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Pesach 5777 Guidelines

This guide is intended to make Pesach preparations a bit easier by answering certain common questions.
Much of this information was compiled through major Kashrus agencies (OU, Kof-K, Star-K, OK, CRC-Chicago Rabbinical Council, etc). You can hit "CTRL+F" to search for specific information.

The following links offer additional resources. 
www.star-k.com/passover 
www.oupassover.com
www.crcweb.org

MECHIRAS CHAMETZ - THE SALE OF CHAMETZ 

A Jew who has chametz in his or her possession during Pesach transgresses the prohibition of בל יראה (chametz must not be seen) and בל ימצא (chametz must not be found). 

Therefore, one must destroy or sell one’s chametz to a non-Jew while one is still allowed to have it in one’s possession. Only by selling the chametz prior to Pesach may a Jew buy the chametz back from a non-Jew and use it again after Pesach.

For the reasons stated above, Mechiras Chametz (the sale of Chametz) is not simply a ceremonial procedure but rather an actual and binding contract. For that purpose, one must sign a contract of sale called a “Power of Attorney,” which allows a Rabbi to act on one’s behalf in selling one’s chametz to a non-Jew. The Mechiras Chametz procedure should only take a few minutes, and one should be prepared with the following information before coming to sell one’s chametz: The type of chametz one wishes to sell (e.g., groceries, liquor, over-the-counter chametz medications, toiletries, etc.), the exact location of the Chametz (e.g., kitchen, pantry, living room, cabinets, etc.), and the approximate value of the chametz.

Wednesday, March 29 – 6:15-7:15pm
Sunday, April 2 –  9:00am -11:30am, 6:15pm-7:15pm
Tuesday, April 4 – 8pm-9pm

Donate your unwanted chametz! Drop off your non-perishable food cans or packages to benefit GEDCO'S CARES Food Pantry at SOTC. Drop boxes available near both entrances to the Shul.

MAOS CHITIM - CHARITY FOR PESACH

Pesach is the Yom Tov on which we celebrate our freedom. The greatest manifestation of freedom is the ability to give to and care for another. As we prepare ourselves and our homes for Pesach; as we plan our menus and engage in our pre-Pesach shopping, we must pause and think about those experiencing financial hardship. Please contribute to the Shul Maos Chitim fund here and help us help others enjoy and celebrate the Yom Tov of Pesach. Let us use our freedom in the holiest and most meaningful way possible – let’s do what we can to help one another.
If you would like to contribute by check, please make check payable to SOTC Torah Fund, and please write Maos Chitim in the memo line.

KASHERING GUIDELINES

Four-Step Process for Hagolah (purging with boiling water):
Thoroughly clean utensils
- Do not use utensil within 24 hours of kashering
- Immerse in boiling water for a few seconds
- Wash off utensil in cold water

Process for Libun (incinerating):
- Libun Gamur - heating metal to a glow.
- Libun Kal - heating metal so that paper will burn on the other side of the heated utensil.

Materials that can be kashered - Stone, metal, and wood (although wood itself is a kasherable material, one may not kasher wood that has cracks, since there might be actual chametz in the crack and Hagolah would not work).
Rubber - Rav Moshe Feinstein - Natural can be koshered; synthetic cannot.
Plastic, melmac, nylon - should not be kashered.
China and Earthenware - cannot be kashered
Enamel - similar to china and earthenware (however, during the rest of the year irui three times).
Teflon, Silverstone - should not be kashered for Pesach
Glass – if used with hot beverages or washed in a dishwasher, it may not be kashered for Pesach use. If used exclusively for cold (not washed with other chametz dishes and unable to obtain a similar utensil for Pesach use) one may perform Milui V’lriu (submerge glasses in water for 72 hours and change the water every 24 hours). This does not apply to glassware used for whiskey, since odor and taste of whiskey remains.

