With thanks to Rabbi Sutker and Rabbi Blane
Divesting ourselves of chametz, the old food in our pantries, is one of the important rituals of preparing for Pesach/Passover. On the physical level, this ritual offers us an opportunity to clean out our kitchens. Perhaps more importantly, while doing the physical work of cleaning, we have the opportunity for a spiritual assessment. Such work offers us an opportunity for self-examination. We can ask ourselves what old habits we have been clinging to, and how we want to nourish ourselves spiritually in the future.
On the halakhic level, the ritual offers us the opportunity to fulfill the requirement that no Jew should own or be responsible for chametz over Pesach. For this reason, some halakhic authorities maintain that all food which is definitely chametz must be either consumed or destroyed before Pesach. However, others teach that because of the mitzvah of “bal tashchit” (“do not waste”), we should not throw out usable food. And for health reasons, we prefer not to give away half-eaten stores to others. Traditionally, we can fulfill the halakhic mitzvah of clearing away the chametz by temporarily selling the chametz in our possession to a non-Jew. That said, I encourage each person to fulfill their own religious obligations.
What is chametz?
Bread, beer, biscuits, bran, brewers yeast, cake, cookies, crackers, dough, drinks from grains, macaroni, malt, noodles, oatmeal, puffed wheat, semolina, spaghetti, wafers, wheat germ, whiskey, and yeast extracts. Cereals and snack bars that contain one of the five following grains: wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. Other foods, if not specifically labeled “kosher for Passover” may contain chametz, and may also be set aside.
When to sign?
We must make all non-Passover chametz foods or drinks inaccessible by designating off-limits areas of kitchen/pantry and/or putting such chametz into storage in an inconvenient to access place in my home before Passover eve/erev Pesach. This must be done before Thursday, April 18th at 10:00 a.m.
- Put all of the chametz remaining in your home in a single location that is locked or taped shut and clearly labeled “chametz” so that no one accidentally eats from it.
- 2.Print out the form below, fill it out, and sign no later than Thursday April 18th, 10 am.
I, the undersigned, promise to obtain no benefit from any chametz I may have owned. With my signature, I am dispossessed of all chametz and all products containing even the smallest percentage of chametz possessed by me knowingly or unknowingly as defined by the Torah and Rabbinic law, at the premises located at. I have explained this commitment and the importance of observing the rituals of Passover to my family and friends so they can help fulfill this mitzvah.
Name (printed): _____________________________________
Home Address: ______________________________________
Other Address (e.g., business) ________________________________
Where chametz may be located: ________________________________________
Telephone during Passover: ___________________________
To this I do hereby affix my signature.