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Mar 30, 2020

PSA: burning chametz

On Pesach we ask why is this night different than all other nights, but this Pesach we are actually going to have much more differences than in normal years, because of CoronaVirus.

Selling of the chametz will be done mostly using online services, though I am sure some people will still do it the traditional way, just as some people are still insisting on davening in shuls. There are many services online for selling chametz, but here is the one offered by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

I don't yet know how hagalat keilim will happen. Maybe it will be performed as normal but with restrictions on how many people can be present and distance kept between them. I guess it is possible, but it seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Additionally,the threat of an even tighter closure in the coming days might make that impossible. Though, again, I am sure some people will do this no matter what the closure situation is and no matter what the Ministry of Health allow or does not allow.

Many people buy new dishes or pots and other utensils before Pesach. That is likely true especially this year when people who normally go away will be staying home and making Pesach. With the mikvahs closed, mostly, many people are finding other solutions due to the inability to tovel the stuff. Tzohar is offering a service of selling your dishes to a non-Jew so they wont need to be toveled. Others are making their dishes hefker. And I heard another psak about simply not needing to because of the absurd situation we are in with the inability to tovel. After the situation calms down, no matter which solution you avail yourself of now, you will later have to tovel the dishes (speak to your rabbi if you are in this situation, but this is what I have heard in multiple shiurim about this). Kosharot has also paskened that selling to a goy is not a good long term solution. Kosharot says there is no problem toveling dishes now and it should be done with care (gloves, etc), but if someone can't or is too woried too, base don psak by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, he can use those utensils without tevila temporarily and the dishes should be marked so he remembers to tovel them later.

Burning chametz is an issue. It will be an even bigger issue in the event of a full closure, but for now it is only an issue. Of course one can solve the problem for himself by burning his chametz in his own yard or porch in a safe manner. Another solution is not burning any chametz but disposing of it in other ways, or by selling it all.

But if you want to burn chametz, as of now, the City of Bet Shemesh just released instructions on how to do so in light of the CoronaVirus restrictions and guidelines.

Shemesh posted the rules from the city information:

Biur Chametz will only be carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, which are constantly being updated.
As of March 25th, there can be up to 2 people at each location so that no gathering is formed.
The Chametz should be thrown into the fire and after saying the Nusach, residents are requested to return home immediately.
Please wear personal protective equipment (gloves and masks).
Keep a distance of two meters from person to person.
Children should not be brought at allAdditional guidelines:A. The containers will be put out in various locations throughout the city on Wednesday, April 8, י"ד ניסן, until 11:00 AM, after which they will be collected.
B . The public is asked to burn the Chametz only in these containers and not in any other areas.
C. Only food items related to the Mitzvah should be discarded. Other items are prohibited. The issue will be enforced.
D. Fire safety rules must be followed; no fuel should be used to light the fire.
E. Municipal employees will carry out strict supervision and enforcement at the Biur Chametz stations
Please observe the rules to avoid any unpleasantness.
Click here for a list of sites for burn Chametz around the city: https://go.aws/2UNH3my

So, yes, due to the situation, this year's Pesach is looking a lot different than in previous years. There are solutions for every issue and situation. If you are not sure what to do or what can be done, ask your rabbi for guidance and pay attention to the safety rules publicized by the Ministry of Health.

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  1. You said Tzohar is offering a service of selling your dishes to a non-Jew so they wont need to be toveled. Is there contact information you are able to share? I really need this service, as I had to buy new kailim for people making pesach the first time. Thanks for any guidance!- LFD

  2. found it: https://www.tzohar.org.il/?page_id=35321


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