E. Owning-The prohibition of “Tashbisu” & “Baal Yiraeh Ubaal Yimatzei:”
- Owning Chametz: The Torah forbids owning Chametz on Pesach. This applies even if the Chametz will not be within one’s home over Pesach, but will be left elsewhere, in an area that one owns. Likewise, this applies even if the Chametz is hidden away in an area from which the Chametz is not visible. However, this only applies to Chametz that is within one’s property, either through ownership, rental, or borrowing. If, however, the Chametz is within an area that he does not own and he did not borrow, such as he placed the Chametz in the house of another person without his knowledge, then Biblically it may be left there over Pesach. However, Rabbinically he is obligated to destroy it, even if it is in another person’s possession without his knowledge.
- Liability on Chametz: If one does not own the Chametz but has liability over the Chametz, such as if the Chametz were to be stolen one would have liability to pay for the loss, it is nevertheless Biblically forbidden to have such Chametz in one’s property over Pesach. It is however permitted to have such Chametz left in the gentile’s property.
- Storing Chametz that one does not own: If one does not own the Chametz and does not contain liability over it, it is Biblically permitted to have the Chametz remain in one’s home over Pesach; although Rabbinically it is forbidden to have such Chametz in one’s home unless it belongs to a gentile and one made a Mechitza in front of it.
- When does Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzeh begin to apply? One only begins to transgress the commands of Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzeah from the night of the 15th of Nissan and onwards, as the verse states “For seven days yeast shall not be found in your home,…and you shall not see yeast in all your property for seven days”. [Thus, we learn from the verse that] prior to the 7 days, one does not transgress a negative command if he owned Chametz in his house.
- Tashbisu-Destroying the Chametz from midday and onwards on Erev Pesach? Although one does not transgress a negative command when owning Chametz prior to the night of the 15th, nevertheless, [he is Biblically obligated due to a positive command, to destroy all Chametz from his home] from midday of the 14th and onwards. This obligation is called Tashbisu. If he did not destroy his Chametz [at that time], then he transgresses the positive command of Tashbisu for every moment thereon. The above obligation to destroy the Chametz by midday is only from a Biblical perspective, however Rabbinically once the beginning of the 6th hour of the day has arrived one is to destroy the Chametz. Today the custom is to destroy the Chametz prior to the beginning of the 6th
- How does one fulfill the Mitzvah of Tashbisu-destroying the Chametz? Biblically, destroying the Chametz [in fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Tashbisu] means that one eradicates [Mashbis] and destroys the Chametz completely from the world until no other person can benefit from it.
- Disowning Chametz and leaving it in ones possession: Biblically, if one nullifies his Chametz and disowns it prior to the 6th hour of the day of the 14th, the Chametz may remain in his home throughout the entire Pesach. However, the Sages decreed that nullifying and disowning one’s Chametz before Pesach is ineffective, and hence Rabbinically remains within one’s ownership, until it is removed from one’s home and either is burnt or placed in a public area. One must thus clean all of his possessions from Chametz before Pesach.
- Disowning Chametz and removing it from one’s home: Prior to the 6th hour of the day, one can free himself from the prohibition of owning Chametz by giving or selling the Chametz to a non Jew, or by disowning the Chametz and placing in a public area. If he disowns the Chametz and leaves it in his house or building courtyard or lobby, then he transgresses the Rabbinical prohibition of Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzeh, as Rabinically the Chametz must be placed in an area that is considered public to all, even after it is disowned. Even when placing the Chametz in an area that is public to everyone, one must leave it there with a full heart, without the intention to take back after Pesach. If he intends to retrieve the Chametz after Pesach then it is not considered disowned, and he thus transgresses on its ownership even when placed in the public area. After the beginning of the 6th hour it no longer helps to disown the Chametz in a public area and one must rather destroy the Chametz from the world in a way that no person can get benefit from it. Furthermore, even prior to the 6th hour, the disowning of the Chametz simply refrains one from transgressing ownership once the 6th hour arrives, however it does not fulfill the Mitzvah of destroying Chametz. It is for this reason that we burn the Chametz on Erev Pesach prior to the 6th hour, in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of destroying Chametz with at least some part of our Chametz that we own.
- How to destroy the Chametz: After the beginning of the 6th hour it no longer helps to disown the Chametz in a public area and one must rather destroy the Chametz from the world in a way that no person can get benefit from it. It does not have to be destroyed to the point that animals cannot get benefit from it. Even prior to the 6th hour, the disowning of the Chametz simply refrains one from transgressing ownership once the 6th hour arrives, however it does not fulfill the Mitzvah of destroying Chametz. It is for this reason that we burn the Chametz on Erev Pesach prior to the 6th hour, in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of destroying Chametz with at least some part of our Chametz that we own. The following are the valid methods of destroying the Chametz: Initially, the best method to be used is to burn the Chametz until it becomes charcoal. When burning the Chametz prior to the 6th hour, it suffices to burn it until it becomes unfit for a dog, and not until it becomes charcoal. If one cannot burn the Chametz it is valid to destroy the Chametz through any of the following methods: Break the Chametz into crumbs and then throw it into the wind or sea. If one finds kernels of Chametz then they are to be broken into 2/3 pieces and then thrown. If, however, there are many kernels, then it should be thrown as is. Alternatively, one can place the Chametz in a toilet [and flush it], even if the pieces are large.