Common Kitchen Utensils and Method of Kashering:
Keurig Coffee Maker – the coffee maker must be cleaned well and not used for 24 hours. Remove K-cup holder and perform Hagolah or irui on K-cup holder. Run a Kosher for Passover K-cup in the machine (this will kasher the top pin).
Kiddush Cup - Hagolah.
Knives - can be kashered with Hagolah (SA 451:3, MB 19). Knives with wood, stone or plastic handles may be kashered if the chametz in the cracks (i.e., area where the blade is attached to the blade) can be cleaned. Normally we don’t kasher from milchig to fleishig – Pesach we allow it.
Pots - Hagolah
Baking Pans, Spits - Libun Gamur
Frying Pans - should have Libun Gamur. However, if it could become damaged, then can kasher with Hagolah.
Spoons and Forks - Hagolah.
Mixer, Food Processor - if used for Chametz - Libun Kal. If used for fruits and vegetables then Hagolah.
Hotplate – clean and do not use for 24 hours, then leave on the highest setting for 30 minutes.
Sink (Star-K Website www.star-k.org) - China sinks cannot be kashered at all. Porcelain or corian sinks should also be considered like a china sink, since there is a controversy whether these materials can be kashered. These sinks should be cleaned, not used for twenty-four hours, and completely lined with contact paper or foil. The dishes that are to be washed should not be placed directly into the sink. They must be washed in a Pesach dish pan that sits on a Pesach rack. It is necessary to have separate dish pans and racks for milchig and fleishig dishes.
Stainless steel sinks - can be kashered using the following method. Clean the sink thoroughly. Hot water should not be used or poured in the sink for twenty-four hours prior to kashering. Kashering is accomplished by pouring boiling hot water from a Pesach kettle/pot over every part of the stainless steel sink. The poured water must touch every part of the sink including the drain and the spout of the water faucet. It is likely that the kashering kettle will need to be refilled a few times before the kashering can be completed. Granite sinks can be kashered like a stainless steel sink.
Blender/Food Processor - New or Pesachdik receptacle (plus anything that food makes direct contact with) required. Thoroughly clean appliance. The blade should be treated like any knife kashered through Hagolah.
Can Opener - manual or electric - Clean thoroughly.
Oven (Star-K Website www.star-k.org) - In a conventional oven, gas or electric, an oven cleaner may be necessary to remove baked on grease. If a caustic type of oven cleaner (such as Easy-Off) was used to clean the oven and some stubborn spots remained after the caustic cleaner was applied a second time with similar results, the remaining spots may be disregarded. Once the oven and racks have been cleaned, they may be kashered by Libun Kal. The requirement of Libun Kal is satisfied by turning the oven to the broil or highest setting for forty minutes. In a gas oven, the broil setting will allow the flame to burn continuously. In a conventional electric oven, the highest setting, broil or 550°F, kashers the oven. Only Libun Kal is required for the oven racks, since it is usual to cook food in a pan, not directly on the racks themselves.

In a continuous cleaning oven, one cannot assume that such an oven is clean because the manufacturer claims it to be continuously clean. A visual inspection is required. Since caustic or abrasive oven cleaners (e.g. Easy Off) cannot be used without destroying the continuous clean properties of the oven, a non-abrasive and non-caustic cleaner must be used to clean the oven. Grease spots will usually disappear if the top layer of grease is cleaned with Fantastic and a nylon brush. Then the oven should be turned on to 450°F for an hour so that the continuous clean mechanism can work. If the spots don't disappear, the oven should be left on for a few hours to allow the continuous clean mechanism to deep clean or the spots should be removed with oven cleaner or steel wool. If the spots are dark spots that crumble when scratched, they can be disregarded. In all of the above cases, the oven should then be kashered by turning it to the broil setting for forty minutes.

In a self-cleaning oven, the self-cleaning cycle will clean and kasher the oven simultaneously. CAUTION: There is a potential risk of fire during the self-cleaning process. Please do not leave your oven unattended while in the self-cleaning mode. Some ovens come with a convection feature. This feature allows for more uniform heat distribution by using a fan to circulate the heat. If the convection oven has the self-cleaning feature, it will be sufficient to kasher the fan as well. If there is no self-cleaning feature, the entire oven, including the fan, must be sprayed with a caustic cleaner (e.g. Easy Off) and cleaned well. The oven should then be kashered by turning it on to its highest setting for forty minutes.

