A short guide to the week before Passover

The countdown has begun and in a few days we will all be sitting at the Seder table🍷.

Here are some important halachic points and helpful tips for the coming week:

1. *The approach – Two key questions:

A. Will these days be full of pressure, irritation and anger on the children 😡 or will we turn them into a positive and happy 😃 family and educational experience?

B. Aside from cleaning and cooking, will we also devote time to spiritual preparation for the Holiday of Freedom and to understanding its relevance to us?

The choice is in our hands!


2. Proper planning of time 📆and division of roles among all members of the family is essential in order not to finish the work exhausted and at the last moment, and to leave time for a family trip 🏕, limud in preparation for the holiday and rest.

3. Cleaning the house – The basic rule: There is no need to look obsessively for the crumbs between the tiles … The prohibition of "bal yera'eh ve-bal yimatze" relates to chametz the size of a kezayit (like a matchbox), something that is hard to miss even during a regular cleaning of the house!

However, in the kitchen itself, one must be more careful, since it is prohibited to eat 🍽even a small crumb of chametz.

Therefore – there is no need to open all the books 📖 in the house and shake the pages, because in any case they are not supposed to contain a kezayit of chametz. Only persons who eat with books on the table during the year should take care not to bring them to the dining table on Passover.

Children's toy boxes – it is not necessary to immerse them in soap but only to check that there are no large pieces of chametz in them.

4. Making the kitchen kosher for Passover – The elementary rule: Ke’bolo kach polto – the koshering for Passover is done in the same way as the utensil usually absorb.

Refrigerator – empty the fridge and clean it thoroughly with water and soap. It is not necessary to wrap the shelves

Oven – clean the oven with water and soap, and run it on the longest program (while empty). The oven trays should be covered with foil and disposable baking dishes should be used on top of them instead of the usual ones.

Dishwasher – clean the sieve at the bottom. Wait 24⏰ hours from the last cycle and run the dishwasher while empty on the longest program, with detergent.

Microwave – clean thoroughly, wait 24 hours from the last heating, and heat a glass of water in the microwave until it boils and spreads steam. Place an object on the rotating plate that separates it from the food on Passover (for example a plastic lid).

Countertop – clean the countertop thoroughly and pour boiling water on all of it (as well as on the sink) or cover it with foil.

Stove – kosher the grates with libun kal or cover them with thick foil. The surface below does not have to be covered with foil, and in any case, food that falls on that surface during the year is considered taref and should be thrown into the trash because meat and dairy are mixed there.

Electric and induction stoves – Clean and run on the highest heat for half an hour.

Gas ​​BBQ (“mangal”) – clean and run on the maximum heat for a long time or use a new grate.

Shabbat safe hotplate – Clean, run for two hours and cover with foil.

Dining table – If the table is used during the year without a tablecloth – pour boiling water on it or wrap it in thick plastic / lay a laundered tablecloth on it for the entire holiday.

Baby chair – Clean the chair thoroughly with a cleaning agent, including the grooves.

Shabbat hot water urn – Clean the urn; it is desirable to remove limescale; boil water in it; immerse the lid in boiling water.

Electric kettle – Clean well on the outside.

Dental braces and dentures – Brush well.

Wardrobe 👕 – If there might be chametz in the pockets, check them. Launder tablecloths and towels you would like to use on Passover.

Important reminder: Do not forget to clean the car 🚘, the baby carriage and the children's backpacks …

5. What needs a hechsher for Passover?

– *Cleaning products including dishwashing liquid* – No need for a special Passover hechsher. The same goes for aluminum foil and disposables.

– *Soap, shampoo and cosmetics – same as above. Lipstick 💄, it is recommended to look for a Passover hechsher. *Toothpaste* should be kosher for Passover.

– *Medicines – creams, injection liquids and drops (that are not swallowed, e.g. eye drops) do not need a hechsher. The same is true for pills that are swallowed and that do not have a taste. Syrup or lozenges that have a taste – In Israel, check in the list published by the Kupot Holim whether they are kosher for Passover; in Chutz La’Aretz, check in a reliable list of a rabbinical entity.

Kitniyot – are not chametz and Ashkenazim who do not eat kitniyot can leave them at home and do not have to include them in the sale of their chametz.

One may rely on the poskim permitting soybean, cottonseed and canola oil. The same is true for products which say “contains liftit” (rapeseed).

Chocolates and sweets 🍫 – Even if the product bears the label “Kasher l'Pesach l'ochley kitniyot” (i.e. Kosher for Passover for those who eat kitniyot), it is permitted me’Ikar Ha’Din also for those who do not eat kitniyot, because the kitniyot were mixed before Passover with a majority of non-kitniyot ingredients.

– It is permissible for Ashkenazim to eat food prepared by a Sephardi on Passover, and to only refrain from eating the kitniyot.

– If a Sephardi is invited to an Ashkenazi host, the host is allowed to prepare rice, etc. for the guest with his regular Passover utensils (and the host can continue to use them for himself after waiting 24 hours).

– Everything written above is Me’Ikar Ha’Din. Some prefer to go beyond the letter of the law in these and other matters, ותבוא עליהם ברכה 😊.

Here is a short video summarizing the main halachot – https://bit.ly/2Ugw4oj

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact – (+972) 54-670-2313

Chag Sameach Ve’Kasher 💐

Yoni Lavi

* Also check out our new book📗 Hi Rabbi – Real conversations about life – https://bit.ly/2TI6RyE

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