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Mar 26, 2009

ideas of special chumros for Pesach

My daughter came home from school yesterday with an unusual homework project. She has to write down a special chumra we do for Pesach.

I am kind of at a loss of what to tell her...

my choices are:
  1. cleaning for pesach the way we do is a big enough chumra
  2. machmir on bein adam l'chaveiro and treating others respectfully in tense times.
  3. we are (at least I am) makpid to not measure our matzos and maror, so that our mitvos are not measured and limited.
  4. Make something up, like only holding matza in plastic bags to eat from and not in hands, because our hands might have sweat on them or other moisture that would make the matza into chametz.
That was all I could think of. Any better ideas? I actually like #4, but I know my daughter would never be willing to take that in as her homework....

49 comments:

  1. not eating kitniyos.
    It is a chumra (even though it may be required, that is only because our community accepted it a a chumra).
    It is true.
    It is special for pesach.

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  2. but it is not unique. did I not mention that? I dont think they are looking for a chumra that almost everyone keeps...

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  3. In the same spirit, Rav Elizer Adam gave a similar drasha at Carlebach a few years ago.

    One of the most important was not to yell at your wife/kids because of pre-holiday pressure.

    One humra I like to use one's own hand-baked matza for the kezayit. BTW, they're soft like laffot as our forefathers ate them--rather than the burnt crackers that most Europeans started eating after the industrial revolution.

    Another one is saving divrei Torah or commentaries on the Haggadah for the meal so that the kids are still awake by the time that we get to the meal.

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  4. oh boy... fun time! tell her to tell the teacher your family is machmir not to eat fruits and vegetables because they may be chametz.
    machmir not to eat matza for the same reason.
    machmir not to drink liquids that are not boiling.
    and may the teacher and others feel bad for not being as machmir.

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  5. Perhaps in your Ashkenazo-centric world "almost everyone" keeps it.
    And, yes you didn't mention that it has to be unique. Your idea of cleaning the way we do is not unique. In fact it is probably even more widespread than refraining from kitniyos.
    The problem with some of your other chumros is that they aren't special for pesach (or are you only careful about bein adam lachavero on pesach) or that they aren't true.
    Most people probably don't measure matza, but I think it is pretty unique to specifically be makpid NOT to measure. So, maybe that would qualify. Although it doesn't sound like much of a chumra.

    If you read through Shulchan Aruch Hilchos Pesach you'll find some more chumros for Pesach, but again they aren't unique.

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  6. by unique I don't mean we are the only people doing it, but it cannot be a standard that is so common.. so you are right that cleaning does not apply, but that would make a nice point to the teacher that the way we clean is a chumrah. Probably most think it is a basic necessity and obligation. so to call it a chumrah is unique. but then maybe you could say the same for kitniyot.

    we try bein adam l'chaveiro all year, but to try on pesach is sort of unique while many let the pressure get to them... too much cleaning and too much matza....

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  7. we burn our house down every year to make sure we get everything

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  8. ooh, here's a few more:

    being careful not to sneeze near matzo, so as to prevent any gebrochts contamination.

    You don't use potato starch because it looks too much like flour (and who knows, maybe the manufacturer confused corn with potato starch?).

    You kasher your bathtubs with a blow torch.

    You cover your chouches with saran wrap (where's the pic of the foil wrapped toilet? didn't you post that last year? or was that DB?)

    Actually, you remove all of your furniture and put it in storage for Pesach, including the beds and sleep on mats with special pesach sleeping bags, and eat on the floor on special plastic tablecloths because really how do you kasher a mattress and wooden furniture?

    for that matter, you get rid of all of your clothes as well, and you all wear plastic ponchos for chag, because how are you going to get all that chametz out of your clothes? the molecules are stuck in the fibers!

    I could go on...

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  9. this is getting really good!

    I am going to have to let my daughter choose her favorite...

    keep the suggestions coming...
    and in 5 years let's check back and see how many of the ideas suggested here become reality...

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  10. Oh, one more thing about bein adam lachaveiro. It's not a chumra. It is required.

    If you want to use the cleaning idea to teach a lesson, even though it isn't unique, I suggest phrasing it as "removing chametz from our possession even when it is only a crumb". I believe it is al pi kabbala from the Ari Z"l.

    There are dozens of standard chumros that perhaps could be used as such a lesson. How about baking only thin matza (Rama)? Or being choshesh for the Magen Avraham z'man for issur achilas chametz (even though it is only miderabbanan) (Mishna Berura).

