Owning Chametz on Pesach
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
It is forbidden to own chametz on Pesach and one who does violates the biblical commandment of Bal Yiraeh and Bal Yimatzeh, not owning or having chametz in your possession that is possible to be seen.
- There is a biblical prohibition of bal yiraeh and bal yimatzeh to own a mixture of chametz on Pesach even if there is less than the proportion of a kezayit within a pras (1/6 or 1/8).
- Something that has chametz in it and is nullified one in sixty there is a rabbinic mitzvah to get rid of them. If someone didn't get rid of them and didn't realize until after Pesach it is permitted to be eaten.
- Something that has the taste of chametz in it, like a potato cooked in a chametz chullent, there is a dispute if there is a biblical or rabbinic obligation to remove it. If one didn't do so, after Pesach it is forbidden to eat. In a case of a large loss it is permitted for benefit.
- Something cooked in a chametz pot before Pesach, even though it is forbidden to eat on Pesach, may be kept over Pesach and eaten afterwards. This is true even if the chametz pot was used within 24 hours for chametz. Nonetheless, if it is a liquid it shouldn't be left in a chametz pot over pesach.
- Something cooked in a chametz pot on Pesach is forbidden and must be gotten rid of, even if the pot wasn't used in 24 hours for chametz.
Rentals and Deposits
- If someone rents their house to another Jew on Pesach and no one does bedika or bitul chametz, there is a dispute whether the owner violates Bal Yiraeh and Bal Yimatzeh. Additionally, there is a dispute whether the renter violates those prohibitions. Certainly, the one who has it in his property should get rid of it before Pesach.
- Similarly, someone who has a deposit of another Jew's chametz in his property on Pesach must get rid of it and there is a discussion if he would violate Bal Yiraeh and Bal Yimatzeh.
Storing Chametz in a Non-Jew's Property
- A Jew who owns Chametz may not give it to a non-Jew to keep as a deposit even if it is stored in the non-Jew's property. If he does so he will violate owning Chametz on Pesach since in essence it is still his property.
- A Jew who owns flour and gives it as a deposit to a non-Jew to store and the non-Jew makes it into Chametz on Pesach, the non-Jew has made it forbidden Chametz and owes the Jew the value of the flour.
Storing a Non-Jew's Chametz
Responsible for the Chametz
- It is forbidden for a Jew to store a non-Jew's Chametz on his property if he accepts any responsibility for its loss or theft. Some say that it is forbidden even if he accepts any responsibility even if it is just responsibility for his negligence.
- The acquisition in question depends on what is legally binding in secular court since this is a deal between a Jew and a non-Jew.
- Bitul does not solve the issue of taking responsibility for a non-Jew's chametz.
- It is forbidden for a Jew to store a non-Jew's Chametz even if he does not accept responsibility if the non-Jew will force him to have to pay in the event of theft or loss. Some think this is permitted since the Jew didn't willingly accept any responsibility.
Designating a Place
- Chametz of a non-Jew that is stored in his house must be hidden behind a ten tefach wall. This applies to all chametz even Chametz of a non-Jew on his property that he has no responsibility for, nonetheless, he must hide the Chametz behind a wall that is 10 tefachim.
- Chametz of a non-Jew for which a person has responsibility is a problem even if it is hidden behind a 10 tefach wall.
Chametz You Don't Know About
- Chametz which the owner doesn't know about in his possession, some say that the owner doesn't violate Bal Yiraeh, while others hold that one does violate Bal Yiraeh. Many hold that if one did do bedika then if there's still chametz that one missed one doesn't violate Bal Yiraeh either because he doesn't know about it or because it is like an extenuating circumstance that he missed it. If he didn't do bedika then owning chametz that he doesn't know about is a violation of Bal Yiraeh on a biblical level.
- Bread which spoiled and is still edible to dogs is forbidden to eat, benefit from, and may not be owned on Pesach since it could be used to leaven other doughs.
- A chametz mixture which does not have the ability to leaven other foods and is inedible to people is permitted to own and benefit from on Pesach. Therefore, using tropical fish food that has chametz as an ingredient may be owned on Pesach and may be fed to fish on Pesach since it is edible to people. However, other pet foods such as dog, cat, and bird food potentially could be edible to people and therefore are forbidden if they contain chametz. The standard approach in the Orthodox community has been that one should not serve one’s animals pet food that contain Chametz on Pesach. 
Less than a Kezayit
- One must get rid of even less than a kezayit of chametz.
