Chametz restrictions that apply thirty days before Pesach

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2. Chametz restrictions that apply thirty days before Pesach

Avoiding sticky Chametz starting from thirty days before Pesach:[1]

From thirty days before Pesach, it is proper to be careful to avoid getting Chametz stuck onto surfaces, in a way that the Chametz will not be easily removable when Erev Pesach arrives.



Giving children Play-Doh [Barbatzek in Hebrew] within thirty days before Pesach:

Many varieties of play dough are made of actual Chametz.[2] The company brand Play-Doh, which is the main manufacturer of the item, makes the compound from flour, water, and food coloring.[3] Therefore, in compliance with the previous law of avoiding Chametz that is difficult to remove, it is suggested that children not be given Play-Doh starting from Purim and onwards, unless they are properly supervised. It goes without saying that Pesach arts and crafts should not be made using Play-Doh. There are alternative brands of play dough that do not contain Chametz, and thus would not pose a problem to use for Pesach arts and crafts.

Avoiding getting Chametz in Sefarim:[4]

One is to be careful that crumbs do not fall into Sefarim beginning from Purim and onwards. If one is learning while eating, he is to verify that the Sefer is clean of any crumbs prior to closing it in order so he does not find the crumbs on Pesach. [Regarding if one must check his Sefarim for Chametz, See Chapter 3 Halacha 3B in Q&A!]


Laundry and ironing starch:

Starch is used in laundering and ironing clothing in order to give it a fresh look and stiff feel. There are several forms of clothing starch, some of which use Kitniyos ingredients [i.e. corn flour, potato flour] and others which use actual Chametz, such as wheat flour. The following is the law regarding starching one’s clothing prior to Pesach.

Chametz starch:[5] One is not to starch one’s clothing, or tablecloths, with a Chametz based starch, if he will be using those clothing over Pesach while eating foods.[6] This applies even if the starch is not visible on the clothing.[7] [Seemingly, this applies even to starching the clothing prior to thirty days before Pesach.[8]] In the event that one starched his clothing or tablecloth with such starch, it is forbidden to place it on the table, or wear it while one is eating. Likewise, one may not wrap any Pesach foods in this garment, even before Pesach. One may however wear the clothing during Pesach during non-eating times, so long as the Chametz starch is not visible, or was done thirty days before Pesach.[9] [If the Chametz starch has been spoiled to the point it is not edible to a dog, then one may use this starch for his clothing, and may wear such clothing on Pesach.[10]]

Kitniyos based starch:[11] One may starch his clothing using Kitniyos starch and may even wear these clothing while eating on Pesach.[12]




Ironing starches are made either from a legume flour, such as corn, or wheat flour. One may not to starch one’s clothing, or tablecloths, with a Chametz starch if he plans to wear it on Pesach. This applies even if the starch is applied prior to thirty days before Pesach. One may however use a Kitniyos based starch, even within thirty days before Pesach.


Bedikas Chametz for one who is traveling:

One who will be traveling from home before Pesach must check his house prior to leaving if he does not plan to sell the Chametz in that area to a gentile. See Chapter 3 Halacha 12 for the full details of this subject.


[1] Admur 436:23; M”A 436-end; Bach 436; Aguda 2:16; Maharil p. 11; M”B 436:32

[2] The ingredients of playdough: Playdough can be made in a variety of ways. Most play doughs on the market, consist of flour and water. Home-made recipes will include salt, flour or corn starch, a vegetable, canola, or olive oil and cream of tartar. Nevertheless, there are some companies that make it from other non-chametz ingredients. Non-Chametz based play doughs are commonly called Plasticine [Plastalina in Hebrew] or silly putty. If one desires to have play dough over Pesach, he is to verify the brand that is being used, and the ingredients they use to make their dough. Most play doughs using real flour, will feel softer than regular silly putty or Plastelina and can hence be told apart.

Must Play-Doh be destroyed before Pesach even though it is not edible? Play-Doh is consumable and does not contain any poisons or dangerous material for a human. It thus must be destroyed just like a piece of actual dough. It does not follow the allowance of owning Chametz that is not food, which is brought in Admur 422:22, as there it is referring to Taaruvos Chametz while here it is Chametz Beiyn. Nevertheless, perhaps it should be viewed as Chametz Nuksha, being that it is not meant to be eaten, and is hence exactly similar to the dough made by the Sofrim, mentioned in 442:20, which is Chametz Nuksha. Thus, although it must be destroyed or sold to the gentile before Pesach, if one did not do so and found Play-Doh on Pesach, it is be destroyed without a blessing as is the law by Chametz Nuksha in 442:20.

[3] Ingredients provided by the Play-Doh company “Hasbro”: The compound is primarily a mixture of water, salt, and flour.

[4] Aruch Hashulchan 436:15

[5] Admur 442:26; M”A 442:4; Chok Yaakov 442:11

[6] The reason: As it is forbidden to place clothing laundered with Chametz starch on the eating table during Pesach, as perhaps some of its Chametz will fly off and land into one’s food. Likewise, the women scarves which are customarily starched with flour until they become thick are not to be worn while eating as it is common for the flour to fly off of it. [Admur ibid]

[7] Admur 442:26 in the beginning of the Halacha

[8] Implication of Admur ibid who does not mention any differentiation between before and after thirty days, even though in the previous Halacha a differentiation is made; Rav Mordechai Belinuv in Paamei Yaakov 16:27

The reason: Although the flour starch that is on the clothing and other items loses its texture after thirty days, and hence is allowed to be owned over Pesach even if the flour is visible and there is a Kezayis of flour on the garment, [Admur 442:25; Michaber 422:3] nevertheless, since the flour is still edible to a dog, it therefore contains a complete eating prohibition. For this reason, it is forbidden to place it in proximity to food, as if it falls into food it is not nullified in majority but rather requires 60x. [see Admur 447:18] This is unlike Chametz that has spoiled to the point it is no longer fit for a dog, in which case majority suffices. [Admur 442:33] Accordingly, there are four levels of Chametz: 1) Actual Chametz which may not be owned and is never nullified; 2) Chametz Nuksha which may not be owned and is nullified in 60x; 3) Chametz that has lost its texture which may be owned but requires 60x. 4) Chametz that is spoiled for a dog which may be owned and is nullified in majority. [Paamei Yaakov ibid]

[9] See Admur 422:25

[10] Based on Admur 442:33; Paamei Yaakov ibid

[11] Admur 453:5 that one may have Kitniyos products on one’s table.

[12] The reason: We do not suspect that the Kitniyos will fall into one’s food, as even if it does, it is nullified in majority. [Admur ibid]

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