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Looking for clarification on the kind of bittul of hameitz that occurs for foods acquired before, but not during, Passover:

  • What is the maximum ratio of hameitz to other food that the bittul happens for?

  • Is this bittul an effect of making making the statement כל חמירא וחמיעא וגו and having the intention to nullify, as is done after searching for hameitz? Or is this something that happens on its own without human intervention?

  • When is the cut-off for having the food in your possession for this bittul to occur? Is it the onset of yontif? The onset of the period of hameitz being forbidden on the 14th of Nissan? The time of making the statement כל חמירא?

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  • Do you mean Bitul of Chametz in a mixture to make the food Kosher for Pesach? (Like a piece of bread fell in your chicken soup) Or the timeline of nullifying ownership of Chametz before the holiday so as not to violate owning it?
    – Double AA
    Apr 20 '16 at 13:17
  • @DoubleAA, I mean, yes, bittul that would make the food permissible to eat on Pesah: eating not owning, which is (I think) a separate question.
    – paquda
    Apr 20 '16 at 13:28
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/6595
    – msh210
    Apr 20 '16 at 14:19
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    This seems like three separate questions, each of which, if asked separately, would be more likely to garner adequate attention from potential answerers.
    – msh210
    Apr 20 '16 at 14:20
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    @Dude That's just false.
    – Double AA
    Apr 20 '16 at 14:44
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Before nightfall at the start of 15 Nisan, Chametz is just like any other prohibited food in terms of nullification in mixtures (ShA OC 447:2, cf. YD 102:4) so regular rules like 1:60 and Ta'am Lifgam would apply. From that point until the end of Pesach it is never nullified in a mixture and forbids one from deriving any benefit from the mixture (OC 447:1). Once the Chametz is nullified in a mixture, it doesn't come back once Pesach starts, though some opinions limit this in cases of "Yavesh beYavesh" ie. mixtures of discrete objects (ibid. :4).

The nullification mentioned in the passage כל חמירא refers to ownership and is essentially unrelated to the above laws.

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  • DoubleAA, thank you for this answer. There seems to be a discrepancy between your answer and Shalom's regarding onset: you say nightfall of the 15th, @Shalom says midday of the 14th. Is this point explicit in the Shulkhan Arukh section you referenced?
    – paquda
    Apr 20 '16 at 17:47
  • I mean onset of the period when regular 1:60 nullification stops applying.
    – paquda
    Apr 20 '16 at 17:57
  • @paquda That is definitely what the Shulchan Arukh here says. I referenced you to YD 102:4 where a minority opinion is brought which might be taken to differ, see the Shakh there for details. My understanding is that, at least in Ashkenazic circles, that possible opinion is not followed.
    – Double AA
    Apr 20 '16 at 18:32
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Two unrelated uses of the word bitul, which is causing some confusion here:

  • If the quantity of chametz in this food is negligible, it's not considered "chametz."

  • I declare any chametz I own to be "good as dust."

Any question of mixtures addresses the first point, completely unrelated to the second.

Here's a nice piece from the Star-K on the subject.

In short, a bottle containing 99.9% milk by volume and .1% chametz, during the year, is halachically "just plain milk." The chametz content is less than 1:60, you can't see it, taste it, feel it, anything. Thus when Chametz becomes prohibited mid-morning on the 14th of Nissan, this is "milk" and does not become prohibited. Starting on mid-14th of Nissan, however, if you take a teaspoon of beer it is "prohibited chametz"; adding it to a giant vat of milk will prohibit the whole thing.

The Star-K article discusses a mixture of Chametz before Pesach vis-a-vis whether you can own it, or sell it if your practice is not to sell "real" Chametz.

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  • Thank you, Shalom. Yes, whether the two uses of the word are related or not was a question for me. I'm glad to have that clarified.
    – paquda
    Apr 20 '16 at 15:26
  • I don't see what that link has to do with anything.
    – Double AA
    Apr 20 '16 at 15:39
  • @DoubleAA it says that less than 1:60 is "not Chametz."
    – Shalom
    Apr 20 '16 at 17:36
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The bitul of chametz in a mixture is the 60:1 because both of them were mutar before Pesach. The bitul of the declaration would not allow it to be eaten as that is similar to finding a piece of bread on Pesach that had been "nullified" by the kol chamirah. You would still have to destroy it on chol hamoed as it is still forbidden chametz. The difference would be a container of milk. If you had it from before Pesach, then the "chametz" in it (such as the vitamin D) would have been batel (while it was still mutar) and the entire container is mutar. If the vitamin D had been added after Pesach started, then it is chametz and asur.

Note that the mention of feeding the cows grain is due to the worry that pieces of grain that had stuck to the udders somehow got into the milk. This was mainly true during the days of hand milking, but it could occur when the vacuum tube is attached to the udder (although very very unlikely nowadays). However, due to the seriousness of the matter we are machmir even for such an unlikely event.

MILK ON MOED?

Q. Friends tell me they do not buy dairy products on Chol HaMoed Pesach. Why do they purchase these dairy products before the holiday?

A. We take a very strict approach to Passover, often going beyond the letter of the law to avoid chametz.

Dairy is a good example. Technically speaking, there is no chametz concern when it comes to milk. But cows eat grain, and grain becomes chametz upon prolonged contact with liquid. The custom to purchase dairy products before Pesach is rooted in the fear that a chametz particle may be present in the milk.

Why, then, does it make a difference if the milk is purchased before Pesach? The answer lies in the concept of bittul - nullification. A particle of grain would be indiscernible and also would constitute less than one-sixtieth of the milk. Hence the grain is nullified in the milk. However, nullification applies only before Pesach begins (specifically, before midday on erev Pesach). On Pesach we do not apply the rule of nullification. Therefore, if the milk was in the possession of the Jew before noon on erev Pesach, any chametz in the milk is batel; hence the custom to purchase milk before the holiday.

A dairy product that was present in a Jewish-owned store before Pesach would not be of concern, since any chametz in it was nullified. The custom to avoid purchase of dairy on Chol HaMoed pertains to dairy found in stores owned by non-Jews.

Chalav Yisrael dairy products are made under the watchful eye of observant Jews. When marked Kosher for Passover, these may be bought on Chol HaMoed. One can be assured that the cows were not fed grain during the period immediately before Pesach, so that there is no suspicion that chametz is present in the milk.

When buying dairy products for Pesach, please make sure that they have Passover certification.

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  • Kind of embarrassing for the OK...
    – Double AA
    Apr 20 '16 at 18:40

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