Bedikas Chometz: Search for Dough Like a Pro

Before Pesach, a person is obligated to perform bedikas chometz, a search of his house and possessions, to ensure that he does not own any chometz. The bedikah should be conducted at the beginning of the night of the 14th of Nissan, immediately after tzeis hakochavim.1 If he did not do so, the bedikah can be done all night. Bedieved, if he did not perform the bedikah that night he should do it on the day of the 14th of Nissan.2

If he will not be home on the night of the 14th of Nissan, he should appoint another adult to perform the bedikah on his behalf.3 If he leaves his house within thirty days of Pesach, and is not planning to return and conduct a bedikah or have someone else perform a bedikah for him, then he should do bedikas chometz without reciting a brocha at […]

Guide to Purchasing Chometz After Pesach

A Jewish-Owned Store that did not sell its Chometz to a Non-Jew for Pesach

The Torah forbids a Jew to own chometz on Pesach. In order to dissuade people from owning chometz on Pesach, there is a rabbinic injunction not to eat or benefit from chometz which was owned by a Jew during Pesach. Such chometz is known as chometz sheovar olov haPesach, and it remains forbidden permanently.1

For this reason, one should not buy chometz from a Jewish-owned store immediately after Pesach, unless the owner sold all chometz that he owned before Pesach to a non-Jew for the duration of Pesach and did not acquire any further chometz during Pesach. The laws of mechiras chometz (selling chometz to a non-Jew for Pesach) are complex; therefore, the sale must be made by a competent rabbi or kashrus authority.

If a Jewish-owned store did not sell its chometz for Pesach, may one buy […]

Chometz After Pesach Chart

The following chart offers guidelines for products that are ( חמץ שעבר עליו הפסח (שעה”פ . “Yes” next to a product indicates the product is subject to the halachos of חמץ שעה”פ . Following Pesach, one may purchase these products only from a Jewish owned store that properly sold its chometz, or from a store owned by a gentile. “No” next to a product indicates the product is not subject to the halachos of חמץ שעה”פ . These products may be purchased at any store after Pesach.

 

Product

Status

Barley (if pearled, raw and packaged)
No

Beer
Yes

Bran (Wheat, Oat)
Yes

Bread/cake/cookies
Yes

Cereal with primary ingredient of wheat, oats or barley
Yes

Chometz content is more than a k’zayis.
Yes

Chometz content in entire package is less than a k’zayis but is greater than 1/60 of the product (e.g., Corn Flakes cereal)
 Yes

Chometz content in entire package is less than a k’zayis but is greater than 1/60 of the uncooked product
 No

Chometz content is less […]

Kitniyos And Other Products Customarily Not Eaten on Pesach

NOTE: Products bearing STAR-K P on the label DO NOT contain Kitniyos or Kitniyos Shenishtanu (kitniyos that have been manufactured and transformed into a new product)

 

 Anise4
Dextrose (possibly chometz)
Peanuts 2 and Peanut Oil

 Ascorbic Acid1,3 (possibly chometz)
Emulsifiers 3
Peas 

 Aspartame1
Fennel 4,6
Poppy Seeds 2

 Beans (including Green Beans, Edamame, etc.)
Fenugreek 2,6
Rice 5 and Rice Vinegar

 Bean Sprouts
Flavors3 (possibly chometz)
Sesame Seeds

 BHA (in corn oil)
 Glucose3 (possibly chometz)
Sodium Erythorbate1

 BHT (in corn oil)
Guar Gum 3
Sodium Citrate1 (possibly chometz)

 Buckwheat (Kasha)
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (possibly chometz)
Sorbitan 1

 Calcium Ascorbate1,3  (possibly chometz)
Isolated Soy Protein
Sorbitol 1

 Canola Oil (Rapeseed)
Isomerized Syrup 
Soy Beans and Soy Bean Oil

Caraway Seeds 2
 Lecithin 
 Stabilizers 3

 Chickpeas
Lentils
Starch (possibly chometz)

