Bedikat Chametz

The mishna in T.B. Pesachim 2a says:

"On the night of the 14th, you check for unleavened bread by the light of the candle."

Our Sages question: why do we do bedikat chametz on the night of the 14th and not the day? Our Sages have two answers to this question:

1. Most people are at home at night but in the day they go to work and if bedikat chametz was during the day they might forget.

2. We must check for chametz "by the light of the candle" like the mishna states and at night, one is more able to see the light of the candle.

The checking of chametz must begin in the beginning of the evening of the night of the 14th day --> when the stars come up --> when there are 3 stars in the sky.

Some people go by the halacha that it is forbidden for someone to learn even half an hour before bedikat chametz. The reason is that while one is checking for chametz, if he has just learned, his mind might wander and think about his learning and therefore not concentrate on the checking for chametz. This might cause him to overlook some chametz. Others, though, go by the halacha that one may learn a half an hour before the bedikat chametz but must stop learning when the time for bedikat chametz begins.

Who must do the bedikah?

The obligation for checking falls on the man of the house or someone who lives there. If the ba'al habayit, the man of the house, cannot do it he may get a shaliach to do it for him. This shaliach may be paid for doing this. The shaliach should be a man over bar mitzvah. If there is no man in the house, a woman, a girl or a boy may be the messenger if they know what they are doing.

Where must we check?

In a house with children one must check the entire house even in places where there shouldn't be any food because young children might go anywhere with food. However, places where young children cannot get to, do not have to be checked.

Rebecca Winter (age 13)

From the Editors

Dear Readers

Welcome to our second edition! We hope you enjoyed our first one. This one, in accordance with the time of year, is devoted to Pesach. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the writers who submitted their wonderful articles, questions and games. We once again advise you not to skip anything.

Chag Kosher V'Same'ach! We hope you feel the redemption.

Dodi-lee and Chai Hecht




"Rabbi Akiva never said in shul to stand up and stop learning except on the night of Pesach and the night of Yom Kippur. On the night of Pesach so that the children shouldn't fall asleep. On the night of Yom Kippur, in order so that they should feed their children."

T.B. Pesachim 109a

This excerpt from the Talmud shows that the children were not of unimportance to the seder. Though it is understood that usually you are there only to ask questions, these notes may give you some of the answers to questions asked of you. I don't disregard the fact that children are obligated to ask questions at the seder, therefore I have put questions in certain places rather than halachas of Pesach.

KADESH Why do we use four cups of wine and not some other thing like matza or marror? Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin said that we use wine because it can change the colour of the face, make some one's feelings change, and it can show a change in the way someone behaves, the effect gradually increasing the more someone drinks. This effect is very similar to the reaction the Jews had when they heard the four promises of redemption.

URECHATZ We wash our hands before we eat the karpas. We do this because of the opinion that whatever is dipped in liquid requires the washing of hands. The reason we don't say a bracha though is because there is a question whether or not we are obligated to follow this law today.

KARPAS We take a piece of karpas that is less then a kaziyit so that we do not have to say a bracha achrona.

YACHATZ One reason we don't eat all the matza right away is because we want to be sensitive to the poor man. The poor man would not eat all his food in one meal. He would put some of it away for the future. So like the poor man we put away some of our food for later. My question for this is why do we not put a half of everything away then?

MAGGID We all have an obligation to recount the leaving of Egypt. Therefore the section of Maggid should be explained, or even read, in a language that everyone at the table understands, including women and children. HA LACHMA ANYA: In Ha Lachma Anya there is something strange; all the lines are in Aramaic except the very last line, "...Next year, free men", which is in Hebrew. This is because this was written in Babylonia, so that all the first lines are in a language all could understand, so it could be an invitation to all. But the last line would make the Babylonians think we were rebelling against them.

MA NISHTANA: Rabbi Yeshayeh DiTrani and Maharil held that the child only has to ask Ma Nishtana if he didn't ask anything else. I guess they held Ma Nishtana was just a replacement. While Rama held that they only didn't have to ask if they previously asked these four questions already during the seder. Also the Aruch HaShulchan held that the Ma Nishtana is not a question but a declaration: "This night is so different then all other nights, for on all other nights we eat....."

AVADIM HAYINU: It says in Avadim Hayinu that we would still be slaves if not for Hashem: why shouldn't we assume that after a course of time Paroh would have let us go. Because although this is possible, if Paroh let us go he would still be higher, better then us because he would have let us go.

THE FOUR SONS: When I was reading the Hirsch Haggada about the four sons I don't think I fully understood it but by taking some information from another Haggada, I think I got it pretty much right. In the Torah, the order of the mention of the four sons is different then the four sons in the Haggada. According to Rabbi Hirsch, this is the way of teaching a child, or son, or in my opinion, it mirrors the growth of a son. First the son has no idea of what is right or wrong so he, of course does evil things. Then the parent tells the son things to do but he does not ask. Then he asks simple questions such as "What's that?". And then, finally, hopefully, the son becomes a wise son.

MATCHILA: When were our fathers Idol worshippers? According to some, even Avraham never worshipped idols. But it was Terech and everybody before him, and they were our fathers too.

VE'HEE SHEAMDA: G-d does not only save us he turns conditions totally around to save us. An example is with Purim: instead of Achashverosh helping Haman, he helped us.

DAM, TZFARDEA, KINIM, ETC: Why do we take a little bit out of our cups as we say the ten plagues? It is because we do not want our cups to be full when we mention other peoples suffering.

GOD HAS DONE SO MANY FAVOURS FOR US: On this I have a question. The midrash says that the Jews complained about the mud when crossing the sea, but here it says, "IF HE HAD JUST SPLIT THE SEA FOR US BUT NOT BROUGHT US ACROSS ON DRY LAND, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH"?

HALLELUKAH: We do not say the entire Hallel now because the Sages wanted us to do this part quickly so the kids would be able to eat matza (Tosfot Yom Tov). This is based on the statement of Rabbi Eliezer that we rush to eat the matzos for the children, but Rashbam interprets this differently. We snatch to take the matzos away from the table, this is to awaken the children so they will start asking questions. If this is true then Hallel would not be abbreviated. Maharal says it is to combine the meal within the Hallel.

WHO SAVED US: If you were to look in the Hallel in the siddur then you would see a difference. In the Haggada there is no bracha at the beginning; there is a blessing in the middle. This is because a person can better bless Hashem if they know what happened. At the Seder we want it to be as if it is happening now.

RACHTZA We wash our hands on matza tonight because we do not have any bread. The reason we wash our hands as for a regular motzei even though we are supposed to do some things differently, we are still supposed to investigate all we do, including the things that are so regular to us they become habit.

MOTZI MATZA We are here fulfilling both aspects of tonight's requirements. By eating what the Jews ate when they came out of Egypt, matza, we are connected to both slavery and freedom. Slavery because the matza is like the food of the poor, and yet this is what the jews ate when they were on their way to freedom.

MARROR The marror is usually bitter herbs or romaine lettuce. We do usually eat these, but we eat them with something else. When we eat it alone we see that the work of the Jews was all bitter with no leniency. The charoset is sweet and mixed with the marror to show that, as the charoset symbolizes the mortar used for building, what we did in Egypt was not all wasted because what we learnt there we could use in our future. The charoset represents the sweetness within the bitter.

KORECH There is a symbol derived from the way the sandwich is situated. There is matza on the bottom, then marror, then matza again. The matza below the marror shows that on top of the fact that the Jews were enslaved they had an extremely bitter life. Then the Jews turned the matza's symbol from that of slavery to that of freedom, therefore there is matza over the marror, showing our freedom overpowers the bitterness.

SHULCHAN ORECH Shulchan Orech literally means prepared table. Prepared table because during Pesach we are supposed to be like rich people. Rich people would have no delay before they eat. Everything is prepared for them beforehand.

TZAFUN Why is the meal just stuck somewhere in the middle of the story? This is because in order to be whole with ourselves we must be full in our soul, which is nourished by torah, and we must be full in our stomach, which is nourished by food.

BARECH On this too I have a question. During the year Sephardim would only say al hamichya on matza. Why is this so?

HALLEL In the Hallel we ignore our past and present for a few minutes. We just look at our future. We stop thinking about the slavery and the present icon of freedom and move on to the ultimate freedom, a unified spiritually attuned people.

NIRTZAH On this I have a question: why does it say "Leshanah haba be'Yerushalayim" and not "Leshanah haba eem Moshiach"?

Chai Hecht (age 14)

T o r a h

P u r s u i t

1) On the first night of Pesach, the two twhhruts wumn are:

2) The three ibcrsn wumn are:

3) How much must one eat to fulfil the mitzvah of eating matza?

4) Matza can only to be made of...

5) Who is required to perform the mitzvah of sippur Yitzi'at Mitzrayim?

6) Why do we drink 4 cups of wine?

Answers on last page

Joe Apter (age 12)

The Pesach Seder

Kadesh say kiddush and get ready to go.

U'rechatz wash your hands, with water, not snow.

Karpas eat a vegetable dipped in salt.

