Pesach Cleaning and Kitniyot Guide

Updated: Apr 15

Dear Kehilla,

LINK TO PDF VERSION


I have prepared a comprehensive Pesach Guide for you that I hope will answer most of your questions about Pesach this year. It includes the laws of kashering, cleaning, ta'anit bechorim, kitniyot, medications, bedikat and biur chametz, and more. If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to contact me. Tel: 052-603-9157 Email: haravote@gmail.com Wishes for continued good health and a chodesh Nisan sameach, Harav Yosef Ote

בס"ד

Pesach Cleaning Guide (Including a guide to kitniyot)

Rav Yosef Ote

The following outline is an English summary of Rav Yosef Ote's daily Hebrew Halacha ZOOM class between Mincha and Ma'ariv at Hovevei.

The first rule of kashering is safety! Kashering utensils involves burning hot materials and boiling water, so please remember to be careful and take the necessary precautions!

Regarding kashering utensils, the general rule is “כבולעו, כך פולטו”, meaning that we kasher a utensil using the same level of heat with which the utensil is used to cook. Metal and glass utensils may be kashered. Frying pans can also be kashered through the process of hag'ala, immersing the utensil in boiling hot water or by applying a flame to the inside of the frying pan. (Teflon frying pans should not be kashered.)

Metal Utensils

Since there are no public kashering stations, here is a concise guide for "home kashering":

  1. A metal utensil must be totally clean and dry.

  2. If the utensil was used for cooking, serving or eating hot chametz, wait twenty-four hours. After twenty-four hours have passed, the utensil should be fully immersed in a pot of continuously boiling water that has some detergent or soap added to it (to פוגם the טעם – to ruin the taste of the possible leftover food particles). A big pot or utensil does not have to all go in at the same time. The water does not have to spill over the edges of the pot but should be continuously boiling even when the utensil is immersed.

  3. If you have a "chametz" pot that seems too big to kasher because it will not fit into any other pot, fill it with water until the brim, add some soap, and boil. Once boiled, pour more boiling hot water from a kettle into the pot until the water overflows onto the sides of the pot.

  4. Silverware of which you are unsure is kosher for pesach can be dropped into a boiling pot of water as well.

  5. Silverware or cutlery made of two parts (a handle and a blade, for example) are very difficult to kasher. It is preferable not to use them for Pesach. (Please call me if you would like to kasher them.)

Glass Utensils

There are two opinions:

Clean very well. Some say that cleaning a glass utensil well is enough to consider it kosher for pesach.

However, many Ashkenazim are machmir to immerse a glass utensil in boiling water. (If you can't because it will shatter, just clean well.)

Please keep in mind that hot glass that is cooled right away can shatter very easily. Please be careful, wear gloves if necessary, and let cool instead of cooling it yourself when possible.

Furniture

Sofas, couches, or chairs in the dining room or living room: clean in all the crevices. This is an opportunity to find all sorts of long-lost possessions! 😉

Chametz in the amount of less than a k'zayit is not part of the prohibition:

  1. Rooms into which chametz are not normally brought need not be thoroughly cleaned, as the chance of finding a piece of chametz the size of a k'zayit (around 3 centimeters in size or a little over a square inch) is improbable. Even if one is found, the amount is negligible. Chametz which is less than this size may not be eaten, of course, but it is not included in the Torah prohibition of "bal yera'eh…", especially if one did bitul and/or has sold his chametz. Usually, only rooms into which people bring sandwiches, cookies, and similar chametz are likely to contain such big pieces of chametz .

  2. No need to clean books that are usually not brought to the table. If you do happen to find crumbs in your books during Pesach just get rid of it and do not eat it.

  3. Clothes, bags, and purses do not need to be cleaned for chametz unless you know that you stash chametz in your pockets and purses. Cabinets without food need not be cleaned. All areas that will not be used on Pesach should be cleaned enough that big pieces of chametz will not be found there. (Remember not to go crazy!😊)

Kitchen

The kitchen is the most important place to clean. Clean well so that no chametz crumbs (even less than a k'zayit in size) remain.

