It’s our wake-up call. As today is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the first day of the month of Nissan, Passover is only two weeks away.

The intensive physical and emotional preparations for Passover come from one seemingly simple commandment: “Seven days you will eat only matzah, but on the first day you shall have put away chametz from your houses…” (Exodus 12:15). Therefore, by the beginning of the holiday of Passover, no chametz whatsoever may be in one’s possession.

What is chametzChametz is defined as leaven, any product in which wheat, oat, barley, spelt or rye come in contact with water for 18 minutes or longer (without being kneaded or manipulated). To be considered chametz, the food must be edible (defined as something that a dog would eat).

To eliminate chametz, it is necessary for an individual to clean his/her home, office and even their car (any personal place where chametz may have been brought). It is especially important to be particularly thorough when cleaning the kitchen and dining room areas, where food is generally found.

Once the house has been cleaned, it may be “turned over “ – the kitchen converted from chametz status to “ready-for-Passover” use. “Turning over” includes changing dishes and cookware to those reserved for Passover use and covering counters and table tops, which come in direct contact with chametz.*

All food items that are actually chametz must be consumed before Passover, given away, thrown out or otherwise removed. In instances of significant monetary loss (e.g. giant size boxes of cereal or expensive bottles of scotch), it is customary to sell chametz through a rabbi to a non-Jew.*

Any item that does not contain chametz, but is not specifically labeled “Kosher for Passover,” should be stored in a cabinet for the duration of the Passover holiday, and the cabinet taped closed.

Please note that this is a very brief overview. For more detailed information on Passover preparations, including the search for and burning of chametz, please visit

*For more details, please consult your local rabbi.

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