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Rabbi Spolter’s Pre-Pesach Guide

Pesach Product Guide
On Pesach, the Torah commands us to rid our homes of all chametz. Not only is one forbidden to
eat chametz on Pesach – one is not allowed to own it, or even possess chametz belonging to
someone else, on Pesach.

What is chametz?
Chametz is any food or drink made from or containing wheat, rye, barley, oats or spelt. When any of
these grains has come into contact with a liquid for more than eighteen minutes, it is considered
chametz. Therefore, all grain products or mixtures such as bread, cereals, cakes, cookies, grain alcohol
or vinegar, yeast and malts are forbidden for eating, use or ownership for the entire eight-day period.
(Note: Included in this list are most types of liquor and whiskey). In addition, Ashkenazi Jews follow
the custom to refrain from eating kitniyot (legumes) or their derivative foods on Pesach. These
include corn, rice, beans, peas, etc. and also corn oil, cornstarch, or any similar food products.
What requires supervision?
Food production is a complicated business. Today’s food producers add chemical by-products to
even the simplest of foods. For example, in the production of freshly squeezed orange juice, the
manufacturer adds an agent to the juice to remove the sediment from it. This agent is a chametz
product. Therefore, even the simplest products require proper rabbinical supervision for Pesach
consumption. One cannot just say, “It’s just apple juice, so what could be wrong with it?” In today’s world, you
never know
Therefore, most prepared or mass-produced foods require proper rabbinical supervision for
Passover use, to ensure that the product did not come in contact with any chametz during the
production process. Unless specifically listed here or another Pesach guide (such as the OU guide
available at the shul), one must assume that every product requires Pesach supervision.
What DOES NOT require specific Pesach supervision?
Please note: for each of these products, the accepted practice is to purchase a new container for use
on Pesach (for a complete list, please see the OU Pesach guide available at the shul).
Aluminum foil, paper towels, wax paper, Styrofoam, any paper goods (plates, cups, bowls, etc), plastic wrap, sandwitch bags Baby oil, powder, wipes (without alcohol) Baby formula -- Enfamil, Prosobee, Carnation, Similac and Soyalac may be used without special Pesach supervision. They must be used in separate utensils and may not be washed in a Kosher for Pesach sink! (It is preferable not to use Isomil as it contains ascorbic acid, which is chametz.) Artificial sweeteners: The following brands may be used: Pure Aspartame (not Equal), Kojel Kosher L’ Pesach Sweet N’ Good, Leiber’s Kosher L’Pesach Sugar Substitute, Sweet N’ Low with OUP, Gefen OUP, V.I.P. Master OUP Cocoa (Hershey’s or any other 100% pure) Chapstick (and Blistex) – use only a new, unflavored stick Coffee (instant) – only Folger’s and Taster’s Choice Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Young Israel of Oak Park Deodorants: any powder or stick and all Proctor and Gamble Eggs: be sure to buy whatever you need for the entire chag before Pesach Fruit: Raw or frozen (unsweetened without syrup or additives. Dried or canned fruit does require supervision.) Grains: Flax, hemp and quinoa are not chametz. Check the box or bag before Pesach to remove any extraneuous matter. Juice: 100% pure frozen grapefruit or orange juice without sweeteners, additives, etc. Oven cleaner: Any with proper year-round hechsher Spices: Any whole, ungrounded (except mustard) Sugar: Any brand, white granulated (not powdered) Tea: Any brand, pure unflavored tea (not instant or decaffeinated) Toiletries: Proctor & Gamble shampoos, toothpaste, deodorants, etc. Unflavored seltzer (flavored requires supervision) Vegetables: Any fresh vegetables other than those considered kitniyot as listed above (Please note: many leafy vegetables contain heavy instect infestation and must be properly washed and cleaned before eating, both on Pesach and year-round)
What about the medicine cabinet?
Many products, including cosmetics, mouthwash, deodorant, etc., include alcohol derived from grain
products. All cosmetics except for lipstick with grain products as ingredients can be used.
Medicine tablets, caplets, capsules or unflavored liquids can be assumed to be kosher for Passover.
This is true for vitamins as well. All major painkillers and non-liquid cold medications are OK.
If one is aware that a particular pill contains chametz and a substitute is readily available, one should
take the substitute instead. Some popular products that contain chametz include Claritin RediTabs,
Clarinex Reditabs, and Lactaid Tablets. One need not check popular lists of medicines and toiletries
to determine the Pesach status of each pill or capsule, as they are inedible and permitted from the
letter of the law. Flavored cold and cough syrups and elixirs must be checked. Triaminic Cold Syrup
and expectorant (with and without codeine) may be used, as well as Benadryl Liquid (for those long
car trips). Comtrex liquid, Orabase B Gel and Kaopectate products definitely contain chametz and
should not be used. Laxatives should be checked, as many are unacceptable. Powdered Metamucil is
OK. Please contact me if you have any further questions.
