Tag Archives: Chametz

A Brief History of Selling Chametz

As we prepare for Pesach this week many Jews around the world will fill out a mechirat chametz, “Sale of Chametz”, form which will presumably absolve them of the responsibility of destroying some of the chametz in their possession. The idea is that a person can set aside the chametz that they wish to keep and “sell” it to a gentile. After Pesach, this chametz is “purchased” back and the Jew can use the chametz once more. The purpose is to avoid transgressing the mitzvahs of bal yera’eh (Exodus 13:7), that no chametz “be seen” in one’s possession, and bal yimatzeh (Exodus 12:19), that no chametz “be found” in one’s possession. By hiding and temporarily “selling” it, the chametz is no longer technically in the Jew’s possession and cannot be seen. Where did this interesting innovation come from? Continue reading

The Science of Chametz

As we continue celebrating Pesach this week, and avoiding all things chametz, it is important to take a moment and explore what exactly is chametz? While we spend a tremendous amount of time and effort learning about, and implementing, the various halakhot regarding eliminating chametz, we rarely think about what chametz actually is on the chemical level. If we did know, it would help to clarify what specifically is forbidden, and might save us a great deal of time and effort in our preparations. It would also help us better understand what actually happened in Egypt with our ancestor millennia ago (the answer may surprise you). So, what is chametz? Continue reading