Pesach Chumros-Introduction

 

Pesach complaints and chumros

The source of Pesach Chumros:
The Rishonim[1] and Poskim[2] record that the Jewish people are holy and go above and beyond the letter of the law requirements on Pesach. The Arizal[3] states that on Pesach one should be stringent to follow all the stringencies.

Justifying Pesach complaints:[4]
One may not say “How troublesome is Pesach”, as this is similar to the statement of the wicked son.[5] Nevertheless, today people are not careful in the above and some Poskim[6] have learned merit to justify these statements.[7] They learn that one is only similar to a Rasha when one complains regarding the Mitzvos of Karban Pesach, and other Mitzvos which are Biblical, as by saying this one makes it seem that the commands of the Torah are a burden on him. However, today this statement is said in reference to all the great stringencies which are accustomed with Pesach, and when he says on them how troublesome they are there is no prohibition in the matter.

Reason for Pesach Chumros:
First Mitzvah we accepted:[8] The Mitzvah of prohibiting Chametz was the first Mitzvah given to all the Jewish people, and they therefore accepted it with love and affection, and were stringent in it regarding all details.
Chametz symbolizes the Yetzer Hara:[9] The reason that the Torah was so stringent regarding Chametz is because Chametz symbolizes the Yetzer Hara, as just as Chametz is defined as bread that has risen, so too, the Yetzer Hara derives from haughtiness. Therefore, the Torah gave very strict rules regarding the Chametz on Pesach, in order to banish the Yetzer Hara completely from within us.
Banishes the Yetzer Hara to the point one does not sin:[10] The Arizal states that on Pesach one should be stringent to follow all the stringencies, as one who is careful to avoid even a speck of Chametz on Pesach is guaranteed not to sin throughout the year. [This means that his nature will change to the point that it is so refined that he will not naturally do a sin inadvertently. However, regarding sinning advertently, one always retains his freedom of choice.[11]]
Idolatry:[12] Chametz is referred to by the Zohar as idolatry.

Baseless Chumros:
Ideally, according to Halacha, one is not allowed to be stringent regarding Rabbinical matters more than the stringencies of the Shulchan Aruch, nevertheless, regarding Pesach, the Jewish people are holy and go above and beyond the letter of the law.[13] Nonetheless, this only applies if the custom has some basis or source, one however is not to innovate new Chumros that have no base in Halacha.[14]

Being Machmir not to offend others with your Chumros:
It once occurred by a Pesach meal on the table of the Rebbe Rayatz in New York that a certain uneducated guest dipped his Matzah in the Borscht [beet soup], performing a grave sin in the eyes of the Chassidic brotherhood that were present by the meal. As can be understood, a great tumult transpired surrounding the actions of this guest, and the other Chassidim present gave the guest a piece of their mind. The Rebbe Rayatz inquired as to the reason behind the commotion and was told of the grave actions performed by the guest on his very own Pesach table. The Rebbe Rayatz nonchalantly replied “It is better that the Matzah become red [with the Borscht soup] than you cause the face of a Jew to redden in shame.”

List of Chumrah related topics to be covered IY”H in future Shiurim:

  1. Matzah Shruyah/Gebrochts
  2. Matzah Ashira/egg Matzah
  3. Machine made Matzah:
  4. Sugar
  5. Alcoholic beverages
  6. Water
  7. A vessel or food that fell on the ground
  8. Radish
  9. Garlic
  10. Cinnamon
  11. Ginger
  12. Eggs
  13. Tabbaco/Smoking
  14. Peeling all produce:
  15. To wash all ones produce prior to Pesach
  16. Processed foods
  17. Eating out by others on Pesach
  18. Lending vessels to others
  19. Not to wipe lips by Mayim Achronim
  20. Using hot water in a sink on Pesach
  21. Not to say the word Chametz

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[1] Rosh 3/2 “I did not lengthen on these laws of dough stuck on vessels as the Jewish people are holy and are accustomed…”; Raavan, brought in Rosh ibid “This custom of scraping down the walls and chairs has a root in the Yerushalmi”; Rokeiach 247;

[2] Admur 442/30; Radbaz 1/135 “The Jewish people are holy as writes the Rosh, and as we see that they keep extra Chumros, in contrast to other Issurim”;

[3] Admur Shut 6 “The Arizal says that one is to be Mahcmir on Pesach all the Chumros”; Beir Heiytiv 467/1; Mishnas Chassidim Nissan 3/4 “One is to be stringent all the stringencies of those who are strict, and this will benefit his soul throughout the year”; Dvash Lefi [Chida] 8/18 and Moreh Laetzba 196

[4] Admur 469/5; Chok Yaakov 469/3

[5] Admur ibid; Rokeiach 283; Chok Yaakov ibid

The reason: As the wicked son says “Why do you trouble yourselves with these rituals?” [ibid]

[6] Chok Yaakov ibid

[7] As they learn it only is similar to a Rasha when one states this regarding the Mitzvos of Karban Pesach, and other Mitzvos which are Biblical, as by saying this one makes it seem that the commands of the Torah are a burden on him. However today this statement is said in reference to all the great stringencies which are accustomed with Pesach, and when he says on them how troublesome they are there is no prohibition in the matter. [ibid]

[8] Shut Min Hashamayim 70

[9] Zohar Shemos 40b “Chametz is the Yetzer Hara”; Radbaz 3/546; See also Kad Hakemech [Rabbeinu Bechayeh] Pesach; Toras Moshe [Alshich] Shemos 12/13

[10] Beir Heiytiv 467/1; Admur Shut 6 “The Arizal says that one is to be Mahcmir on Pesach all the Chumros”; Mishnas Chassidim Nissan 3/4 “One is to be stringent all the stringencies of those who are strict, and this will benefit his soul throughout the year”; Shaalos and Teshuvos of Admur 6; Zohar Ki Seitzei p. 282 “One who guards himself from Chametz is guarded from the Yetzer Hara”; Mikdash melech on Zohar ibid; Dvash Lefi [Chida] 8/18 and Moreh Laetzba 196

[11] Likkutei Sichos

[12] Zohar Shemos p. 182a

[13] Admur in Kuntrus Achron 442/16; Admur 442/30

[14] See Michaber 442/6 “Those who are Machmir have upon whom to rely” Raaven, brought in Rosh 3/2 “They rely on the Yerushalmi”; Mamar Mordechai 442/6, M”B 442/28, Kaf Hachaim 442/69 “Since the custom is based on the Yerushalmi, one is therefore not to belittle it and claim it is a Minhag Shtus and superfluous stringency.”; See Admur Teshuvah 6 “However regarding fruit juice, certainly one is not to be stringent at all throughout Pesach”; See Sefarim in Nitei Gavriel Pesach Hakdama 21-24

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