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Laws of chametz



I have been thinking and reading a lot about this concept of selling our chametz.

  1. To be honest I think it’s wrong since today no one really takes it seriously and if a goy came to their house to take it they would fight him away (it’s actually happened). I dont want to sell half my house like most people who just close cupboards don’t check sell them. I will sell liquors and foods, lotions, etc… but knowing I have money to replace it if needed. My question is what is the actual halacha of cleaning?
  2. Do I have to take a toothpick to every toy and check for every tiny crumb in every cupboard?
  3. And clothes checking every inch if any crumb got stuck.
  4. Also appliances in the kitchen. If I clean my oven very very good and everything else, so I have to sell it?
  5. It was douched with chemicals and cleaners, doesn’t that nullify?
  6. Also when we do bedikas chamtez we nullify anything we didn’t find. Doesn’t that count?
  7. And owning so many possessions we can rely on this nullification because its almost impossible to check everything we own even though most things shouldn’t have chametz in it. What does H-ashem expect?
  8. How hard and crazy does the torah say you need to go? I don’t think decluttering and organizing your house is considered working hard for pesach and then selling half the kitchen so you dont have to clean it.

What does the torah REALLY say to do?




It looks like you have been doing a lot of thinking about Pesach, and you ae bringing up a lot of very valid points. Let’s go through them one by one.

  1. According to Halacha, if the sale was done correctly, then it is sold to the goy, therefore technically it is permitted. However as you mention, many people don’t take it seriously, and if we see that they don’t take it seriously, it can ruin the validity of the sale. For example, if a person is going to use the items that were “sold to the goy” on pesach, or by not let the goy get his chometz, this shows that they aren’t serious about it. In general though, we try to make the sale in a genuine way, and many rabbanim make sure that the contract is written correctly, that the goy knows exactly where the chometz is, and that he knows where the key is. Also, as you mentioned, if the goy actually wants to keep the chometz or use it, that he should be allowed to.

When you sell your chometz to the goy you are not selling, your house to him, neither are you selling him your pots and pans. If you did, then after Pesach you would have to tovel everything again, like when we acquire something from a goy. What is being done is merely selling him any chometz that might have been left inside, or absorbed in the pots and pans. You are not selling him your cupboards, but you are renting it to him, in order that the chometz be considered in his property over Pesach, and not merely the goy’s chometz being stored in your property.

When you sell your whiskey etc. to the goy, you do not have to make sure that you have enough money to buy new bottles. The way the sale works is that the goy gives the Bais Din a down payment for everything that he is acquiring. (Between everyone’s chometz and various stores it can go into 100’s of thousands of dollars worth of chometz) Then, after Pesach, the goy has the choice, to either sell the chometz that he bought (at a higher price than the down payment that he gave), or to pay to whole sum of the net value of what he bought. If the goy will decide that he wants to actually keep your chometz, he will have to pay the Bais Din for its real value, and you will be reimbursed for your whiskey.

  1. Regarding cleaning for Pesach, there is a big difference between cleaning the kitchen or places that we night inadvertently ingest chometz, to cleaning the rest of the house to make sure that we don’t have edible chometz in our possession over Pesach. When we clean the rest of the house we are looking for chometz the size of a kzayis, (about an ounce), or something even smaller that might get eaten, (i.e. a pretzel in decent condition). We are not looking for a crumb, under the closet that is moldy or dusty. That is not chometz… it is garbage. If someone wants to clean his house even for such chometz, “Yisroel Kidoshim Heim”, but it is an extra, and if it going to cause you to undue stress and tension, and it will cause you to hate Pesach, then don’t do it. Keep your energy for the important things.

There is a difference between cleaning toys with toothpick to cleaning the kitchen cupboards. For the toys, unless they are going to come to the Pesach table, just have to be checked for a k’zayis or any edible chometz. You do not have to clean each toy with a toothpick. It is a good idea to put detergent etc. into the water you are cleaning the toys with, so that anything that you miss will automatically become inedible. Toys can also be put into a mesh bag and washed in the washing machine.

Regarding the kitchen cupboards, that is a different story. We are not allowed to eat even one crumb of chometz. Therefore chometz that is in a place that it can get moved around and find its way into our food must be totally removed. Therefore the cupboards should be cleaned well. Again use a detergent in the cleaning water, so that whatever you touch, even if you don’t get it all off, will become inedible, and then you are fine.

Aside from this, we have to make sure that any utensils etc. that we use do not have absorbed chometz inside them. Therefore we have to kasher our oven etc. or use a different one for Pesach.

