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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘chametz’


Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Moroccan Jews (and friends) celebrate Mimouna – the colorful Pesach after-party where chametz (leavened bread) is cooked and eaten alongside other Moroccan pastries and delicacies, and always with music.





And here’s the Ashkenazi version at Angel’s Bakery:

Ashkenazi Mimouna

Photo of the Day

Chametz Repurchase

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

“I’ll be in Israel from Rosh Chodesh Nissan until Chol HaMoed Pesach,” Mr. Laufer said to his rav, Rabbi Goldman. “I’d like sell my chametz before leaving.”

“I’m usually happy to sell the chametz for you, but not this year,” replied Rabbi Goldman. “When I sell the chametz here late morning, it will be late afternoon in Israel. According to many authorities, you need to dispose of your chametz earlier, according to Israeli time.”

“What should I do then?” asked Mr. Laufer.

“I can give you the number of a rav who sells chametz twice, once for those here and once earlier for those going to Israel,” replied Rabbi Goldman. “Or, you can sell your chametz through a rav in Israel when you’re there.”

“I’ll sell when I get there,” Mr. Laufer said. “Anyway, I don’t know yet what chametz I’ll have there.”

After arriving in Israel, Mr. Laufer sold his chametz through the rav of the community where he was staying. He and his wife experienced a wonderful Seder with their daughter and grandchildren who lived there. On Chol HaMoed they went to the Old City and prayed at the Kotel.

The Laufers returned to the U.S. and celebrated the end of Yom Tov with their family living there. “We sold our chametz through a rav in Israel because of the time difference,” Mr. Laufer related at the table.

“That solved the problem at the beginning of Yom Tov, but what about the end?” asked one of his grandchildren. “When the rav in Israel buys the chametz back after Yom Tov, it will still be Pesach here!”

Mr. Laufer thought for a moment. “I didn’t consider that,” he acknowledged. “I don’t know.”

Mr. Laufer met Rabbi Dayan toward the end of Yom Tov. “I sold my chametz through a rav in Israel,” he said. “My grandchild asked, though, what did I gain? The rav already purchased the chametz back from the gentile while it’s still Pesach here!”

“That is not a problem,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Although the rav in Israel purchased the chametz back from the gentile, who expressed his willingness to sell it, nothing requires you to acquire the chametz back at this time. A person cannot be forced to acquire something against his will.” (B.K. 138a; C.M. 245:10)

“Thus,” Rabbi Dayan continued, “Shulchan Aruch states that if a gentile brings a chametz gift to a Jew on Pesach, he should not receive it from him nor indicate that he intends to take possession. It is preferable that he state explicitly that he does not want his property to acquire for him.” (O.C. 448:2; Mishnah Berurah 448:5-6)

“But doesn’t a person’s property acquire for him, even without his awareness?” asked Mr. Laufer. “Since the chametz is sitting in my house, wouldn’t I acquire it automatically?”

“A person’s property acquires only if the owner wants it to,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, the owner can decide that he does not want the property to acquire for him. This is certainly true where the acquisition would entail a prohibition, or if the person himself does not have the ability to acquire, since the property is considered like an agent of the owner.” (Machaneh Ephraim, Kinyan Chatzer #4; Pischei Choshen, Kinyanim 8:[1])

“The same is true where one person acquired on behalf of another without his knowledge,” added Rabbi Dayan. “This is possible based on the principle zachin l’adam shelo b’fanav, one can acquire for another not in his presence, but the recipient can state that he did not want the person to have acquired for him.” (C.M. 243:20)

“I should note,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “that some rabbanim stipulate with the gentile that they do not want to repurchase the chametz until the proper time comes for those from abroad.” (See Mikraei Kodesh, Pesach I:76)

Rabbi Meir Orlian

Selling Someone Else’s Chametz

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

“I’m going to visit Mr. Morris in the hospital,” Mr. Goodman called upstairs to his wife.

Mr. Morris was an elderly neighbor who lived alone. A week before Pesach, he fell and broke his hip.

When Mr. Goodman arrived, he greeted the old man. “How are you feeling?”

“Somewhat better,” Mr. Morris replied. “They did hip replacement surgery.”

“How long will you be in the hospital?” Mr. Goodman asked.

“About a week,” Mr. Morris answered. “I’ll have to spend the Seder here.”

“It’s not pleasant,” Mr. Goodman empathized. “But right now it’s important that you recuperate.”

After a nice chat, Mr. Goodman wished Mr. Morris a “refuah sheleimah” and headed home. On the way, he stopped off in shul to sell his chametz through Rabbi Dayan.

