Rabbi Braun: Pre-Pesach Halachos




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    Rabbi Braun: Pre-Pesach Halachos

    Several halachic articles on pre-Pesach preparations, by HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun shlita, Mara D’Asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights • Full Article

    Several halachic articles on pre-Pesach preparations, by HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun shlita, Mara D’Asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights. 

    Early Bedikas Chametz

    It is permissible to begin – although not complete – the mitzva of bedikas chometz earlier than the night of the 14th of Nisan. Regardless of the date of the search, it must be conducted during night hours and a candle must be used. In such a case, a blessing is not recited, and care must be taken to avoid introducing any chometz into the searched area following the conclusion of the search until after Pesach. One room must be left unsearched, so that a search can be conducted in that room on the night of the fourteenth, with a blessing.

    Here is a practical example of such a scenario: One intends to enter his office during Pesach. In that case, the office cannot be included in the sale of chometz. It must be cleaned and searched instead, but he does not need to wait until the night of the fourteenth; he can search it earlier, as explained above. He must be extremely careful not to introduce chometz to the office following his search.

    If one cleans a room from chometz with the intention of storing his Pesach items there, it is wise to wait until the night after he has cleaned it to conduct a search for chometz  by either candlelight or the use of an electric flashlight, and not to rely on the search that he will conduct on the night of the fourteenth. He can then introduce his Pesach items. Halacha2G0 #581

    Bedikas Chometz when Traveling for Pesach

    If a person is leaving on Erev Pesach to be somewhere else for Pesach and is selling their entire house to a goy for the duration of Pesach, they should make sure to exclude one room, and do bedikas chometz there on the night of bedikas chometz. If a person is leaving before the night of bedikas chomtez, they should do bedikas chometz after they arrive in the place where they are on the night of bedikas chometz. If they are staying at someone else’s house and have their own chometz there, they can do bedikas chometz in their assigned room with their own chometz. If they do not have their own chometz, they are not obligated in the mitzva of bedikas chometz in their room at their host’s home. If the guest wishes to be strict, they can acquire their own chometz, bring it into their room, and then do bedikas chometz. If doing so is impossible, some opinions suggest that the guest can make a kinyan with the baal habayis, owner of the house, and acquire their room through it; however, in order to be able to make a bracha, it would not be that simple, and consequently it is best that the guest be yotzei the bracha from the baal habayis. Another option is for the host to do bedikas chometz in the guest’s room as in the rest of the house; even if the guest has their own chometz there, the baal habayis can be their shliach, representative. Halacha2G0 #270

    Cleaning Help & Yichud

    Is there any way to allow having a cleaning lady work in my house if I’m there alone? What if the window shades or door are open?

    It is an issue of yichud. However, if your wife can come home at any moment, referred to as yotzei v’nichnas, then it is okay.

    Likewise, according to many poskim, if others have the key and can come in unexpectedly it is also okay. However, both of these heteirim have certain limitations – see in the link below.

    Another solution would be to have the door to the street (or to the hallway in a building) open so that others can enter unexpectedly. This applies if it is normal for people to do so.

    However, in the latter solution, it only helps if you sit in the room closest to the door. See more in the next article #1123*

    Handing out House Keys to Preclude Yichud

    A primary condition of yichud (halachically proscribed seclusion of male and females) is lack of free access or oversight. Hence, a private home that has pesach pasuach l’reshus harabim (a door that is open to a public domain) would avert the issur (prohibition) of yichud during the day and early evening hours, at a time when there is plenty of pedestrian traffic.

    Some later acharonim (latter-day halachic authorities) extend the exemption of pesach pasuach l’reshus harabim to private homes with regular access by others, such as when the house keys are in the hands of outsiders. However, in order to have the same status as pesach pasuach l’reshus harabim, the following conditions must be met:

    There must be access for a rabim, a minimum of three people who live locally and would conceivably visit during this time.

    It’s daytime or early night hours when people are around, following the same restriction as pesach pasuach.

    There is no surveillance system in place whereby those secluded in the house can receive advance warning that someone is coming.

    The man and woman don’t have a companionable relationship, if any at all. On the other hand, if they are classified as libo gas bah (they are on friendly terms), according to many poskim, the exemption of pesach pasuach—and certainly key-holders—would not apply.

    It is a shaas hadechak (there are extenuating—urgent—circumstances) and is not relied on as a regular solution.

    It is offset by other factors that ameliorate the issue of yichud (such as specific ratios of women to men, the complex details of which need further study).

    Aside from the exemption of pesach pasuach—which includes, according to some, a house-key heter, too—there is an additional principle of shmirah (supervision) called yotzei v’nichnas (a person comes and goes). In order for the third party to be considered “coming and going” they must pop in often. In addition, they must stagger their visits so that there isn’t a long stretch between appearances, and at times they return quite soon after departing.

    (See Halacha #356 and Halacha #658 for additional information regarding shmirah when yichud is an issue, and Halacha #55 for other exemptions. For another application of yotzei v’nichnas unrelated to yichud, see Halacha #212.) Halacha2G0 #679

    *References are available for this Halacha on the websites: www.Halacha2Go.com and www.AskTheRav.com

    Please note that these halachos apply in general situations, if you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rav.


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