From the Desk - Pre-Passover
Shalom Friends! I hope this email finds you well. On behalf of all those who were in Montreal for nearly the entire Winter, I must convey my sympathies with our snowbirds who returned home to find that the cold weather has returned!! It may make you feel better to remember that the Torah says that Passover takes place in “Chodesh Ha-Aviv”, the month of Spring so we hope to have another season switch soon! As we approach Passover, I’d like to remind you about a few important things that need to be done before the holiday:
The selling of the chametz
Anyone who is not able to get rid of all of his or her chametz before Passover must authorize me or another Orthodox rabbi, in advance, to sell this chametz to a non-Jew. This is a legal transaction which gives the buyer all rights of ownership over the chametz that has been sold to him. After the conclusion of the festival, I will purchase the chametz back for you. All chametz that is to be sold should be placed in a special room or section of the house until after Passover. Please list your home address as well as any office address when selling your chametz. If you are traveling to Eastern time zones (where the holiday begins earlier), please make sure I am aware of this so that I can arrange a separate, earlier sale of chametz.
Before Passover, each member of the community has a responsibility to give some tzedakah in order that all of our community members have the means to be able to celebrate the holiday. As you know, I regularly allocate money to those in need and would be very happy to receive your donations.
Clearing Out the Chametz
Before Passover, we make arrangements to throw away, destroy or sell all our chametz. Which food products are chametz? If one of the five grains - wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt - sits in water for more than 18 minutes it becomes chametz. It is common practice that, before wheat is ground into flour, the wheat kernels are tempered with water for many hours. For this reason, flour is treated as chametz. Similarly, beer is chametz because it is made by soaking barley in water for more than 18 minutes. Whisky produced from one of the five primary grains is also considered chametz. Even if the whisky is made exclusively from corn or another grain, there are a number of other reasons why it may be chametz (and even if not, it may be kitniyot). Therefore, all types of whisky should be treated as chametz unless they are specifically certified as kosher for Passover. In addition to not eating chametz, Ashkenazim do not eat kitniot - a group of foods which includes (among other things) rice, beans, peas, corn, lentils, soy and mustard. Although Ashkenazim don't eat kitniyot on Passover, there is no problem with owning them so they don't need to be thrown away or sold. Wishing you all a happy Passover Preparation and Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami