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Pesachim 6


QUESTION: RASHI (DH Afilu mi'Rosh Hashanah Nami) says that even if a person leaves his home at Rosh Hashanah time but knows that he is going to return in the middle of Pesach, he must destroy the Chametz in his home before he departs. Since he is going to return to his home on Pesach, and he will not be able to be Mevatel the Chametz on Pesach when he returns (because by becoming forbidden, the Torah takes it out of his domain), he must do so before he leaves. If he does not get rid of the Chametz before he leaves, then as soon as he sees the Chametz he will transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei.

Why does Rashi say that as soon as he *sees* the Chametz in his possession he will have transgressed? Even before he arrives home, he has already transgressed Bal Yimatzei by merely having Chametz in his possession! And if he did not know that there was any Chametz in his house, and thus until now there was no transgression, then even when he does see it, he has not transgressed Bal Yera'eh or Bal Yimatzei because the Torah gives him a chance to get rid of it!

ANSWER: The MAHARSHAL answers that Rashi does not mean that he transgresses as soon as he sees it. Rather, Rashi means that if he did not know that there was Chametz and now he returns and finds Chametz in his house, then he will transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei if he tarries even a short moment from destroying it. This is consistent with Rashi's explanation on 6b (DH v'Da'ato Alei). Before he comes home and sees the Chametz, though, he has certainly not transgressed because it was not in his control to do anything about Chametz which he did not know about, and he did not have an obligation to check for Chametz because he left his home so early.


OPINIONS: The Gemara says that Bitul works to get rid of Chametz to prevent one from transgressing the prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. Elsewhere, the Gemara says that even Bitul b'Lev (non-verbal, mental Bitul) is enough. How does Bitul work? In what way does it avoid transgressing the prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei?

(a) TOSFOS (4b, DH mid'Oraisa) explains that Bitul is a type of Hefker. It makes the Chametz Hefker and ownerless. Since the Chametz is no longer his, he may retain it in his house during Pesach.

(b) The RAN at the beginning of the Maseches proves that Bitul cannot be a normal way of making Chametz Hefker, because the wording prescribed for Bitul ("This Chametz should be like the dust of the earth") makes no mention of Hefker. In addition, it is the opinion of Rebbi Yosi in Nedarim (45a) that an object which one makes Hefker does not leave one's possession until someone else picks it up. If so, according to Rebbi Yosi Bitul should not work at all! Also, the Ran asks, where do we ever find that Hefker helps when done mentally? It must be done verbally. How, then, does Bitul work when done non-verbally, in one's heart?

Because of these questions, the Ran explains that Bitul works in the following way. When Pesach arrives and a person has Chametz in his possession, in theory he should not be guilty of transgressing Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei, because the Chametz is not his anymore as a result of being forbidden to him (Asur b'Hana'ah), and something which is Asur b'Hana'ah does not belong to him. However, the Gemara says here that even though Chametz should not be considered to be in a person's possession once Pesach arrives, nevertheless the Torah put it in his possession by ruling that he will transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. Therefore, in order to get the Chametz out of his possession, it is not necessary to make the Chametz Hefker with the normal formula of making Hefker. Rather, he merely needs to do something to keep the Chametz from being put in his possession after it is Asur b'hana'ah.

For this, all he has to do is decide that he considers it worthless. If he considers it worthless, then the Torah does not put it back into his possession when Pesach begins and it becomes Asur b'Hana'ah, and therefore he will not transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. It is not a normal form of Hefker, because it is easier to be Mafkir Chametz, since it is already out of his possession and he just has to prevent it from coming back into his possession by not considering it to have any value.

(c) RASHI (4b, DH b'Bitul b'Alma) and the RITVA explain that Bitul has nothing to do with Hefker at all. When the Torah says "Tashbisu," it means that one must either burn the Chametz, or one must decide that it is valueless to him. By considering it in one's mind that it is like dirt, it is not considered food anymore and is not Chametz. "Tashbisu" means to physically destroy the Chametz or to *mentally* destroy it by making it no longer considered a food. This also appears to be the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah 2:2) according to the MAHARIK (Shoresh 142).

HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH (434:8), based on the BACH, says that when a person is Mevatel his Chametz he should say, "... it shall be nullified and be Hefker like the dust of the earth," mentioning Hefker because of the opinion of Tosfos. In many of the texts fof Bitul Chametz used today, mention is made of Hefker only during the day at the time when we burn the Chametz, while at night, after Bedikas Chametz, we simply say, "... it shall be like the dust of the earth"-- without mentioning Hefker. This is a compromise meant to satisfy both opinions, that of Rashi and the Ran (that Bitul Chametz does not make it into the normal Hefker) and that of Tosfos.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the reason we do Bitul after the Bedikah is out of fear that one might find a tasty looking piece of Chametz during Pesach, when he can no longer be Mevatel. The Rabanan therefore enacted that before Pesach, when one does Bedikah, one should also perform Bitul Chametz, so that any Chametz that he finds during Pesach will not belong to him and he will not transgress the prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei.

What was the concern of the Rabanan? Granted, if one finds Chametz on Pesach, he will not be able to be Mevatel it, but he can still dispose of it by burning it than and there! And if he finds the Chametz on Yom Tov or on Shabbos when he cannot burn it, then he does not transgress any Isur at all, because he is the victim of circumstances beyond his control ("Ones") since by Torah law he cannot be Mevatel it or burn it. Why, then, were the Rabanan worried that one will not be able to do Bitul on Pesach, when one can simply get rid of the Chametz in some other manner?


(a) RASHI (DH v'Da'ato) answers that if a person finds Chametz on Pesach, he might hesitate a few seconds before burning it. Had it been possible to simply be Mevatel it on Pesach, there would be no need for concern, since a person certainly won't hesitate to proclaim that he considers the Chametz worthless, if he does not need to completely destroy it. However, since he cannot be Mevatel it on Pesach and he must actually destroy it, we are afraid that he will hesitate before destroying an item of value.

(b) TOSFOS (29b) explains that if a person finds Chametz and destroys it during Pesach, even if he kept it in his house for a few days during Pesach, he does not transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei as long as he burns it before the end of Pesach. The reason for this is because the prohibition of Bal Yera'eh is a "Lav ha'Nitak l'Aseh" - it is a prohibition which can be rectified by the performance of a Mitzvas Aseh (that is, Tashbisu, destroying the Chametz). By fulfilling the Mitzvah of Tashbisu one corrects the wrongdoing of having Chametz in one's possession.

According to Tosfos, then, there is no need to fear that one will hesitate for a few seconds before burning the Chametz and he will transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. As long as he eventually burns it, he will have not have transgressed the prohibitions. Why, then, did the Rabanan require that one perform Bitul before Pesach? Even if he finds Chametz in his house on Pesach, let him burn the Chametz when he finds it, and if he delays burning it for a short while he has still not transgressed Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei!

According to Tosfos it must be that since burning Chametz requires physical preparation (e.g. collecting wood and making a fire), the Rabanan feared that one would push off burning it until he has collected the wood, and then he might forget to burn it *altogether*. Had Bitul been possible, there would be no need for concern. Bitul can be done right away and requires no preparation, so one will not forget to perform Bitul, if it were possible to do so. However, Bitul cannot be done on Yom Tov, and therefore the Rabanan enacted that one be Mevatel Chametz before Pesach.

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