Cook top (Star-K Website www.star-k.org) - On a conventional gas range, the cast iron or metal grates upon which the pots on the range sit may be inserted into the oven after they have been thoroughly cleaned. The grates can then be kashered simultaneously with the oven. Another method to kasher the grates is to cover the grates completely with a flat double layer of thick aluminum foil and turn the burner on the highest setting for ten minutes. The aluminum foil may then be removed. Please note: If the plastic controls (knobs) are on top of the Cook top, there is a possibility that the controls will melt from the heat of the flames. Therefore, the knobs should be removed before kashering. The rest of the range (not Ceran top) should be cleaned and covered with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil that remains there during Pesach. The burners do not need kashering or covering, just cleaning.

in a conventional electric cook top, one only needs to turn the burners on the high heat setting for a few minutes in order to kasher them, since the burners come to a glow in a few minutes. The drip pans should be thoroughly cleaned and need not be kashered. The remaining cook top areas should be cleaned and covered. The knobs with which the gas or electricity is turned on should be cleaned. No other process is necessary to kasher the knobs. Please note: All ovens ventilate hot steam during cooking. the past, the hot steam was ventilated through the back of the oven. This is still the case with gas freestanding ranges. Today, freestanding electric ranges no longer ventilate in this manner. The oven steam is ventilated through one of the rear cook top burners. During oven cooking, if the rear vented burner is off and is covered by a pot or kettle, the hot steam will condense on the burner and utensils. This could create hot zea (condensate) that can cause serious kashrus problems with the utensil if the food cooked in the oven is a meat product and the pot on the burner is dairy or pareve or vice versa. Care should be exercised with the vented burner to keep it clear during oven cooking.

Glass, Corning, Halogen or Ceran electric smooth top ranges for Pesach use are a bit complex. To kasher the burner area, turn on the elements until they glow. The burner area is now considered kosher for Pesach. However, the remaining area that does not get hot is not kashered. The manufacturers do not suggest covering this area as one would a porcelain or stainless steel top, as it may cause the glass to break. Real kosherization can be accomplished by holding a blow torch over the glass until it is hot enough to singe a piece of newspaper on contact with the glass. However, this too may cause the glass to shatter and is not recommended. As the area between the burners cannot practically be kashered, it would be wise to have a trivet on the open glass area to move pots onto. In addition, in order to use a large pot that extends beyond the designated cooking area, one should place a metal disc, approximately 1/8 of an inch thick, on the burner area to raise the Passover pots above the rest of the glass surface.

For gas stovetops with a glass surface, one may kasher the grates in the oven with a Libun Kal (550° F for forty minutes). In most such models, the grates cover the entire top of the stove and there should be no problem adjusting pots on the stovetop. Food that falls through the grates and touches the glass surface should not be used. For those models where the grates do not cover the entire cook top surface, it would be wise to place a trivet on the open glass area to move pots onto, as no food or pots may come in direct contact with the non-kashered glass surface. Some gas cook tops have an electric warming area on the glass top. This area would have to become red hot when turned on in order to kasher. Many of these warming areas do not get hot enough for kashering and may not be used on Pesach.

Broiler and Grills (Star-K Website www.star-k.org) - The broiler pan and grill cannot be kashered by just turning on the gas or electricity. Since food is broiled or roasted directly on the pan or grill, they must be heated to a glow in order to be used on Pesach. This can be done either by using a blowtorch, or in the case of an outdoor grill, by sandwiching the grate between the charcoal briquettes and setting them on fire. An alternate method is to replace the broiler pan or grates of the grill. The empty broiler or grill cavity must then be kashered by cleaning and setting it to broil for forty minutes. If one does not intend to use the broiler on Pesach, one may still use the oven, even without kashering the broiler, provided that the broiler has been thoroughly cleaned. Similarly, other cook top inserts such as a griddle or a barbecue broiler would require Libun Gamur, heating the surface to a red glow, before usage. If not, the insert should be cleaned and not used for Pesach. If the grill has side burners, they should be treated like cook top grates, assuming no food has been placed directly on them. Libun is best accomplished in a darkened room where the glow can be more clearly perceived.