Milk and dairy products:
All dairy products (cheeses, butter, creams, etc.) require proper supervision for Pesach use.
However, regular milk (without Passover certification) may be purchased for use on Pesach as long
as it is purchased before the onset of the holiday. If you want to buy milk during Pesach, it must
have Passover certification. Lactaid can be purchased before Pesach, but pills and drops may not be
used on Pesach.
Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Young Israel of Oak Park
Pet food
Most pet foods contain chametz and cannot be used on Pesach, because we can neither have chametz
in our possession, nor derive any tangible benefit from it. Substitute food should be used. In
addition, make sure that the pet food does not contain a mixture of milk and meat, which is
prohibited all year round.
Kashering your kitchen
To adhere to the requirements of Pesach, separate sets of dishes, flatware, pots and pans and the like
should be set aside specifically for Pesach use. Yet, certain utensils, such as flatware, metal pots and pans,
etc, may kashered for Pesach even if they have been used with chametz during the year. This year, we will
again have a community kashering here at YIOP on Sunday, April 4th between 9am and 11am. You
must leave any utensils that you wish to kasher unused for 24 hours before they are kashered. The
following utensils CANNOT be kashered:
1. China, pottery, earthenware, Telfon, enamel and similarly coated ware, plastic dishes, or any utensil with a wooden or plastic handle that cannot be removed. 2. Oven glassware (e.g. Pyrex, Melmax, and Corningware) 3. Utensils or vessels which cannot be thoroughly cleaned, such as those having crevices in If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at the shul.
Inside the kitchen
Sinks and Counters: Pesach dishes and foods may not come in contact with surfaces that one normally
uses when cooking chametz throughout the year. Therefore, one must either kasher or cover
completely the sink and counter area in the kitchen. A stainless steel sink is kashered by thoroughly
cleaning the sink on all sides, and in all crevices. Then, after leaving the sink unused for 24 hours,
scalding hot water should be poured on all exposed areas of the sink. The same procedure can be
used for Vendura, Avonite and Corian countertops. Formica counters should be cleaned completely
and covered. Enamel sinks cannot be kashered, and must be covered with a sink liner. In addition,
special dish racks, sink racks and wash basins should be used, and the inside drain in the sink should
be changed.
Mixers, Food Processors and Blenders: One should not use these utensils if they have been used with
chametz, as they cannot be kashered.
Ranges and Ovens: Before kashering, every part of the range and oven must be thoroughly cleaned and
left unused for 24 hours. They must be then burned at the maximum temperature for one hour. If
the oven has a self-clean cycle, run the cycle. One need not line the racks of the oven, but take care
not to put any food in direct contact (without a pot) with any racks or walls of the over. In addition,
the range top should be covered with foil. An important note: It is extremely difficult to kasher a
smooth-top range for Pesach without damaging the range. I do not recommend attempting to
kasher these ranges, and for that reason I also do not recommend purchasing smooth-top ranges for
year-round use. Should you have any questions, please contact me to discuss the issue. In addition,
make sure to line the oven hood over the stove with foil to cover any possible dripping from
condensed steam back into your Pesach cooking.
Microwave ovens: One can kasher a microwave by cleaning it completely, and boiling a glass bowl full
of water in it, for 10 minutes. The glass tray cannot be kashered. Either cover it completely with
Saran Wrap, or cut a piece of cardboard to size as a substitute.
Refrigerators and Freezers: All parts of refrigerators and freezers must be thoroughly cleaned and
washed, including storage bins. The shelves do not have to be lined. If you do line the shelves, be
Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Young Israel of Oak Park sure to perforate the lining to allow for air circulation. Otherwise, your food will spoil. Also, you do
not have to take apart any pieces of the refrigerator when cleaning.
Important Note: All kashering must be concluded before Monday April 5.
Schedule For Pesach Preparation:
Mechiras Chametz – Selling of the Chametz:
On Pesach, the Torah prohibits us from eating, seeing or owning any chametz for the duration of
the holiday. Therefore, the Torah commands us to destroy any chametz in our possession on the
day before Pesach.
Yet, sometimes destroying all of our chametz can be quite prohibitive. Therefore, to avoid violation
of the Torah prohibition, we sell that chametz to a non-Jew before Pesach. It is best to destroy and
consume as much of your chametz as possible before Pesach. (Finish that half-eaten box of
Cheerios before Pesach.) It is not appropriate to buy chametz items before Pesach with the
intention of selling them over the chag.
If you have chametz that you would like to sell for Pesach, please see me after davening any time
after April 3rd. If you cannot come after davening, please call me in my office (248-967-3652) to
schedule an appointment.