  1. You do not have to check every inch of every article of clothing for a crumb that got stuck, however the clothes that you will be eating with, should be very clean. This is because that crumb can fall on to the table and get eaten.
  2. If your oven was cleaned well, and you aren’t using it for Pesach, technically you don’t have to sell it. However it is a good idea to include it in the sale of chometz, because there may be crumbs etc. that fell into places you didn’t get to, and an accumulation of those crumbs (being that they are in one vessel) may amount to a kzayis.
  3. Douching things with a chemical will help for small amounts of chometz that are visible, but it will not nullify absorbed chometz. Therefore it is a good idea to clean with it, but we will still need “pesachdik” utensils, cookware, etc. and to cover any area that has absorbed chometz in it that we are going to use on Pesach.
  4. It is true, that we make all of our chometz null and void. However even after that chazal said we must actually get rid of the chometz from our possession, because we might forget ourselves and come to eat, or as you already mentioned, some people might not really be serious about nullifying their expensive chometz, and may come to use it on Pesach.
  5. We do the best we can, by ridding ourselves of the chometz as written above and nullifying it. H-shem doesn’t expect us to do more than we can. We have clear guidelines of what we have to do, and after that we should not be nervous about it, and we have to make sure to enjoy the Yom Tov.
  6. The torah does not tell us to go crazy! Much of the unneeded tension comes from “doing spring cleaning”, trying to unclutter the closets, wash the walls etc. and doing all sorts of extras, that are nice, but only if we can handle it. Again it is nice to come into Yom Tov when everything is sparkling, but not at the price of making yourself tense. If doing all these things causes us to abhor the Yom Tov, then it is yetzer hora to do it. Unfortunately there is also a lot of social pressure to pesach cleaning, with many people bragging about, “where they are holding”, and about how much they have done, etc. and this causes many others undue stress.


To summarize: There is a lot to do for pesach, but what has to be done is not quite as much as some people are doing, and before we do all the extras, we must make sure that it will not negatively affect our attitude towards this very special Yom Tov.

I am attaching a copy of an article from R’ Yitzchok Berkowitz shlit”a titled “Pesach Cleaning made easy”. Many of the guidelines that I mentioned can be found here, and I hope you will find it helpful.

Passover Cleaning Made Easy


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  1. Thank you for the long quick response.

    So, i do understand the contract with the goy is valid. Its just that we made it so expensive for the goy to buy back the chometz that we basically set him up to not want to buy it back. I am not talking about the validity of the sale, its the decieving part. I even read when people decided to start selling things in their house not all the big rabbonim were so happy about it. Some said it was decieving saying you sell it knowing you are getting it back. What did jews do before they sold things in their house?
    Also, what you are saying is interesting: the goy is not buying your stuff only the chametz inside? So how, if he wanted to keep it, would he get the chametz?? He would have to search hard for every crumb and scrap off anything he could find? Am I understanding this correctly?
    As far as all the things i use on pesach for sure i definitley clean all my clothes, towels, kasher everything and triple cover it and buy everything in the kitchen new. I dont actually need to use the cuboards in my kitchen because i bought a portable closet with everything in it. And the counters i kasher and cover and use new stove and oven, all this for sure. All my questions to you are pertaining only to things not used on pesach. Even toys i would still lock away even if i dont sell them.
    If many toys are in one bag and each toy could have had a crumb, do all the toys in a bag make up together as a kazyis? Or is it each toy seperatley? A lot of people i asked dont clean the toys, they said they just sell them. Its very hard to clean all these tiny toys. last year it took a few hours only for this. If i am not using them can i just check it and lock it away? Anyway i dont see how so much chametz could be there. My kids dont eat while playing with toys, and anyway how would a cookie get stuck hidden inside a toy? I dont get that.
    So i think i understood all your answers, but just to clarify: all the things i am not using on pesach, how well does it need to be cleaned if i am not selling it (but still locking away or locking cuboards), and how well does it need to be cleaned if i am selling it?
    Also the bitul chametz we say, are you saying it doesnt cover if something equals to a kazyis of chametz like an oven with hidden crumbs somewhere?


    1. Let me make things a little clearer. No one is deceiving the goy at all. The baisi din has an accumulated value of chometz from the various stores and peoples whiskey etc. worth a tremendous amount of money. In order for him to acquire it he only has to give a down payment, and the rest of the money will be paid later if he decides to keep it. Al ternitively they will buy it back from him, and give him $100 more than the amount of the money he gave for the down payment. The goy is then going to choose to sell it back, but if he wants he may choose to keep it and then he has to finish paying the value of what he bought. This is not fooling the goy at all.
      Regarding the absorbed taste in the utensils, and the crumbs in the utensils, yes it is true the goy will have absolutely no use or interest in it, but still if he is buying it then it is considered his for Pesach. It is true that the absorbed taste he can’t keep, and it would be a waste of his time to look for a few crumbs inside a pot, but that isn’t the issue, it is his, and this is included in the sale of other valuable chometz items like whiskey etc. In truth, you don’t even have to sell the absorbed taste in the pots if you don’t sell any chometz, but if you are selling it anyways you might as well include it in the sale.
      The toys you are not using for Pesach can be locked away and sold to the goy, or you can just look through them to make sure there isn’t something edible inside them, i.e. a pretzel or bissli, and that is fine. If you put them into the washing machine with some detergent, you won’t even have to do that.
      I don’t think that many toys in a bag would make it into one kli, but if there are numerous crumbs in the refrigerator or oven, they might be combined, (if they are accessible). I don’t understand why you can’t see how a piece of cookie could get stuck inside a piece of toy?!
      The things that you are not using on Pesach and are not being sold, only need to be checked for a kezayis of chometz or less than a kezayis of chometz that a person would want to eat. If you are selling it, it doesn’t need to be cleaned at all.
      The Bitul Chametz that we say does include chometz even if it is larger than a kezayis, however m’drabonon we still have to physically get rid of it, because we might come to eat from it, or want to save it and not really mean the bitul.

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