Biur Chametz

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The Torah commands us to remove and destroy all chametz we own before Pesach.

How to do Biur Chametz

Burning or Other Means

  1. The minhag is to burn chametz until it becomes coals or ashes during the day, however, one fulfills the mitzvah by destroying the Chametz in any fashion.[1]
  2. The minhag is to burn the chametz in its own bonfire or fire-pit and not on one's stove.[2] Some say that one should burn the chametz in one's own property.[3]
  3. It’s preferable to burn the chametz without dousing it in gasoline or lighter fluid so that one can destroy the Chametz with fire and not to make it inedible using any other means.[4] If the chametz will not burn in time without the gasoline then one should pour it to speed up the burning.[5]
  4. One should burn the chametz until it turns to charcoal.[6]
  5. One should throw the chametz into the bonfire with his right hand.[7]

Another Jew

  1. It is preferable for one to burn his own chametz and not to appoint someone else to do it for him.[8]

Cutting It Up

  1. One should cut the chametz into thin slices in order for it to burn properly.[9]

Kezayit

  1. One should leave over at least a Kezayit of chametz that he is not selling to a non-Jew in order to properly fulfill this mitzva.[10]

Flushing Down Toilet

  1. One fulfills the mitzvah of destroying the chametz by flushing it down the toilet.[11]
  2. if one is throwing one's chametz into water one should crush it up first.[12] This applies even if one is destroying it before the sixth hour on Erev Pesach.[13]

Garbage

  1. If one puts chametz in one’s private garbage bin one should either pour Ajax on the Chametz to make it totally inedible,[14] or put it in the street and declare that it be ownerless in front of three people.[15] One can also include them in the sale of the chametz to a non-Jew but then they cannot be used by him over pesach.[16]

Minhag to Burn Other Things with Chametz

  1. There is a custom to burn the ten pieces of chametz that were hidden for the bedikah along with the rest of the chametz during biur.[17] There is also a custom to burn the lulav,[18] the aravot used for hoshanot,[19] leftover chanuka candles and wicks,[20] and fingernails[21] along with the chametz.

Women

  1. Women are also obligated in the mitzva to destroy chametz.[22]

Asking a Non-Jew

  1. Some hold that one can fulfill tashbitu by asking a non-Jew to destroy one's chametz, others disagree and hold that one should destroy it oneself or have another Jew do it.[23]
  2. There is a discussion whether a person can fulfill tashbitu by selling one's chametz to a non-Jew.[24]

Feeding Chametz to Animals

  1. One could feed one's chametz to one's dog and that is a fulfillment of tashbitu.[25]
  2. It is permitted to throw the chametz into a field with a lot of birds, but if the person notices that at the prohibited time for chametz, the birds haven't eaten it yet, he should destroy it immediately.[26]

Which candle to use

  1. One should not use a candle torch such as a havdala candle for checking for chametz because it is not possible to insert it into narrow places.[27]
  2. Someone who used a torch must repeat the search without a blessing using a single candle.[28]
  3. If one does not possess a candle one may use a small flashlight.[29]

Beracha

  1. There is no beracha recited before the burning. The beracha of al biur chametz is recited before the bedika.[30]
  2. If someone forgot the beracha the night before on the bedika, he can recite the next day on the burning.[31]
  3. One does not recite a blessing when using a flashlight for Bedikat Chametz.[32]

Praying Arvit

  1. If one did not pray arvit and the time to search for chametz has arrived, one must pray arvit first and then search for chametz.[33]

When

  1. If one is selling his chametz via his local rabbi, it is preferable to burn his remaining chametz after the sale takes effect.[34]
  2. The burning and the bitul of the chametz should be finished by the end of the fifth hour.[35] Some say that one should specifically burn it at the beginning of the fifth hour.[36]
  3. If chametz is found during pesach, see Bedikat_Chametz#If_one_finds_Chametz.
  4. The nullification during the day should be done before the sixth hour, so that the chametz that you nullify is still yours when you nullify it.[37] but after the burning.[38]
  5. If one leaves his house, he should still do bitul when the time comes.[39]
  6. It is forbidden to do melacha once the time for burning comes until you burn the chametz.[40]