- Is there is bal yiraeh on less than a kezayit? Some rishonim hold that there is a biblical violation of bal yiraeh for less than a kezayit of chametz, others disagree and hold it is only a rabbinic obligation. See Bedikat_Chametz#What.
- Shemot 13:7, Devarim 16:4
- Shemot 12:19
- Pesachim 5b, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 442:1
- Mishna Brurah 442:1
- Mishna Brurah 442:1
- Mishna Brurah 442:1
- Mishna Brurah 442:1
- Mishna Brurah 442:1
- *The Gra 443:11 writes that if someone has chametz of another Jew in your property you violate Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimaseh. He proves it from Rashi Pesachim 5b. Peni Yehoshua there and 4a agrees. See Or Chadash 4a who disagrees and argues based on Rashi Pesachim 46b. Rav Soloveitchik in Mesorah v. 3 p. 7 answers this proof of the Or Chadash. The fnt. on Maharam Chalavah (Pesachim 4a fnt. 26) cites also the Bet Meir 443, Torat Chaim 4a, and Tzlach 5b who hold like the Gra.
- The Maharam Chalavah 4a s.v. hamaskir and Meiri 4a s.v. vkol hold that both the renter and owner don't violate Baal Yiraeh since the chametz isn't both entirely in their property as well as belong to either of them. Nonetheless, there is a rabbinic obligation to get rid of the chametz. Tosfot Chachmei Engliya 4a is explicit that the Jew who has Chametz of another Jew in his property doesn't violate Baal Yiraeh and that Rashi 5b isn't conclusive. Fnt. to Maharam Chalavah cites the Rabbenu Dovid, and Ran who agree.
- The Bach 443:5 writes that someone who has a deposit of someone else's chametz doesn't violate Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimaseh. Magen Avraham 443:5 agrees. However, they do state that the one who has the chametz in his property should get rid of the chametz of his fellow to protect him from violating Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimaseh.
- Bach 443:5 and Magen Avraham 443:5 state that the one who has the chametz deposited by him wouldn't violate Baal Yiraeh but the owner would violate Baal Yiraeh, while the Gra 443:11 disagrees. Meiri Pesachim 4a s.v. vkol implies that in fact neither the owner or the one who it is deposited by would violate Baal Yiraeh.
- Rosh Pesachim 1:4 cites the Geonim who permitted giving his Chametz to a non-Jew as a deposit since it is physically outside his property. Their proof is a Mechilta. The Rosh disputed their position and quotes Rabbenu Yonah who also rejected the Geonim for other reasons. See Taz 440:4 for an explanation of Rabbenu Yonah. Rambam Chametz Umatza 4:3 and Tosfot Chachmei Angliya Pesachim 5b agree with the Rosh. The Rambam is absolutely explicit that this is a biblical prohibition. Ran Pesachim 2b s.v. umiyhu wonders as to the source for the Rambam. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 440:4 follows the Rosh and Rambam. However, the Ramban Pesachim 6a s.v. vnireh accepts the Geonim and only thinks that there is a rabbinic prohibition to get rid of one's chametz and not simply deposit it in a non-Jew's property. Ran Pesachim 2b s.v. umeyhu agrees.
- Tosfot Chachmei Angliya Pesachim 5b quoting story in which a woman deposited flour with a non-Jew and then the non-Jew made it into Chametz on Pesach, thereby making it forbidden. He quotes that Rashi was asked and he said that the non-Jew owes the Jew the value of the flour. Etz Chaim by Rav Chaim of London (complied in 1287, Mosad Rav Kook 5722, Hilchot Pesach p. 312) also quotes this as well.
- Rosh Pesachim 1:4 citing the Ri, Rambam Chametz Umatzah 4:3, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 440:1. There is an opinion of Rashi cited by Tosfot Shevuot 44a s.v. shomer that it is only forbidden to accept the non-Jew's chametz if one accepts all responsibility including an unexpected circumstances, otherwise it is permitted. However, this opinion is rejected (Kaf HaChayim on Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim 440:3:1).
- Bahag cited by Rosh Pesachim 1:4
- Kaf HaChayim on Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim 440:3:2 writes that there is a dispute between the Chok Yakov 440:1 who thinks that if the deal is binding in Jewish law it is an issue, while the Chok Yosef 440:1 argues that it all depends on what the secular courts would rule. Kaf HaChayim makes a compromise; if it is common for the non-Jew to force the Jew to follow Jewish law then it is an issue even if it is binding according to Jewish law and if not then this halacha depends on secular law.
