Those people who normally wear braces while consuming chometzdike food, must have their braces kashered for Peisach. The preferred method is that of Libun, which can be accomplished by crinkling your lips up to expose your teeth and then running a blow torch along the entire length of your braces. Some authorities are meikel and permit kashering of braces by dunking your open mouth into a bowl of scalding hot water.
2. Digestive System
While most people put all their efforts into ridding their homes and cars of chometz, there is one place even more personal that is traditionally neglected during bedikas chometz - your very own digestive system, including stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon). Those who have consumed chometz during the 24-hour period prior to biyur chometz must spend the proper time in the bathroom prior to the time of issur chometz to allow the elimination of any residual chometz from their bodies. Some halachik authorities also require the use of a laxative to assist in the elimination process.
Note: Some laxatives are chometz and may not be used Erev Peisach. Please consult your local rabbinical authority for which laxatives may be used.
Boruch Hashem, many of us are very careful not put any non-solid food on our matzoh, lest the liquid combine with any unbaked flour and become chometz. But what about our saliva and digestive juices? Saliva contains water and could very well cause problems of gebruchts. Until recently, it was felt that this problem was insurmountable, and thus, many poskim were meikel on this issue. But it has come to my attention that it is common practice for drug dealers to smuggle their drugs inside a human courier, by having the person ingest the drugs inside a small rubber balloon or, chas v'sholom, prophylactic. It would appear that this is also a perfect method for eating matzoh without worrying about the possibility of gebruchts. So this year, one should try to be machmir and put all matzoh in small rubber balloons before swallowing it. Upon further reflection, it has occurred to me that this is the way Bnei Yisroal must have eaten their matzoh in the midbar.
4. Shiur of Matzoh (amount)
As you may be aware, the issue of shiurim is one that has been discussed at length. This year, I decided to reexamine the whole issue in the hopes of settling it conclusively, using my own opinion, and I was astonished by what I found. As you know, we are all required to eat a "kezayis" of matzoh. But how much is a "kezayis"? Obviously olives in the time of the Torah were not the size of today's puny olives! To determine the exact size of Torah olives, I went to the posuk "Eretz Chitoh Oo'Si'oroh V'Gefen Oo'Si'einoh V'Reemon, Eretz Zais Shemen Oo'dvash." It occurred to me that this posuk lists the seven species IN SIZE ORDER! The posuk starts with the tiny grains are wheat and oats, continues with the slightly larger grape, and then the even larger fig, whatever that is. Thus, the size of an olive comes out to be somewhere between that of a pomegranate and that of a large jar of honey. Being that achilas matzoh is a mitzvoh me'dioreysah, we must be machmir by using the size of the jar of honey. After checking with officials at the Golden Blossom company, it turns out that the largest jar of honey sold commercially is 32 oz. So, by taking into account the amount of flour that fits into a 32 oz. jar, we come up with the shiur kezayis as being 4.7 round matzohs, or 6.4 square matzohs. Please remember that this matzoh must be consumed within the allowed time of 5 minutes!
Note: There are many brands of Shmureh Matzoh, on the market, most of which I would no sooner eat than I would a product certified by the triangle-K. People who are serious about shmiras ha'mitzvos should purchase Shmureh Matzoh only from my brother-in-law, Yonkie. Yonkie's Yiddishe Matzohs are BOTH hand AND machine made - l'chol ha'dayos - and are Glatt Kosher l'mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadin. Prices start at tzvontzik tullar a pound, which, for those of you who don't speak yiddish, translates to $80 a pound.
Water contains many microorganisms, which, according to many poskim, fall under the category of shrotzim. While this does not present a specific problem for Peisach, it can be a problem all year round. I recommend using micro-bodek bottled water - guaranteed organism free.
In addition to the problem of containing water (see #5), soda has the additional problem of containing bubbles, thus creating the possibility that it will be confused with beer, which is, of course, chometz mamish. Some rabbonim permit the use of soda on Peisach, though I personally wouldn't eat in any of their homes. On the subject of soda, let me quote an excerpt from the popular sequel to "Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilsosoh", "Smiras Peisach K'Hilsoso":
"While use of soda and other carbonated beverages are permitted on Peisach, it is nonetheless desired to refrain from drinking them. In fact, it is generally desired to refrain from ALL forms of permissible activity throughout the year, lest halachah not be seen as sufficiently burdensome and unpleasant." It would also seem to me that such a prohibition would extend to any food that could possibly be confused with a chometzdike item, not to mention all the those products that are "Peisachdik" versions of things that only a goy would eat on Peisach, such as "Peisach" noodles, "Peisach" pancake mix, and "Peisach" muffins. Such products should be scrupulously avoided!
As to whether such products can be fed to dog on Peisach, consult your local halachik authority.
7. Mechiras Chometz
The question has come about whether a family where the wife doesn't wear a sheital, or whose kids learn at a co-ed school, chas v'sholom, can be considered goyim for purposes of Mechiras Chometz. The "Makos Mardus", Rabbis Yechiel Getzel Grunblatt of Flatbush, deals with this question in his best-selling seifer on hilchos Peisach "VaYichan Sham Neged HaHar: Spending Peisach in the Mountains":
"Whereas many "Jewish" families are considered by frume yidden to be goyim, l'chaschila, it's better to sell your chometz to a true church-going duch gatribene goy. However, one may keep such people in mind when reciting the brochoh "shelo osani goy.""
This concludes our issues for Peisach. Please look for upcoming halachah bulletin's dealing with following issues:
- Using happy tunes in kedushah during sfiroh
- Wearing light-colored suits during the summer - ussur or menuval birshus haTorah - Has your wall-to-wall carpeting been shatnez tested?
Wishing you a happy and kosher l'mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadin
Peisach and hopeful that this year will see the coming of the Messiach.
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