How to destroy the Chametz-The methods of destruction

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The methods of destruction:

One who does not plan to disown all of his Chametz[1], or can no longer do so due to it being past the 6th hour of the day [See Halacha 8], must destroy the Chametz from the world in a way that no person can get benefit from it.[2] It, however, does not have to be destroyed to the point that even animals cannot get benefit from it.[3] Some Poskim[4] rule that the only valid method of destroying the Chametz is through burning it.[5] Other Poskim[6], however, rule that any of the to be mentioned methods of destruction are also equally valid. Practically, the final ruling follows the latter opinion that all the to be mentioned methods of destruction are valid.[7] Nevertheless, the custom in these provinces is like the stringent opinion, to destroy the Chametz through burning [if attainable, and if not attainable, then the other methods are to be used].[8]

The following are the valid methods of destroying the Chametz:

  1. Burn:[9] Initially, the best method of destruction, as is the accustomed practice, is to burn the Chametz.[10] All the Chametz is to be burnt until it becomes charcoal.[11] This obligation to burn the Chametz until it becomes charcoal, applies only when burning the Chametz after the 6th hour on Erev Pesach. However, when burning the Chametz prior to the 6th hour on Erev Pesach, it suffices to burn it until it becomes unfit for a dog, and one does not have to burn it not until it becomes charcoal.[12]
  • If one cannot burn the Chametz, it is valid to destroy the Chametz through any of the following methods:[13]
  1. Throw into the wind:[14] Break the Chametz into thin crumbs and then throw it into the wind. [This applies to all forms of Chametz, including Chametz kernels of grain, that the Chametz must first be broken into small pieces.[15]]
  2. Throw into a river:[16] If the Chametz is [large and soft, such as a loaf or slice of] bread and the like [which floats atop of water], then one is to crumble it into very thin crumbs and throw it into a river or ocean.[17] If the Chametz is already in small pieces, then there is no need to break them up any further.[18] If, however, the Chametz is small and hard, such as Chametz kernels of wheat, then it is disputed as to whether one must first break up the kernels to smaller pieces prior to throwing them in the river, or not.[19] Practically, if one needs to destroy only a few kernels, then they are to be broken into 2 or 3 pieces and then thrown into the river. If, however, there are many kernels, then they should be thrown as is.[20]
  3. To place the Chametz in a toilet:[21] One can place the Chametz in a toilet [and flush it[22]], even if the pieces are large.[23] One does not need to crumble the piece prior to throwing it in, even if the pieces are bread and the like.
  4. Destroying crumbs by throwing them on the ground:[24] [Before the 6th hour on Erev Pesach] one may throw thin crumbs which are less than a Kezayis onto the floor of one’s home, in walking areas, and destroy the Chametz through walking on it. [However, after the 6th hour, seemingly this method is invalid.[25]]


[1] As is required in order so one can fulfill the positive command of Tashbisu, as explained above.

[2] Admur 441:2; 445:3

Is this extent of destruction, to destroy it so no human can benefit from it, required Biblically or only Rabbinically? Some Poskim rule it is only Rabbinically required to be destroyed to this extent, in order so another person does not come to transgress and benefit from it. [In the Admur writes: Rashi in Pesachim 28a, brought in Admur Kuntrus Achron 445:2] However, other Poskim imply that it is Biblically required, just like by Avodah Zarah. [Implication of Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Tur and Magen Avraham, brought in Kuntrus Achron ibid] Admur ibid concludes “I have not ruled inside the Shulchan Aruch like this way being that I have not seen anyone which explicitly argues on Rashi.” Practically, as brought in the reason of Admur in the next footnote, it must Biblically be destroyed until this point.

[3] Admur 445:3

The reason: The reason it does not need to be destroyed to the point that even animals can not benefit from it, is because once no human can benefit from it, it is considered destroyed from the world. [Admur ibid]

Contradiction regarding burning until not fit for dog: Tzaruch Iyun how this ruling does not contradict the ruling that when burning the Chametz, even before the 6th hour, it must be burnt to the point it is unfit for a dog. [Admur 445:4] Similarly in 442:21 Admur rules that only when Chametz is unfit for a dog may it be owned when Beiyn. Seemingly, the answer is as follows: The Chametz must be destroyed to the point that human benefit is negated. If one desires to burn the Chametz, then human benefit is only negated once it is burnt to the point it is not fit for a dog, as prior to this point, it is still fit to use as yeast. If, however, one flushes the Chametz down the toilet, and the like, then since its benefit is negated from humans, it is a valid form of destruction even though it remains edible for fish and rodents.

[4] Opinion in Admur 445:7; Rebbe Yehuda in Mishneh Pesachim 21a; Rashi in Machzor Vitri p. 254; Tosafos Pesachim 27b; Semag Aseh 39

[5] The reason: Some Poskim negate all the to be mentioned methods of destruction and rule that all Chametz which needs to be completely destroyed from the world, can only be destroyed through burning. Their reasoning is because we compare the command to destroy Chametz to the command to destroy Nosar [leftover meat of Karbanos]. Thus, just like Nosar may not be left over [past its given time] and if it is than it needs to be burned, so too Chametz which may not be left over [past the 6th hour] due to Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzeh, needs to be burned. [Admur ibid]

[6] Stam opinion in Admur 445:4 and in Michaber 445:1; Chachamim in Mishneh Pesachim ibid; Geonim, brought in Rosh 2:3; Rambam 3:11; Rif

[7] Admur 445:7; Michaber 445:1

The reason: The reason we rule like the latter opinion is because the Sages expounded on the verse “And you shall burn the Nosar with fire” that only Nosar requires to be burnt while other items prohibited in benefit by the Torah do not need to be burnt. [Admur ibid]

[8] Admur 445:7; Rama 445:1; Taz 445:2

Should one burn the Chametz rather than destroy it in other ways, if burning it will take more time? According to our custom to burn the Chametz, seemingly it is better to burn the Chametz over other forms of destruction, even if through burning it will take more time to destroy it. [However, see Admur 434:6; Kuntrus Achron 446:2]

[9] Admur 445:4

[10] As stated above that this is the only method that is valid according to all opinions, and that so is the custom.