If a Person Finds Chametz on Pesach

  1. If someone finds chametz on Pesach if it is Chol Hamoed he should remove it and destroy it immediately. If it is Yom Tov he should cover it until the nighttime or after Yom Tov in the diaspora and then destroy it. On Yom Tov itself it is muktzeh and it is forbidden to burn it in its place.[41]
  2. If one finds Chametz on Pesach if one sold one's chametz then one should simply put away that chametz together with the rest of the chametz that was sold to the non-Jew.[42]
  3. If someone finds something in their house on Pesach and they don't know if it is chametz or kosher for Pesach it is permitted since once he cleaned and removed all of his chametz we assume that this is kosher for pesach. If it is obviously chametz then it is chametz. It is relevant for a case where there is matzah like dough that was cooked and it is unclear if it is chametz or matzah. If he usually makes that type of dough as chametz and also kosher for Pesach, once Pesach starts he can assume it is kosher for pesach if he has no other information about its status. This principle is termed azlinan batar batra, we follow the last halachic status.[43]

Erev Pesach on Shabbat

  1. When the fourteenth of Nisan occurs on a Shabbat, all chametz must be destroyed before shabbat except for the chametz that will be needed for the first two shabbat meals.[44]

Links

Sources

  1. Rama O.C. 445:1, Mishna Brurah 445:1-2, Chazon Ovadia part 1 page 64. Kaf Hachayim 445:3-4. This is based on the Mishna in Pesachim 21a which records an argument regarding how to fulfill the obligation in Shemot 12:15 תַּשְׁבִּיתוּ שְּׂאֹר מִבָּתֵּיכֶם. Rabbi Yehuda says the only way is to burn while chachamim say you can burn it, crumble it, or throw it into the river. Rambam Chametz Umatza 3:11 and Baal Hameor rule like the rabbis. Furthermore, Rabbenu Tam (Tosfot Pesachim 12b s.v. aymatay) holds that even Rabbi Yehuda holds that it is only after midday that one needs to burn it, beforehand one can dispose of it in any way. Similarly, Baal Hameor holds that it is only a mitzvah for Rabbi Yehuda to burn it from the sixth hour and on and beforehand one can just dispose of it. Nonetheless, the Tur 445:1 explains that it is proper to be strict for Rashi who holds like Rabbi Yehuda and who also thinks that there is a mitzvah to burn the chametz even before midday. He also notes that the Rosh Pesachim 2:3 thinks that even for Rashi it is only a mitzvah to burn it in the sixth hour and not beforehand, but the Tur disagrees and thinks it is a mitzvah to burn it for Rashi all morning. Even though the Shulchan Arukh (445:1) rules that one may dispose of chametz in any fashion, Rama 445:1 writes that the minhag is to specifically burn it in order to satisfy all opinions. The Gra 445:1 says that even chachamim say that ideally one should burn it, as the Mishnah states one can "even" (af) eliminate it in other ways. He adds that the only reason this is only a custom and not obligatory is because according to Rabbi Yehuda you need to burn the chametz after its prohibited time and since we do it before that we can really do it any way. Kaf Hachayim 445:11 says that there is special kabbalistic importance to burning the chametz because it symbolizes burning the evil inclination.
    • See Magen Avraham 445:1 who wonders why it is permitted to burn chametz according to the rabbis since it is forbidden from benefit and burning it would just create forbidden ashes that a person might come to use. Chok Yaakov 445:1 says that chametz is so serious to people that there's no concern that they're not going to use the chametz ashes. Alternatively, since most people burn chametz when it is permitted the rabbis didn't institute any prohibition upon the ashes when they are burned earlier. Rabbi Akiva Eiger 445:1 answers that since it is a mitzvah to burn it or dispose of it that removes the prohibition. Maharsham in Daat Torah 445:1 quotes others who agree.