    There are other chumros that perhaps you keep that are not as standard but are somewhat common such as shruya, not relying on mechiras chametz for chametz gamur, not kashering ovens, pouring chemicals down your sink drain, being choshesh for the noda beyehuda that shiurim are doubled, being choshesh for Chazon Ish Shiurim, selling your chametz even if you got rid of it, using all of the kinyanim to sell chametz, not kashering any kelim, accepting the maximalist definition of kitnyos, drinking rov kos (even though many hold rov reviis=male lugmav is enough), kashering only eino ben yomo even before zman issur etc.

    I strongly discourage having your daughter lie on her homework.

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  11. more:
    using only shmura for the whole chag.

    using only "18 minute matza".

    using only shmura mishaas ketzira at the seder (even though shu"a pakens like the rosh that mishaas techina is enough and ketzira is only mitzva min hamuvchar).

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  12. Anonymous-
    People are trying to be funny here- have you ever heard of that concept? Chill out, man- you can't even use the "I ate too much matza" excuse.

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  13. aside from being funny, I can really use some real ideas as well...

    but I am looking for something that we do for real that I cannot just think of, so it will be true, or something totally ridiculous...

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  14. I think that is an obnoxious homework assignment. Next year she should ask the children to list kulot.

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  15. Maybe you should let your daughter do her own homework.

    Dov, you mean they weren't serious?!
    I realize that they were trying to be funny. I wasn't so sure that Rafi G would try to be funny on his daughters homework. Besides, I was the only one who actually tried to help with real usable ideas.

    The real problem here is that Rafi doesn't really keep any chumros (except for the universal ones), so he has a real problem. Should he allow his daughter to reveal this on her homework? She might be thrown out of school! Should he lie? This would be wrong and terrible for his daughters education.
    He could do what R. Yaakov did when faced with a similar situation. R. Yaakov said he doesn't eat Gebruchts and at that time actually accepted the Chumra upon himself. Otherwise, he would have had to choose between insulting someone, lying, or relaxing his own kashrus/pesach standard.

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  16. ... not G etc.

    Mine is that I'm machmir not to accept any new humrot.

    It will be an interesting exercise to pull this post out in a few years and to see that some of the humorous suggestions here will on their way to the mainstream.

    BTW, what is the purpose of this homework? Maybe to comfort the children that their family isn't totally crazy, someone else has a worse humra?

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  17. ... Or Rafi G could use my idea, list a universal chumra.


    Mother in Israel, I totally agree with you. Hmmm, maybe Rafi G's daughter should list the kulot instead. I wonder what grade she would get on the homework.

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  18. It's to see who is the frummest in the class. Your daughter will lose her social standing if you don't make something up and fast.

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  19. I would guess that the idea of the HW is that they learned in school that there is a special thing to be machmir on Pesach and each family had their own chumra. The HW is a way of demonstrating that.

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  20. your post reminded me of a great email, so i found it and posted it on my blog (and liked you):

    http://hubscubs.blogspot.com/2009/03/chumras-for-passover.html

    i dare your daughter to bring one of THESE in!

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  21. Here is another common one:
    Not eating out.
    Only using kosher lepesach soap and shampoo.

    If you want to be funny:
    Getting an enema before Pesach to clear the chametz out of your system.

    Wearing a bag over your beard while eating matza. (Oh, wait. That's real!)

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  22. she was told to ask her parents what special chumra we do...

    we are getting some really good ones here... I can't believe some of these are not practiced..

    I know the Reb Yaakov story, and I know other people who did similar things... if somebody recommends something that appeals to me I would not be against adopting it.... so keep recommending...

    I don't know what the purpose was - but anons suggestions sounds likely to be it...

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  23. hubs - I can use the braces idea...my daughter has braces...

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  24. 1. joked last year with our kids that we would hve to blow torch their mouths to clean their braces.

    2. I am being machmir to try to hold with every kula I can find. of course my wife says I'm an idiot and she's in charge of Pesach, so I'll keep trying......

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  25. You could do הגעלה on your teeth (I think irui from a kli rishon will be enough of a chumrah).

    Or, maybe your daughter could just quote R' Yaakov Emden talking about the chumra of some not to eat sugar on pesach (sheilas yabetz II:65) ובאמת אין הדעת סובלת כל החומרות המתחדשים בכל יום

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  26. Gilad - I like it. I am going to look it up...

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  27. we talked last year about this one.

    when shopping, line your cart with plastic, then hand your items to the clerk - must have gloves - one at a time and place directly into specially washed shopping bag - the plastic ones might have corn starch on them.

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  28. don't forget to sell your blog for pesach.

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  29. How about the chumra of never potentially embarrassing someone else by asking about their level of frumkeit (i.e. asking what their chumras are)?