  1. Refrigerator and freezer

Once cleaned thoroughly you can place Pesach food directly on the shelves.

  1. Dishes, shelves, and drawers that will not be used on Pesach may be sealed after you make sure there are no pieces of chametz the size of k'zayit in or on them.

  2. Oven

  3. Clean well before kashering.

  • Turn the oven on to the highest temperature for half an hour. The racks must be cleaned well with soap or a caustic type of oven cleaner beforehand.

  • For self-cleaning ovens (500 degrees Celsius) it is enough to put the racks in the oven during the cleaning.

  • The oven pans: it is preferable to use different pans for Peasch or even aluminum disposable pans, but based on what we learned according to scientific research one can kasher oven pans by hag'ala.

  1. Stove/Cooktop (burners): On a self-cleaning oven the burners can be kashered simultaneously with the oven by putting the parts into the oven instead of cleaning separately.

  2. For a non-self-cleaning oven : The burners should be thoroughly cleaned and gone over lightly with a torch or by turning the fire on for about 20 minutes or just covered with foil.

  3. Electrical (קרמי) burners: Clean well, dry and spill boiling water over them. Put all burners on for 15 minutes.

  4. Induction stove: Clean well and dry. Put an empty pot (or a pot filled with water that has not been used for over 24 hours) on top of the stove and heat the stove on the highest temperature for 30 minutes.

  5. The knobs should be cleaned well on all ovens and stoves.

  6. Microwave oven

  7. Clean the microwave thoroughly and do not use for 24 hours. Then boil a glass cup of water on the highest setting until the water boils, for about 2-3 minutes. If the microwave was used in the past 24 hours put a bit of soap in the glass of water. Do not attempt to cool the glass with cold water immediately after. It will shatter. Wait for it to cool down first.

  8. The glass plate that is chametz should be replaced, or cleaned and kashered with boiling water poured on both sides.

  9. Sinks

  10. China /Porcelain/Corian sinks: These sinks should be cleaned well. During pesach use a sink insert or a dishpan that is placed inside the sink.

  • You can put your dishes directly into the sink (after it has been cleaned thoroughly) if you only use water that is 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) or lower.

  1. Stainless steel: Clean the sink thoroughly and dry it. Pour 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.

  2. Granite sinks can be kashered in the same manner as stainless-steel sinks.

  1. Countertops and Workspace

After cleaning well:

  1. Countertops made of granite may be kashered using boiling water.

  2. Formica countertops should be cleaned and covered with a waterproof material or heavy-duty aluminum foil.

  3. Caesar Stone (i.e Quartz): there are many types of Ceaser Stone countertops. Some can't tolerate heat, while others can. Clean well and use soap or bleach to clean all the cracks and crevices .

  4. If you don't normally put anything hot on it, you do not need to cover the counter (but clean well with soap).

  5. Many Ashkenazim cover their Caesar Stone countertop.

  6. According to "Tzomet" (Rav Rozen z"l), since counters are not "kli rishon" (directly cooked on) it is enough to kasher Caesar Stone by pouring boiling hot water on it from a kettle.

  7. For specific questions, feel free to contact me.

  8. Metal kettle and urn

If only used for water, clean well and dry. It is a good custom to fill it up with water and bring it to a boil.

Medication:

If your medication cannot be found on the "Kosher for Pesach" list, you can take your medicine even if it is not kosher for pesach, provided it does not have a flavor. If you have any doubts please contact me.

Toiletries (soaps, shampoos, creams, perfumes, and makeup):

Toiletries need not be kosher for pesach since the chametz in these products is considered unfit for animal consumption. Therefore, even though on Pesach one may not derive benefit from chametz, these products may be used because the chametz in them loses its chametz status even before Pesach begins.

Kitniyot: Many Ashkenazim do not eat kitniyot on Pesach.

However, Ashkenazim MAY eat:

  1. Canola oil and oil produced from rapeseed (liftit). These are permissible for Ashkenazim on Pesach, as well as soy oil, cottonseed oil and peanut oil.