- Kaf HaChayim on Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim 440:3:5 and 10 cites the Shagat Aryeh 77 and Machzik Bracha 440:1 who hold that bitul is ineffective on a non-Jew's chametz, while the Mekor Chaim 440:3 holds that it is helpful to avoid violating Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimaseh.
- Rambam Chametz Umatzah 4:4, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 440:1. Regarding the Raavad's questions from the Gemara and from logic how a Jew could violate owning Chametz of a non-Jew if he didn't accept any responsibility, the Midgal Oz (Chametz Umatza 4:4) answers that in Pesachim 6a it is clear that a Jew can be responsible for Chametz of a non-Jew even if he isn't formally considered his property. See Even Haezel for another approach in that the Jew accepted the responsibility by paying for the loss or theft. Maharit Bechorot 2:17 explains that the Rambam is only speaking about a rabbinic prohibition since it appears like his property in that he is paying for loss or theft. He compares it to the Rashba Chullin 39b s.v. chazinan.
- Raavad Chametz Umatza 4:4
- Pesachim 6a, Rambam Chametz Umatza 4:2, Rif Pesachim 2b, Rosh Pesachim 1:7, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 440:2. Bach on Rif 2b n. 2 points out that some versions of the Rif do not include this text, while the Ran on Rif s.v. chemso implies that his version of the Rif had it.
- Pesachim 6a, Rambam Chametz Umatza 4:2, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 440:2. Bet Yosef 440:2 points out that Rashi Pesachim 6a s.v. chemso and Rambam Chametz Umatza 4:2 hold that it is necessary to make a 10 tefach wall even if the Jew has no responsibility for it. However, the Rabbenu Tam (Tosfot Pesachim 6a s.v. yiched) and Ramban Pesachim 6a s.v. aval who hold that designating a house for chametz for which you have responsibility works, would also hold that you don't need to hide the chametz behind a 10 tefach wall unless you have responsibility for it. Gra 440:6 agrees. The Bach 440:3 s.v. vnireh (2) argues that Rabbenu Tam and Ramban only said that designated house which the non-Jew can use is sufficient for Chametz for which a person has responsibility. However, a ten tefach wall is necessary for all Chametz even if there's no responsibility. This could be proven by the fact that the Tosfot and Rosh who disagree with Rashi regarding designating a house for a non-Jew say nothing when it comes to the question of requiring a ten tefach wall. Nonetheless, the Meiri Pesachim 6a s.v. vyesh mefarshim, Rivash responsa 401, Ran 2b s.v. chemso explicitly prove the Bet Yosef's view in associating these two questions. In the view of the Bet Yosef, Meiri, and Rivash having a 10 tefach wall is equally as effective as designating a house for the non-Jew's chametz, while the Lechem Mishna Chametz Umatza 4:3 thinks that it is necessary to have both for Rabbenu Tam, designating the house for the biblical issue of having responsibility for a non-Jew's chametz and a ten tefach wall for the rabbinic concern that a Jew will come to eat it.
- Rashi Pesachim 6a s.v. yiched and Rambam Chametz Umatza 4:3 both hold that chametz of a non-Jew for which a Jew has responsibility is an issue whether it is in his property or in another property or behind a 10 tefach wall. The Ramban Pesachim 6a s.v. vriyti understands that this is the opinion of the Rif as well. However, the Rabbenu Tam (Tosfot Pesachim 6a s.v. yiched) is lenient if the chametz is in a designated house for the non-Jew. Ramban (Pesachim 6a s.v. ha and Shemot 12:19), Ran 2b s.v. garsinan, Baal Haitur (Biur Chametz p. 121c), Baal Hameor cited by Rivash responsa 401, Rosh Pesachim 1:6, and Raavad cited by Rosh agree with Rabbenu Tam. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 440:1 follows Rashi.
- Tosfot Pesachim 21a s.v. viy holds that chametz that a person who owns and doesn't know about chametz doesn't violate Baal Yiraeh. However, the Rosh Pesachim 1:9 disagrees.