 Citric Acid1,3  (possibly chometz)
Maltodextrin1 (possibly chometz)
String Beans 

 Confectioner’s Sugar  (possibly chometz, look for KFP symbol)
Millet 
Sunflower Seeds

 Coriander4
MSG3 (possibly chometz)
Tofu 

 Corn and Corn Oil
Mustard (flour, prepared seeds)
Vegetable Oil 3

 Cumin4
NutraSweet1
Vitamin C 1,3(possibly chometz)

1. Kitniyos Shenishtanu
2. Should be avoided on Pesach.
3. Unless bearing a reliable Passover certification.
4. Only acceptable when the certifying agency has documented that all chometz issues have been resolved.
5. Those people who […]

What Should I do If I Find Chometz On

Erev Pesach (after the time of Biur Chometz)

If you find chometz on Erev Pesach after the latest time for biur chometz:

If you sold your chometz earlier that morning: You should move the chometz that you found to the place that you are storing the chometz that you sold.
If you did not sell your chometz earlier that morning: You should burn it.

First day of Pesach

If you find chometz on the first day of Pesach: You should cover it with a utensil.

Second day of Pesach

If you find chometz on the second day of Pesach, or if you found chometz on the first day of Pesach and had covered it:

If you sold your chometz before Pesach, or you said ‘Kol Chamira’ before Pesach, or the chometz that you found was less than a kezayis: You should cover it with a utensil if you find it on the second day, or keep it covered […]

Pesach and Shabbos/Yom Tov Guidelines for Hotel Guests

Kashering

A hotel kitchenette requires the same method of kashering for Passover as a home kitchen. One should secure permission from the hotel before kashering.

Ideally, all kashering should be completed before the end time for eating chometz on erev Pesach. Sometimes, a person might not arrive at his hotel room until later on erev Pesach, or on Chol Hamoed Pesach. Following are guidelines for kashering at that time, using the procedures in the STAR-K Pesach Kitchen Guide.

Erev Pesach

An oven and stovetop grates may be kashered. A sink may be kashered as long as one can ascertain that the sink is aino ben yomo, has not been used with heat for 24 hours prior.1

Chol Hamoed

One can kasher only with libun chamur, a blow torch that makes the utensil red hot.2 This is not recommended unless one is specially trained and is, therefore, not […]

Appliance Pre-Purchase Advice

Cooktops

Electric smoothtops may present a problem of kashering for Pesach. Check with your rav.
Electric cooktops may pose a problem with adjusting the temperature on Yom Tov.
Electronic ignition may pose a problem with initiating a flame on Yom Tov.
Cooktops (gas or electric) may have a light or light bar that turns on when the burner is turned on. Some of these light bars also increase or decrease as the temperature setting is adjusted. Some cooktops may also have simmer lights that turn on and off as one enters or exits a very low setting.
Avoid electronic controls. After return of power from a power failure, these units will probably stay off.
Avoid induction cooktops. They work well, but are not usable on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
12-hour cutoff – should have a way to disable or override.

Ovens
12-Hour Cutoff

Should have a way to disable or override.

Temperature Adjustment on Yom Tov

If you desire to change the […]

Oven Kashrus For Yom Tov Use

Yom Tov celebrations could never be complete without the traditional piping hot delicacies from past generations. However, the kosher homemaker must be well educated on how to prepare Yom Tov meals without fear of transgressing a Torah or rabbinic prohibition.
When mentioning the prohibition of work on Shabbos the Torah writes, “Do not do any melacha (work prohibited on Shabbos).”1 This prohibition applies to melacha performed for food preparation, as well as other non-food purposes. In stating the prohibition of melacha on Yom Tov the Torah writes, “You shall not do laborious work.”2 In addition, when giving the initial command about the Yom Tov of Pesach the Torah writes, “No work may be done on them (first and seventh day of Pesach), except for what must be eaten for any person, only that may be done for you.” (Shmos 22:16) The Ramban explains that the contrast of terms (work versus […]

Pesach Kitchen Checklist

The following is a checklist reviewing items commonly found in the kitchen and how to prepare them for Pesach.

