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Kashering

Basic Concepts

  • Among the basic mitzvoth of the holiday of Pesach, we are commanded to rid our home and possessions from hametz.  In doing so, we must clean and kasher all kitchen equipment, utensils and articles that are used in our kitchen year-round that we wish to use on Pesach.
  • Cleaning:  The goal of cleaning is to remove all tangible traces of hametz.  As a practical matter, items which have narrow cracks, crevices or other areas that cannot easily be cleaned cannot be kashered for Pesach.  Note that it is forbidden to eat even the smallest amount of hametz.
    • Examples include:  colanders, baby bottles (narrow necks), filters or screens over drains in sinks, graters, knives where food or dirt can get trapped between the blade & handle, slotted spoons, sponges & toothbrushes.
  • KasheringThe goal of kashering is to remove taste that was absorbed usually through the medium of heat.  Ashkenazim rule that on Pesach, even a stale taste of hametz that was absorbed in a utensil is forbidden.  Generally, the way taste was absorbed is the way that it is removed – dry heat with dry heat (libun) and liquid heat with liquid heat (hag'ala).
  • As a preliminary note, my positions assume that generally we do not kasher glass for Pesach.  Some poskim are lenient in this regard; therefore, if you have a personal, difficult situation relating to either a "glass" appliance, please feel free to contact me.  Additionally, my positions assume that we can kasher plastic on Pesach.  Some poskim are strict in this regard.

Ovens

  • Non self-cleaning oven:  Clean entire inside of oven with an abrasive cleaner (e.g., Easy-Off) to get rid of tangible hametz, then turn on the oven to the highest temperature for an hour and a half. 
    • Broiler pans:  According to Rabbi Herschel Schacter, broiler pans that come in direct contact with the food also may be kashered using the same method even if they come in direct contact with the food.
  • Self-cleaning oven:  Remove any visible pieces of food from the oven and go through the complete self-cleaning cycle with racks in place.

Stovetops

  • Gas stovetops:  Grates of a gas stovetop should be kashered in the oven when the oven is being kashered as is discussed above.
  • Electric stovetops: Clean the coils or surface & turn on high for 10 minutes.
  • The cooktop surface (& ideally the knobs and drip pans) should be cleaned & covered for Pesach.
  • Many glass stovetops may break if they are covered; therefore, it is not advisable to do so.  The stovetop cannot be kashered so it must be cleaned well.  During Pesach, pots should not be placed directly on the stove surface, but rather an aluminum (or other metal) disk at least 1/8 inches thick should be placed directly under the pot. 
    • Examples of glass include:  corning ware, corelle, fiberglass, porcelain enamel, pyrex or thermoses

Dishwashers

  • One may kasher a dishwasher whose inside surface is metal or plastic, even without the need for new racks.
  • To kasher the dishwasher, one should clean out the filter, wait 24 hours & run it on the hottest cycle without dishwasher detergent.

Microwaves

  • One may kasher a microwave whose inside surface is metal or plastic.
  • To kasher the microwave, one should clean the microwave and then preferably wait 24 hours and not use the microwave.  Then one should place a cup of boiling hot water until the water begins to evaporate; additionally, one should replace the plate on the bottom of the microwave.
  • If it is too difficult to replace the plate on the bottom of the microwave, one can simply wrap the food multiple times with saran wrap when warming it in the microwave.

Warming Drawer

  • Typically, warming drawers do not reach a temperature of libun kal (550 degrees). There is a way to kasher warming drawers by using Sterno cans, but I was told that in some instances the warming drawer was damaged; therefore, I would not recommend kashering warming drawers for Pesach.

BBQs

  • Since food is roasted directly on the grill, the grate must be heated until it glows to be properlykashered. This can be done either with a blowtorch (which should only be used by qualified and experienced individuals) or by sandwiching the grates between charcoal briquettes and setting them on fire. In addition, if the grill has a hood, the empty gas grill cavity must bekasheredby cleaning, closing the hood and setting it to the highest setting for one hour.  Alternatively, one may replace the grates and kasheronly the grill cavity as explained above.

