Why are people so meticulous regarding what they eat on Pesach? For example some people won't eat fish and/or fruit that don't have peels. However, what about meat? You don't see people saying, "Don't eat meat because it might be cheilev." And they are both kares-prohibitions (chometz and cheilev).

  • Canned fish sometimes contains liquid additives that are derived from kitniyos (or even chametz). – Fred May 29 '14 at 3:36
  • For what it's worth, there are a fair number of people who don't eat meat (including myself) because of cheilev and other kashrut issues. – Tatpurusha May 29 '14 at 4:52
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    @Tatpurusha You don't eat meat because of Cheilev?? – Double AA May 30 '14 at 1:19
  • @DoubleAA Well, it's far from the primary reason; there are other issues that are more important, such as that the shechter in an industrial setting is too incentivized to lie about the little details that can make an animal nevilah. – Tatpurusha May 30 '14 at 1:29
  • Whoa. I'm speechless. – Seth J May 30 '14 at 4:30

The basis of the custom is from the Arizal, who says that one who is careful from even a Mashehu (any amount) of Chametz on Pesach will not sin (accidentally) the whole year. Therefore as many stringencies as possible should be kept.

This is brought in halachic Achronim, most notably the Ba'er Hetev on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (which is where it was most popularized).

So it is in pursuit of this promise/in recognition of the importance of it as personified by this promise that you see such stringency as compared to other Kares prohibitions.

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  • This is nice, but it seems anachronistic. Chumra dePischa existed well before the Ari. – Double AA May 30 '14 at 1:19
  • @doubleaa, Chumra dePischa is not the reason for peelable fruit only or absolutely no fish. – Yishai May 30 '14 at 11:28
  • Neither is the Ari. Those are just craziness – Double AA May 30 '14 at 14:00
  • @DoubleAA, of course the Arizal is the source - even if you don't agree with the interpretation of the source, that is still the basis upon which those Chumros exist. – Yishai May 30 '14 at 14:24
  • Why of course? Maybe it's because of Chumra dePischa? Maybe they don't even have any basis? – Double AA May 30 '14 at 15:06

Chametz on Pesach happens to be one of the only prohibitions even when it gets mixed with some other substance, doesn't become nullified (Batel Beshishim). The only other prohibition I could think of off the top of my head that has similar restrictions is Yayin Nesech (and other Avodah-Zarah related issurim).

Another difference would be the fact that Chametz is not always noticeably different than non-Chametz. Of course, There is an obvious difference between bread and Matzah, but some of the more nuanced forms of Chametz aren't as distinguishable (i.e. the difference between dough that rose for 18 minutes and dough that rose for 20). There is even a whole chapter in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (107) dealing with how to handle the flour in ways that won't become Chometz, and while I don't claim to be an expert about baking, I'm assuming the 'Chametz' that it's referring to is something slightly less noticeable than a bagel. A butcher, on the other hand, knows which piece of meat is Cheilev and which isn't, since it's easily possible to physically discern where it is. Even though I personally couldn't tell the difference between one piece of meat and another, I don't have to be concerned that it might be Cheilev, since I know that someone who DOES know what he's doing took care of it.

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  • There are other issurim that are not batel, like muktza and chadash. – Double AA May 29 '14 at 5:09
  • I still don't understand your distinction in the second paragraph. Very few people deal with flour on Pesach. The issues are not "did it rise for 18 or 20 minutes?", but "did they put flour in here?" This is very parallel to "did they put chelev in here?" – Double AA May 29 '14 at 5:10
  • @DoubleAA I think those examples of other issurim that are not batel are different, since they are objects that will eventually become mutar, which do not become batel. Chametz should normally fall under the category of something that would never become mutar (due to Chametz She'avar Alav Hapesach) which does become batel, yet it doesn't. – Salmononius2 May 29 '14 at 5:17
  • Sure, it's for a different reason, but Chametz and AZ are also different reasons. (There is a machloket rishonim if chametz is a davar sheyesh lo matirin.) – Double AA May 29 '14 at 5:19
  • I think the question is not 'did they put flour in here', rather it's 'did flour end up here'. Which now that I think about it, is not really what I wrote in the answer. I'll try to rewrite my answer tomorrow. – Salmononius2 May 29 '14 at 5:19

A relative of mine (no further source available) suggested that on Pesach, we became a new nation. Just as one is extremely careful with a newborn infant, for whom an injury or illness can be much more severe than for an adult, one is extremely careful with the laws of Pesach - the holiday of the nation's birth.

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