Passover is coming…search for the Chametz!

BJennifer Schwartz, MCJC Religious School Lead Teacher

One of my favorite memories is finding the chametz before Pesach with my Papa.  We would hide small chunks of bread throughout the house on napkins; then we’d take a flashlight and go back through for a seek-and-destroy mission.  The chunks of bread would be swept into a paper bag and taken to our local shul to be burned the next day.

Why not start this tradition with your own family?  Customarily, the search for chametz (leavened food forbidden duing Passover) in the home is done with a beeswax candle, a wooden spoon, and a paper bag for collection.  Before collection, “hide” ten small pieces of bread throughout the house, wrapped in or on something flammable (no aluminum foil here guys). The hiding doesn’t even have to be done the day of the search!  Hide them before and adults can write down where they are, just in case. Make it a real mission for the kiddos!

The evening before Pesach, say the following prayer:

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai
E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam
A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-tav
Ve-tzi-va-nu Al Bee-ur Cha-metz.

Or, in translation:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us concerning the removal of chametz.

Burning the Chametz

Next, have someone hold the lit candle and find all the hidden chametz, even ones you didn’t hide but you might just find!  The wooden spoon can be used to sweep the chametz into the bag. Once you’ve completed the search, gather the search party back together and recite the Kol Chamira:

All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, which I have neither seen nor removed, and of which I am unaware, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

After this declaration is recited, all unknown chametz in your home will be considered nullified.  Your bag is now safe to be destroyed.

Chag pesach sameach and happy searching!

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