Chametz before Pesach is like any other issur in that it can be batel b’shishim. However, if pirurim (crumbs) of chametz b’en might remain in the food, even if those crumbs are batel chad b’trei, the chametz on Pesach will bechozer v’niyur. However, Rema (O.C. 447:4) writes that if the chametz is lach b’lach (either just ta’am from chametz or the chametz is completely dissolved) then once it becomes batel before Pesach, it will remain batel.
Example: Non-Passover certified milk may contain chametz vitamins. If the milk was bottled before Pesach, the milk may be consumed on Pesach, because the vitamins dissolve in the milk (lach b’lach) and are batel. However, if the vitamins are added on Pesach, they are not batel. The milk may not be consumed.
Example: Baby rice cereal might be produced using the same equipment as chametz cereals. If even one flake of chametz got mixed into the rice flakes, the chametz will be chozer v’niyur on Pesach.
What if there was no yediah until Pesach?
Yebiah Omer (Chailek O.C. 10:35) quotes Nishmas Adam (26), Mekor Chaim and many other Achronim regarding chametz that was nisbatel lach b’lach before Pesach, that even if there was noyediah until Pesach, nevertheless the chametz is batel.
Example: Even if one did not realize that the milk had chametz vitamins added until it was already Pesach, nevertheless the chametz is still batel, since the vitamins were added before Pesach.
However, chametz that gets mixed in on Pesach proper will not be batel, afilu b’elef. There is a machlokes Rishonim as to why chametz is not batel on Pesach.
Rosh (Avoda Zara perek 5:siman 29 and Pesachim perek 2:siman 5) says that this is a chumra of chametz. Since people eat chametz all year, and yet on Pesach it is an issur kareis, therefore Chazal instituted that it will not be batel, to keep us further away from chametz.
Rambam (Ma’achalos Assuros 15: 9&12) writes that chametz on Pesach, is a davar she’yeish lo matrin, since chametz will become mutar after Pesach. Therefore, if chametz gets mixed into a food on Pesach, it will not be batel, no matter how tiny the amount. Although ordinarily a davar she’yeish lo matirin is only assur min b’mino, however in this case Chazal forbade chametz in all situations even shelo b’mino.
The Mordechai (brought by Rema Y.D. 102:4) explains that chametz is not a davar she’yeish lo matirin. Although chametz will become mutar after Pesach, it will become assur again on the subsequent Pesach. Since chametz will not stay mutar forever, it is not a davar she’yeish lo matirin.
One nafka mina between the Rosh and Rambam is in regards to chametz on the afternoon of erev Pesach. According to Rosh, since on erev Pesach chametz is only an issur lav, not an issur kareis, it can be batel b’shishim. However according to Rambam, since it is a davar she’yeish lo matirin, it would not be batel. Achronim point out, that since Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 447:2) paskens that chametz on erev Pesach can become batel, this would prove that we do not consider chametz to be a davar she’yeish lo matirin.
If a mashehu of ta’am chametz gets absorbed into a food on Pesach, can that food be eaten the following year on Pesach?
Rebbi Akiva Eiger (O.C. Teshuva 26) points out that this would depend on whether chametz is a davar she’yaish lo matirin. According to Rambam, since chametz is a davar she’yeish lo matirin, just as one may not eat the food this Pesach, they may also not eat the food next Pesach. However, Shulchan Aruch paskens like the Mordechai that chametz is not a davar she’yeish lo matirin. Rather, the reason a mashehu of chametz is not batel is because of the sevara of the Rosh, that this is a chumra d’Pesach. When Pesach ends, the chametz will become batel. Once it is batel, it will be permitted even in subsequent years.1
This ruling has many practical applications:
Example: A company produces kosher-for-Passover chocolate (liquid eggs etc…) all year round. The chocolate is transported by tanker trucks. The tanker trucks require an upgrade wash (kashering) to be acceptable to transport kosher for Passover products. However, if the trucks are kashered on Pesach, the hagalah is ineffective. The chocolate will still receive a bliya of a mashehu of chametz and become assur to eat on Pesach. But since the tanker truck of chocolate anyways will not reach a consumer this Pesach, the question really only becomes relevant for next year Pesach. Regarding next year, the chocolate will be permitted.
Example: An aino ben yomo chametz spoon is accidentally used to ladle out hot soup on Pesach. The pot and the soup bowls cannot be used for the duration of Pesach. However, they may be used next Pesach without kashering.
What is the status of a safek mashehu chametz?
Rema (O.C. 447:4) says that if bread fell into a barrel of wine before Pesach, even if the bread is quickly removed, the wine may not be used on Pesach, unless the wine is filtered before Pesach. This is because there is a possibility that a mashehu of a crumb may remain. If a crumb does remain, then on Pesach it will be chozer v’niyur. Achronim ask, that this Halacha seemingly follows opinion of Rambam that chametz is a davar she’yeish lomatirin. Therefore, even a safek is assur as well. But if indeed we don’t pasken Rambam, then in a case where there is a safek as to whether amashehu chametz is there at all, shouldn’t we say safek d’rabbanan l’kula?
The Olas Shabbos answers, that the chashash of a crumb remaining in the wine is more than asafek, it is karov l’vadai. But אין הכי נמי, if there would be a safek ha’shakul, we would be maikel. Rebbi Akiva Eiger (teshuva 26) offers another approach. Because the wine can be filtered, and will then definitely be permitted next Pesach, in this situation, everyone would agree that this is adavar she’yeish lo matirin. Since the chametz will not assur next year, after it has been filtered out.
- This is also the ruling of Mekor Chaim (447:5) and Reb Yitzchok Elchonon (Aiyn Yitzchak siman 20). See Sdei Chemed (Mareches Chametz siman 7).
However, Sefer Haishiv Moshe (O.C. 17) asks that perhaps the food should not be permitted next year, since at the time when the chametz was mixed in, it was not batel. So perhaps it should never become batel. Although the food will be permitted after Pesach, this is not due to bitul, but rather because chametz after Pesach is heter. His grandson (end of the teshuva) answers that the food will continue to be permitted next erev Pesach as well, since Shulchan Aruch paskens thatchametz erev Pesach is batel b’shishim. Once the chametz is batel erev Pesach, it will remain batelfor the duration of Pesach as well.
By Rabbi Eli Gersten