  2. Maharil (Erev Pesach n. 3 s.v. vein), Magen Avraham 445:5, Mishna Brurah 445:11. The reason for the Maharil is that the ashes of chametz burned after chametz is forbidden is similarly forbidden according to many rishonim. To avoid mistakes even when burning the chametz when chametz is permitted the minhag is to do it in a separate bonfire and not on one's stove. Kaf HaChayim on Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim 445:14:1 adds another explanation; since we learn the idea of chametz from notar and kodshim were typically burned in courtyards outside we should do the same for burning chametz.
  3. Teshuvot vihanhagot 1:192 quoting the Ramban that the mitzva from the torah to burn chametz only applies to chametz in your domain.
  4. Halichot Shlomo 6:10, Piskei Teshuvot 445:1, Beer Moshe 5:122, Siddur Pesach Kihilchato page 173.
  5. http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5757/metzorah.html
  6. Mishna Brurah 445:1, Shulchan Aruch Harav 445:4, Kaf Hachayim 445:3.
  7. Orchot Chaim 451:1.
  8. Kinyan Torah 5:37
  9. Chazon Ovadia Pesach page 40.
  10. Mishna Brurah 445:10, Kaf Hachayim 445:18.
  11. Piskei Teshuvot 445:4, Mishna Brurah 445:5. Kinyan Torah 2:86 quotes the Chazon Ish 118:3 that he reluctantly agrees that the modern toilet is similar to throwing it into the ocean.
  12. Rabba and Rav Yosef argue whether it is necessary to crush up one's chametz before throwing it into water. Rabba holds it is necessary unless it is thrown into the Red Sea. Rav Yosef, however, holds it is not necessary except for certain type of chametz. Rashi explains for Rav Yosef for wheat kernels that became wet they need to be scattered and not left inside a bag. The Rambam Chametz Umatza 3:11 explains for Rav Yosef that hard chametz needs to be crushed. The Ran, Rosh, and Rabbenu Chananel 28a follow Rabba, while the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch O.C. 445:1 codify the opinion of Rav Yosef. Mishna Brurah advises being strict to crush all chametz to be stringent for the opinion of the Rosh.
  13. Chazon Ish OC 118:3 proposes that since the reason to require crushing the chametz is that tashbitu means obliterating it from the world that is only necessary when the mitzvah of tashbitu applies. Before then, it can be removed from one's property in any way even if not obliterated from the world. According to Tosfot 12b that is only after the 7th hour and even according to Rashi as understood by the Rosh it is only for the sixth hour. However, according to the Tur's understanding of Rashi it applies even to the fifth hour and the minhag to burn chametz then is based on that approach. Therefore, based on that minhag it would be necessary to crush chametz in the fifth hour before putting it in the water in order to fulfill tashbitu. A similar approach is found in the Mekor Chaim 431 intro s.v. amnam luleh. On the other hand, Rashi 28a and Maharam Chalavah explain that the concern is that chametz which isn't crushed could be found and eaten or acquired on pesach.
  14. Minchat Yitzchak 4:56, Shevet Halevi 1:137.
  15. Piskei Teshuvot 445:7, Chelkat Yaakov 3:165
  16. Be'er Moshe 1:41; 3:74
  17. Kaf Hachayim 432:1 quoting the Arizal, Chazon Ovadia 5763 Pesach Part 1 page 36.
  18. Rabbi Mansour on dailyhalacha.com. Hagahot Maimoniot Hilkhot Sukkah 7:26 and Darchei Moshe Haaroch 664 and the Rama 664:9. Kaf Hachayim 445:16, 664:60 says to take half of the lulav to burn with the chametz and half to bake the matzot. The custom in Yemen was to use it to fuel the ovens for matza according to Rav Yosef Kapach in Halikhot Teiman page.
  19. Mishna Brurah 445:7
  20. Rabbi Mansour on dailyhalacha.com. See also Leftover oil and wicks of Chanukah candles.
  21. Chazon Ish quoted in Orchot Rabbeinu page 104
  22. Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 9, Chazon Ovadia pesach 5763 part 1 page 57. Pri Megadim Introduction to Hilchot Pesach 7 says that women are exempt from destroying chametz.
  23. Rav Elchanan in Kovetz Shiurim Pesachim n. 190 writes that one could fulfill one's mitzvah of tashbitu by having a non-Jew destroy one's chametz. His proof is from Bet Shamay's opinion in Pesachim 21a. The logic is that tashbitu is about removing one's chametz however you can do that and it isn't an activity-oriented mitzvah. Shvut Yitzchak v. 8 p. 135 fnt. 41 brings a proof for this from the Ritva Pesachim 7b citing the Raah and Ramban that biur chametz can be fulfilled even without proper shelichut. The Chazon Ish OC 124 27b isn't sure about this point. His ultimate conclusion seems to be that one can not fulfill tashbitu through the agency of a non-Jew but in the middle argues the opposite.
