F. The blessing:
- Before one begins to check for the Chametz one says the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Al Biur Chametz.”
- What does one do if he forgot to say the blessing over the Bedikah? If one forgot to say a blessing over the Bedika at night, then he is to say the blessing the next day at the time of the burning without Hashem’s name.
- If one does not own a home that needs checking, does he say a blessing upon checking his belongings, such as his suitcase or car and the like?
- Example: One is traveling to relatives for Pesach and will be selling his home to a gentile? A Bochur is traveling home for Pesach? On the night of the 14th is he to check his belongings with a blessing?
- One who does not have a house to check for Chametz is nevertheless obligated to check his belongings, including his car, for Chametz. However, he does not recite a blessing prior to this search, as the main Bedikah was only instituted regarding one’s home.
- When checking two separate buildings, such as two different homes, or a home and an office or store, does one say a separate blessing upon checking in the second building? A separate blessing is not recited.
G. May one talk while doing the Bedikah:
- Between the blessing and the start of the search it is forbidden to talk of any matter, even if it relates to the Bedika, unless one cannot begin the Bedika until it is spoken. Once the Bedikah has begun, although one may not talk of unrelated matters, it is permitted to talk of matters that relate to the Bedika.
- May those helping the father perform the Bedika talk during the Bedika? It is initially proper for them not to talk just as is the law regarding the father himself, which said the blessing.
- If one went to the bathroom during the Bedikah may he say Asher Yatzar? One may say Asher Yatzar after using the bathroom, before finishing the Bedikah.
- During the Bedika may one answer Amen and Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo after a blessing? If one hears a blessing during the Bedika he may answer Amen and Baruch Hu Uvrach Shemo.
- During the Bedika may one recite a blessing upon hearing thunder or lightning? Yes.
H. Walking from house to house and room to room during the Bedikah:
- Between the blessing and start of the search: Between the blessing and the start of the search one may not go into a different house. One is to first begin the search in the house that the blessing was said in. If one switched houses before beginning the search then it is considered an interval between the blessing and the mitzvah and must thus repeat the blessing. This however only applies if one goes into a different house prior to beginning the search, if however, one simply goes to a different room within the same house then it does not consist of an interval.
- After beginning the search: After one has begun the search it does not consist of an interval for one to go into a different house. [However, Lechatchilah, one should not go into another house which does not need to be checked, just like we say that Lechatchilah one should not talk of unrelated matters during the Bedikah.]
I. Who in the house is obligated in doing the Bedikah:
- The search obligation is only upon the leader of the home, and is not upon any of his family members or other dependents. However, in a case that the owner is not at home to do the search, then the obligation falls upon the dependents, even if the father did not directly appoint them to do the search. If one is living in the house of another Jew and is not dependant on him for his food, then although he is obligated to destroy his Chametz from the home before Pesach, nevertheless he does not need to do a search for his Chametz, as when the owner of the house does the search he is automatically acting as a messenger for the Jew to fulfill his Bedikah.
- If the dependents have their own money which they use to buy food are they also obligated in the Bedika?
- However seemingly in such a case the dependent receives the same status as one who lives in the house of another Jew, in which case the house owner fulfills the Bedika obligation on behalf of the Jew.
- If the father is not at home, are the dependents obligated to check the house with a blessing?
- If one is living in the house of a gentile, does he have to check the gentile’s house for Chametz?
- Seemingly he is obligated to check the house for Chametz in order to remove all Chametz that he owns from the home. If he has his own room, then certainly he is obligated to check his room with a blessing.
J. Appointing others to help perform the Bedikah:
- One may appoint another person in his place to perform the Bedika of his home, with a blessing. One should only appoint men over the age of 13 to perform the Bedikah. It is proper for one to engage in at least some part of the Bedikah, rather than have it completely done by emissaries. Some learn that it is encouraged to merit others [males above the age of 13] to participate in the Mitzvah of Bedikah, rather than have the father of the home perform the entire Bedikah himself.
May women today be appointed to help search for the Chametz?
Some Poskim rule that women may be appointed to help search for Chametz, even initially.
May a gentile be appointed as a Shliach to do the Bedikah?
K. The ten pieces of bread:
- The custom is to place ten pieces of Chametz throughout the house before doing the Bedikah. It is customary in the Rebbe’s household to place ten pieces of hard bread in various places, each wrapped in paper. One can use masking tape.
- Hard pieces: One should beware to place hard Chametz which does not crumble, as [otherwise] perhaps some of it will crumble off [after it is found] and will remain in one’s house during Pesach.
- Guarded from rats/children: One must be careful to guard the pieces of Chametz found during the search so they are not taken by children or rodents.
- Who should put out the pieces of bread, the person doing the checking or someone else?
- Some Poskim write, and so is the custom, that the pieces should not be placed out by the checker, as by doing so this Chametz is not considered to be included in the required search being that he knows where it is.
- Should the pieces placed out be less than a kezayis?
- Some Poskim rule that the pieces of Chametz should be less than a kezayis, in order so that if he does not find one of the pieces, he will not be required to go back and check.
L. What may one use as light to check for Chametz?
- A single wicked candle: One may not use the light of a torch to search the Chametz, but rather one is to search with the light of a small single [one wicked] candle. If one transgressed and checked using the light of a torch, then he has not fulfilled his obligation and must repeat and check using the light of a single candle. If one took two bees wax candles and placed them near each other and checked with them, the Bedikah is not valid. Even if one went ahead and braided the two candles into one, or melted them until they became one candle, nevertheless since it contains two wicks it is considered a torch.
- The wax: Lechatchilah a beeswax candle should be used. If this is not available, then one may use a candle made of any kosher wax. If this is also not available, then [non-kosher fat] Cheilav should be used. If this too is not available, then oil should be used. An oil candle should not be used in other circumstances.
- May one use a flashlight or a florescent light in the room to do the Bedikah?
- It is permitted to use a flashlight or other form of electric light for the Bedika. Nevertheless, the custom is to use specifically a candle for the Bedika. However, in a situation that the electricity is needed to help one do the Bedikah then one should not refrain from using it together with the candle. Similarly, those areas which one cannot check properly with a flame due to fear of causing fire, then even Lechatchilah a flashlight should be used. If one does not have a flame available, then he may even Lechatchilah use a flashlight and say a blessing over it.
M. Does a shul or Beis Medrish need to checked for Chametz?
- Shul’s and Batei Midrashim need to be checked on the night of the 14th with a candle. The gabaim of the shul are responsible to search the shul for Chametz. The Gabaim may say a blessing on their search for Chametz in the Shul and Beis Midrash. The Gabbaim do not have to nullify the Chametz after having completed the search, being that they cannot nullify and disown Chametz which does not belong to them, as a person cannot disown something that is not his. If one transgressed and did not check the Shul at night of the 14th, then he may Lechatchilah check it on the day of the 14th using sunlight, without a candle, being that it is common to have many windows in a shul, and they thus have a lot of light.
- Who is responsible for searching for Chametz in the stairs and lounge of an apartment building?
- All the residents have an obligation to search the building for Chametz, therefore they should appoint one person to perform the Bedikah and thus fulfill the obligation for all.
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