The following foods are forbidden to Ashkenazic Jews during Pesach: leavened bread, cakes, biscuits and crackers; cereals, coffee substitutes derived from cereals; wheat, barley, oats, rice, dry peas, dry beans, and all liquids which contain ingredients or flavors made from grain alcohol. (Sephardic Jews have some different practices.)
Requiring no kosher l’Pesach label, the following foods are permitted in unopened packages or containers: natural coffee, sugar, tea, salt, pepper, and fresh vegetables (except peas and beans, although string beans are permitted on Pesach).
The following foods are permitted if certified for Pesach use by Rabbinical authority (have a kosher l’Pesach label): matzah, matzah flour, Passover noodles, candies, cakes, beverages, canned and processed foods, milk, butter, jams, cheese, jellies, relishes, dried fruits and vegetables, salad oils, vegetable gelatin, shortening, vinegar. Wines and liquors are permitted if certified by a Rabbinical authority as fit for Pesach use.
Dishes and Utensils
Only dishes and utensils specially reserved for Pesach should be used with the following exceptions: silverware made entirely of metal if used during the year may be used on Pesach if thoroughly scoured and immersed in boiling water. Metal pots and pans used for cooking purposes only (but not for baking), if made wholly of metal, though used during the year, may be used on Pesach. They must first be thoroughly scoured and immersed in boiling water. The utensils should not be used for a period of at least 24 hours between their cleaning and immersion in boiling water.
Utensils used for baking during the year cannot be used for Passover. Earthenware, enamelware and porcelain utensils used during the year may not be used. Fine translucent chinaware if not used for a year is permitted if scoured and cleaned in hot water.
Authorities disagree as to the method of kashering drinking glasses. One opinion requires soaking in water for three days, changing the water every 24 hours. The other opinion requires only a thorough scrubbing before Pesach or putting them through a dishwasher. A dishwashing machine may be used for Passover after a thorough scouring non-use for 24 hours and running a complete cycle. Authorities disagree whether a new tray is necessary.
The stove is prepared by a thorough scrubbing and cleansing of all parts, then turning on the ovens and all burners full-flame for one half hour. Self-cleaning ovens should be scrubbed and cleaned, then put through the self-cleaning cycle. Continuous cleaning ovens must be kashered in the same manner as regular ovens. Microwave ovens should be cleaned, and then a cup of water placed inside. The oven should be turned on until the water disappears. A microwave that has a browning element cannot be kashered. In all the above cases the appliance cannot be used for 24 hours prior to kashering.
If the parts of electrical appliances that come into contact with Hametz are removable, they can be kashered in the appropriate way. If the parts are not removable, the appliance cannot be kashered.
Non-Passover dishes, pots and hametz whose ownership has been transferred should be separated, locked up or covered and marked in order to prevent accidental use.
If you have specific questions, please contact our rabbis.
(The Search For and Burning of Leaven)
On the evening of Thursday, March 29, the Search for Leaven, bedikat hametz, is conducted. This is a ritual that symbolizes the final cleaning of the house of all hametz. It is customary to place pieces of bread in various rooms around the house before the search begins – remember how many pieces there are and where they are hidden! The search is conducted with a candle for light and a feather and wooden spoon to collect the hametz. The hametz, feather and wooden spoon should be put in a bag and set aside to be burnt in the morning.
In the morning – this year on Friday, March 30 – after eating our last meal of hametz, add any remains from breakfast to the bag of hametz from the previous night, and burn them outside the home. This is the final act of removal of hametz from our homes. Hametz should be burned by 10:15 a.m.
The appropriate prayers for the search for and destruction of hametz are found at the beginning of every Haggadah.
Mechirat Hametz (Sale of Hametz)
In addition to the thorough cleaning of the house before Pesach, we are commanded to completely free ourselves of leavened products. Anything made from wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt, which had a chance to leaven (rise or ferment), must be destroyed. Today a simple but meaningful tradition is followed:
Please see Mark Stadler or use the form below to sell your Hametz. Please contact Mark no later than Thursday, March 29. A voluntary contribution should be made upon selling Hametz. All gifts will be added to our Maot Chitim fund.
Maot Chitim (Portions of Wheat). It is traditional for Jews who have been blessed by the Almighty to make sure that their less fortunate brethren have all that is necessary to celebrate a joyous Pesach. Special funds for this purpose, known as Maot Chitim, are collected in synagogues through the world. Beth El participates in this activity. If you would like to make a contribution to the Maot Chitim fund, please mail it directly to the synagogue, or bring it in personally, and earmark it accordingly. These funds will be distributed to the Greater Chicago Maot Chitim and other institutions that provide Pesach food to the less fortunate.
Maot Chitim Delivery
Please plan to participate with the Greater Chicago Maot Chitim in the delivery of packages on Sunday, March 25, 9:00 am to 10:30 am. For more details and directions, go to www.maotchitim.org.
Siyyum Bechorim (Fast of the Firstborn)
At the Minyan service Friday, March 30 at 6:30 a.m. the ceremony of siyyum bechorim will take place in the Field Family Sanctuary, led by Rabbi Vernon Kurtz. It is customary for the first-born male to fast on the day preceding Passover. In place of the fast, however, tradition developed the practice of concluding a portion of study of a Rabbinic text after which celebration and feasting takes place. The siyyum bechorim ceremony is the means of obviating the need for a fast. We encourage all first-born males to attend.