Utensil

Preparation

Baby Bottle
Since it comes into contact with chometz (e.g., washed with dishes, boiled in chometz pot), new ones should be purchased.

Baby High Chair
Clean thoroughly. Preferable to cover the tray with contact paper.

Blech
Libbun gamur. Should preferably be replaced

Blender/Food Processor
New or Pesachdik receptacle required (plus any part of unit that makes direct contact with food). Thoroughly clean appliance. The blade should be treated like any knife and should be kashered through hagola.

Can Opener
Difficult to clean properly. Should be put away with chometz dishes.

Candlesticks/Tray
Clean thoroughly. Should not be put under hot water in a Kosher for Pesach sink.

Coffeemakers
Metal coffeemakers that have brewed only unflavored pure coffee. Clean thoroughly. Replace with new or Pesachdik glass carafe and new filters.
Metal coffeemakers that have brewed flavored coffee should be cleaned thoroughly. Do not use for 24 hours. […]

Common Pesach Foods and Their Brochos

Food

Brocha Rishona

Brocha Achrona

Egg Matzah5
Mezonos5
Al Hamichya5

Gefilte Fish (with or without matzah meal)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Grape Juice
Hagafen
Al Hagefen

See footnotes #1 and #6

Grape Juice mixed with water or other beverages
See Footnote #2
See Footnote #2

Kneidlach (matzah balls)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Macaroons (from shredded coconut – still nikker3)
Haetz
Borei Nefashos

Macaroons (from ground coconut or paste)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Matzah (wheat, whole wheat, oat, spelt)
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Matzah Brei
See Footnote #4
See Footnote #4

Matzah Cereal (from matzah meal)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Kugel/Stuffing
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Lasagna7
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Matzah Meal Cake
Mezonos10
Al Hamichya

Matzah Meal Rolls8
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Pizza7
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Nut Flour Cake (e.g., made from almond flour etc.)
Shehakol11
Borei Nefashos

Potato Kugel (made from shredded potatoes – still nikker3)
Hoadama
Borei Nefashos

Potato Kugel (from potatoes ground into a pudding-like substance so potatoes are no longer nikker3)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Potato Starch Cake
Shehakol11
Borei Nefashos

Quinoa (cooked)9
Hoadama
Borei Nefashos

Quinoa Flour Products (e.g., quinoa cake and cookies, quinoa pancakes)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Taigelach (matzah meal cooked in sweet syrup)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Wine
Hagafen
Al Hagefen

See footnotes #1 and #6

A brocha acharona is recited when drinking at least a revi’is (3.8 fl. oz.) within a 30 second span. If one […]

Bedikas Matzos: Inspecting your Matzos

The production of Kosher for Pesach (KFP) matzos involves a great deal of meticulous work. The process begins with the inspection of wheat kernels to ensure that they have not been adversely affected by moisture in the air or prematurely sprouted. Grinding of the grain must be performed according to the dictates of halachah, which precludes any pre-grind soaking of the grain and requires special preparation of the milling equipment to ensure that no contamination exists from non-Passover flour in the grinders and filters. The KFP flour is then loaded onto trucks, either pneumatically or in bags under controlled conditions, and shipped to the bakeries.

A bakery which has been kashered for Pesach will have already prepared special water (mayim shelanu) to be used for Pesach matzos. Hand matzah bakeries do not use regular municipal water for fear that the chemicals added to the water may affect the leavening qualities of […]

The Pesach Seder

The following contains halachic guidance concerning some of the common issues that arise when conducting a Pesach Seder. In particular, it discusses preparation for the Seder, the four cups of wine, and the obligation to eat matzah, Marror, Korech and Afikoman. This is by no means comprehensive. For a more comprehensive guide, see HaSeder HaAruch by Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Weingarten (three volumes, 1431 pages).