Keurig Coffee Maker

  • The coffee maker must be cleaned well and not used for 24 hours. Remove K-cup holder and pour boil hot water over the K-cup holder. Run a Kosher for Passover K-cup in the machine.

Metal Hot Plates

  • Clean, leave on the highest setting for half an hour, then cover with two layers of heavy aluminum foil before use.

Instant Pot

  • I cannot recommend koshering it for Pesach because there are too many nooks and crannies in this machine.

Hot Water Urn

  • If it is the type of urn which is not brought to the table, is never used for anything but heating hot water, and is not washed with chametz items, it may be used for Pesach without If it is small enough to be brought to the table, is used to heat other beverages, you ever warm challah or other food on top of it for Shabbos, or you clean it with vinegar (to remove calcium buildup) or with the chametz dishes, then it should not be used for Pesach without kashering. To kasher: The lid should be kashered with hagala. The urn itself should not be used for 24 hours prior to kashering. Then it should be filled almost to the top with water and turned on. When the water reaches the highest temperature, while still plugged in, boiling water should be added to the urn until it overflows.

Sinks

  • Metal:
    • Clean the sink, faucet & knobs & don't use the sink for anything other than cold water for 24 hours.
    • Boil water in one or more large pots that have not been used in 24 hours.
    • Dry the sink, and then pour boiling water over every spot on the sink & on the faucet.
    • Replace or clean the filter (depending on how fine the filter holes are) & get new sponges & dishwashing liquid.
  • Porcelain:
    • Kasher the faucet & knobs with boiling water & place a basin or insert into the sink & rack underneath the basin & all dishes & silverware should be washed in the basin & don't fill the sink with boiling hot water.

Countertops

  • Granite, marble, wood, stainless steel, quartz, corian, plastic and formica countertops can be kashered like a stainless-steel sink.
  • One may also kasher these countertops with a power steamer that sprays steam which becomes condensate (very hot water), provided that the condensate is applied to every spot of the countertop.  Additionally, each spot of the countertop must be completely dry when the condensate is applied to it.  The Wagner Power Steamer 915 can be used in this regard.  Please contact me before choosing this option so that I can guide you as to how to do this properly.
  • Some Poskim are concerned that it may be difficult to practically kasher the countertop using either of the two methods above and recommend cleaning and covering the countertops.
  • Clean and then cover ceramic & porcelain countertops, as they are considered pottery which cannot be kashered.
  • Even in kasherable countertops, one should not kasher them if there are deep scratches or cracks in the countertop, out of concern for tangible hametz.

Kitchen cabinets & refrigerators

  • Kitchen cabinet and refrigerator shelves must be cleaned well.  Some have the custom of lining the shelves, but this is not absolutely required.

Utensils

  • The following vessels may be kashered through hag’ala, or purging:  metal, stone, plastic and wood (provided that there aren’t large cracks in the wood which may contain real food pieces).  Glass, pyrex, duralex, corelle, crystal, corning ware, porcelain and china should not be kashered.
  • The hag'ala process is as follows:
  • Clean the utensil to be kashered & let it remain unused for 24 hours.
  • Place the utensil in a pot of rapidly boiling water (large bubbles – not just steam). Any pot (dairy or meat) that has not been used in 24 hours may be used for this purpose.
  • A pot that is too large to fit into another pot for the purposes of kashering may be kashered by filling up the pot with boiling hot water and placing a boiling hot rock in the water so that the water will spill over the all of the edges of the pot. The pot may also be kashered part by part, by purging it in the water one side at a time, but one must make sure that each part of the pot is completely surrounded by water at some time during the hag’ala
    • Kiddush cups or drinking glasses may be kashered by hag'ala or by filling them up with water for 24 hours, emptying and then refilling them for another 24 hours, etc., for a total of 72 hours. Note, however, that it is recommended to get separate whiskey drinking glasses for Pesach because of the sharp taste remaining in these glasses.