  2. Peanuts, quinoa.

  3. Chocolate that says לאוכלי קטניות בלבד (only for those who eat kitniyot).

  4. Puddings that say לאוכלי קטניות (Only for those who eat kitniyot).

  5. Bamba (made from peanuts) NOT from corn.

For other questions regarding kitniyot please contact me.

Tevilat Keilim:

New pots and pans:

  1. If you have a new pot or pan that you would like to use for Pesach but are unable to immerse it in a mikveh keilim due to the current situation, you can give it to a non-Jew as a gift, and then "borrow" it from them, and use it since it was never used by the non-Jew. After all of this craziness calms down you can officially acquire it back and then take it to the mikva.

  2. Regarding new kettles or urns, this year you may rely on the ruling that since it is connected to the ground (by needing electricity to work) it does not need to be immersed in a mikva.

Miscellaneous:

Please remember to clean your car. 😊

Dentures should be cleaned thoroughly before Pesach.

Ta’anit Bechorim

  • Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer 10, OC, siman 55) rules that Taanit Bechorim is a minhag. Therefore, this year anyone who is in high risk may not fast this year.

  • Other bechorim, instead of fasting, may choose to make a siyum on the learning of an important Torah book (see Rav Yitzchak Isaac Liebes, Shut Beit Avi, #2, siman 52 and Harav Yosef Mashash, Shut Be'er Mayim Chayim, 179), for example:

  • Gemara – a perek of a masechet

  • Mishna – a masechet (According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerback in Halichot Shlomo 8:1 one may even do a siyyum on Pirkei Avot.)

  • Tanach – a sefer (Igrot Moshe 1:157)

Please do not leave this to the last second. This should not be done quickly. You have plenty of time to study properly. As a last resort, for those who are unable to study on their own, I will be doing a siyum on Erev Pesach, and you may join to be yotzeh.

Mechirat Chametz :

Please do this sooner rather than later. The sale will happen on the 14th of Nisan (Wednesday, April 8th) and not before. Just have in mind the place you will be storing your chametz and make sure it is sealed and marked before the sale.

  • Unfortunately, I will miss greeting you in shul with a smile to sell your chametz for you. But, you can call me and make me your shaliach during these times: March 29th until April 5th between 8:30pm and 9pm. My number is 052-603-9157.

  • A more efficient way is to do it by yourselves online. Here are the links:

Hebrew- https://www.tzohar.org.il/?page_id=16852

English-

https://www.tfaforms.com/369045?_ga=2.200837102.1107429446.1584968741-67756115.1584714938

Bedikat Chametz:

  • Bedikat chametz must be performed in all the apartments that one owns; however, the owner makes one beracha while keeping all his apartments in mind.

  • If one performs bedikat chametz before the 14th of Nisan at night, a beracha is not recited.

  • [If one is staying at a hotel during Pesach (not likely this year), ask the mashgiach if a bedika was performed in the room. If only a regular cleaning of the room was done, but not a bedika, the guest must perform bedikat chametz in the room with a beracha.].

Biur Chametz

In case there are no public burning stations this year, (I assume there won't be):

  • Take your pieces of chametz from bedikat chametz and flush it down the toilet.

  • Or take it out to the garbage bin and then recite the tefilla said for biur chametz, thereby nullifying your chametz.

Leil Haseder

Regarding Leil Haseder, come to the table relaxed. Enjoy the small, intimate setting this year. It is a time to return to our core families and values. We must take our time tuning in to each other. It is a perfect opportunity to appreciate all that we have, especially our health, and how much we worked to get to this point.

Perhaps we can spark interesting discussions and realize that we have more of an understanding of how Am Yisrael felt during the period of Yetziat Mitzrayim. The uncertainty, a bit of chaos, but an undying faith in HKBH.

This year Ma Nishtana can be recited with a modern twist and new meaning.

If you have any questions, feel free to call, whatsapp, SMS, or email me any time!

RYO: Tel: 052-603-9157, Email: haravote@gmail.com

CHAG SAMEACH!!

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