Obligation of Bedikas Chametz When Leaving Home Prior To Peasch
When leaving after Purim & returning after Pesach
- One who leaves his house together with his family between Purim and Pesach and moves to a different house and plans to return only after Pesach, e.g. one who travels overseas or is spending the Pesach in a hotel from a few days before Pesach etc., if no one will be left in his house in order to do the Bedika at its proper time, he is obligated to search his house by candlelight for Chametz the night prior to his departure. If one forgot and didn’t check – he is obligated to search in the daytime by candlelight.
- Immediately after the Bedika he should do Bitul – i.e. nullify all Chametz in his possession that he didn’t find and doesn’t know about, and he should say Kol Chamira… as said after Bedikas Chametz at the proper time.
- On this early Bedika, one does not recite the Bracha of “Al Biyur Chametz”, since it was not done at the main time set by the Chaza”l, i.e. the night of י”ד ניסן.
- These Halachos are even for one who is leaving his house and plans never to return, unless someone else is moving into the house before Pesach. If no one is moving in [and the house was not sold to someone else before Pesach] he is obligated to do Bedika as said above.
When leaving before Purim & returning after Pesach
- If one left before Purim and plans to return only after Pesach, or he plans never to return, he is obligated to remove all Chametz that he knows about e.g. from his fridge, closets etc. but he is not obligated to do Bedika.
- If he forgot to remove all known Chametz before he left, and it’s very inconvenient for him to return, בדיעבד – he does not have to return.
When planning to return during Pesach
- All the differences mentioned above, whether he left before or after Purim, are only in cases where he plans to come back only after Pesach. But if one plans to return during Pesach, even if one left right after the previous Pesach – he is obligated to do Bedika as above in sections a, b and c.
When planning to return before Pesach
- But if one plans on returning before Pesach, even if he knows that the house is full of Chametz, he does not have to do Bedika before he leaves since he could destroy it when he returns. There is no concern that he might return right before nightfall and won’t have time to destroy the Chametz before Pesach, since we assume that he will hurry back before י”ד ניסן in order to do the Bedika as per תקנת Chaza”l.
- If after leaving he changed his mind and decided to return during Pesach, he is not obligated to send a messenger to do Bedika and Biyur since he left בהיתר. It is enough for him to do Bitul.
Went very far away and plans on returning before Pesach
- One who traveled far away, and plans on returning close to Pesach is obligated to do Bedika the night before his departure.
- If he is planning on returning a long time before Pesach, and there is regular connections between where he is staying and his hometown, he should ask his Rabbi whether he should do Bedika before. But if there aren’t regular connections between the two places and there are frequent flight delays etc. he is obligated to do Bedika before he leaves.
- Also one who is departing on a long cruise at sea, even if his planned return is a long time before Pesach is obligated to do Bedika prior to his departure.
- If he forgot to do Bedika before he left, and he cannot return – he should appoint an agent to do the Bedika and Biyur at the proper time.
One who left his house, but someone stayed home
- If only the owner left but a reliable person stayed in the house, the owner has no obligation to do Bedika before his departure; rather he should appoint this reliable person to do the Bedika and Biyur at the proper time.