My dear friends,
Jewish law forbids us to own any chametz during Pesach. Chametz includes five grains [wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye] and foods that are made from those grains: leavened bread, cakes, biscuits, crackers, cereal. Chametz includes also all liquids that include ingredients and/or flavors derived from chametz and/or grain alcohol. Chametz mixtures include any substance, be it edible or not, that contains or is joined to any chametz.
Before April 10 we should empty our shelves and refrigerators of all chametz. Some have the practice during this preparatory time of giving unopened food products away to a food bank or to others who are in need of food. Others may move some or all their chametz to a location in the home, such as the basement or porch, where food is not normally stored, and perhaps cover it to make it invisible.
Centuries ago, our Rabbis established a supplemental approach to these preparations, an approach to assure that we do not legally own any chametz by the time Pesach arrives. This is a legal method that enables us to sell our chametz to someone who is not Jewish and retrieve it at the conclusion of the festival. The document used to implement this method is called a “Shtar Mechira.” I am attaching that document. Copies will also be available at Temple B’nai Shalom.
- I am providing three ways to sell our chametz; you can choose any one of them...
- Complete and return the Shtar Mechira 5777 to me by mail at 198 Dedham Street, Newton, MA 02461.....
- Appoint me as your agent for this purpose by sending me an email asking me to serve as your agent – firstname.lastname@example.org; or appoint me as your agent by calling me at 617-694-2438.
I do not want us to think of Pesach as a time primarily of deprivation and hard work. This should not seem to us to be only a time when we cannot eat bread or other leavened foods and a time when we busy ourselves with removing chametz from our homes and preparing the seder meals. Rather, I hope we can make our preparations in a joyful way and view this holiday as it is meant to be viewed, as Z'man Cheiruteinu, the Time of Our Freedom.
I wish us all a Zissen Pesach, a Sweet Passover.
Rabbi Van Lanckton