PREPARING FOR PESACH
Chometz results when one of the five type of grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats
or spelt) comes in contact with water and is allowed to stand for a brief
period of time without being baked. We are forbidden during Pesach to eat,
own or derive any benefit from such a mixture that has been allowed the
time to rise. Therefore all grain products, their derivatives or mixtures are
Compliance with the prohibitions of eating, owning or possessing chometz, or
deriving any benefit from chometz takes three forms. The first is the actual
removal of chometz from our homes, either through consuming it or
disposing of it. This culminates in a search for chometz on the evening before
Pesach (bedikat chometz), and in the symbolic burning of the chometz (biur
chometz) on Erev Pesach morning. The second is the recitation of a formula
of nullification of ownership (found in the hagadah or siddur) over any
chometz which we might still inadvertently have in our possession (bitul
chometz). This nullification is recited twice, once after bedikat chometz and
then a final time after biur chometz. Finally any chometz which can neither
be consumed nor disposed of before Passover may be sold to a nonJew
(mechirat chometz). The form for mechirat chometz is found elsewhere in
this publication, and is available on line as well.
This “grain-like” seed has caught on in recent years as a welcome addition to
our traditional Pesach diet. Although there are some poskim who consider
quinoa in the category of kitniyot, it will be available again this year with the
kosher for Pesach supervision of major kashrut organizations. Certification
insures that the quinoa is produced in a manner that avoids any contact with
actual grains or with machinery on which such grains were processed. Such
certification is necessary due to the increased demand for quinoa all year
long and its growing popularity, which often results in it being processed with
Jews of ashkenazic descent also avoid legumes (kitniyot) such as beans,
peas, rice, corn, or other such foods. There are two traditional reasons given
for the institution of this rabbinic prohibition. Some of the foods could be
ground into flour and confused with chometz flour, whereas others normally
grow in close proximity to chometz products and might not be free of mixed
in grains. This prohibition applies only to the eating of such products; their
possession is permissible, as is using them for other (non-eating) purposes.
Whereas the rabbis of the sephardic community never instituted such a
prohibition, Jews of sephardic descent who eat kitniyot also need to be sure
that they are free from any chometz mixtures. A reliable list of kitniyot items
permitted for sephardim may be obtained from JSOR 732-531-4872.
Instructions can also be found there for inspecting rice before Presach.
Additionally, the OU and the Star-K have begun certifying kitniyot products
for use by sephardim. The OU indicates that the products are kitniyot and the
Star-K uses a Star-S to indicate kitniyot for sephardim.
Those who avoid eating kitniyot need to be particularly diligent in purchasing
products for Pesach. Often products bear kosher for Pesach labels even
though they contain kitniyot, and sometimes stores are not careful to
separate between the kitniyot and non-kitniyot products.
Following is a list from the Star-K of products that are usually considered as
kitniyot. As with all other Pesach matters, please feel free to contact our
rabbinic staff with any questions.
Black Eyed Peas
BHA (in corn oil)
BHT (in corn oil)
possibly KFP – look
for KFP symbol)
Isolated Soy Protein
*hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Dishes and utensils used for chometz year round should be packed away in
preparation for Pesach. Certain dishes and utensils normally used may also
be used for Pesach once they are properly kashered and any chometz they
have absorbed has been removed. The following section provides a brief
summary of the laws involved in kashering utensils and appliances for use on
Pesach. Please contact any of our rabbis if you have additional questions.
KASHERING – A SUMMARY
Silverware (only with all metal pieces and no parts glued together), pots
used on top of the stove (no baking utensils or frying pans) and other metal
utensils may be kashered for Passover use. They must first be cleaned
thoroughly (if they are silver they should be polished) and then allowed to
stand unused for 24 hours. They are then completely immersed in a large
pot (made kosher for Passover) of boiling water, and rinsed in cold water
after being removed from the pot. The boiling water must touch each part of
the utensil, although it does not need to touch all parts simultaneously.
