Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rav Chaim Kanievsky's comments about Pesach

Rav Kanievsky's comments about Pesach from
Kikar has the summary of a discussion between Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Baruch Ganot about various aspects regarding the Pesach holday.

They discussed three topics (maybe they talked about more, but three topics are discussed in the article):
1. helping one's wife clean for Pesach
2. selling chametz to a non-Jew in apartheid states
3. a non-Jew who claimed the chametz he had bought from the Jew
4. is the hagadda counted as enough for the mitzva of sippur yetziat mitzrayim?

1. Rav Ganot commented about how seemingly in the past many gedolim did not help much in the cleaning before Pesach, whereas today it is common for men to help their wives with the cleaning. Rav Ganot asked if the change is because the women of today are not as righteous as the women of yesteryear or is it because the men are not as dedicated and focused in learning as they used to be?

Rav Kanievsky answered that both are correct, but he then corrected Rav Ganot and said that the truth is that the gedolim did help with the cleaning when it was necessary.

2. Rav Ganot asked about a situation of apartheid, such as in South Africa where black folks could not live on the same streets as white folks. Would it be allowed to sell chametz to a black non-Jew, considering he would not be allowed to live on that street.
Rav Kanievsky's answer is that it is ok because the black would presumably be allowed to own the house, just not live in it.
3. Rav Kanievsky related the story of a non-Jew who bought the beer factory fo a Jew. After Pesach he came and paid the rest of the money and took the business, and thus took away the Jew's source of parnassa.. The Jew did not know what to do, so he went to the rav to ask. The rav said the beer factory was sold and there is nothing to do about that. However, the rav instructed all the people in the community to not buy any beer from this non-Jewish fellow. Nobody bought beer from him, and he ended up selling the brewery back to the original Jewish owner. (I do not know why the non-Jewish customers listened and refused to buy from him, but that's the story as related)

Rav Ganot asked about this possibly invalidating the sale, as had the goy known that he would be blacklisted like that he never would have bought it in the first place. Rav Kanievsky said it is not a problem because it is only a rare occurrence and not common, and the mishna brura says that another Jew cannot buy chametz off a goy after pesach that had originally been sold to him by  Jew for the purpose of Pesach, and if a different Jew did buy it.he would have to return it to the original owner.

fascinating story.

4. Rav Kanievsky said that reading the entire hagadda is already more than enough to fulfill the mitzva of retelling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and one need not add to it. However, we have the concept of the more one talks about the exodus the more praiseworthy it is, though there is no obligation to add. The mitzva is already fulfilled by stating the three things - pesach, matza and marror, and beyond that is extra.


  1. {1. Rav Ganot commented about how seemingly in the past many gedolim did not help much in the cleaning before Pesach, whereas today it is common for men to help their wives with the cleaning}

    I'm not sure the question is accurate because he's comparing "Gedolim" and "Men" (meaning;Kollel guys, mechanchim). They're 2 different categories.

    Plus, a man isn't usually regarded as a gadol till he's old, hence, can't help much with the cleaning.

    Also, Jews used to live in much smaller residences, so it took much less time to Pesach clean.

  2. The woman today are working a lot more than years ago, they don't have the same amount of time to clean. They need their husbands to help out.