- Ran Pesachim 1a s.v. elah, Maharam Chalavah. Ran explains that the Gemara Pesachim 6b is evidence that one who finds chametz on pesach doesn't violate Baal Yiraeh retroactively; he only violates Baal Yiraeh going forward if he continues to hold onto it. This is also the opinion of Rashi 6b s.v. vdayto. The Ran explains that one doesn't violate anything in the past because one doesn't violate anything for not checking places that one doesn't have to and one doesn't violate Baal Yiraeh on chametz one doesn't know about. Rabbenu Dovid Pesachim 6b s.v. gezerah says that the reason one doesn't violate Baal Yiraeh for having chametz after doing bedika is because one is only obligated to do bedika according to his abilities and afterwards if he finds something it is considered ones. Maharam Chalavah 2a s.v. bodkin agrees.
- Pri Chadash 431:1 s.v. vshuv says that Rosh thinks that you do violate Baal Yiraeh on chametz you didn’t know about, though he doesn’t hold like the Rosh. Taz 434:3 thinks that the Tur and Rosh could hold like Tosfot. Magen Avraham 434:5 thinks that the Tur holds that you do violate Baal Yiraeh on chametz you didn’t know about and the Rosh holds you only violate Baal Yiraeh on chametz you forgot about but once knew about. Shaar Hatziyun 434:10 cites the Magen Avraham. Shulchan Aruch Harav (Kuntres Acharon 433:3) clearly holds that if you did bitul then you don't violate Baal Yiraeh because of ones or you didn't know about that chametz. If you didn’t do bedika then you violate Baal Yiraeh on chametz you didn’t know about like the Rosh unlike the Magen Avraham. Tosfot Harosh Pesachim 6b is evident that he meant like the Pri Chadash and not like the Taz or Magen Avraham. See also Ish Matzliach on Mishna Brurah who supports this contention within the Rosh.
- Pesachim 45b, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 442:9. Ran Pesachim 13b s.v. vnisrefet explains that just like the Torah forbids sourdough (Heb. שאור; trans. se'or) since it is a leavening agent even though it isn't edible, so too spoiled bread is forbidden even though it is inedible since it is a leavening agent. Nonetheless, if the spoiled bread is so spoiled that it isn't even edible to dogs it is permitted since it is like dust as the Rif 14a writes.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 442:4 clarifies that a chametz mixture is permitted if it isn't human-edible and can't be used to leaven other foods. Chazon Ish OC 116:7 notes that the Rambam Chametz Umazah 4:12 clearly holds that the standard that chametz is forbidden unless it is inedible to dogs only applies to foods which are used to leaven other foods such as spoiled bread. However, other medicines or tanner's liquids which aren't used to leaven other foods are permitted as long as they are human-inedible. Mishna Brurah 442:12 seems to not distinguish. The Dirshu footnotes (note 20) explain that the Mishna Brurah fundamentally agrees with the Chazon Ish and is only strict on something that can be used to leaven other foods and people wouldn't do it because it is disgusting.
- Rav Yaakov Sasson on halachayomit.co.il quotes Rav Ovadia Yosef and Or Letzion v. 3 p. 92 that it is permissible to have and use tropical fish food with chametz in it since it is human-inedible.
- Rav Yaakov Sasson on halachayomit.co.il writes that dog, cat, and bird foods with chametz are forbidden since they could be human-edible. Even though generally people would not eat them that is only because of convention and the fact that better foods are available. Similarly, Minchat Shlomo 1:17 proves that the standard of human-edible doesn't depend on what most people would want to eat as the gemara considered urine to be human-edible. Rabbi Chaim Jachter quotes Rabbi Avihud Schwartz (Techumin v. 35 pp. 47-54) that the dog food for army dogs is not human-edible and would be permitted if it isn't majority chametz or used to leaven other foods. Rabbi Jachter concludes that the standard Orthodox halacha pronounced by the OU, Star-K, and CRC is that pet foods with chametz are an issue and should be replaced with kosher for passover alternatives.
- Rabbi Chaim Jachter
- Mishna Brurah 438:12, 444:33
- Maharam Chalavah 45a s.v. amar and Rabbenu Dovid 6b s.v. iylayma explicitly hold that there is a biblical violation of baal yiraeh on less than a kezayit like every other prohibition that is prohibited with less than the requisite measure (Yoma 74a). It is possible to argue that based on Rashi, Tosfot, and other rishonim on 45a baal yiraeh biblically does not apply to less than a kezayit though it isn't explicit in their conclusions. Taz 442:5, Magen Avraham 442:10 in understanding Shulchan Aruch O.C. 442:11 and Smak, and Shagat Aryeh 81 hold that there's no biblical violation of baal yiraeh on less than a kezayit.