Lo Basi Ella L’orer: Chumra d’Pischa

The term Chumra d’Pesach usually brings to mind Pesach minhagim that go beyond the letter of the law such as whitewashing walls or kashering leichter. However, there are also various halachos brought in Shulchan Aruch that are attributed to chumra d’Pesach as well.

Chametz on Pesach is not Batel

Tosfos (Pesachim 30a) explains that even a mashehu of chametz is not batel on Pesach because of chumra d’chametz. There is no difference between min b’mino and aino mino. This is brought in Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 447:1). Before Pesach chametz is batel b’shishim if it is a lach b’lach mixture. However, if any chametz b’en remains in the mixture the chametz is chozer v’niur. A mixture is considered lach b’lach if the chametz is completely dissolved before Pesach, or if it is a mixture of powders that cannot be separated.

One important exception to this rule is a davar hama’amid. If a mashehu of chametz, or even kitniyos, is used as a davar hama’amid, it is not batel, even when added before Pesach. It can be difficult to ascertain whether an ingredient is a davar hama’amid. For example Mishna Berurah (464:6) cites Maharil that mustard is not batel in grape juice, since it prevents fermentation. Chok Yakov (464:3) explains that although mustard is kitniyos, it is not batel because the mustard acts as a davar hama’amid. Also Mishna Berurah (447:14) cites Rabbeinu Yerucham that a key chametz ingredient added intentionally is not batel if one could not produce the food item without the chametz. Rav Belsky explained that for Pesach there is a minhag to be machmir for minority opinions of the Rishonim and this may be the basis for this chumra, even though we are not machmir by other issurim as per the ruling of Noda Beyuda (Y.D. Tinyana 56). Due to the complexity in determining which items are considered a davar hama’amid, a shailah should be asked if there is any doubt.

Cleaning Keilim

Pesach cleaning has many more chumros than cleaning the rest of the year. The leniencies of k’derech hamichabdim do not apply to Pesach, since chametz on Pesach is assur b’mashehu. Therefore, Magen Avrohom (452:11) says that one should not kasher pipes, since it is very difficult to check to see if they were adequately cleaned. However, since most industrial Pesach kashering is done for productions that are made before Pesach, when ta’am of chametz is batel b’shishim, we are more lenient so long as there is no chashash that chametz b’en might get into the product.

Ta’am Lifgam on Pesach is Assur

Rama (O.C. 447:10) says that the minhag of Ashkenazim is to assur ta’am lifgam of chametz, because it is considered like a mashehu. The minhag is to assur even if the ta’am lifgam is only a mashehu. However, this is only if the chametz is mixed into the food on Pesach. Before Pesach, ta’am lifgam is batel. Therefore if one cooks in a clean aino ben yomo pot before Pesach, the food is permitted. If the chametz item is completely pagum, it is batel even if mixed in on Pesach.

We do not say Stam Keilim Aino Ben Yomo

The Mishna Berurah (447:58-59) says that although if one bedieved cooked kosher l’Pesach foods before Pesach in an aino ben yomo chametz pot the food is permitted on Pesach, nevertheless, because of chumra d’chametz we do not rely on “stam kailim aino ben yomo” to allow us to assume that the pot was aino ben yomo. Moreover, even if one asserts that they remember that the pot was aino ben yomo when the food was cooked, they are not believed, since they did not pay attention at the time of cooking.

Therefore, it is generally inappropriate to give retroactive hashgacha for kosher l’Pesach products. Even if we can assume that the kailim were clean and aino ben yomo, mishum chumra d’chametz we can not approve the products even bidieved. However, if chametz products are never made on these kailim, then the Mishna Berurah says that one can be lenient.

In summary:

  • Chametz on Pesach is not batel
  • Chametz before Pesach is batel if it is lach b’lach (dissolved or mixture of powders)
  • If any chametz is b’ein it is chozer v’niur
  • If chametz or kitniyos is a ma’amid it is not batel
  • We cannot rely on k’derech hamichabdim when cleaning for Pesach
  • When producing before Pesach, we can be more lenient provided that no b’ein will remain in the food
  • Ta’am lifgam of chametz on Pesach is not batel, but before Pesach is batel
  • We do not say stam kailim aino ben yomo, even if we used the kailim before Pesach.

Chag Kasher V’samayach

OU Kosher Staff