Preparations for the Seder

A person should complete all of the necessary preparations for the Seder on erev Pesach to enable him to start the Seder without delay.1 (If erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, he cannot prepare for the Seder on erev Pesach since he may not prepare for Yom Tov on Shabbos, from one day of Yom Tov for the next day.)

The following preparations should be made prior to Yom Tov:

If meat will be eaten at the Seder, it may not be roasted. Meat cooked with […]

The Star-K Pesach Kitchen

As the Yom Tov of Pesach nears, and the diligent balabusta begins to tackle the challenge of preparing the kitchen for Pesach, undoubtedly the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine. Although moving into a separate Pesach home sounds very inviting, such luxuries are often not affordable and definitely not in the Pesach spirit. Among the basic mitzvos of the chag is the mitzvah of tashbisu se’or mibateichem, ridding one’s home and possessions of chometz. However, if we are to use kitchen equipment, utensils, or articles that can be found in our kitchen year-round, it may be insufficient to just clean them thoroughly. One is forbidden to use these items unless they have been especially prepared for Pesach. This preparation process is known as kashering.

The Torah instructs us that the proper kashering method used to rid a vessel of chometz is dependent upon the original method […]

Pesach Cosmetics and Personal Care: The Halachos and Lists

In addition to pharmaceutical companies, Rabbi Gershon Bess also contacts many cosmetic companies and bases the following chometz-free list on his research.

L’halachah, all non-food items not fit for canine consumption (nifsal mayachilas kelev i.e., something that one would not feed his dog) may be used on Pesach. This includes all cosmetics, soaps, ointments, and creams.1 Nonetheless, people have acted stringently with regard to these items.

Below are several reasons why people are strict:

Many products, including shaving lotion and perfume, contain denatured alcohol which can be restored to regular alcohol. According to numerous opinions, one should not use such products, if chometz-based, on Pesach. The list notes products which do not use chometz-based alcohols.
The Biur Halachah (326:10 B’shaar) writes in the name of the Gra that one should be strict and not use non-kosher soap all year (sicha kishtiya). Although we are not accustomed to this stringency, many individuals have adopted this […]

Tevilas Keilim Guidelines

Utensil to be immersed must be completely clean – free of dirt, dust, rust, stickers, labels or glue. (Practical Tip: WD-40 is very effective in removing adhesive)

One wets one’s hands in the mikvah water, holds the vessel in the wet hand and says Baruch…Asher Kidshanu B’Mitzvosav V’Tzivanu Al Tevilas Keili (Keilim for multiple utensils) and immerses the vessel(s).

If one forgot to make the brocha, the immersion is valid.

The water of the mikvah must touch the entire vessel inside and out.

The entire vessel must be under water at one time, but does not have to be submerged for any prolonged period of time.

If a basket or net is used to hold small utensils, the basket should be immersed in the water, the utensils placed in the basket, […]

The Sabbath Mode

Appliance manufacturers, with the aid of modern technology, have designed kitchen appliances to be safer and more efficient while incorporating various features to enhance operation. However, the integration of this technology may pose a challenge to their proper use on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
In 1997, a historic technological project was launched between a major appliance manufacturer and a kosher certification agency. Whirlpool Corporation (manufacturer of KitchenAid) approached the STAR-K to help modify their ovens for use on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Prior to that time, many of their appliances did not conform to halachic guidelines. Following some adjustments, a successful mode was developed. Whirlpool called this “Sabbath Mode” and was awarded a patent in 1998 for this concept.

STAR-K certification on appliances falls into two categories:
1. Sabbath Mode, includes models that have unique software/hardware designed to specifically address our concerns.
2. Sabbath Compliant, includes models that the manufacturer wanted […]

Oven Kashrus: For Shabbos Use

Cookin’ just ain’t what it used to be. Technological advances have taken the old stovetop and oven and upgraded them to be safer, more efficient, and smart for today’s lifestyle. They are also far more complicated. With these transformations, the observant Jew is faced with challenges that did not confront him in the past. To understand how these changes affect the halachic use of the stovetop on Shabbos and Yom Tov, it is worthwhile to review some laws and concepts as they relate to cooking on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

DEFINITION OF MELACHA

Cooking on Shabbos is a Torah prohibition derived from the constructive acts performed in erecting the mishkan. This forbidden act is known as a melacha. There are 39 categories of prohibited acts.

