Passover

A Jewish Scavenger Hunt: The Search for Chametz (Leaven)

The search is to be conducted Thursday, April 18, 2019. The search is conducted as early as possible following sundown. For those who cannot conduct the search at that time, the entire night is available. However, the search must be concluded by sunrise of the following morning. The search is done at night, traditionally using the light of a candle. You may want to consider a small flashlight. Ten (10) pieces of bread, or other chametz products, are placed in different areas of the house, areas in which it would be customary and usual to find chametz during the course of the year (thus excluding bathrooms from being “searched.”) Immediately before the search, after the candle has been lit, the blessing below is recited.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ד’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל בִּעוּר חָמֵץ.

Ba-ruch atta Adonai, Eh-lo-hey-noo Me-lech ha-o-lam, a-sher keed-sha-noo b’mits-vo-tav v’tsee-va-noo al be-oor cha-metz.
Praised are You, Adonai our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us through His commandments, commanding us to remove all chametz.

After the search has been concluded, a Declaration of Nullification is recited. Ideally, there should be no talking between the time we recite the opening blessing and the time we conclude the Declaration of Nullification. As the “search” proceeds, the “found” pieces are scooped up with a feather and wooden spoon into a receptacle (usually a napkin or paper plate). The receptacle and the implement used to scoop the chametz into the receptacle are all wrapped together carefully and placed in a section of the house where it will not come in contact with the Pesach products which have already been set up. Both the blessing and Declaration are below. There are two Declarations, a nighttime version and a daytime version. Both are to be recited at the appropriate time.

B’deekat Chametz kits are available from the synagogue office.

Nighttime Declaration of Nullification

After the search, recite:

כָּל חֲמִירָא וַחֲמִיעָה דְּאִכָּא בִרְשׁוּתֵי דְּלָא חֲמִתֵּהּ וּדְלָא בַעַרִתֵּהּ וּדְלָא יַדַעְנָא לֵהּ לִבְטִיל וְלֶהֱוֵי הֶפְקֵר כְּעַפְרָא דְאַרְעָא.

Kol cha-me-rah va-cha-me-ah d’-ee-ka veer-shoo-tay, d’-la cha-me-tay ood-la va-ah-ree-tay, ood-la ya-da-na lay, leev-teel v’-leh-heh-vay hef-kare k’-af-ra d’-ah-ra.
All chametz in my possession which I have not seen or removed, or of which I am unaware, is hereby nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

Recitation of this declaration, and a similar one the following day, prevents us from violating the prohibition against chametz (Exodus 13: 7). In the morning, after the last meal of chametz, leftovers are added to the crumbs gathered the previous night. These are burned or thrown out. This concludes the ritual of banishing chametz from our dwellings.

Daytime Declaration of Nullification

In the morning, recite:

כָּל חֲמִירָא וַחֲמִיעָה דְּאִכָּא בִרְשׁוּתֵי דַּחֲזִתֵּהּ וּדְּלָא חֲזִתֵּהּ, דַּחֲמִתֵּהּ וּדְּלָא חֲמִתֵּהּ,דְבַעַרִיתֵּהּ וּדְלָא בַעַרִיתֵּהּ דְיַדַעְנָא לֵהּ וּדְלָא יַדַעְנָא לֵהּ לִבְטִיל וְלֶהֱוֵי הֶפְקֵר כְּעַפְרָא דְאַרְעָא.

Kol cha-me-rah va-cha-me-ah d’-ee-ka veer-shoo-tay, da-cha-ze-tay ood’-la cha-ze-tay, da-cha-me-tay ood’-la cha-me-tay, d’-va-ah-ree-tay ood-la va-ah-ree-tay, d’ya-da-na lay, ood-la ya-da-na lay, leev-teel v’-leh-heh-vay hef-kare k’-af-ra d’-ah-ra.
All chametz in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have removed it or not, is hereby nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

Reflection: Adonai, our God and God of our ancestors, just as I have removed all chametz from my home and from my ownership, so may I evict the evil inclination from my heart, and may You dislodge the evil from the earth.