The laws of Pesach-Summary & Review-Part 5-Bedikas Chametz-1

* This article is an excerpt from the above Sefer

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Bedikas Chametz:

A. Where?

  • All areas that required cleaning: All the areas that are obligated to be cleaned, as explained in the previous Halacha, are required to be checked for Chametz at night with the use of a candle [or flashlight and the like]. This applies even if one has completely cleaned and checked that area by day. However, some Poskim rule that once the area has been cleaned it no longer needs to be checked at all, and so is the custom of many. Others rule that all moveable items merely require a swift glance at night, and not a thorough checking. Practically, it is best to check each area/item the night that he cleans it, even several days before the night of the 14th, and to make sure Chametz is guarded from that area.
    • One is however to leave at least one area unchecked, which he will check with a blessing on the night of the 14th.
  • Does one have to do Bedikas Chametz to areas of Chametz that will be sold to the gentile? No.
  • The Bedikah of the Alter Rebbe: The Alter Rebbe went to Mezritch for the first time in the year 1764 and remained there until a few days before Pesach of 1765. Upon returning home, on the 13th of Nissan that year he did not eat due to his preoccupation with the preparations for Bedikas Chametz, assuring that all the Divine intents that he learned in Mezritch regarding the Bedikah would be translated into action. The actual Bedikah continued throughout the entire night despite the fact that he only had one room in his possession.

B. When:

  • The Bedikah is to be done on the night of the 14th.

  • Immediately after Maariv: One is to begin the Bedikah immediately after nightfall of the 14th, after Davening Maariv.

  • May one do the Bedikah on a night prior to the night of the 14th? If one wants, he may do the Bedikah with a candle on all of his rooms on any night prior to the night of the 14th.

    • He must make sure not to enter any more Chametz into those rooms that he checked.

    • Nevertheless, one should leave at least one room unchecked in order so it can be checked on the night of the 14th with a blessing.

    • Practically, even if one checked all of the areas on a night prior to the 14th, and did not leave over anything to be checked, one must nevertheless recheck at least one room on the night of the 14th.

  • Checking during the day: Lechatchilah one may never check during the day. If one transgressed and checked during the day before the night of the 14th, then if the area does not contain direct sunlight, it must be rechecked at night, even if he made the room dark and checked with a candle.

  • One who forgot to check for Chametz on the night of the 14th: One who forgot and did not check a certain area for Chametz on the night of the 14th, is to check for Chametz on the day of the 14th, using a candle. If he did not check at all on the night of the 14th, then before beginning the search one says the blessing of “Al Biur Chametz”. After the Bedikah one nullifies the Chametz if the 6th hour has not yet arrived.

  • What does one do if he is at work, or has a Job which requires him to work, past nightfall? Ideally one should arrange to be home by nightfall in order for him to do the Bedikah himself. However, if this is not possible, then one must appoint a Shliach to do the Bedikah as soon as nightfall begins, rather than delay the Bedikah until he arrives home.
    • Appointing one’s wife or kids to do the Bedikah in such a situation: One may appoint his wife, and children above the age of 13, to begin the Bedikah in the above a situation.
    • Leaving one area unchecked for the husband: Some suggests that one can ask the Shliach to leave out one room from being checked, and not include it in the blessing, In this way when the owner returns home he can check that room with a blessing, and hence have the advantage of fulfilling the Mitzvah himself.


C. Prohibition of doing work, eating, or studying Torah prior to performing the Bedikah:

  • On the eve of the 14th one may not eat a meal, study Torah, or do any of the works forbidden to be done before Mincha and Maariv, beginning from a half hour before nightfall.
    • May one snack within the half hour period before nightfall? Yes. However once nightfall has begun it is forbidden to continue eating even a mere snack.
    • Definition of snack: One may eat fruits without limit until nightfall. One may eat up to a Kebeitza [55 grams] of bread or Mezonos. One may drink without limit until nightfall.
    • May someone who was appointed an emissary to do the Bedikah, eat prior to doing the Bedikah? It is proper not to do so.
  • When checking past the 14th: If one forgot to check for Chametz on the night of the 14th, and then remembered on the day of the 14th, then it is forbidden for him to do any of the above-mentioned items until he performs the Bedikah.
  • If the fast of the first born is pushed up to Thursday, which is also the night of Bedikas Chametz, may one eat before doing the Bedikah? When Pesach falls on Sunday the fast of the first born is pushed up to Thursday the 13th, which is Erev Bedikas Chametz. In such a situation if a Bechor who is fasting has many rooms to check, and it is difficult for him to continue fasting until its conclusion, then he may eat a little prior to performing the Bedikah as only an actual meal was forbidden to be eaten. Alternatively, he is to appoint an emissary to perform the Bedikah while he eats.
  • Asking one’s friend to remind him: One may begin to learn within a half hour before nightfall if he tells a friend, which is not learning, to remind him when the time of Bedikah arrives at nightfall. [However, it does not help to appoint a friend to remind oneself at the time of Bedikah to allow one to do mundane matters within a half hour before the Bedika.]
  • If one began an activity before the time of Bedika, must he stop when nightfall arrives? If one began one of the above-mentioned activities prior to a half hour, and certainly if he started to do it within the half hour, then he is obligated to stop when the Bedikah time arrives [at nightfall]. [However, if one began one of the above-mentioned activities prior to the half hour period before nightfall, then he does not need to stop when the half hour point arrives, and he may rather continue the activity until nightfall.]


D. Maariv:

  • One should Daven Maariv before doing the Bedikah if a Minyan is now available and it will be difficult to gather a Minyan later on, or if one usually Davens with a Minyan, and tonight there is no Minyan available, and he will thus be Davening alone. [The Chabad custom is to always Daven Maariv before the Bedikah in all cases.]

E. Guarding the Chametz from the night of the 14th

  • Prior to the Bedikah one must place all one’s known Chametz in an area that is not accessible to children or rodents. Similarly, any Chametz found during the Bedikah is to be guarded, both during and after the Bedikah, from being accessible to rats and children.

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