Hechsher keilim (Kashering of utensils)
For those who wish to kasher their silverware and/or pots for Pesach, we will again be offering you
that opportunity. On Sunday, April 4th from 9am – 11am the kitchen will be available for kashering.
While we welcome non-members to utilize this service we ask that they make a voluntary donation
to cover the cost of this valuable service. All items to be kashered MUST be clean and not used
for 24 hours before kashering.

Chametz food drive
This year, we will be running our first pre-Pesach food drive. While halachah permits the sale of
chametz to prevent great financial loss, it’s best for us to rid our homes of any small items that we
cannot finish before Pesach. This year, instead of discarding it, donate it! YIOP will collect food for
Yad Ezra. Please drop off any non-perishable, unopened packages of food for distribution to the
poor. Food can be left in the cans in the shul entrance from Monday March 29th until early in the
morning on Sunday the 4th.
Destroying (biur) chametz:
Halachah teaches us that we must destroy our chametz in two fundamental ways: physical destruction (רועיב) and verbal annulment (לוטיב). We destroy chametz physically by burning it, eating it, or performing any other action to it that renders it unfit for canine consumption. Through verbal annulment – לוטיב – we denounce ownership of any chametz that we might have missed in our exhaustive cleaning and searching before Pesach. We recite the לוטיב twice (just to be sure). During the first לוטיב, said immediately after the הקידב, we denounce ownership of any chametz we are not aware of. During the second לוטיב, usually recited after burning the chametz, but recited this year Shabbos morning, we denounce all chametz in our possession, whether we are aware of it or not. Remember: The ץמח לוטיב is a legal declaration, and must be understood! If one doesn’t understand the Aramaic, she should recite it in a language she does understand. רועיב – physical destruction – takes place in two distinct stages: searching for chametz (הקידב) on the evening before Pesach and the actual burning of chametz on the day before Pesach. Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Young Israel of Oak Park I have found the actual burning of the chametz to be one of the most dangerous aspects of the
Pesach preparation routine. So, instead of waiting for (God forbid) a terrible accident to occur,
YIOP will offer a communal chametz burning on erev Pesach, Monday, April 5th from 11am
– 12pm
. Please be on time. Thanks to fireman Jerry Eizen for arranging the controlled burn.
Pre-Pesach Timeline
Shabbos HaGadol – Shabbos April 3rd
The Shabbos HaGadol Derasha for this year is will take place on Shabbos, April 3, 2004. This year I
will discuss: “Learning to Take Things as They Come.” Minchah will take place at 6:35pm, followed
by a family Shalosh Seudos and the drashah, which begins at around 7:55pm.
Sunday, April 4th
ץמח תקידב – Bedikas Chametz – The Search for Chametz. Begin the search immediately after 8:01pm.
The search for chametz should be an earnest attempt to find any chametz you might have missed in
your cleaning. Don’t just find the obvious piece of bread that you hid and move on. Make sure to
look in closets, bookshelves, coat pockets, couch cushions, and anywhere else you might have
inadvertently left chametz. If you have children, look everywhere. While in earlier times our
ancestors used a candle and feather, I recommend using a flashlight (the feather is purely optional).
In addition to the candle presenting a dangerous fire hazard, you can do a better inspection with a
good flashlight. During the search, (following the brachah) one may speak about issues relating to
the search, but should not engage in otherwise unrelated conversation.
After the search: keep any chametz that you find and any other chametz that you plan on eating in
a safe place. Get rid of all other chametz, and put away all chametz utensils.
Monday April 5th
םירוכב תינעת -- Fast of the Firstborn – All bechorim – firstborn males – are required to fast on the day
of Erev Pesach to commemorate the salvation of the firstborn males in Egypt. Yet, if one partakes
in a seudat mitzvah, (celebratory meal), he is exempt from fasting. This year, I will again (G-d
willing) make a siyyim and enjoy a brief seudas mitzvah after morning minyan, which begins at
6:45am. If you’re a first-born and don’t want to be hungry on erev Pesach, I invite you to join us.
The latest time to eat any chametz is 11:26am. Burn all chametz before 12:31pm.
Final Checklist – After everything else, don’t forget to:
¾ Check your medicine cabinet for all questionable items ¾ Thoroughly clean children-oriented areas, including playpens, high chairs, and toy boxes ¾ Make sure that your pets are not fed with chametz during Pesach ¾ Check all pockets (especially coats and jackets) where there might be any food or crumbs ¾ Carefully clean the garage and all areas of the car, including the glove compartment and ¾ Check all drawers, cabinets, etc. in one’s office to ensure that all chametz has been removed ¾ Have a wonderful, Kosher and happy Pesach! Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Young Israel of Oak Park


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