Bedikas Chametz

March 30, 2023

Rabbi Avrohom Aba Freundlich

Rosh Bais Horaah

Lakewood, NJ


Bedikas Chametz

Q Someone will not be home for Yom Tov. How much cleaning and bedikas chametz must he do before leaving?

A There is a mitzvah “tashbisu se’or m’bateichem”—destroying all chametz in one’s possession. Many feel that since they are going away and won’t be home at all, it’s a great tirchah to clean the entire house from chametz. Many poskim say that one may rely on the opinions that selling chametz also fulfills the above mitzvah since the chametz is no longer in the person’s possession. However, since there is a mitzvah of bedikas chametz in one’s home, one should leave over one room that they don’t sell, clean it, and fulfill the mitzvah of bedikas chametz there.

It’s best, however, to make a general bedikah throughout the entire house, rather than concentrate on one room, even if one will sell his chametz. One should check just for chametz gamur, i.e., he should look around for a black-and-white cookie or a snack bag. It shouldn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes.

Q A couple went to their parents for Pesach. Although all the meals are eaten in the kitchen or dining room, the couple definitely had some nosh in their bedroom before Yom Tov began. Should they do their own bedikas chametz in their private room?

A Yes.

Q May they make a brachah if the ba’al habayis is making a bedikah with a brachah?

A Yes.

Q Must the couple make some sort of kinyan from the ba’al habayis for the room in order to make their own brachah on the bedikah?

A No, it is not necessary.

Q A family is staying at their grandparents’ home for Pesach. When they arrived, the bedroom had been cleaned for Pesach, and they didn’t bring any chametz into it. Therefore, they will not be making their own bedikah there. However, they will be bodek their car, since the family always ate in the car. Should they make a brachah on that since it is being done on the night of 14 Nissan?

A No.

Q Children are helping their father do bedikas chametz. May the father rely on a katan to check a room himself?

A Yes, if he is higia l’chinuch (seven years old).

Halachah: One should not begin to work, eat a regular meal, or learn Torah 30 minutes before the zman when one must do bedikas chametz.

Q May the mother and children eat supper before the bedikah?

A Yes, as long as the father, who will be doing the bedikah, is not eating. This applies even if the family will be helping the father.

Q May they even wash for bread?

A Yes.

Q If the father wants to eat, may he eat also?

A Yes, but he needs a shomer.

Q May he even wash and eat bread?

A Yes, but he needs a shomer.

Q Who may be the shomer?

A If everyone is eating, the shomer must be a child who can be relied upon but is under the age of chinuch (i.e., under the age of seven). If someone at home is not eating, that person may be the shomer even if he is older.

Halachah: The brachah we make on bedikas chametz is “Al Biur Chametz—On the Burning of the Chametz.” The reason is: Even though one is not burning the chametz until the next day and is now only searching for chametz, poskim explain that one cannot do a proper biur the next day without previously doing a bedikah. Also, one cannot say “al bedikas chametz”since searching is not the ultimate mitzvah; burning and destroying is.

Q What if someone mistakenly said “al bedikas chametz”? Should he make the brachahAl Biur Chametz” at the burning?

A No.

Q A person is an onein if he lost a close relative and has not begun sitting shivah since the levayah or burial has not yet taken place. An onein may not say any brachos or perform mitzvos. What should one do if he is an onein the night of 14 Nissan, the time of bedikas chametz? Since he may not perform the mitzvah of bedikas chametz, should he wait and make a bedikah the next morning, after the levayah, or would it be better to appoint a shaliach to perform the bedikah in its proper time?

A It is better to make a shaliach.

Q Should the shaliach make a brachah on the bedikah? Or, since the onein cannot make a brachah, his shaliach also should not?

A He should make a brachah.