Large pots may be kashered by first cleaning them as above, allowing them
to stand for 24 hours and then filling them with water to the very top,
allowing the water to boil. A heated stone or some other noncombustible
material is then placed inside the pot so that the boiling water overflows the
top lip of the pot.
China, pottery, earthenware, utensils that have different parts glued together
and items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned (such as a sieve) cannot be
kashered for Passover use.
Glasses which have been used primarily for cold liquids during the year may
be “kashered” for Passover by immersing them in cold water for a period of
72 hours. The water must be changed every 24 hours, and with the
exception of the time when the water is being changed, the glasses must be
continually submerged. Glasses, pyrex, corningware, and the like which are
used with heat must be treated as china and cannot be kashered for
A selfcleaning oven is kashered for Passover use by simply running it
through the selfclean cycle. Special care must be taken to insure that the
area around the inside seal of the door is thoroughly cleaned. As with all
kashering procedures the oven should remain unused for 24 hours before
A conventional oven, either gas or electric, may be kashered by cleaning it
twice with a caustic oven cleaner and then, after waiting for 24 hours,
turning it to its highest temperature for one hour. The broiler pan and tray
may not be kashered in this manner. They should be removed from the oven
and not used.
Oven Racks – assuming that food is not cooked directly on the oven racks,
they may be kashered by first cleaning them, allowing them to stand unused
for 24 hours, and then placing them in the oven while the oven is being
kashered. If food is cooked directly on the racks, a new set of racks should
be used for Pesach. Occasional spillovers on the racks do not qualify as food
being cooked directly on them.
A microwave oven may be kashered by cleaning it, and after not using it
for 24 hours, placing a styrofoam cup of water in the oven and boiling it until
the oven fills with steam. If a glass tray is used in the oven, it should be
replaced for Pesach. Microwave Convection ovens are kashered in the same
way as a regular oven.
4. STOVE TOP
Conventional Gas Burners may be kashered by placing the racks (or grates)
upon which the pots rest into the oven while it is being kashered. The burner
itself does not need to be kashered. The drip pans should be covered.
Electric Burners (either metal or glass) may be kashered by turning them on
until the element glows red.
The other areas of the stove top surrounding the burners should be covered
with aluminum foil. Glass stove tops present significant difficulty on Pesach
because covering them often results in cracking. Please speak to our rabbis
for further information.
Difficulties in kashering a dishwasher are primarily due to the difficulties in
thoroughly cleaning it. Assuming that all corners, edges and rubber gaskets
and food traps can be properly cleaned, a stainless steel dishwasher may be
kashered by running it through two soapy cycles with hotter water than is
usually used (such as a sanisteam), after allowing it to sit unused for 24
hours. It is preferable to stop the dishwasher mid cycle and to pour in a pot
full of boiling water, raising the temperature of the water inside. The cycle
should then be allowed to finish. A new set of racks should be purchased for
Passover use. Plastic dishwashers may not be kashered for Passover use,
according to the psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein, z”l. According to those poskim
who allow plastic to be kashered for Pesach, a plastic dishwasher may be
kashered in the same manner as above. The racks should remain in the
dishwasher during kashering and need not be replaced. All agree that a
porcelain dishwasher may not be kashered.
6. SINK AND COUNTERTOPS
A stainless steel sink may be kashered by cleaning it and allowing it to sit
unused for 24 hours. Boiling water may then be poured over the entire
surface of the sink, including the faucets. Enamel or porcelain sinks cannot
be kashered for Passover and require a covering or plastic sink insert.
There are many different materials used for countertops today, which makes
the question of kashering them very complex. Most poskim agree that
countertops made of glass tile, ceramic, porcelain or concrete cannot be
kashered. Countertops made of these materials should be thoroughly cleaned
and then covered with a non-absorbent material (cardboard, contact paper,
aluminum foil, etc). Most poskim agree that countertops made of natural
stone, granite (unsealed), marble, stainless steel or metal, without any
seams, can be kashered through the use of boiling water. Nothing hot should
be placed on these countertops for 24 hours prior to kashering them. They
should then be thoroughly cleaned and boiling water should be poured over
them. Steam alone (produced by a heavy duty or commercial steamer)
should not be used to Kasher countertops unless there is condensate that
remains on the entire surface and retains its kashering temperature.