“What about Mr. Morris?” he suddenly thought. “He doesn’t even have a phone and won’t be able to sell his chametz.”

In shul, Mr. Goodman met his friend Leo Katz. “I just visited Mr. Morris in the hospital,” he said. “I wonder if there’s any way I can sell his chametz also?”

“I don’t see how you can sell someone else’s chametz without his authorization,” Leo said. “Can you sell his house or car without his authorization?”

“Obviously not,” replied Mr. Goodman. “But it’s not the same. There he would be losing his house or car, even if he gets paid. But here, he has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Selling the chametz saves him from the prohibition of maintaining chametz over Pesach and spares the chametz from becoming prohibited. The chametz is also purchased back afterward.”

“But who gave you the right to act on his behalf?” Leo countered.

“No one,” acknowledged Mr. Goodman. “But Rabbi Dayan recently taught me the concept ‘zachin l’adam shelo b’fanav,’ it is possible to acquire on behalf of someone not in his presence. Perhaps it’s also possible to sell on behalf of someone when it’s clearly for his benefit.”

It was soon Mr. Goodman’s turn. He authorized Rabbi Dayan to sell his chametz, and then asked: “I was just visiting Mr. Morris, who will be in the hospital over Pesach. Can I sell his chametz also?”

Rabbi Dayan replied: “If it is not possible to contact Mr. Morris, selling his chametz is valid according to many authorities based on the rule of zachin l’adam shelo b’fanav, since it is an absolute benefit to have the chametz sold.”

Rabbi Dayan then explained: “The Gemara (Pesachim 13a) teaches that if you were entrusted with chametz and the owner does not collect it before Pesach, you are supposed to sell it for him. [Orach Chayim 443:2] In that case, however, you were entrusted with the chametz. Therefore, selling the chametz before it becomes prohibited is part of your responsibility, just as you are responsible to prevent it from becoming spoiled or ruined. “(Choshen Mishpat 292:16; SM”A 292:40)

“There is a dispute among the authorities, though,” continued Rabbi Dayan, “over whether it is possible to sell another person’s chametz without his instruction when you are not responsible for it. Most authorities validate the sale on the basis of zachin, if the person would be interested in having it sold.” (Pischei Teshuvah Y.D. 320:6)

“What is the basis of the dispute?” asked Mr. Goodman.

“It relates to the nature of zachin,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Tosfos (Kesubos 11a) explains that zachin is rooted in the law of shlichus, or agency. Since this action is for the other person’s clear benefit, you are considered a ‘self-appointed’ agent. Therefore, the same way you can be an agent to acquire for someone’s benefit [C.M. 243:1], you can also serve as a ‘self-appointed’ agent to sell for the owner’s benefit. The Rama rules, on this basis, that a Jewish maid can separate challah from the dough if the lady of the house is not available.” (Y.D. 328:3)

“However, Rabbi Dayan added, “Ketzos Hachoshen [243:7-8] maintains that a person cannot be considered an agent unless appointed by the owner. He understands zachin as a separate law that relates only to acquiring on behalf of someone, but not to other legal transactions. This is colloquially referred to as zachin l’adam, acquiring for a person, not zachin mei’adam, acquiring from a person. [See Mirkeves Hamishneh, Hil. Gerushin 6:3]

“Most authorities rule, though, that whenever there is an unequivocal benefit for the owner, who is interested in the transaction, it is possible to act on his behalf when he not accessible. Therefore, if Mr. Morris cannot arrange the sale himself, it is possible to sell on his behalf.” (Piskei Teshuvos O.C. 448:21)

Rabbi Meir Orlian

Selling the Chometz

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau (R), Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (2L), and Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon sell the Chametz (food containing leavening) of the state of Israel to Arab Israeli Mr. Jaber (L) before the upcoming Passover holiday, April 21, 2016.

Photo of the Day

Blessed Are Those Who Eat Chametz!

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The Talmud (Brachot 17a) poses the following question: Why is it prohibited to eat or to possess chametz (leaven), such as bread, on Pesach? What is there in the nature of leaven that makes it forbidden on Pesach? For that matter, why only on Pesach? And what is so special about matza that makes it the most desirable food on this holiday but not throughout the rest of the year?

