What is Chametz?

Chametz (also spelled "hametz" or "chometz") is any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has come into contact with water and been allowed to ferment and “rise.” In practice, just about anything made from these grains—other than Passover matzah, which is carefully controlled to avoid leavening—is to be considered chametz. This includes flour (even before it is mixed with water), cake, cookies, pasta, breads, and items that have chametz as an ingredient, like malt.

Just before the nation of of Israel left Egypt, G‑d commanded them to sacrifice the paschal lamb and then eat it with unleavened matzah and bitter herbs. G‑d then told them that they should replicate this feast every year on the anniversary of the Exodus: “It shall be for you a remembrance . . . seven days you shall eat matzah, and on the first day you should remove all se’or (sourdough, a leavening agent) from your homes. Anyone who eats chametz (leaven) from the first day to the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel.”

Long before Passover begins, we clean our homes, offices, and any other place that belongs to us to rid our homes of chametz.

Sale of Chametz

The prohibition against possessing chametz on Pesach applies only to chametz which is owned by a Jew. It is permitted to have chametz owned by a gentile in one’s home provided it is kept in a closed place which is set aside for that purpose. Based on this principle, one may sell any chametz which one desires to keep to a gentile and purchase it back after the holiday. Because of the intricacies involved in making such a sale, it has become customary for the Rabbis of the community to act as agents and sell the chametz on behalf of those who desire to do so.

Click on the link below to download the Sale of Chametz Form.