Using non-Kosher for Pesach bodily products such as Shampoo, soap, creams, cologne, perfume, eye and ear drops ?

This Halacha is an excerpt from our Sefer

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The law:

All non-edible products that contain disintegrated Chametz may be owned and benefited from throughout Pesach. This applies even if the product is edible for a dog. It however may not be eaten, even if inedible for dogs. Thus, one may own and benefit from cosmetics, shoe polish, soap, shampoo, gas, deodorant, and anything of the like even if they contain a Chametz ingredient. Regarding smearing the product on the body-See Q&A

See here for the full details of the above law

 

Q&A

May non-edible Chametz products [i.e. Shampoo, soap, deodorant, facial creams, oils and cosmetics] be used on the body?[1]

The letter of the law: Some Poskim[2] rule that smearing is similar to drinking by all Kashrus prohibitions even if the food is now inedible. It is possible[3] to deduce according to these Poskim that just as one may not eat non-edible Chametz products, similarly one may not smear them on his body. Accordingly, one may not wash his body with Chametz soap, shampoo, or spray himself with Chametz cologne, perfume, and the like. Majority of Poskim[4], however, rule that smearing is not like eating in this regard and it is thus permitted to even initially use any of the above items on one’s body, and so is the implied opinion of Admur.[5]

The custom: Practically, the widespread custom is to be lenient during the regular year regarding non-Kosher inedible products[6], and so is the custom of some also on Pesach. However, some are stringent in this matter even during the year[7], and so has become the widespread custom regarding Chametz on Pesach.[8] Some Rabbanim[9] conclude that so is the proper custom to be stringent, as the Arizal states[10] that it is proper to be stringent like all the stringencies on Pesach, and so is the practical custom of many today.

What products are included in the stringency? This applies to all products that clearly have a Chametz ingredient, or who have an alcohol/perfume additive which most likely come from Chametz. However, those products which do not have any Chametz listing, or alcohol/perfume additive, are permitted to be used.[11] Those who desire to be stringent are to purchase all body products with a Hashgacha for Pesach, if available.

Medicinal purposes:[12] Even according to the stringent opinion, it is permitted to smear Chametz containing creams on one’s body for medicinal purposes.[13]

Using them on one’s lips or mouth: According to the lenient opinions, it is permitted to use inedible Chametz products even on one’s lips, so long as one does not have intent to swallow the item. Nonetheless, the meticulous are careful to buy such items Kosher for Pesach.

How to tell if a product may have Chametz ingredients:[14]

The following products may contain Chametz in their ingredients, and therefore those who are stringent to not use Chametz products on their body are to try to purchase such products with a Hashgacha for Pesach: Any product that contains alcohol [ethyl alcohol or ethanol], or a scent, fragrance or perfume. In general, such products are made using Chametz alcohol. The following products do not have any worry of containing a Chametz ingredient and hence do not require a Hashgacha even according to those who are stringent: Products that do not list Chametz, alcohol, scents, fragrance and perfume, and starches in their ingredients, may be used without worry.

Q&A on bodily products

May one use or own Chametz based rubbing alcohol?[15]

No.[16] If, however, it is not pure alcohol one may use it.[17]

 

May one own cosmetics, shoe polish, soap, shampoo, creams, medicine, toothpaste, on Pesach, if they contain Chametz [i.e. ethyl alcohol]?

Yes, as explained above! This applies according to all. Despite the above, the standard sale contracts of Mechiras Chametz sell such products to the gentile.[18] Practically, however, it is unclear as to why this is done.[19]

 

May one use non-Kosher for Pesach deodorant, facial creams, oils, and cosmetics?

Yes. However, some are stringent in this matter, as explained above. 

May one use/own perfumes colognes over Pesach?

The ingredients: One of the main ingredients in perfumes and colognes is ethyl alcohol [i.e. ethanol], which serves as a carrier of the fragrance of the perfume or cologne. It accounts for up to 20-95% of the perfumes content and is known as the perfume compound, as opposed to the perfume base which provides the fragrance and accounts for 5-80% of the perfume.[20] Ethyl alcohol is produced from grains such as corn, wheat, barley and rye. In the USA, almost all ethyl alcohol is produced from corn and not from other grains, although some may use wheat in production. In Europe, it is common to use some other grains together with corn in their ethyl alcohol production. Perfumes may also contain poisonous and toxic ingredients as additives, and hence, in general perfumes are not safe for consumption, and are listed as a product that requires calling poison control if consumed.

The law: Some Poskim[21] rule it is forbidden to use or own perfumes on Pesach, unless they have been verified to not contain a Chametz based alcohol. If, however, the perfume contains ingredients that make it unfit for consumption, then from the letter of the law, they do not contain an owning or using prohibition, as explained above. Practically, the custom is to include all Chametz containing perfumes in the Mechiras Chametz sale.[22] Those perfumes that are verified to not contain a Chametz based ethyl alcohol, may be owned and used according to all.

 

May one use non-Kosher for Pesach medicinal creams?[23]

Yes. This may be done according to all even if the product contains Chametz alcohol.

 

May one use non-Kosher for Pesach eardrops/eye?[24]

Yes, as stated above regarding medicinal creams.

