Correct Pesach Cleaning
We begin our interaction with Gd and Life, with the premise that everything is permitted, other than that which is specifically prohibited.
Our Sages take a very dim view of those who look for unnecessary stringencies and seek to reduce the enjoyment of those things that Gd created for us to enjoy.
Passover Cleaning From HaRav Scheinberg, Zt"L
Stress Less And Enjoy The Yom Tov
This is based upon a Passover cleaning address, delivered 20 Adar II, 5749, by HaRav Chaim P. Scheinberg, Rosh Yeshiva Torah Ore.
Today, we seem to be caught in a trap. The average modern home is larger than in times gone bye. Furniture, utensils and clothing are much more plentiful but are far easier to clean [laminated furniture, tiled floors and cleaning equipment and materials] Aggressive cleaning as was required in days gone bye is no longer required.
Yet some become overwhelmed by the pressure of Passover cleaning which in many cases is unnecessary. The family suffers, and is unable to enjoy the Simchas Yom Tov of Pesach and also unable to perform the Mitzvos and obligations of the Seder night. Everyone must enjoy Pesach. This is an obligation clearly defined in the Torah as explained by Chazal. Passover cleaning and cooking must be balanced against our Pesach obligations.
Some Pesach cleaning practices are not a continuation of the old Minhagim. For example, if chometz is not sold, of course it is necessary to check utensils and remove all chometz, or render it inedible. But if the chometz is sold, then scrubbing the pots, pans and dishes which are going to be locked away is not necessary. One might be tempted to insist on doing the extra work anyway -- to be machmir (stringent). However, this often leads to many laxities and brushing aside many mitzvohs completely -- the Torah and Rabbinic obligations which women are required to do on Pesach and particularly during the Seder.
Many people like to do more “cleaning” than the bare minimum to such an extent that some even incorporate their general “spring cleaning” into their required pre-Pesach chores. These extra exertions should not prevent her from fulfilling her obligations on Pesach, and particularly on the Seder night.
How to Clean for Passover from Rav Scheinberg, zt'l
All property and possessions must be cleaned and checked to make sure that they are free of all chometz, except in the following cases:
FLOORS: It is sufficient for tiled or covered floors to be swept and rinsed well with a detergent. The small cracks do not have to be checked if the detergent reaches into them.
FOOD CABINETS and REFRIGERATOR: If not being used during Pesach - and is closed up and sold, need not be checked for chometz.
If used during Pesach, empty all contents, wash with detergent allowing the detergent to penetrates cracks and soaks into any crumbs that might be there, although it is common to also line the cabinets.
CLOTHING CLOSETS: If there is a significant possibility that chometz may have been placed in them, they should be checked for fully edible crumbs and large edible chometz. If it is unlikely that chometz was placed in them, a Rav can be consulted to clarify the conditions under which they do not have to be checked. This includes chests, dressers, basements, and all other similar cases.
TABLETOPS: Wash with a detergent. They are usually covered.
MARBLE COUNTERS: If hot chometz is placed directly upon them, they should be cleaned well and boiling hot water poured on them, or covered. Some people do both.
FAUCETS (TAPS): Cleaning is sufficient. Kashering is not required.
Dedicated Pesach baking and roasting pans should be used for Pesach.
FOOD PROCESSOR/MIXER: A Rav should be consulted.
POTS, PANS, DISHES & SILVERWARE (CUTLERY): Whatever will not be used during Pesach should be locked away. If chometz is stuck to them, the chometz should be sold or ensure the chometz is tainted with a detergent.
DISH TOWELS: Regular dishtowels may be used after being washed with a detergent.
PESACH TABLECLOTHS: may be ironed with the same iron as is used during the rest of the year.
CLOTHES, BLANKETS, ETC: Shake them out and brush our pockets, or wash with a detergent after which they need not be shaken out or checked for crumbs. Clothes that will not be worn during Pesach may be put away, any chometz in them being sold.
SIDDURIM, BENCHERS, SEFORIM & BOOKS: If it is reasonable to expect that they contain chometz crumbs, they should either be put away with other chometz utensils, or thoroughly inspected and cleaned.
TOYS: need not be scrubbed. If it is likely that edible chometz is well stuck to them, and not easily removed, wipe with detergent.
TECHINA & OTHER KITNIYOS: May be used after the house has been cleaned for Pesach. They should not be cooked in utensils that will be used during Pesach, and certainly not during Pesach itself (according to Minhag Ashkenaz).
CHECKING THE HOUSE: If checking on one night is too difficult, the task may be divided and performed [following all the Laws of Bedikas Chometz] at other times, however, the brocho is made only when checking on the night of the 14th. Chometz should not be brought into any room once it has been checked. One space should be left to be checked as per the mitzvah [and make the brocho] of Bedikas Chometz. If the entire house has been thoroughly cleaned, 10 pieces of chometz (according to the Minhag) should be hidden, their location being noted but disclosed to the chometz searcher, so that a proper bedikah is made.
FOOD AND UTENSILS THAT FELL: onto a chair or onto the floor during Pesach should be washed for hygienic reasons. The food does not become chometz even if the food is hot.
LAST MINUTE PREPARATIONS: setting the table, making the beds, etc., should be completed early enough in the day to permit a brief rest and not be weary during the seder. Be ready to start the Seder immediately after Maariv to ensure that the children won't fall asleep at the Seder.
ENJOY PESACH! Try to make the Passover cleaning and cooking easy for yourself Don't do unnecessary hard work. Don't do unnecessary cleaning. You can be like a Queen and you must enjoy your Pesach!
Some will take a bite of matzoh, then run back and forth to the kitchen, occasionally taking another bite. But this probably means that it has taken too long to eat the matzoh, and the mitzvah has not been properly fulfilled. The same is true about the wine, maror, korech and afikomen. Besides, it is no way to enjoy the seder.
Relax and be calm while eating and drinking the matzoh and wine within the time limit. The cooking can be checked after completing the mitzvahs. Remember... these are mitzvohs that can be done only once a year, so enjoy them and enjoy the whole Seder.