Warming Drawers - Warming drawers cannot be kashered because the heat setting does not go high enough to constitute Libun. The warming drawer should be cleaned and sealed for Pesach.
Oven Hoods & Exhaust Fans - Hoods and exhaust fan filters should be cleaned and free of any food residue.
Microwaves – clean microwave thoroughly and do not use for 24 hours. Boil a cup of water in the chamber for an extended amount of time, until the chamber fills with steam and the water overflows the cup. The glass plate cannot be kashered and should be removed before kashering begins. For Pesach, it is a commendable extra precaution to cover all foods in the microwave, even after performing the above kashering.

WHICH COUNTERTOPS CAN BE KASHERED?

Silestone, Porcelain Enamel, Corian, and Plastic/Formica and Granite Composite countertops cannot be kashered. They should be cleaned and covered. To place hot food and utensils on these countertops, cardboard or thick pads must be used to cover the counter. Corian is also a form of plastic that cannot be kashered, but since the chametz penetrates only a thin layer of the counter, it can be sanded down to take off a layer of Corian (the thickness of a piece of paper). It then is considered kosher for Pesach. However, only a qualified contractor should attempt this procedure. Pure granite (not granite composite), marble, stainless steel, or metal may be kashered through irui roschim. Wood may also be kashered through irui roschim if it has a smooth surface.

EREV PESACH


BEDIKAS CHAMETZ (SEARCH FOR CHAMETZ)
Bedikas Chametz (search for chametz) is conducted on the evening of the 13th of Nissan (Sunday, April 9) and Biur Chametz (burning of chametz) on the morning of the 14th of Nisan (Monday, April 10). Bedikas Chametz may begin after 8:30 pm Sunday night.
 
The bedika should be performed as immediately as possible after the time mentioned above. One should not eat or begin any other activities before the bedika.  The reason for this is that involvement in other matters may cause a person to forget to search for chametz.

The search should preferably be done with a single wax candle, although any similar candle is acceptable. A flashlight should be used for places that a candle would be dangerous, or that are difficult to access (e.g., car, boiler room). The lights in the room where the search is taking place may be shut so that the light of the candle can illuminate the room sufficiently and make the search efficient.  However one may also keep the lights on in order to help the search. A flashlight may be used in addition to the candle. 

The Bracha said before one begins the search is “אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על ביעור חמץ. “  One should not speak from the time the bracha is made until the conclusion of the Bedikah. If one forgot to say the bracha, one may do so anytime during the search. If someone cannot search his or her home personally, one can appoint a shaliach (agent) to do so on their behalf.  The shaliach must make the bracha and search as if he or she is the owner.  

The custom is to place ten small pieces of bread around the house in different locations.  This is to insure that if no other chametz is found, the bracha said would not be in vain.  Needless to say, the search for the chametz is not for the 10 pieces alone, rather to insure that no chametz is found in the house.

PLACES TO SEARCH
All rooms of the house require bedikah, because a person may, on occasion, enter a room during a meal carrying chametz. The same Halacha applies to a basement, attic, pantry, storage bin, or other areas where food or beverages are kept or where a person may enter during a meal.  It is especially important to search pockets of clothing, children’s backpacks, briefcases, and cars.

If one searches more than one location, he or she should only make one bracha on the first location and have in mind the other locations. If one has other people searching multiple locations on his or her behalf, the messengers should hear the original bracha from the owner and then proceed to search in their respective locations.

At the conclusion of the Bedika, the paragraph of Kol Chamira (כל חמירא) should be recited. Through this statement one relinquishes ownership over all unknown chametz. Kol Chamira should be recited in any language that a person understands. In English the following should be said “All chametz or leaven which is in my domain, which I have not seen, have not removed and do not know about, should be annulled and become ownerless, like dust of the earth.”

THOSE GOING AWAY FOR PESACH
If one is going away for the entire Yom Tov, they may sell their chametz and lease their home to a non-Jew. Therefore, the suggestion for those who will be away for all of Pesach is to clean all of the visual Chametz from one’s home and perform a bedikah the night before one leaves. The bedika may be performed if they leave home within 30 days of Pesach. No bracha is recited when performing such a bedika. The chametz from the bedika should be taken to the Pesach destination and burned on Wednesday at that location. The remaining chametz in the house should be sold to the non-Jew. The statement of Kol Chamira, nullifying all chametz in one’s possession, must still be recited on Erev Pesach, Friday morning.   