_______________________________________________________________

[1] Background: There is a general discussion in Halacha as to whether smearing an item on one’s body is similar to eating it, or not. This concept is called “Sicha Keshtiya.” We find regarding Yom Kippur that Sicha is Keshtiya. The question is whether this applies only to Yom Kippur, or to all Issurim. We find several opinions on this matter: 1) Some Poskim rule it only applies by Yom Kippur, and not by other Issurim even if done for pleasure purposes. [Implication of Admur 326:10 and Rama 326:10; Nekudas Hakesef Y.D. 117:4 that from letter of law is Mutar; Peri Chadash 117:4; Machazik Bracha 614; Tosafos Yuma 77a and Rashba, Ritva, Tosafos Rosh and Meiri on Nidda ibid; Rashbatz; Beis Yosef 123 in name of Rashba] 2) Others rule it only applies to other Issurim regarding forbidden oils and only when done for pleasure purposes. [Tosafos Nidda 32a] 3) Others rule it applies by all Issurim. [Beis Yosef 117 in name of Orchos Chaim p. 312] 4) Others rule it applies by all Issurim when done for pleasure purposes. [Taz 117:4; Issur Viheter 39:34; Semag; Semak; Zivcheiy Tzedek 117:45; Gr”a O.C. 326:10; Aruch Hashulchan 117:29; Kaf Hachaim 117:15] Some Poskim rule that according to the stringent opinion this applies even if the Issur is Pagum. [Nekudos Hakesef ibid regarding soap “some are stringent and so is proper”; Shevilei David 117:2; Biur Halacha 326:10 “Viassur” and “Beshaar Cheilev” in name of Gr”a O.C. 326:10 regarding using non-Kosher soap; M”B concludes custom is to be lenient although best to be stringent] Other Poskim rule that even according to the stringent opinion it only applies to other Issurim if the Issur is edible and not Pagum. [Peri Chadash 117:4; Soles Belula 35:13; Beis David 23; Tzemach Tzedek [Kadmon] 60; Aruch Hashulchan 117:29; Kaf Hachaim 326:45; 117:17; Shevet Halevi 6:114] Other Poskim rule that by something that is so Pagum that it is not edible to a dog then the concept of Sicha Keshtiya does not apply according to any opinion. [Aruch Hashulchan ibid seemingly even according to Nekudos Hakesef and Biur Halacha ibid; See also Shevet Halevi ibid]

[2] Poskim in previous footnote who forbid Sicha by all Issurim in accordance to the Poskim who apply this even to Pagum items: Nekudas Hakesef Y.D. 117:4 regarding Chazir soap; Shevilei David 117:2; Biur Halacha 326:10 “Veassur” and “Beshaar Cheilev” regarding using non-Kosher soap. The M”B ibid concludes that the custom of the world is to be lenient [regarding soap] and only the meticulous are careful in this. Nevertheless, he concludes that if one is able to purchase Kosher soap then certainly it is proper to suspect for the stringent opinion.

[3] It is only possible, as perhaps we can accept the argument of the Aruch Hashulchan ibid that a completely Pagum item does not have an Issur of Sicha Keshtiya according to anyone.

[4] All Poskim in previous footnotes who only apply the prohibition of Sicha Keshtiya to Yom Kippur, or to a non-Pagum item or to oil. Shoel Umeishiv Mahadura Gimel 2:148 regarding soap; Chazon Nachum 46; Yalkut Yosef p. 360; Piskeiy Teshuvos 442:2

[5] See Admur 326:10 “[However] according to those who [held there] that the reason for the prohibition of crushing snow and hail is because of a decree made [to safeguard one from coming to] squeeze fruits which are designated for their juices, and snow and hail are likewise designated for their liquids as was explained there [in 320:19], [then according to them] soap and other Cheilev which are not designated as liquids are permitted to be [even] initially crushed.”

[6] Bach ibid; Nekudos Hakesef ibid; Biur Halacha ibid; Aruch Hashulchan ibid

[7] Nekudos Hakesef ibid; The Chabad Rebbeim were stringent in this matter even regarding soap during the year. This however was not a directive to the public. [Heard from Rav Eli Landau Shlita]

[8] Piskeiy Teshuvos 442:2 as can be seen from the fact that the contracts all include the sale of these items

[9] Nitei Gavriel Teshuvah 6 [volume 3 p. 393]; Heard from Harav Eli Landau Shlita that on Pesach the custom is to be stringent in this, in light of the ruling of the Arizal

[10] Arizal, brought in Shut Admur 6

[11] Heard from Eli Landau Shlita

[12] Igros Moshe 3:62

[13] The reason: As we do not apply the rule of Sicha Keshtiya when it is smeared for medicinal purposes. [ibid]

[14] Heard from Rav Eli Landau Shlita

[15] Igros Moshe 3/62

[16] The reason: As it is drunk by people in times of need for alcohol and therefore it may not be used and must be sold before Pesach. [Igros Moshe ibid]

[17] Igros Moshe ibid

[18] Divrei Malkiel contract in 4:24; Contract of Rebbe Rashab included some inedible products such as medicine, Chametz papers; Contract written by Rav Berel Levin in Tikkunei Mechiras Chametz; Contract of Rav Raskin, with Haskama of Rav Landau; Contract of Rav Landau

[19] As a) It is permitted to own such products, so why sell them? [See Divrei Malkiel ibid. Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol on his explanation] b) People may use these products on Pesach, as permits the letter of the law and come to be stealing from the gentile. C) The Alter Rebbe’s contract did not include such products.

[20] These numbers have been publicized in the poison control centers official website. Similar numbers are brought in perfume making websites [20-50% alcohol]

[21] Divrei Malkiel 4:24 states that many are accustomed to use perfumes over Pesach even though they contain Chametz. He protests against doing so claiming they transgress the owning and benefiting prohibition, as they smell the fragrance which is dissipated by the alcohol.

[22] Divrei Malkiel contract in 4:24; Contract written by Rav Berel Levin in Tikkunei Mechiras Chametz; Contract of Rav Raskin, with Haskama of Rav Landau; Contract of Rav Landau

[23] Igros Moshe 3:62

[24] Igros Moshe 3:62

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