Rather than give a straight answer, the Talmud responds by asking yet another question. Why do people sin? Understanding that human beings will continue to transgress, the Talmud analyzes one of the paradoxes inherent in the human condition. Most people desire to do good yet constantly struggle with their evil inclination. Realizing that this inclination is extremely difficult to overcome, the Talmud suggests that human beings, especially Jews, make the following declaration whenever they try to obey the laws of the Torah but fail to do so:

Lord of the Universe, You know very well that it is our desire to do Your will; so what prevents us from doing so? The yeast in the dough…

This phrase, “the yeast in the dough,” appears frequently in the Talmud as a description of people’s evil impulse, and we need to understand the comparison. What is so wrong with leaven that it is designated as a symbol of our evil urge? 

Bread, chametz, is really an inflated matza. What, after all, is the essential difference between the two? They are made from exactly the same ingredients – flour and water – and baked in the oven. It is only the speed at which they are prepared that makes matza flat and hard, while bread comes out soft and fluffy. If we bake the dough quickly, we get matza. If the dough is left for a while, it will rise and become bread.

Essentially, then, the only real difference between the two is hot air – an ingredient devoid of substance!

It is this element that makes bread look so powerful and enticing in comparison to matza. It rises, becoming haughty and giving the impression that it consists of much substance, while in reality it is just a cracker full of hot air. Matza, on the other hand, is humble and true to itself; there is no attempt to appear as anything more than it is – plain dough.

Bread, then, is haughty matza, thus symbolizing the evil inclination. For it is the attitude of arrogance—blowing oneself up beyond what one truly is—that, more than any other bad character trait, leads us to go astray. If human beings would just be humble, recognizing their place vis-à-vis God, they would never even contemplate transgressing His will. Only arrogance leads one to choose an undesirable path.

On Pesach, the festival during which we commemorate and re-experience our inception as the Jewish people, we are once again reminded that our mission to become a light unto the nations can begin only with the spirit of true humility. So, arrogance can never be the foundation of spirituality and moral integrity. It cannot truly inspire others, certainly not with any lasting effect.

But this begs the question: If chametz is the epitome of the evil inclination, why didn’t the Torah forbid its consumption throughout the entire year?

In a remarkable passage, the Talmud (Yoma 69b) relates that the Sages wanted to destroy the evil inclination, since it is the source of much devastating harm. They therefore went to look for it and ultimately found it in, of all places, the Holy of Holies where it emerged as a “fiery lion.” They imprisoned it for three days after which they decided to kill it. Subsequently, they were looking for a freshly laid egg to heal an ill person, but they couldn’t find even one. They realized that the imprisonment of the evil inclination was what led to this deficiency. Without the evil inclination, not only would no egg be laid but the human race and the animal world would come to an end, since the sexual urge embedded in the evil inclination would be eliminated. Not knowing what to do, the Sages decided “to blind it” so that it would not overpower a man and cause him to have illicit relations – for example, with his mother or his sister – but they left it alive and set it free!

Without chametz – the “leaven in the dough” and the source of the evil inclination – the world would not endure. Only for a short while can the world exist without physical desire and arrogance. It would not survive the long haul.

Pesach, the holiday that symbolizes the formation of the Jewish people, reminds us that sometimes we need to remove the evil inclination entirely so as not to fall victim to it. Not a crumb should be left behind. But once we have absorbed this message, we must return to it in a responsible way so as to continue building the world.

Too much arrogance, the root of the evil inclination, may be bad. However, we must realize that there is also a healthy form of arrogance that motivates us to accept responsibility and believe in ourselves, especially when we need to push ourselves beyond our limits in order to accomplish the “impossible.” It leads us to take action and use our urges in ways that help us grow, thereby making it a source of infinite blessing.

It is permanently found in the Holy of Holies.

Blessed are those who eat chametz and keep away from too much matza!

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Israeli Guards Protect Citizens from Terror and Chametz on Passover

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

How do you know when you’re in a Jewish country?

When the security guard at the entrance blocks you from coming in because you are carrying… no, not a weapon … something almost as bad:


Sounds odd, right? But it’s true. It’s against the law in Israel to display or sell any product containing chametz during Passover. Chametz is also prohibited in the nation’s hospitals and other public institutions.

That includes national parks and nature reserves around the country, where security personnel this week are checking visitors’ bags for food as well as bombs, guns and ammunition.

Anyone caught bringing leavened bread or any other form of chametz must stay outside until they are willing to surrender or dispose of the offending item.

In northern Israel, a gaggle of surprised visitors to Afula’s city park were seen eating their sandwiches outside the gate because a security guard at the entrance had stopped them from entering the area.

