What is the original source for the Ashkenazic tradition to do--as is popularly taught--the final search for chometz with a spoon, a feather, and a candle?

It may not have an official source; in that case, what is its earliest mention?

Finally, what are the--presumably Yiddish--words that are/were used for the spoon, the feather, and the candle? (Brown paper bag is extra.)

  • 1
    Do you mean the Bedikas Chometz Set (judaica-world.com/bedikas-chometz-set.html)? I always assumed that that was the official name from time immemorial -- "Bedikas Chometz Set."
    – rosends
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 17:35
  • I assume feathers are traditionally called "feathers", dustpans are traditionally called "dustpans", and brown paper bags are traditionally called "brown paper bags". Why would anyone call them something else? How do you use a spoon to search for things? I use a spoon to eat things.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 17:41
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    Independent of whether there is a halachic requirement for it, I would like to know the names. This site includes other issues of Judaism than halacha. Also, if it's minhag ashkenaz to use the stuff, then it sorta is halacha
    – SAH
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 21:11
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    A parallel minhag to putting out pieces of chametz so that the blessing will not have been in vain, was a minhag to burn the utensils used in the search. This some kind of burning of something was fulfilled. That is the assumed source for using items that burn to conduct the search comes from.
    – user6591
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 23:36
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    The burning of nails is from the Gemara. It is based on ancient beliefs that they can cause harm. The burning of the searching utensils is brought in the Ramma (IIRC). I can't get up now to check my baby is sleeping on me. But I'll check soon bli nedder. I don't think they are connected.
    – user6591
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 0:46

2 Answers 2


A chabad.org article titled "Why the Spoon and the Feather?" addresses this. The reason given for the candle is a practical one: so that we can see the bread.

In terms of the spoon and feather:

We search with a wooden spoon so that we can burn it later. We read in the Code of Jewish Law
[SA Orach Chaim 445:3, see Rama] that if one does not find any leavened foods during his search, he should burn the vessel with which he searched.

This can be easily accomplished with a wooden spoon. Even nowadays, when we put out ten pieces of bread (so we always find something leavened), there is still significance to burning the bread specifically in a wood-fueled fire.

The feather serves a practical purpose. We can use it to sweep up any crumbly bits of leavened food that we may encounter.

Wikipedia gives another reason for the feather:

"[a feather is] used throughout the year to 'egg' the challah, and is therefore burnt in the chametz."

  • This doesn't appear to answer the question at all
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 19:38
  • @DoubleAA can make that argument for the feather (agree that the answer doesn't give a satifying reason), but the candle (svara reason- people need to see) and the spoon are answered no?
    – alicht
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 20:23
  • No, read it again. The question didn't seek reasons for the practice.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 20:24
  • @DoubleAA I guess you're referring to earliest mention. It's sometimes confusing when the question title asks one question, yet the text itself asks an entirely different question
    – alicht
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 20:27
  • I don't see the title saying anything different from the text itself. Where does "Source for spoon, feather, and candle used in bedikas chometz?" say anything about reasons?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 20:35

The burning of the chometz is because you have to "destroy" the leftover chometz that you found or have. You burn the wooden spoon because it provides a source of fuel for the fire. If you used a feather to gather the chometz crumbs, you burn that because it may still have some chometz bits stuck to it. The Chabad.org website gives some of this information.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Aaron!
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 18:32
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    I'm not sure this answer the question. It didn't ask about burning hamets.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 18:33
  • 1
    The question was about why do we use a spoon feather and candle in bedikas chametz. You answerd about why we burn them with the chametz. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 21:26

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