The question becomes more complex when we talk about countertops that
are made of plastic or acrylic, such as formica or corian, or natural stone with
an acrylic sealant. Also countertops made of ground stone which is bound
with an acrylic resin, such as silestone or caeserstone, fall into this category.
The psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, is to prohibit these materials, whereas
the psak of Rav Gedalyah Dov Schwartz, shlita, of the Chicago Rabbinical
Council (CRC) permits them to be koshered, as long as there are no seams in
the countertops (formica countertops are usually seamed). If one relys on
the opinion that these countertops may not be koshered, they should be
cleaned and covered with a double layer of covering, and one should avoid
placing hot food directly on them.
Tabletops should also be double covered for use during Passover.
Below are some common kashering situations that often arise (please note
that these guidelines assume the more stringent opinion that plastic should
not be koshered for Pesach):
Baby Bottle Since it comes into contact with chometz
(e.g. washed with dishes, boiled in chometz
pot), new ones should be purchased.
Baby High Chair Thoroughly clean. Preferable to cover the
tray with contact paper.
Blech Should be replaced.
New or Pesachdik receptacle (plus any part
of unit that makes direct contact with food)
required. Thoroughly clean appliance. The
blade should be treated like any knife and
kashered through hagola.
Can Opener Manual or Electric – Clean thoroughly.
Candlesticks/Tray Clean thoroughly. Should not be put under
hot water in a kosher for Pesach sink.
Coffeemakers Coffeemakers that have brewed only
unflavored pure caffeinated coffee. Clean
thoroughly. Replace with new or Pesachdik
glass carafe and new filters. Coffeemakers
that have brewed flavored coffee or
decaffeinated coffee should be cleaned
thoroughly and put away. Keurig
coffemakers should not be kashered for
Colanders Use new ones for Pesach.
Dentures, Bite Plates,
Clean thoroughly after one has finishing
Dishwashers See above.
Electric Burner Drip
Grater Use new ones for Pesach.
Instant Hot Devices See Water Filters.
Metal Wine Goblets Kasher in boiling water.
Metal Wine Trays Kasher in boiling water.
Mixer Do not use, even with new blades and bowls.
Pump Pot If in contact with chometz (e.g. sponge) do
not use. Otherwise, does not need
Refrigerator, Freezer Thoroughly clean. Lining shelves is not
Those used during the year with chometz
may be used on Pesach if they have been
laundered with soap and hot water, even if
the stains do not come out. The same
applies to potholders, bibs, and aprons.
Synthetic material, such as Rayon and
Terylene, that can only withstand a warm
water cycle, may be used on Pesach after
they have gone through a washing with
detergent and only if there are no visible
stains after they have been cleaned.
Transparent tablecloths may be coated with
a powder and should be rinsed off before
Vases Those used on the table during the year may
be used on Pesach if they are washed inside
Washing cup (used in
Metal – boiling water.
Plastic – Put away with chometz dishes.
Water Pitchers Should be put away with chometz dishes.
Water Filters Plastic water filters that are connected to the
faucet should be thoroughly cleaned,
including the outside and the coupling, and
may be used on Pesach without changing the
filters. If they are metal and have been on
consistently since last Pesach, they should
be left on during kashering of the spigot. If
they were first attached some time after
Pesach, they should be removed before
kashering the spigot and should be kashered
separately. Instant hot devices and
individual hot/cold water filters that are
connected to the sink with a separate spigot
should be kashered along with the sink.
Instant hot devices should be turned on
during kashering of instant hot spigot.
Water Coolers Cold water coolers should be cleaned
thoroughly. The hot spigot on a water cooler
should not be used if it came into contact
with chometz during the year.
Water Urn If it has been washed with chometz utensils,
Metal (uncoated) – Hagola; both inside and
outside should be kashered. Porcelain
Enameled or Plastic – Do not use.