    • However, Rabbi Akiva Eiger OC 446:1 is absolutely clear that it is forbidden to ask a non-Jew to destroy one's chametz since it isn't a fulfillment of tashbitu. Chatom Sofer (responsa OC 1:110) agrees with Rabbi Akiva Eiger. It seems that the Magen Avraham 446:2 on the basis of the Shlah disagrees because he accepts asking a non-Jew to destroy one's chametz if not for the issues with amirah lnochri on Yom Tov. Mishna Halachot 8:182 feels that even the Magen Avraham agrees with Rabbi Akiva Eiger for a biblical obligation of tashbitu and they were discussing chametz that had bitul. However, the Lhorot Natan 13:16:3 answers that the Magen Avraham and Shlah fundamentally disagree with Rabbi Akiva Eiger. The mitzvah of tashbitu is not the action of destroying chametz but to have one's chametz destroyed. Indeed this is the view of the Maharik 195. Cheshev Haefod 1:38 explains the Magen Avraham similarly. They connects this with Magen Avraham 263:11 and Rabbi Akiva Eiger regarding asking a non-Jew to light Shabbat candles, Pri Chadash YD 120:40 regarding tevilat kelim, and Machaneh Efraim sheluchin 11 regarding building a fence by a non-Jew.
  24. Tosfot Rabbenu Peretz Pseachim 28b s.v. vbshaah quotes the Ri who is unsure whether selling one's chametz to a non-Jew is a fulfillment of tashbitu. Rosh Pesachim 2:4 and Tosfot Harosh 28b, Meiri 21a s.v. umochra, Rabbenu Dovid 28b s.v. Rabbi Shimon all hold that selling one's chametz to a non-Jew is certainly a fulfillment of tashbitu. Pri Chadash 436:3, Mekor Chaim 436:4, Avnei Nezer OC 341 hold like the Rosh.
  25. Rashi Pesachim 5b s.v. shma, Chesed Haefod 1:38, Kovetz Divrei Chidot v. 2 p. 215
  26. Chazon Ovadia page 65.
  27. Chazon Ovadia page 38
  28. Chazon Ovadia page 38
  29. Chazon Ovadia page 38
  30. Shulchan Aruch 432:1. Mishna Brurah 432:3 explains that this is because bedika is considered the beginning of the biur, and the bitul is done mainly in the heart and you can't say a beracha on something done in your heart.
  31. Mishna Brurah 423:4
  32. Or Letzion 7.8
  33. Chazon Ovadia page 44
  34. *The Mishna (Pesachim 21a) records a dispute between Rabbi Yehuda, who holds that one must burn one’s Chametz in order to fulfill Biur Chametz, and Rabanan, who say that one can fulfill Biur Chametz even by throwing it to the wind or into the ocean. The Rosh (2:3) quotes a dispute amongst the Rishonim regarding which opinion is normative. While the S”A 445:1 rules like Rabanan, the Rama says the Minhag is to burn it.
    • Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Am Mordechai Moadim p. 152-3) defends the Minhag of those who burn the Chametz in the morning before going to work even though it is before the Rabbi sells the rest of their Chametz. He explains that even though they aren’t burning their last K’zayit, nonetheless, they fulfill Tashbitu when the Rabbi sells the Chametz on their behalf. He bases this argument on the Tur 436, who according to the Pri Chadash 436:3, holds that selling one’s Chametz to a non-Jew is a fulfillment of Tashbitu. He adds that even though there is a Mitzvah to burn the Chametz, Rosh and Beit Yosef maintain that if one gets rid of his Chametz before the fifth hour, even Rabbi Yehuda agrees that one need not burn it.
    • Rabbi Hershel Schachter (B’ikvei HaTzon p. 76) argues that some Rishonim hold that one does not fulfill Tashbitu by selling one’s Chametz (see Tosfot Rabbenu Peretz Pesachim 28b). Accordingly, if one burns his Chametz in the morning before the Rabbi sells the rest of one’s Chametz, one might not fulfill Tashbitu. Furthermore, the Bracha one made before Bedikat Chametz may turn out to be a Bracha Levatala. Rabbi Schachter also stated his opinion on the OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 28:30 and 30:15 and in a shiur on yutorah.org (“Halachos of Pesach,” min 3-6). See an article in Kovetz Aharon VeYisrael about whether one fulfills Tashbitu with selling his chametz to a non-Jew.
    • The Tosfot Rabbenu Peretz Pseachim 28b s.v. vbshaah quotes the Ri who is unsure whether selling one's chametz to a non-Jew is a fulfillment of tashbitu. Rosh 2:4 and Tosfot Harosh 28b, Meiri 21a s.v. umochra, Rabbenu Dovid 28b s.v. Rabbi Shimon all hold that selling one's chametz to a non-Jew is certainly a fulfillment of tashbitu.