General Summary: All Chametz that one owns must be either destroyed, or disowned and removed from one’s home, or sold, by the time the 5th hour of the day arrives. One who continues owning the Chametz past the 5th hour transgresses a Rabbinical owning prohibition of Tashbisu. One who continues owning the Chametz past the 6th hour transgresses a Biblical owning prohibition of Tashbisu. One who continues owning the Chametz past the night of the 15th transgresses a Biblical owning prohibition of Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzeh. Prior to the 5th hour arriving it suffices to disown the Chametz and remove it from one’s home, or to sell it and leave it within one’s home behind a partition. From the 5th hour and onwards one is no longer able to disown or sell the Chametz, and any Chametz that remained in one’s possession must be completely destroyed from the world.
F. Bedikas Chametz-Understanding the obligation of cleaning the house for Chametz:
- Biblically, if one nullifies his Chametz and disowns it prior to the 6th hour he is not required to clean his house from Chametz, and the Chametz may rather remain in his home throughout the entire Pesach. Biblically, one is only obligated to check, search and destroy Chametz, if one does not want to nullify it and disown it [or did not do so for whatever reason and the 6th hour has already arrived]. In such a case then when the time of the Chametz prohibition arrives [the beginning of the 7th hour], he is Biblically obligated to search for it and destroy it. However, the Sages decreed that nullifying and disowning one’s Chametz before Pesach is ineffective and the Chametz hence remains within one’s ownership, Rabbinically. One must thus clean all of his possessions from Chametz before Pesach just like he would Biblically be required to perform if he did not disown it.
G. One who finds Chametz on Pesach:
- If one sold his Chametz before Pesach: He does not destroy it, as the Chametz belongs to the gentile and thus it is even forbidden for him to do so, as this is stealing from the gentile. Rather one should make a Mechitza of ten Tefachim by the Chametz. If this is not possible, then one should push it with a stick into an area that is designated for the gentile, and has a Mechitza of ten Tefach. However, some Rabbanim allow one to burn the Chametz if he desires to, even though there is no obligation for him to do so, as the gentile is not particular if the Jew burns some of the Chametz, as long as he has in mind to pay the gentile back. However, even in such a case, one may not say a blessing over the Chametz, and if he does so it is a blessing in vain.
- If one did not sell his Chametz before Pesach: One who did not sell his Chametz before Pesach is required to destroy any Chametz which he finds past the 6th hour on Erev Pesach, throughout the seven days of Pesach, eight days in the Diaspora. This includes even less than a Kezayis of Chametz, and even if one had nullified it before Pesach. [Although in the latter case, if the Chametz is dirty then it does not need to be destroyed as explained in chapter 442.] Regarding if a blessing is to be recited: When destroying Chametz on Erev Pesach before the night of the 15th then a blessing is not said regardless of the amount being burned, or whether one had known of this Chametz at the time of the search done the previous night. When destroying the Chametz on Chol Hamoed then a blessing is only recited if all the following conditions were fulfilled: 1) One did not do Mechiras Chametz; 2) This Chametz was not found or known of during the Bedikah. 3) All the Chametz found and known of during the Bedikah has already been burned; 4) It is at least a Kezayis in size, or is not but one did not nullify this Chametz before Pesach; 6) The Chametz is Biblically considered Chametz.
- What to do if found Chametz on Shabbos or Yom Tov: The Chametz is Muktzah and may not be moved. One is to cover the Chametz until Motzei Shabbos or Yom Tov and then burn it [if he did not do Mechiras Chametz] or sweep into the area sold to the gentile.
- What does one do if he was searching through his Matzas and found a Kefula? The Matzah is considered Muktzah being that it is forbidden to be eaten. If one only noticed the Kefula while it was already in his hand then one does not need to immediately drop it, and may go place it down in the toilet and destroy it.
H. Buying Chametz after Pesach:
- The Chametz of a Jew which was owned on Pesach is forbidden in benefit for all Jews. Thus when buying Chametz from a Jewish owned store, one must verify that they have performed Mechiras Chametz before Pesach. The above requirement however only applies when buying Chametz that was manufactured before Pesach. If one does not know when the Chametz was manufactured then one may be lenient and permit the Chametz to be eaten, as by every Rabbinical prohibition, when there is doubt we are allowed to be lenient. However, there are opinions which prohibit eating any Chametz which even has doubt that was around on Pesach. Practically one should suspect for their opinion to not eat the Chametz, unless it’s a case of great loss [and the Chametz cannot be sold], however to benefit [like sell] the Chametz is permitted according to all opinions.
I. May one touch Chametz on Pesach?
- Throughout the entire Pesach one is forbidden to touch Chametz, with exception to when one is doing so for the purpose of burning it. This prohibition includes even if one has a gentile’s Chametz in one’s home and wants to return it to the gentile. Thus, if a gentile left Chametz in one’s home, a stick should be used to get rid of it.