Electric Mixers

  • The motor area of small electric appliances (e.g. mixers, food processor, blenders) is often exposed to food and is very difficult to clean; it is therefore recommended that they not be kashered(and used) if they were used for non-kosher.  Food processors and blenders whose motor area is truly sealed (i.e. they cannot be unscrewed or opened by consumers) are not affected by this issue and may be used after separate bowls and blades are purchased or kashered through hagalah.

High Chairs

  • Clean a high chair before Pesach. Some have the custom of covering or koshering the tray.

Cleaning

The Mishna Berura rules that we are only required to get rid of chametz that is more than a kzayit (a little more than one square inch).  There is a stringency to get rid of crumbs.  One need not follow this stringency this year.  

Usually, only rooms in which children are allowed to bring sandwiches or cookies are likely to contain such big pieces of chametz. A room in which people do not walk around with food does not need to be cleaned at all.

In the dining room, you should clean where people eat, i.e. the chairs and the table.  I would be concerned for crumbs of edible chametz but not dirt in the eating area so that you don’t accidentally eat chametz on Pesach.  The kitchen should also be thoroughly cleaned as I would be concerned for crumbs of edible chametz there as well.  If chametz is behind a cabinet in an unreachable area, then you don’t need to look for it.  In other rooms we need only be concerned with edible pieces of chametz that are a kzayit.  Check between couch pillows but only look for edible chametz that is a kzayit.

Check children’s clothes pockets for crumbs because they might eat them on Pesach.  You only need to check those clothes that a child will be wearing that season.  You only need to check those books that you plan to bring to the table.  It is unlikely that a kzayit of chametz will be found in a book but if you bring it to the table and there is a crumb there is a concern that you might eat it.  Toys should be checked, but you can simply put a lot of them away for Pesach without checking them.

You should clean your car from any edible chametz crumbs that are on the seat and any other edible chametz that is at least a kzayit.

Tevilat Keilim

You are required to immerse new metal or glass utensils that you purchase from a non-Jew in a mikva prior to their first use.  (The exact requirements are beyond the scope of this summary.)

When we engage in tevilat keilim, we should make sure to follow the following guidelines.

  • People should wear latex gloves when immersing vessels. (If available, it is a good idea for themikva'otto provide them.)
  • People should wash their hands both before and after using the
  • The surfaces should be wiped down appropriately as often as possible.

Some people do not feel comfortable to use the keilim mikvah for the purpose of tevilat keilim.  In this instance, I recommend selling the keilim to a non-Jew.    The Beth Din of America is facilitating sale of kelim.  See here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc9IrSF0L328QRUlFA3D4YpAcotZgrav-u6UAFDXZXOCquxDw/viewform

You may use the utensils by making them “hefker” (ownerless) before using them.  To do that, arrange a conference call via phone or online with three men over Bar Mitzva who know you and recognize your voice. At least one of them should be at least 18 years old. At least two of them should not be your relative or relatives of each other. Tell the three men on the phone, “I hereby declare that all of the utensils that are mine that have not been toveled yet, are now hefker (ownerless).” The three men should acknowledge your statement by responding, “Okay.” If you purchase additional such utensils afterwards, this procedure must be repeated. Contact me if you need further instructions or help in setting up such a conference call.   Note that this is a special leniency that one can rely upon only during this situation.  When things return to normal, one may not rely on the above method and one must tovel his keilim.

Food Products

The OU contains a list of many food products (including baby food and baby formula) which require and do not require Kosher for Pesach supervision.  Frozen vegetables are washed in water that often contains certain anti-foaming agents that are not appropriate for Pesach use and therefore they require Kosher for Pesach supervision.  Frozen fruit do not require Kosher for Pesach supervision.  We may purchase milk and eggs before Pesach without Kosher for Pesach supervision.  If you run out of eggs or milk, you may purchase eggs or milk on Pesach, as well (although it’s better to be stringent).  Dairy products, like cottage cheese, yogurt, and sour cream, contain cultures which ferment and are often chametz and they are considered “davar ha’ma’amid” so they are not batel even if purchased before Pesach.   I was told that there would be sufficient Kosher for Pesach food available and if, closer to the holiday, there is a crisis, the OU may issue certain guidelines.