[11] Vetzaruch Iyun as to why it does not suffice to burn it to the point that man cannot get benefit for it, after all, once its destroyed to the point that a dog cannot benefit from it, it is also destroyed from human benefit. Seemingly, however, one can explain as follows: When using the burning method to get rid of Chametz, if one does not burn it to the point of charcoal, it is possible to receive benefit from it, such as to use as fuel and the like. Now, since one is required to destroy the Chametz to the point that human benefit becomes impossible, therefore it must be burnt until the point of charcoal. However, this only applies when destroying Chametz past the 6th hour. However, before the 6th hour on Erev Pesach, any Chametz that is destroyed to the point that it is not fit for a dog loses its status of a food, and is hence no longer considered Chametz. There is thus no need to destroy it any further when the 6th hour arrives. All the above is regarding the burning method, however, the other methods of destruction are valid even though it does not turn the Chametz into charcoal, as the Chametz is negated from any possible human benefit.

[12] Admur ibid in parentheses; Admur 442:21

[13] As stated above that we rule like the lenient opinion

[14] Admur 445:4

[15] The below mentioned dispute in Admur regarding if one must break down the kernels, is only relevant when throwing the kernels into the sea. However, when throwing in the wind, it must be broken up according to all. The reason for this is because a valid form of destruction must remove any potential human benefit, and when throwing it into the wind, nothing will further break the kernel up to make it unbenefitable, and thus one must break it on the onset according to all opinions. However, in a sea, there is room to say that the water itself dissolves the food, that there is no need to break up small pieces like kernels.

[16] Admur 445:4

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that when throwing into the sea it does not need to be crumbled unless the Chametz is hard, and thus the sea will not be able to quickly break it apart. [Rambam 3:11]

Can one throw the Chametz into an aquarium which he owns?  If there are fish inside the aquarium, then one should not throw his Chametz which he needs to destroy into it. This applies even if he crumbles it prior to throwing it in, being that he receives benefit from the fact that the fish will eat it. [Admur 445:6]

[17] The reason: As if one were to throw it into a river or sea without crumbling it beforehand, then the Chametz would float on top of the water, and a person which is on a boat is able to benefit from it. [Admur ibid]

[18] The reason: As they scatter on their own on the water’s surface, and thus no man would get benefit from it. [Admur ibid]

[19] Some Poskim rule that by small pieces of Chametz, such as kernels of wheat and the like, there is no need to further break them up into crumbs, and rather one may throw them straight from the bag into the water, as they scatter on their own on the water’s surface, and thus no man would get benefit from it. Other Poskim, however, are stringent and rule that by wheat and other kernels of grains one is required to break each grain into 2:3 pieces, and afterwards to throw them in the water. The reason for this latter stringency is because [whole] kernels are hard, and they do not dissolve within the water [and thus they need to be broken up beforehand]. [Admur ibid]

[20] Admur ibid

The reason: It is proper to suspect for the latter opinion when possible, such as if there are only a few wheat kernels, which are able to be cut into pieces in a short amount of time. However, if there are many kernels [which must be destroyed] and one thus will need to delay [destroying them] a long time [until he finishes] cutting them up, or [he finishes] grinding them, then he should not delay destroying the Chametz for this reason, and one rather relies on the first opinion. This is especially the case if the kernels became Chametz [only] after the time of destruction [after the 6th hour on Erev Pesach], as in such a case the Chametz was not included within the nullification which is done by every person at the end of the 5th hour, as explained in chapter 434, and thus there is a Biblical prohibition to delay the destruction of the Chametz. [Admur ibid]

[21] Admur 445:5

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that this method of destruction [to flush down a toilet] is only valid prior to the 6th hour on Erev Pesach, as it does not destroy the Chametz but simply deems it inedible for a dog. [Chazon Ish] However, in truth, in today’s plumbing system, through flushing the toilet the food goes into the sewage and is considered as if it has gone into the sea and is thus valid according to all.

[22] In previous times, when one threw something in the toilet it went straight into the area of the feces. However, due to today’s modern plumbing, it only reaches the feces if one flushes it. Therefore, for this method of destruction to be valid one would need to flush the toilet. Furthermore, through flushing the toilet it is considered as if one is throwing the Chametz in the sea, as the food gets dumped into the sewage of which no one can benefit from anymore. Accordingly, it retains two forms of destruction.

[23] The reason: When one throws the Chametz into a toilet [and flushes it down], then it is considered completely destroyed from the world being that no person can benefit from it any more. Even if there are [animals such as] pigs in the sewage which will end up eating the Chametz, there is no problem in throwing the Chametz there, being that one is not actually placing the Chametz in front of the animal, and the prohibition to give the Chametz to animals is only when one places it in front of him. [Admur ibid]

[24] Admur 444:9

[25] The reason: As one needs to immediately destroy the Chametz, and not delay until people step on it. Vetzaruch Iyun as to the law in a case that people will be stepping on it right away.

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