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How To Search for Chametz (Bidikat Chametz)

The Torah says: "Lo yera'eh lecha chametz, velo yeraeh lecha se'or bechol gevulecha". This translates to "Neither chametz (result of grain that ferments) nor se'or (highly fermented sourdough that is used to make another dough ferment) shall be visible to you in all your boundaries.

The night before the Passover Seder, we search our homes to find edible chametz which we will destroy.

Difficulty Level: average      Time Required: 15-30 minutes


Here's How:

  1. After nightfall on the night before the Passover Seder, we search our homes for chametz (leavened grain products). The house should already be clean for Passover and the chametz should have been sold.
  2. Any chametz which will be eaten later that night or the next morning should be put together in one designated area.
  3. Prepare a candle, a feather or old toothbrush, some newspaper, and a small bag.
  4. Place pieces of hard chametz that does not make crumbs (a bit of bread can be used) in ten different places around the house. The chametz can be wrapped in paper. Chametz is hidden so that the searcher will have something to find, and the blessing will not be said in vain.
  5. Turn off the lights in the house, and light the candle.
  6. In the room in which the search will begin, the head of the family should say: "Boruch atah, Ad-noi, El-heinu melech ho’olom asher kideshonu bemitzvosov vetzivonu al bi’ur chametz." This translates to "Blessed are you Adonoy our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to burn chametz."
  7. There should be no talk between the blessing and the start of the search. During the search, it is only permitted to talk about things directly related to the search.
  8. Walking with the lit candle, search through every room in the house, looking in all corners, for chametz.
  9. When a piece of chametz is found, use the feather or toothbrush to sweep it into the newspaper. Put all the found chametz into the bag.
  10. When all the chametz has been found and gathered, the following is said: "Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have not seen or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, like the dust of the earth."
  11. The next morning, when chametz can no longer be eaten, the chametz which was found in the search is taken outside and burned. Recite the following before burning this chametz: "All leaven and anything leavened that is in my possession,whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth."
  12. And the following is said during the burning of the chametz: "May it be Your will, Lord, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that just as I remove the chametz from my house and from my possession, so shall You remove all the extraneous forces. Remove the spirit of impurity from the earth, remove our evil inclination from us, and grant us a heart of flesh to serve You in truth. Make all the sitra achara, all the kelipot, and all wickedness be consumed in smoke, and remove the dominion of evil from the earth. Remove with a spirit of destruction and a spirit of judgment all that distress the Shekhina, just as You destroyed Egypt and its idols in those days, at this time. Amen, Selah."

Tips:

  1. The complete mitzvah of searching for chametz includes the search the night before the Seder, the renunciation of the ownership of chametz made at night, the burning of the chametz the following morning, and the second renunciation of ownership repeated after the burning.
  2. Children can be given this task of hiding the chametz.
  3. While the head of the family recites the blessing before the search and renounces ownership of the chametz after the search, all family members should listen so they are part of the mitzvah too.

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~ Lisa Katz

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