  35. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 434:2, Mishna Brurah 434:12, Kaf Hachayim 434:38-40. Theoretically, one may burn one’s chametz until halakhic midday (Mishnah Pesachim 11b); however, Mishna Brurah (434:12) writes that in order to perform bitul chametz after biur chametz, one must burn it before the end of the fifth hour.
  36. Piskei Teshuvot 445:3. The gemara in pesachim 21a says that from the torah chametz is only forbidden at mid-day, the rabbis made it two hours earlier because people might get confused with the hours. Rambam Chametz U'matza 1:9.
  37. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 434:2
  38. Rama 434:2. According to Rav Yaakov Emden in Mor Uketzia 434 one can do the bitul before the burning even lechatchila.
  39. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 436:1.
  40. Magen Avraham 445:2, Chazon Ovadia Part 1 page 65
  41. Gemara Pesachim 6a, Shulchan Aruch OC 446:1. Bet Yosef 446:1 cites a machloket rishonim whether one should burn it on Yom Tov if he didn't do bitul chametz. Rashi 6a s.v. hakofeh, Ran 2b s.v. hamotzei, and Rabbenu Yechiel (cited by Tur) hold that one should burn it if one didn't do bitul. Rivash responsa 401 agrees. On the other hand, one opinion in the Tur and the Rambam (Maggid Mishna Chametz Umatzah 3:9) disagree and think that you can't do burn it on Yom Tov in all cases. Mishna Brurah 446:6 writes that most achronim side with those who say that one can at least take it and throw it in the wind it if one didn't do bitul but the minhag is always to just cover the chametz on Yom Tov.
    • For the opinion of the Rambam that it is forbidden to burn the chametz on Yom Tov several reasons are given: Kesef Mishna Chametz Umatza 3:8 answers that there's no need of the day to apply mitoch since it is only a mitzvah to burn the chametz. This approach is supported by the Ran Beitzah 3b s.v. vdamrinan and Ramban cited by Ran. Nonetheless, many question it in light of Beitzah 12a that seems clear that mitoch applies to mitzvot. Minchat Shlomo 2:44 s.v. vnireh explains that the reason it isn't considered a need of the day is since the mitzvah doesn't need to be done today and it itself is a melacha that is considered Hashem's needs and not a human need. Any preparations for a mitzvah are considered sufficient cause for mitoch. Alternatively, he suggests that burning chametz is a destructive mitzvah and has no positive effect besides the mitzvah which doesn't warrant applying mitoch. This could also be found in Minchat Shlomo Pesachim v. 1 p. 36. Magen Avraham 446:2 answers that since there's no purpose for this chametz it is muktzeh and since keeping the chametz is only a passive violation, chazal upheld their words even where it entails a violation of the Torah passively. Taz 446:3 explains that you can't burn it since it isn't a need of the day since it is possible to cover it for now.
    • Rivash 401 writes that you can't even move the muktzeh chametz in an abnormal fashion.
  42. Mikrei Kodesh p. 231 writes that if you find chametz on pesach you should just put it away with the rest of your chametz since it was sold to a non-Jew and burning it would be stealing from the non-Jew. Furthermore, taking it to burn is acquiring it as a thief and it isn’t right to own the chametz on pesach even for that short period of time even though one intends to burn it (Tosfot Pesachim 29a). Shevet Halevi 9:116 agrees and adds that if one picks it up to avoid any shaylah of acquiring it one could have explicit intention not to acquire it.
  43. Pesachim 7a, Tur and Shulchan Aruch O.C. 446:4. It is noteworthy that the Rif, Rambam, and Rosh do not quote this halacha. Pri Chadash 446 speculates that they don't quote it since it isn't common. The Biur Halacha notes that a person shouldn't be lenient to actually eat it on Pesach since Rabbenu Chananel says one can only eat it after pesach. However, Dirshu 446:20 cites Chazon Ish 120:1 who disagrees and upholds Shulchan Aruch.
  44. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 444:1, Rambam Hilchot Chametz U'matza 3:3 based on Rabbi Meir's opinion on Pesachim 49a.