    Oh, I forgot, that's not a chumra, it's a halacha. Can a halacha turn into a chumra?

    Mark

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  30. Well since someone was talking about braces, and since money is no object when it comes to chumras, a real good chumra would be for all people with braces to visit their orthodontist on Erev Pesach and have their braces entirely removed, then have a thorough teeth cleaning, and then have the orthodontist install a new set of braces on the clean teeth.

    Interestingly enough, I always schedule a teeth cleaning the week before Pesach and the week before Sukkot, it's an easy way to remember to have them cleaned about every 6 months.

    Mark

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  31. Our minhag is to not eat Matzah from Purim until Pesach. We have a chumra not to eat matzah the rest of the year so we will not be over on the minhag.

    My wife had someone in her high school who got a lip ring. The mother stayed silent. Just before Pesach the mother said it was chametz. She could either stick her head in boiling water or get out of the house over Pesach.

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  32. Believe it or not I was shopping and I overheard a woman telling her friend that her "family minhag" is to only use plastic plates on Pesach. Gee, I wonder how many generations that one has been in the family!

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  33. I with MII on this one. What kind of an assignment is that? Shouldn't they be talking about the unity of the Jewish people? (oops that's Purim and mishloach manot)
    Another point is that you should be VERY careful how you answer this question because it might affect you daughter's chances for a shidduch...

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  34. BTW,

    I've stopped using the chart as well. I now agree with you and really take it a step further and simply don't believe the shiurim that are discussed, but that's a different discussion. nonetheless, it is funny to read the comments from back then, only 3 years ago.

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  35. I've been trying to popularize a new chumra for years, but no success yet ... since most commercial printers inks are soy based, those who don't eat kitniot should refrain from using printed haggadot unless they're laminated. As a potential kula, enclosing the haggada in a plastic bag could suffice in an emergency. After all, would any self-respecting Ashkenazi allow kitniot at their Pesach table?

    (My young daughter was listening to me read some of these; she suggested that one should clean the trash to be sure it's free of chametz.)

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  36. In my famliy a chumarh we have is to only eat fruit's and veg's on pasach that you can peel. We don't eat pepers ,tomatoes, celry, ect. And every fruit or veg we ear during pasach has to be peeled frist before eatn

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  37. When our first kid was a baby, my uncle (a pediatrician with a weird sense of humor) told me to bring my wife by before Peasch, since all the nursing mothers were coming over to be kashered. (As he said, "You've never heard so much screaming in your life.")

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  38. Devora wrote"
    " Believe it or not I was shopping and I overheard a woman telling her friend that her "family minhag" is to only use plastic plates on Pesach. Gee, I wonder how many generations that one has been in the family!"

    I think that's a great minhag, especially if you live in America and have 3 days of yom tov.

    Rafi, you realize that some lubavitchers (and possibly other chassidim) do eat their matzah from plastic bags, right?

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  39. My grandmother, although not makpid on gebrokts, would tell us we had to wash the dishes right away because the matza crumbs on them should not sit in water for 18 minutes. I have a feeling it was her own made-up idea, though.

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  40. Sometimes it's not so easy to determine what is a chumra and what is a kula- for example, when R Ovadya Yosef talks about wearing one's tzitzit out, he tries to be matzdik the "kula" of many ashkenazim to keep them out.

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  41. I'm not sure if this is a chumrah or just the halacha, but my Rav told me that since I have eaten chametz within 2 weeks of Pesach, i need to kasher my stomach with boiling water. or I can sell it.
    Just joking

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  42. today i was by a friend who is a dental hygienist. she said people come into the office now to get their teeth cleaned before pesach. and one patient wanted a new set of dentures. true.

    שבוע טוב

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  43. Here's a kula:

    After cleaning the house for Pesach, there's probably no need to do another b'dika, which would make the bracha a bracha l'vatala. So we rely on those who say that "hiding" some bread throughout the house is enough to make it a b'dika which necessitates a bracha.

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  44. How about always wearing nose plugs when walking outside on Pesach -- otherwise, you might smell someone baking chametz.

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  45. I never understood how men with long beards don't have to shave them off. Or have a ritual clean out - they'd find some long-lost stuff in there (car-keys, loose change, pencils, the partner of their odd socks, couple of slices of bread at least...)

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  46. lol... maybe plastic bag tied over the beard would solve that...

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  47. BS"D
    What's the point in item #4?
    It's already baked anyway.
    Unless you keep shruyah.

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  48. the same idea as shruya, but that your physical moisture from your body might come into contact with the matza, thus making some perhaps unfully baked section into chametz

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