If a person would hypothetically not own any chometz the evening before Pesach, should/could they purchase chometz in order to get rid of it the following day?

I am hoping to have this question answered on two levels - the technical halachic aspect (in which I assume he could purchase chometz and fulfill the mitzvah of getting rid of it), and the more "spirit of the law" oriented aspect, in which it seems counterproductive to acquire chometz and increase one's ownership thereof when the entire purpose of the mitzvah would seem to be to not own any.

Note: I chose the case of buying the chometz the evening before in an attempt to avoid issues of which I may not be aware. If that changes the answer in any way, and buying chometz the day of would be better or worse, that could also be included in an answer.

  • Is there any chiyuv (asei) to get rid of the chametz, or only not to have it (lav)?
    – Scimonster
    Mar 16, 2015 at 19:57
  • See the Minchat Chinuch, Mitzva #9
    – Double AA
    Mar 16, 2015 at 19:57
  • 2
    @Scimonster The Torah has a tzivuy to get rid of it (תשביותו). If you would like to show how that is really not an asei and proceed to answer the question accordingly, gei gezunt. Mar 16, 2015 at 20:03
  • I don't completely understand the scenario. I assume that at some point prior to Pesach, the person did own Chametz and somehow eliminated it. There is no specific time mentioned in the Torah that the Chametz must be rid on Erev Pesach AFAIK; just that on Pesach you shouldn't possess it. Isn't there a rule mentioned in SA that if you leave your home w/in 30 days before Pesach, you do bedika and you would say the bracha then? So, you rid your Chametz a month early.
    – DanF
    Mar 16, 2015 at 21:26
  • @DanF There is a very clear delineation of when a person gets rid of chometz. For sure before 30 days before Pesach, there is absolutely nothing accomplished. Within 30 days, there are some minority opinions that hold it may be a mitzvah. But most opinions hold it is only the day of erev Pesach. Mar 16, 2015 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


In Shu't Avnei Neizer 381.2 he justifies the language of על ביעור חמץ even though לבער would seem to be more appropriate, as Tosafos and Ran already addressed. He says that the mitzvah of biur chametz is accomplished at the onset of Pesach. It is not a mitzvah accomplished at the time of biur, rather it is fulfilled when Pesach arrives after one has done the biur. And since once Pesach arrives, he has previously rid himself of chametz, it is more proper to make the blessing in a language that can also mean past tense, and not לבער which is only a future tense.

But we see that the mitzvah of biur is not to destroy chametz per se, but rather the insurance that one does not have the chametz on pesach.

At the end of Sh'a O'ch siman 432 The Ramma mentions the minhag to "put out pieces of bread to find during the bedika so his bracha should not be in nought. But if one did not place, it is not a problem being that all people have in mind when they make the bracha that they will destroy any chametz if they find it." The achronim mention the opinion of Ta'z that one should in fact not put out these pieces as it can lead to problems if they are not found, and it is better to rely on the second idea in the Ramma. See Shaar Hatzion 11. Many uphold the minhag to put bread of course, and quote the Arizal to put ten pieces.

Again, in this second opinion of Ramma, we find bedikas chametz with a bracha, with no hope of actually finding chametz in one's possession. And no-one gives an eitza to go buy chametz, which would fly in the face of the Taz's concern which was said about chametz one already owns, certainly going to buy more chametz would be wrong, or as the OP puts it it is counterintuitive to the spirit of this commandment.

The Ramma again at the end of siman 445 mentions a minhag where if no chametz is found during the bedika, to burn the item used to do the search so as not to forget the chiyuv to do biur. (I guess this is where the feather and wooden spoon comes from, easily combustible items).

This is a hindsight minhag, but again we don't see anyone saying 'it would have been better to buy some chametz beforehand in order to avoid this. And again, the aforementioned Taz which is taken quite seriously by a nice list of achronim would have been completely ignored in doing so.

  • See the Minchat Chinuch, Mitzva #9
    – Double AA
    Mar 17, 2015 at 15:51
  • @Double thank you, i saw your comment on the question. I choose not to base seeming halachik related issues on pilpul sfarim. I am presenting here implications from halachic sfarim, which to me at least, carry more weight halachicaly than outright ideas presented in pilpul sfarim.
    – user6591
    Mar 17, 2015 at 15:58
  • I tend to agree with you about the final halacha, but saying "no-one [says otherwise]" is somewhat misleading IMO. I would be quite unimpressed if, say, Igros Moshe (of kal vachomer Yabia Omer) wrote what you wrote without citing the Minchat Chinuch, even if only to reject him.
    – Double AA
    Mar 17, 2015 at 16:38
  • @Double I hear that. I think I'll edit to say none of the poskim on the page say etc. Sounds good?
    – user6591
    Mar 17, 2015 at 16:40
  • 1
    That would be a more accurate claim, but I would still be quite unimpressed if, say, Igros Moshe (of kal vachomer Yabia Omer) wrote what you wrote without citing the Minchat Chinuch, even if only to reject him. There's value to presenting the whole picture of Jewish thought on an issue, both LeHagdil Torah and to help the OP think he didn't have a purely crazy Hava Amina.
    – Double AA
    Mar 17, 2015 at 16:45

Sefer HaChinukh 9:4:

ונוהגת בכל מקום ובכל זמן בזכרים ונקבות. ועובר עליה ולא השביתו, בטל עשה דתשביתו. ואם יש חמץ במשכנותיו עובר גם כן על לא תעשה, שנאמר: שאור לא ימצא בבתיכם. אבל אין לוקין על לאו זה, אם לא עשה בו מעשה, שהלכה היא, לאו שאין בו מעשה, אין לוקין עליו.

It seems that there is a specific mitzvah to get rid of it, in addition to not having it. Furthermore, Sefer HaChinuckh states the time to get rid of it, namely, on the 14th of Nisan.

Sefer HaChinukh 9:1:

מצות השבתת החמץ - להסיר כל לחם חמץ ממשכנותינו ביום ארבעה עשר בניסן, שנאמר (שמות יב: טו) אך ביום הראשון תשביתו שאור מבתכם. ופרושו ''הראשון'', קדם לפסח.

Deducing from these 2 concepts, it seems that if you have no Chametz to get rid of on the 14th of Nisan, you must buy and own Chametz in order to fulfill the mitzvah of getting rid of it. Furthermore, it seems that even you got rid of chametz before that date, you have fulfilled the mitzvah of not owning the chametz, but not the one of getting rid of it, which must be done only on that date.

  • 2
    This is a pretty mediocre deduction. It doesn't discuss what to do if you don't have Chametz. Perhaps one only has to destroy it if one already owns it. Perhaps one fulfills the positive commandment through non-action (like the positive command of not marrying an Egyptian convert).
    – Double AA
    Mar 16, 2015 at 23:04
  • @DoubleAA - Granted, the fact that Sefer Hachinuch makes a point of mentioning getting rid of chametz as a separate mitzvah at all, surprised me. However, he seems quite insistent that one must get rid of it and that it must be done on the 14th, specifically. I'm uncertain how you would deduce otherwise, unless you see something hidden in SC's explanation that says this is done only if one had chametz to start. I don't see this caveat, even if that seems more logical. To me, the language seems insistent on performing this mitzvah.
    – DanF
    Mar 17, 2015 at 2:17

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