MELACHA OF COOKING

The prohibition of cooking on Shabbos is defined as the act of using heat to make a substance edible, or to change its current state. […]

Pesach Medication: The Halachos and Lists

For many years, Rabbi Gershon Bess has prepared a Guide for Pesach Medications and Cosmetics which was published and distributed by Kollel Los Angeles. A partnership with STAR-K and the Kollel to make this information more widely available to the general public is still going strong after more than a quarter century. The Medications and Cosmetics Guide, available in Jewish bookstores nationwide, serves as an invaluable resource for kosher consumers seeking to purchase these items for Yom Tov.

Sefer Kovetz Halachos (Hilchos Pesach 12:4) states in the name of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetzky, shlit”a, that l’chatchila one should take a medication approved for Pesach and mentions the availability and use of reliable Pesach lists and guides (see Hilchos Pesach, ibid., footnote 5).

The halachos pertaining to medication and cosmetic use on Pesach are based on the joint psak of Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, and Rabbi Gershon Bess, shlit”a. Halachos that appear in other […]

Understanding Kitniyos – What They Are, What They Aren’t

As is commonly known, the Torah prohibits chometz on Pesach, and the consequence of chometz consumption on Pesach is very severe. In order to distance us from the possibility of violating Torah precepts, chazal with their supreme insight, instituted a minhag as a protective fence. The minhag to guard us from chometz violations is to refrain from consuming kitniyos on Pesach.

What are Kitniyos?

Kitniyos are popularly defined as legumes. But what are legumes? The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 453, defines kitniyos as those products that can be cooked and baked in a fashion similar to chometz grains, yet are not halachically considered in the same category as chometz. Some examples are rice, corn, peas, mustard seed, and all varieties of beans (i.e., kidney, lima, garbanzo, etc.). The Torah term for the using or fermentation of barley, rye, oats, wheat, and spelt is “chimutz;” the term given for of kitniyos is “sirchan.”

The […]

Pesach Guide for Individuals with Diabetes

The challenge of diabetes seems ten-fold when it comes to Pesach. There are a whole new set of considerations — four cups of wine at each Seder; waiting many hours until Shulchan Aruch; knowing the carb content of a single hand matzah.

These are real concerns for people with diabetes and health-related issues, who wish to fulfill the requirements of Pesach al pi halachah without compromising their health. STAR-K has turned to the Jewish Diabetes Association (JDA) for answers, and the JDA has kindly provided the following medical guidelines to help with dietary concerns on Pesach.

I. Matzah

The stipulations for minimum shiurim for matzah, which follow, are based on the psak of Rav Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a.

These shiurim are different than listed in previous years. See page 202 for explanation. These calculations are based on the use of a Tzelem Pupa hand matzah (10 matzos to a pound).

In the case of a medical […]

Guide to Selling Real Chometz Before Pesach

Although להלכה, any chometz may be sold before Pesach, there are pious individuals who do not sell “real” chometz, but rather give it away, burn it, or eat it before Pesach. How does one define “real” chometz? A food for which there is an issur of בל יראה ובל ימצא דאורייתא (there is a Torah prohibition of ownership on Pesach) is “real” chometz. This includes all items that are חמץ גמור, real chometz (bread, cake, pretzels, pasta, etc.). It should be noted that people who do not sell real chometz may purchase real chometz from a Jewish owned store that sold their chometz.

However, תערובת חמץ where the חיוב ביעור (obligation to burn) is only מדרבנן(rabbinic), or at least according to some opinions only מדרבנן, is not חמץ גמור. In addition, ספק חמץ medications and non-edible items, as well as products processed on chometz equipment, are not considered to be חמץ גמור. These products are sold before Pesach […]