Yachatz break the matzah. If it's not even it's not your fault!

Maggid tell the story of Pesach and drink some wine.

Rachtzah wash your hands with a bracha this time.

Motzi Matzah have some Pesach bread - hamotzei you must say.

Maror have some bitter herbs because in Egypt we were slaves.

Korech have a "maror sandwich". Be careful not to cry.

Shulchan Orech you'll have all the food you can imagine, maybe even a kosher for Pesach pizza pie.

Tzafon eat the afikomen, which hopefully you hid.

Barech say iuznv wfrc and thank Hashem for what he did.

Hallel more praising of our G-D, Hashem.

Nirtzah the seder is over! Next year in Jerusalem!

Shoshana Winter (age 12)


The Beginning of Exile

In Parshat Ve'Yeshev we learn about the story of Yoseph and his brothers. We see that Yoseph was put in the pit with snakes and scorpions by his brothers and then sold as a slave to Egypt. This is how the exile to Egypt began.

Was Yoseph really the only victim here? Should he not be held a little bit responsible for his brothers actions?

According to Rashi, Yoseph was often in front of the mirror combing his hair and trying to look his best. He acted more important than his brothers, which caused them to be jealous.

Sforno says Yoseph's colourful coat was a sign that he had to lead the brothers in the field. But the Torah refers to him as a na'ar which means young boy, even though he was 17 years old. He was called a na'ar because he didn't act mature and he brought evil reports back to his father that his brothers weren't watching the sheep properly.

Ibn Ezra talks about Yoseph's evil reports in the pshat. In Midrash Rabbah there is an argument between Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehudah, and Rabbi Shimon about what Yoseph said. Rashi includes all 3 sources. Yoseph told his father many extraordinary things including that his brothers ate non-kosher meat specifically the limb of a live animal (ever min hachai). This wasn't exactly true, though, for thebrothers considered this meat to be kosher. While the meat was taken from the animal while its nerves were still shaking, the animal had been properly slaughtered. Rashi says the punishment for Yoseph's sin of bringing evil reports was vshn sdbf vshn, measure to measure. The punishment for telling his father that they ate from a live animal was that the brothers killed a goat when they sold Yoseph.

In my opinion, it is understandable that Yoseph served as a slave in Egypt for exaggerating his own importance when he told on his brothers. Yoseph caused a lot of jealousy to exist within the brothers and he caused anger between them. Sinat Chinam, which is hatred for no fine reason, was one of the reasons for this Exile and for the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. Hatred and jealousy, as we learn from the story of Yoseph, will always lead to a dark place. I hope all Jews will learn to love each other and to bring Moshiach.

Ariel Wellman (age 11)


Find the magic number!

Hint: Na'aseh v'Nishma

Number of cups of wine at the seder ___

Number of matzot at the seder + ___

Number of sedarim outside of Israel - ___

Number of days of Pesach outside of Israel x ___

Number of years of slavery in Egypt + ___

Age of Sarah at the birth of Yitzchak + ___

Number of sedarim of mishnayot + ___

Number of years in desert - ___

Number of Tablets x ___

Number of G-ds + ___

= ___

Answers at end of page

Gila Wellman (age 14)

Passover Brownies

1/2 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cocoa

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup Passover cake meal

1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix water and cocoa together to make a paste. Set aside. Beat eggs well. Add sugar and oil and blend well. Add cocoa paste. Stir in cake meal coffee and nuts. Bake in a greased 8 inch square pan at 350_F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cut in squares when cool. Enjoy!

Rebecca Winter (age 13)


Torah Pursuit

1. a) Eating matzah

b) Telling the story of the Exodus.

Source: The answers to all the questions in this Torah Pursuit can be found in Rabbi Shimon Eider, Kitzur Hilchot Pesach, Section Two.

2. a) Drinking four cups of wine.

b) Eating marror.

c) Reciting Hallel.

3. For the basic Torah requirement, a kezayit, an olive size. Rabbinically, there are, though, additional requirements.

4. Wheat, barley, spelt, oat or rye flour plus water.

5. Everyone

6. They mark the four terms of redemption:

hwjeku, hwktdu, hwkmvu, hwtmuvu.


4 + 3 - 2 x 8 + 210 + 90 + 6 - 40 x 2 + 1 = 613

NISHMA JUNIOR is a presentation of Nishma, an international research, resource and educational network devoted to the advancement of Torah thought. If you are interested in your family receiving NISHMA JUNIOR or require information about our other publications and programs, please contact the Toronto Nishma Centre at (416) 630-0588 or 1-800-267-NISHMA(6474).

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