Passover we must be careful that the foods we buy are not only kosher, but are also kosher for Passover—that is, chametz-free.

Starting "From Scratch"

All fruits and vegetables, as well as all kosher cuts of meat and kosher fish, are kosher for Passover, provided they have been prepared in accordance with Jewish law and have not come into contact with chametz or chametz utensils.

The prevailing custom in Ashkenazi communities is that on Passover we do not eat rice, millet, corn, mustard, legumes (beans, etc.) or food made from any of these.

Commercially Prepared Products

Today there are many kosher-for-Passover packaged foods available. However, care must be used to purchase only those packaged foods that have reliable rabbinical supervision which is valid for Passover.

Obviously, all leavened foods made from—or that contain among their ingredients—wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt are actual chametz and are prohibited on Passover. Examples are bread, cake, cereal, spaghetti, beer and whiskey.

Check That Medicine Cabinet!

Many medicines, sprays, and cosmetics contain chametz. Consult a competent rabbi as to which ones may be used on Passover. The same applies to pet food.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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