Chief Rabbis: Don’t leave home to burn chametz for Passover

New instructions for religious observance issued by Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau in light of new coronavirus restrictions

SEPHARDI CHIEF Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
People should not leave their homes to burn hametz or kasher pots and pans for Passover, Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau ruled Tuesday.
They issued rulings regarding preparations for the upcoming holiday, which begins next Wednesday evening, April 8, and for general religious observance in light of government restrictions to stem the coronavirus pandemic.
On Passover, no bread or other leavened products may be consumed or stored at home. Observant Jews burn their remaining leavened products, often in communal bonfires, on the morning before Passover begins.
People should forgo the custom this year and instead throw their hametz in a garbage bin and pour bleach on it to render it inedible, the chief rabbis said.
Because Halacha forbids eating hametz on Passover, pots and pans specifically for the holiday need to be used. Alternatively, everyday vessels can be put into boiling water or heated to high temperatures by a blow torch or other means.
In normal times, numerous stations are established around the country where people may kasher their everyday pots in these ways. But they will not be permitted this year by government regulations.
The chief rabbis suggested that pots and pans without plastic, wood or rubber parts can be put in a clean oven, which itself does not to be kosher for Passover, with the oven set to its highest temperature for 20 minutes.
They said this solution should only be used this year, implying that it is a leniency that would not normally be employed.
If an individual buys new vessels such as pots, pans, cutlery or crockery, the chief rabbis said if immersing them in a mikveh (ritual bath) for vessels as is required by Jewish law is impossible, they may be given to a non-Jew and then loaned back for Passover.
Halacha requires that any metal, glass or porcelain vessels made by a non-Jew must be first immersed in a mikveh before use by a Jew.
If giving to a non-Jew is not possible, the rabbis said this process can be done via its website.
The Tzohar rabbinical association has also provided online facilities for this process.
Selling hametz to a non-Jew can be done via the Chief Rabbinate’s website or other rabbinical organizations.
Current regulations ban public prayer, including outdoors. Everyone should pray by themselves at home but at the same time as their usual prayer service, the chief rabbis said.
Mikvaot for women remain open, while those for men must be shut, according to the regulations, since immersion for men is not a halachic obligation.