GUESTS IN A HOTEL
If arrival is before the night of the search (that afternoon or before), there is an obligation to search the hotel room with a brocha and nullify the chametz in the room by reciting Kol Chamira.

EATING CHAMETZ 
One may eat chametz until the end of the "4th halachik hour" of the day. This year, the last time to eat chametz in Baltimore on Erev Pesach is 10:23 am.

BURNING AND SELLING CHAMETZ  
Chametz must be disposed of by burning or selling, and Kol Chamira recited before the end of the "5th halachik hour." This year in Baltimore, the time is 11:38 am. One should be aware of the following: 
- When Pesach does not fall on Shabbos, once Kol Chamira is recited by the head of the household, the remaining family members may not eat chametz at home. 
- Be cognizant of the latest times. All times apply to chametz eaten at any location. Chametz should not be burned at the last second. This is true whether one burns chametz outside his home or at a public biur chametz. 

THE SEDER


The Seder service is divided into 14 sections (the word Seder means “order”):

Kadesh         Sanctifying the day over a cup of wine
Urchatz         Washing the hands prior to eating karpas
Karpas         Eating a vegetable like potatoes or parsley dipped in salt-water
Yachatz         The breaking of the middle matza
Maggid         The story of our Exodus from Egypt
Rachtza         Washing the hands in preparation for eating the matza
Motzi-Matza        Eating the required amount of matza
Maror             Eating the required amount of bitter herbs dipped in charoset
Koraich         Eating the “Hillel Sandwich” of matza and maror, dipped in charoset
Shulchan Oraich    Eating the festive meal
Tzafun             “Dessert,” through eating the required amount of Afikomen (matza)
Barech         Grace After Meals        
Hallel             Prayers in praise of Hashem
Nirtzah         Conclusion of the Seder and the festive songs
    
THE SEDER PLATE
The Seder plate, upon which all the symbols of Pesach are placed, is at the center of the celebration. A large plate is set at the head of the table (and in many households, before each guest at the Seder) and includes the following:
- Three covered Matzos.
- A roasted meat bone, on the upper right, to remember the time when our ancestors would offer the Korban Pesach (Passover Sacrifice) in observance of the holiday.
- A roasted egg, on the upper left, as a remembrance of the additional festival offering by our ancestors in celebration of Pesach.
- Maror (bitter herbs: horseradish or romaine lettuce leaves) placed in the center and at bottom, to remind us of the bitter slavery suffered by our people during their long stay in Egypt.
- Charoses, on the lower right, a mixture of nuts, apples, cinnamon, and wine, that serves as a symbol of the mortar used for making the bricks with which our ancestors built cities for Paroh. Many in the Sephardic community add to the charoses, fruits such as raisins, pomegranates, cinnamon, ginger and other sweet ingredients.
- Karpas (potatoes, parsley, or any vegetable) on the lower left, to be dipped in salt-water during the Seder, signaling the festive nature of the meal and to arouse the curiosity of the children. Some in the Sephardic community dip the Karpas into Kosher for Pesach vinegar instead of salt water.

Since everyone is obligated to drink four cups of wine during the Seder to commemorate the redemption of our people, each person attending the Seder should have his or her own cup of wine. Ashkenazim say a bracha over each of the four cups of wine.  Most Sephardim only recite brachot over the first and third cups of wine.
 
BASIC SEDER REQUIREMENTS & MEASUREMENTS
The first of the Seder night mitzvos is the drinking of four cups of wine (known in Hebrew as Arba Kosos) by both men and women, in tribute to the Almighty for the four promises made and fulfilled concerning the redemption (see Exodus 6:6-7).

In honor of the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah), an additional cup of wine is placed on the table. This wine is not drunk. Eliyahu is the symbol of peace and freedom that one day will reign throughout the world. To symbolize the coming of Eliyahu, the door is opened (following the meal) and all rise to welcome him with the words “Baruch Haba - Blessed is he who comes.”

Based on the halachik decisions of the Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt’l, the following are the minimum amounts of wine required during the Seder:
- For the Arba Kosos (four required cups of wine), for Kiddush (except on Friday night) and for Havdalah, the cup must contain at least 3.3 fluid ounces (revi’is ha-lug) in size. The obligation is fulfilled if more than one-half (rov kos) of each cup is consumed after each blessing over the wine.
- Since the regular Friday evening Kiddush throughout the year requires a cup that contains at least 4.42 fluid ounces, the Friday night Seder Kiddush requires 4.42 fluid ounces, while the other three cups require 3.3 fluid ounces. 

