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General Principles of Pesach Cleaning

03/27/2020 02:18:56 PM

Mar27

THERE ARE SEVERAL ADDITIONS TO THIS DOCUMENT FOR THE YEAR OF THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS.  MANY PEOPLE ARE MAKING PESACH FOR THE FIRST TIME, SO THIS GUIDE COULD BE ESPECIALLY HELPFUL.  NEW TOPICS LIKE NEW UTENSILS IN THE MIKVE AND VARIATIONS IN SELLING CHOMETZ HAVE BEEN ADDED AT THE END.  ALSO, THE PROCEDURE FOR KASHERING WITH BOILING WATER HAS A LINK TO THE cRc VIDEO.

 

An explanation of many of these new points will also be part of Beit Midrash this Tuesday, March 31, at 8:15 pm.

THIS SHEET WAS ALWAYS DESIGNED TO CUT DOWN ON UNNECESSARY CLEANING/PREPARATIONS.  To that end, I repeat the introduction from every year, which is perhaps even more necessary this year:  It has been pointed out that much of the heroic effort which has traditionally been invested in Pesach cleaning developed in a context where Jewish homes were small or, if they were larger, they were also served by domestic help.  In our context, the house is much bigger but the amount of domestic help is not.  Therefore, it is imperative that those cleaning for Pesach be aware of the minimum requirements and add on to them only if it will not add undue pressure and work.

 

All property and possessions must be cleaned and checked to make sure that they are free of Chometz, except in the following cases:

1. If Chometz is not brought into the place during the year, it does not have to be cleaned or checked.

2. Chometz which is rendered inedible by being completely soaked in foul-tasting liquid such as detergent, bleach or ammonia is no longer considered Chometz because it is unfit to be eaten by an animal.

3. The obligation to check for and destroy crumbs does not apply if the crumbs are smaller than an olive and are dirty enough to prevent someone from eating them.

4. IF YOU ARE GOING AWAY FOR PESACH, and you are selling all of the Chometz in your house, you need not clean or check for Chometz.  However, you should be sure to have the sale go into effect on the 13th of Nissan (Tuesday, April 7) instead of the normal 14th (Wednesday, April 8).  Otherwise, there are those who still require you to do a full check before you leave (without a blessing).  This early sale is also important for anyone travelling to Eretz Yisrael (or other points East) for Pesach. One must still check (without saying a blessing) at least one room of the house before leaving and must say the text for the nullification of Chometz for that room only after finishing the check.

EVEN PEOPLE STAYING LOCAL MIGHT WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY SALE.  SEE DETAILS AT THE END OF THIS DOCUMENT.