Raw meat and poultry sold in original factory sealed packages may be used for Pesach even without Kosher for Pesach supervision.  If it is repacked in a local supermarket or butcher then it should not be used.  Ground, cooked or broiled meat and poultry requires Kosher for Pesach supervision.

Kosher fish purchase before Pesach can be washed and used on Pesach without Kosher for Pesach supervision.

Ideally the matzah used for the mitzvah of matzah at the Seder should be shmurah from the time of harvesting.  We can satisfy this requirement with either hand or machine shmurah machine.  Under pressing circumstances, we can fulfill this mitzvah with any matzah that was baked for the sake of the mitzvah and all OU-certified matzah is baked like this.  Before Pesach I will send a document listing the shiurim necessary to fulfill the mitzvot of matzah, wine, and maror (both minimally and maximally).  The link to the document can be found here. https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hfqpxhheg18nk1/Shiurim%20for%20matzah%20%26%20wine%20%28MacBook-Pro.home%27s%20conflicted%20copy%202017-04-22%29.doc?dl=0

Sale of Chametz

You can appoint me to sell your chametz online by clicking on the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdM1TOEYZHl_ltukewPz8h3pbwY6twTK6u5KcLlc3FjdVG6cg/viewform

If you normally do not sell Chametz gamur but this year you need to do so, you may do so without hatarat nedarim.

Burning chametz

Due to the current situation, this year, there will be no public chometz burning as in previous years. Please note the following procedures:

  • If you own a barbeque grill, on Wednesday morning - Erev Pesach, burn these 10 small pieces on the grill and recite Kol Chamira (the statement nullifying ownership of any chametz). If you do not have a grill, do the following: In a bag, carefully break up the small pieces of bread into tiny crumbs. Flush the crumbs, without the bag, down the toilet. Dispose of the bag in the outside garbage can and then recite Kol Chamira. All of this should be completed before 11:37 a.m. (sof zman biur chametz according to the Magen Avraham) or 11:51 a.m. (sof zman biur chametz according to the GRA).
  • Before burning or flushing the crumbs, place all remaining chametz (that was not sold to a non-Jew) in your outside trash cans and recite the following in front of anyone (even a relative and even on the phone): “I hereby declare that my garbage cans and all of my chametz garbage are hefker (ownerless) and I relinquish all ownership thereof.” If possible, before making the above statement, bring your garbage cans to the curb for pickup. If you cannot bring the cans to the curb on Erev Pesach (e.g. your pickup day is Tuesday) you may bring them to the curb during Pesach at the regularly scheduled time (e.g. Monday night). Either way, you may take the cans back from the curb and fill the hefker (ownerless) cans during Pesach. When doing so, do NOT have intent to acquire them. Re-acquire the garbage cans after Pesach has ended.

Inviting single, elderly people for seder

  • Individuals living alone or those absolutely unable to prepare for Pesach may choose to self- quarantine for 14 days, and then – if asymptomatic – may join with a welcoming local family, without additional company, that is similarly asymptomatic and that has been disciplined in staying home and limiting their interactions outside the home to the absolute minimum described above. These guests may join one family only for the duration of Pesach and must carefully observe the highest standards of hygiene and social distancing. The elderly and high risk must seek medical advice before considering this.
    • If an individual will be alone for Shabbat and/or Yom Tov, our community must ensure that he or she has a buddy that will check up on him/her daily while maintaining social distance, e.g., waving through a window.
    • If you are someone, or if you are aware of someone, who is alone or vulnerable due to isolation, serious depression, or possible self-inflicted harm on Shabbat or Yom Tov, please let me know as we may set aside certain prohibitions for this individual if there are potential pikuach nefesh (potentially life-threatening) concerns.