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What does one do if he/she lost one of the 10 pieces of Bread and can't find it?

(Don't worry, just curious)

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I would imagine that what the Bittul and Mechirah is about –  SimchasTorah Apr 18 '11 at 2:55
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Funnily enough, this actually happened to me a few years ago! I had made a mental note of where I'd hidden all 10 pieces, then I couldn't find the last one where I thought it was. I lost years of my life in the 5 minutes between discovering the loss... and finding the missing chometz, still in my pocket...! Since then I've always kept a written list of all the hiding places! –  Shaul May 11 '11 at 16:07
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up vote 8 down vote accepted
+50

Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon indicates (article) that the forgotten pieces would be nullified by bitul chametz.

the pieces should be smaller than a ke-zayit, so that if one of them is not found, the bittul declaration will suffice to avoid the violation.

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And typically well wrapped up, so Bal Yirah may not apply directly, even if you find it later on Pesach. –  geoffc May 11 '11 at 0:57
    
@geoffc: whether or not the chametz is wrapped has no effect on the mitzvah of bal yera'eh. Yes, literally it means that chametz may not be seen, but one would certainly transgress by keeping wrapped chametz in one's ownership on purpose! –  JXG May 11 '11 at 15:42
    
the pieces should be smaller than cazait so that if you can't find it would be a problem, in any case I think you can annul a cazit –  Avraham May 11 '11 at 15:51
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Strictly speaking, if one has 10 pieces of chametz and finds only 9 of them, one must look for the missing piece.

(If you are sure that you found 9 out of the original 10, you need to look for the missing piece. But if what you found might not be what you set out, you need to look for all 10.)

These laws are detailed in Orach Chayyim 439. For example, see the Aruch Hashulchan on the topic; see halachot 10-12 where he quotes the Tur and the Rambam.

If one searches (really looks, not a symbolic parade around the house) for the piece of chametz, and doesn't find it, and has nullified the chametz with bittul (with the formula in the siddur, for example), then that person has observed the halachot correctly and does not violate bal yera'eh uval yimmatze. Even if the chametz turns up on Pesach itself, there is no violation, as long as it's destroyed as soon as reasonably (and halachically) possible.

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Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for the informative answer! Would that I hadn't already run out of votes for the day. –  Isaac Moses May 11 '11 at 15:42
    
Good point about how this answer only applies after the fact. –  WAF May 11 '11 at 17:21
    
welcome to one of my favorite websites. Did you get the hat tip from BP? -JDS –  Jeremy May 17 '11 at 13:49
    
@Jeremy, believe it or not, no, I got it from Joel Spolsky's website. I just met his mother yesterday--INK and her husband made a bris... –  JXG May 19 '11 at 6:38
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