Applications

  1. HARD FLOORS:  It is sufficient to sweep and rinse well with a detergent, as long as cracks are not deep and the detergent easily reaches into them.  For CARPETING, it is sufficient to vacuum.
  2. FOOD CABINETS:  If the cabinet will be used on Pesach, remove all food and wash around the cabinet with a detergent-soaked rag.  The detergent should reach into all cracks.  The cabinets are usually lined afterward.
  3. REFRIGERATOR:  Remove the food and wipe with a detergent-soaked rag.  The same goes for the plastic which frames the door.  Some people cover the racks.
  4. METAL SINKS, FORMICA AND MARBLE COUNTERS: Clean them thoroughly and then pour boiling water over them, making sure the poured water hits all points of the surface.  It is never easy to reach the vertical sides of the sink. A plastic insert is the easiest way to go.  Counters are often covered even after this process.
  5. FAUCETS (TAPS): A thorough cleaning with detergent is sufficient.  Some pour boiling water on them.
  6. STOVE-TOP AND GRATES: After a thorough cleaning with detergent, they should be turned up to full strength and a Shabbot blech (covering just one grate at a time) placed over them for about 5 - 10 minutes in order to spread and intensify the heat on the grates.  Grates can also be taken care of by putting them into a self-cleaning oven during its cleaning cycle.
  7. OVEN: After a thorough cleaning with detergent and some oven cleaner like Easy Off, turn the oven to its highest setting for an hour.  The racks can be taken care of in the same way as the oven but they must be cleaned very thoroughly and not be used for 24 hours before the process begins. 
  8. MICROWAVES: Must be Kashered.  COMBINATION MICROWAVES AND CONVECTION OVENS must be Kashered in the same manner as normal ovens (see #7).
  9. GLASSWARE (INCLUDING CORNING): Some authorities rule that glass objects used for cold should be put in water for 72 hours (changing the water every 24 hours).
  10. WATER OR COFFEE URN: If a hot surface has not been touched with Chometz, it need not be Kashered.  
  11. POTS, PANS, CUTLERY: If you want to use them, they must be purged by being dipped in boiling water while not touching anything else.  THERE IS NO PUBLIC PURGING THIS YEAR.  PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS AT HOME AND WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU WATCH THIS VIDEO . INSTRUCTIONS: All purging requires a heat source that creates a ROLLING BOIL.  This is water hot enough to retain its bubbling even as utensils are dipped in it.  If the water loses its bubbling, it is not doing its job.  The utensils should stay in the water for over 10 seconds. The pot or vat used for this should have been itself Kashered by boiling water in it and then spilling the boiling water over the top and onto the outsides of the pot—this is accomplished by putting a heated rock into the bubbling water in order to make it overflow.  The items dipped in boiling water must not have been used before purging for 24 hours.  If they have deep crevices in them, then this process will not be sufficient. Clean utensils that are not Kashered should be put away for after Pesach.
  12. CLOTHING CLOSETS, CHESTS, ETC.:  If there is a significant chance that large, edible pieces of Chometz entered them, then they should be cleaned.
  13. CLOTHES, BLANKETS, ETC: If they are going to be worn or used during Pesach, simply cleaning them in detergent is enough even if there are crumbs in them. Otherwise, they should be checked by brushing them out.  N.B. Children’s clothes should be thoroughly checked, especially the pockets. 
  14. GARBAGE CANS: Chometz that is in the garbage cans on Erev Pesach is considered Hefker (ownerless).  Some people make a declaration to render the Chometz ownerless.

 

IMMERSING NEW UTENSILS IN THE MIKVE: New metal or glass utensils made by a non-Jew or bought from a non-Jew must be dipped in a Mikve.  The Mikve at EB is open (it is chlorinated) and the Bay and ocean are also functional Mikva’ot.  If one uses the EB Mikve, one should maintain social distancing (one person at a time) and it is recommended to cover the surfaces with a towel or some other covering if one puts utensils down on them. 
If one is afraid of using these options, there are alternatives to be found here . 
 
THE EARLY CHOMETZ SALE EVEN IF STAYING LOCAL: Any room that one does not intend to use for Pesach can be locked and sold in the early Chometz sale on April 7.  If one does this, the room does not have to be cleaned AT ALL for Pesach.  If you intend to take advantage of this, please email R’ Feldman at rabbi@emekberacha.org and he will add your name to the early sale for these rooms.  The rest of the Chometz in the house will still be sold in the regular sale on Wednesday, April 8. 
 
The actual BEDIKA, or checking for Chometz, on the night of April 7 should be done according to the rules written out in the Siddur or your Hagada.  It begins after 8:17 pm.  Once the house is cleaned, one may still have and may eat Kitniyot foods in the house.  If one follows Ashkenazic practice, Kitniyot should not be cooked in utensils used on Pesach.
 
THE SEDER should begin as soon as possible after Halachic nightfall (i.e. after three medium stars have appeared in the sky, or 8:18 pm this year).  To ensure that everyone at the table, including children, is awake for the Seder at least until the meal, proper precautions should be taken during the afternoon before Pesach.  
 
WINE is the preferable drink for the four cups.  If someone cannot handle four cups of wine and get through the Seder, they can mix in grape juice.  If wine is not possible, then grape juice is allowed.  All cups should be at least 3.3 oz for the four cups.
 
EREV PESACH TIMES: The latest time for eating Chometz on April 8 is 11:01 am; Chometz should be out of one’s possession (or destroyed) by 12:06 am.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Kosher Pesach!

 

 

 

Fri, June 5 2020 13 Sivan 5780