How much am I really required to clean for Pesach?
§ Min hatorah, in order to release ourselves from the prohibition of owning chometz, we need only to nullify it and deem it worthless (bittul). However, Chazal established that one cannot rely on nullification, and one must search for the chometz and remove it from his property.1
§ Rishonim give two reasons for this:2 (1) Since we may not let go of our chometz wholeheartedly, (2) Since if the chometz is accessible we might mistakenly eat it.
§ The obligation to search for chometz is limited to those places where chometz may have been throughout the year. Even a room that is not used for chometz must be checked if it’s possible that someone walked into the room while snacking.3 In a home where children walk around with snacks, every room accessible to them must be checked.
§ Although the prohibition of owning chometz does not apply to small crumbs (since they are worthless), one may still not eat them (chatzi shiur).4 Therefore, although many Poskim hold we need not check our home for small crumbs (unless they are edible as they are (ex: a small pretzel or candy) or in a situation that they can be stick together (ex:dough) and reach the shiur of czais),*4 nonetheless anything that may come in contact with food must be thoroughly cleaned for the smallest particle of recognizable chometz.
§ Based on the above one should be careful when using seforim on peasach that if they weren’t properly cleaned they don’t come into any contact with food.5
§ In addition to the above The Alter Rebbe quotes the special custom of Yidden to scrub the walls and chairs and benches to be certain that there is no chametz left at all. *5
§ Some poskim say that the institution of bedikas chometz one must actually check the entire home by candlelight, even after it was cleaned well. Since it is difficult to empty out all the closets on the night of bedikas chometz, one may check them immediately after cleaning them, and preferably at night by candlelight.6 Ohers argue that checking is only necessary in small spaces which cannot be easily emptied, but closets and drawers do not require formal checking.7
§ A car should be checked with a flashlight,8 especially under the seats and inside the pockets.9 One who rents a car during chol hamoed must check it, unless the owner checked it before Pesach.10
1. פסחים דף ב ע”א.
2. שוע”ר או”ח סי’ תל”א ס”ד.
3. פסחים דף ח’ ע”א. ראה שוע”ר סי’ תל”ג סי”ד -ט”ז להלכה.
4. פסחים דף ו ע”ב.
4*. שוע”ר סימן תמ”ב קו”א סקי”ח, תל”ו ס”ו, ותל”ד ס”ו, וראה שוע”ר סימן ת”ס ס”ה שבבצק וכיוצ”ב חייבים לבדוק, אבל ראה שוע”ר סי’ תל” ג סי”ג וראה קובץ אור ישראל חי”א עמ’ פ”ה לליבון הענין.
5. ראה פסק”ת סי’ תל”א אות ד’, הליכות אבן ישראל עמ’ ע”ו.
5*. שוע”ר סימן תמ”ב ס”ל.
6. יגדיל תורה נ”י עמ’ ק”נ. וראה שוע”ר תלג, ז.
7. מסורת משה ע’ קמ”ה.
8. פסק”ת סי’ תל”א אות ב’.
9. ראה שוע”ר סי’ תל”ג סל”ט – מ”א.
10. ראה שוע”ר סי’ תל”ה ס”א.
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