“The Afula municipal park is a public facility that serves the residents of the city and its environs and so the public is asked to refrain from bringing in chametz during the holiday, as is customary at many other public institutions,” the municipality explained in a statement.

At Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, security personnel are well prepared in a variety of languages to deal with the inevitable perplexity they face from foreigners unaware of the law. Security checkpoints are well prepared with large metal shelving units set up next to the security desks so the guards can simply place the contraband on a shelf until it can be disposed of properly.

For many bemused non-observant Jewish visitors to the Holy Land, it is their first experience with true observance of the Jewish Laws of Passover — in places they least expected to discover such enforcement.

“Bikinis at the beach in Tel Aviv might lead you to think that Israel is very secular,” commented a tourist who requested anonymity when speaking to JewishPress.com during the intermediate days of the holiday on Tuesday. “But then you try to bring your picnic lunch in when you visit a friend at the hospital, or to the nearby park. And suddenly it’s a whole other world.”

Hana Levi Julian

Chag Kasher v. Sa’meach

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through}

I am neither a cook nor a chef.

While I love to eat, my wife prohibits me from doing any food preparation for fear -not without reason or history- that should I venture into her holy sanctuary, the entire room – no, the house itself! – would become un-kosher.

Over time, my place has become confined to the kitchen table. It is there that I must sit and wait for my meals, not unlike our dog (which she prefers on most days) who waits before his bowl. Remarkably, I am afforded more table scraps than him. Score one for me.

This is not to say that I cannot approach the sink. My share of the household bargain falls on cleaning up after meals. My wife considers the dishwasher and garbage pail safe terrain, as I can usually deduce whether I just consumed a dairy or meat meal.

That all ends on Passover.

When I think of my wife on Passover, I am reminded of the final scene from the movie Gallipoli where manic soldiers charge an Ottoman trench, knowing of their certain death. A fury fills her eyes as the holiday approaches and I know that no cleaning I do could ever satisfy her Kashrut Compulsive Disorder (commonly referred to by Jewish psychiatrists as KCD). This non-silent killer has taken more husbands than latkes on Hanukah.

My wife, let’s call her “Pharaoh” to protect her identity from the teachers in school who think of her as a sweet, mild-mannered parent, despises Passover. Her venom is matched by her vigilance as she tries to square the invisible shmura matzah of Passover kashrut stringencies with her own KCD.

The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt had it easier than my modern Pharaoh. The ancient kings had teams of advisers and thousands of slaves to execute their commands. Today’s Pharaoh is left with a spouse who only gets to clean in the kitchen during most of the year because we have two dishwashers. More warriors are clearly needed for the task.

New York has an outsourced cleaning industry which features companies with jolly names like “Molly Maids” and “PIG” which stands for “Partners in Grime”. When these companies drop the non-kosher acronyms and become armed with blowtorches, perhaps Pharaoh will “let these people come.”

Well, in truth, they do come.  They come a few times in succession to make sure that one team picked up where the first team may have been sloppy. At $400 a pop, the twelve cleaning tours of duty make a not so subtle reminder that we could have gone to a Passover program in the sun somewhere.

The cleaning troupes do not absolve me of cleaning (nor the sin of making Passover at home). My tasks are to lift and move large objects around the house in case a morsel of bread was carried there by a microscopic antisemitic mouse.  Dishwashers are pulled from their moorings. Refrigerators are yanked from the walls.  I am ordered to lift the island in the kitchen, until my rabbi steps in on my behalf (only because he thought I was too weak). My dog snickers at my misery.  He and I are back to break-even.

After eighteen gallons of bleach have been pored over every inch of the kitchen, and the flees on my dog would no longer consider smelling (let alone eating) anything in the house, my next task is assigned. Foiling.

Foiling on Pesach has nothing to do with fencing.  It involves rolling out aluminum foil over counter top. For the hardcore, the foiling of tables, chairs, cushions is warranted.  Our family is so famous for our foiling, that we get Happy Passover cards from Alcoa.

As the first seder arrives, Pharaoh starts to resemble my former wife again. The house is indeed clean enough that even Eliyahu would be impressed.  Family and friends gather around the table to recount the timeless story… of how no one in the shtetls had more than one pot and somehow made Passover.

As has become our tradition, before I recite the Kiddush to start the seder, my wife inverts the very order of the seder. She sings out in a loud, yet exhausted, teary voice “Hashana ha’ba’a b’Yerushayim” – Next year in Jerusalem. Everyone joins in.


Paul Gherkin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/chag-kasher-v-sameach/2015/04/05/

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