- Question: [Sunday, 9th Nisan, 5782]
Baruch Hashem, we have been blessed with a large home and I do not find it physically possible to be able to perform Bedikas Chametz to our entire house in one night. Can I get a head start and do it already beforehand to some parts of the house?
Yes you may, and are even encouraged to do so. After a specific area is cleaned for Pesach, you may then check it for Chametz on that night [or any subsequent night] using a flashlight or candle, making sure to no longer enter Chametz into the area. This applies even several nights before Pesach. When doing so, it is considered that Bedikas Chametz has already been performed to the area and it no longer needs to be done again on the night of the 14th unless it’s cleanliness from Chametz has been compromised, such as if one ate Chametz there afterwards. When doing an early Bedikas Chametz one is to be aware of the following points:
- One may only check it for Chametz at nighttime, after nightfall, and it does not help to check it during the day.
- One must make sure from now on that no Chametz is entered into the area.
- It is not necessary to use a candle and one may use a flashlight.
- A blessing is not recited upon doing this pre-14th
- One should make sure to leave at least one area unchecked in order so he can perform Bedikas Chametz there with a blessing on the night of the 14th.
- The ten pieces of bread should not be distributed on the night of the 14th into the already prechecked areas.
There is no obligation to check the entire house specifically on the night of the 14th, and the meaning behind this date is simply that the entire house must be checked by this time. Thus, one may, and is even encouraged, to begin checking the home several nights prior to the night of Bedikas Chametz. This is necessary even in a small home, as it is very difficult to undo and check every area that was cleaned for Pesach on the night of the 14th. Based on the above allowance, one can use the following advice to lessen the burden of checking everything on the night of the 14th: After cleaning an individual item, such as a drawer, shelf, cabinet, fridge, room, and the like, one is to check the item that night using a flash light or room light, and intend to perform the Bedika on it at this time. One is then not required to recheck this item on the night of the 14th.
All the Bedika laws are to be followed during this check, including checking after nightfall with a candle or flashlight. However, a blessing is not said upon doing a search prior to the night of the 14th. Likewise, he must make sure not to enter any more Chametz into the rooms that he checked. Although one is allowed to precede and check his entire house prior to the night of the 14th, nevertheless, one should leave at least one room unchecked in order so it can be checked on the night of the 14th with a blessing.
Sources: See regarding checking before the 14th: Admur 433:7; See regarding not checking during daytime: Admur 433:5 “One may never Lechatchilah check during the day prior to the 14th even those areas that are directly opposite sunlight, such as an achsadra. Rather one is to check them on the night of the 14th with a candle, and even if he wants to precede and check them on the day of the 13th using sunlight, he is not allowed to do so.”