MINIMUM STRENGTH OF WINE (Note: The Bracha over all these mixtures is “Hagafen”)
- Full-strength (undiluted) wine is required for the Arba Kosos.
- If one’s health does not permit this, then one may dilute the wine with grape juice. One should be careful to only dilute the wine as much as necessary, with the least amount of grape juice possible.
- If for health reasons one cannot use wine at all, one may substitute grape juice.
- If one must dilute grape juice with water, the ratio should not exceed two-thirds cup water to one-third cup juice.
- If one does not have enough wine to perform the mitzvah (Kiddush, Havdalah, etc.) water may be added but not in excess of two-fifths cup wine to three-fifths cup water.

MAGGID 
Relating the story of our Exodus from Egypt is the vital mitzvah of the Seder night. The Torah teaches us that one is specifically obligated to tell the story of Passover to the children (V’hegadita l’vincha). It is therefore important for everyone present, the children in particular, to understand the story. Throughout the Seder, it is appropriate to offer commentary or insights into the Exodus, and anyone who amplifies the story through questions, interpretations, or discussion, is deemed to be “praiseworthy.” Most importantly, children should be encouraged to raise any questions they have at the Seder — separate from the well-known “Mah Nishtana” — to further demonstrate the true meaning of freedom.

MATZAH 
The mitzvah of eating matza at the Seder is one of the most important of our Torah commandments, and both men and women are required to fulfill this mitzvah. We eat matza at three specific points during the Seder service:
- Motzi-Matza: this matza is eaten immediately after the appropriate blessings are recited.
- Koraich:  the sandwich of matza and maror, eaten prior to the main meal.
- Afikomen: dessert — the eating of matza at the conclusion of the Seder. 

The halachik requirement is to eat a “k’zayis” (the volume of an olive) of Matza Shmurah, at each of these points during the Seder. Matza Shmurah has been supervised by a Jew from the time of harvest through baking. Based on the halachik decisions of the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt’l, the following are the minimum amounts of Matza Shmura required during the Seder:
Motzi-Matza: a piece equivalent in size to 6 inches by 4 inches
- Koraich: a piece equivalent to 6 inches by 3 inches
- Afikomen: a piece equivalent to 6 inches by 4 inches

If for health reasons, one cannot eat matza, Shmurah Matza meal (upon which one is permitted to recite the Hamotzi) may be substituted as follows:
- After reciting the bracha “Al Achilas Matza” and for the Afikomen, an amount of matza meal that can be compacted into a vessel measuring 1.5 fluid ounces.
- For Koraich, an amount of matza meal that can be compacted into a vessel holding 1.1 fluid ounces.

Most Sephardim, unlike Ashkenazim, permit matza ashira, which is made from fruit juice or eggs, on Pesach. Please check with your Rabbi to determine the appropriate use of these products on Pesach. Some Sephardic communities pass the Afikomen around the Seder table from right shoulder to right shoulder, thus reenacting the Exodus from Egypt.

MAROR 
Bitter Herbs - horseradish or romaine lettuce. The eating of bitter herbs is another Seder night mitzvah, reminding us of the bitterness of slavery. Both men and women must eat the equivalent of a k’zayit. Bottled horseradish does not fulfill the mitzvah of maror.

When Romaine lettuce is used, each leaf must be carefully inspected to ensure that there are no insects. Prior to the inspection, the outer leaves should be removed and discarded. Separate all leaves and wash each one thoroughly under a hard stream of water. Only then should the individual leaves be examined under good lighting. (Careful washing will ensure that no Torah laws are violated by the ingestion of insects.)

Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled that one may use iceberg lettuce for Maror.

Sephardim do not use horseradish, as it has a sharp taste and not a bitter one. The Sephardic custom is to use the fresh leaves or stalks of Romaine lettuce or endives, but not the root. One should check the maror for bugs on the eve of Passover, before the first Seder.

Mon, December 11 2017 23 Kislev 5778