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D7. Abstaining from Eating Chametz from Passover through the Feast of Unleavened Bread.    [Make a Comment]

We are not to eat chametz from Passover through the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Exodus 12:19-20 (Maimonides RN198; Meir MN5; Chinuch C12)
During those seven days, no leaven is to be found in your houses. Whoever eats food with hametz in it is to be cut off from the community of Isra'el - it doesn't matter whether he is a foreigner or a citizen of the land. Eat nothing with hametz in it. Wherever you live, eat matzah.

Exodus 12:33-34
The Egyptians pressed to send the people out of the land quickly, because they said, "Otherwise we'll all be dead!" The people took their dough before it had become leavened and wrapped their kneading bowls in their clothes on their shoulders.

Exodus 12:42-49 (Maimonides RN126-128; Chinuch C13-14, C17)
This was a night when ADONAI kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, and this same night continues to be a night when ADONAI keeps vigil for all the people of Isra'el through all their generations. ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon, "This is the regulation for the Pesach lamb: no foreigner is to eat it. But if anyone has a slave he bought for money, when you have circumcised him, he may eat it. Neither a traveler nor a hired servant may eat it. It is to be eaten in one house. You are not to take any of the meat outside the house, and you are not to break any of its bones. The whole community of Isra'el is to keep it. If a foreigner staying with you wants to observe ADONAI's Pesach, all his males must be circumcised. Then he may take part and observe it; he will be like a citizen of the land. But no uncircumcised person is to eat it. The same teaching is to apply equally to the citizen and to the foreigner living among you.

Exodus 13:3 (Maimonides RN197; Meir MN4; Chinuch C19)
Moshe said to the people, "Remember this day, on which you left Egypt, the abode of slavery; because ADONAI, by the strength of his hand, has brought you out of this place. Do not eat hametz.

Deuteronomy 16:2-3 (Maimonides RN199; Meir MN104; Chinuch C485)
You are to sacrifice the Pesach offering from flock and herd to ADONAI your God in the place where ADONAI will choose to have his name live. You are not to eat any hametz with it; for seven days you are to eat with it matzah, the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste. Thus you will remember the day you left the land of Egypt as long as you live.

Matthew 26:17-19
On the first day for matzah, the talmidim came to Yeshua and asked, "Where do you want us to prepare your Seder?" "Go into the city, to so-and-so," he replied, "and tell him that the Rabbi says, 'My time is near, my talmidim and I are celebrating Pesach at your house.'" The talmidim did as Yeshua directed and prepared the Seder.

Mark 8:15-17
So when Yeshua said to them, "Watch out! Guard yourselves from the hametz of the P'rushim and the hametz of Herod," they thought he had said it because they had no bread. But, aware of this, he said, "Why are you talking with each other about having no bread? Don't you see or understand yet? Have your hearts been made like stone?"

Mark 14:12-16
On the first day for matzah, when they slaughtered the lamb for Pesach, Yeshua's talmidim asked him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare your Seder?" He sent two of his talmidim with these instructions: "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him; and whichever house he enters, tell him that the Rabbi says, 'Where is the guest room for me, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?' He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations there." The talmidim went off, came to the city and found things just as he had told them they would be; and they prepared the Seder.

Luke 22:7-13
Then came the day of matzah, on which the Passover lamb had to be killed. Yeshua sent Kefa and Yochanan, instructing them, "Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat." They asked him, "Where do you want us to prepare it?" He told them, "As you're going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, and say to its owner, 'The Rabbi says to you, "Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?"' He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there." They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder.

John 2:23
Now while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim at the Pesach festival, there were many people who "believed in his name" when they saw the miracles he performed.

John 6:4
Now the Judean festival of Pesach was coming up

John 11:55
The Judean festival of Pesach was near, and many people went up from the country to Yerushalayim to perform the purification ceremony prior to Pesach.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know the saying, "It takes only a little hametz to leaven a whole batch of dough?" Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth.

Galatians 5:7-9
You were running the race well; who has stopped you from following the truth? Whatever means of persuasion he used was not from the One who calls you. "It takes only a little hametz to leaven the whole batch of dough."


Chametz is any food that contains leaven, the quintessential one being bread leavened with yeast. This Mitzvah states that we must not eat chametz, from Passover through the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Each of the supporting Scriptures above states it a little differently. Exodus 13:3 instructs abstention from chametz, Exodus 12:19-20 prohibits eating food that contains chametz, and Deuteronomy 16:2-3 prohibits eating chametz along with the sacrificed Passover lamb, all of which amount to the same thing which is to not eat chametz during the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

The particulars of what should be considered leaven and chametz are controversial among Jewry. Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities follow different rules on the subject, and Messianic Jewish communities are equally diverse. Is leaven anything that can cause food to rise, or must there be fermentation in order for it to qualify? What grains must be removed from the house because they are subject to spontaneous fermentation during storage? Rice? Barley? Beans? Discussions of such particulars are found in the Talmudic literature, but not in any of the classical mitzvah codifications. I do not think it would be judicious for me to express my opinion of these particulars here. The general idea in the Scriptures is that the Israelites' bread that would otherwise have fermented with yeast did not have time to rise. Therefore, a commonly held view that our not keeping casually-stored grains that would have had time to ferment and rise is what Scripture intends. An alternative view discounts the effect of airborne yeast and calls for discarding only those items that contain added leaven. The commercially prepared foods found in today's homes pose a special problem of identification in that some contain leaven where you would not expect it. Soups, for example, often contain yeast. My personal practice is to read all of the labels on packaged and canned foods and discard those that contain the words "leaven" or "yeast".

This Mitzvah is mandated for Jews and K'rov Yisrael Gentiles, but not for Gentiles generally. Exodus 12:19-20 makes this clear in that most Gentiles were not part of the community of Israel in the first place, so their being cut off from it for eating chametz is meaningless.

Classical Commentators

The classical commentators' mitzvot and this Mitzvah are in agreement except for terminology. They use the word "Pesach" as inclusive of both Passover and the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, whereas my use of the word refers only to the evening period from Nisan 14 to 15 when God "passed over" the homes of those Israelite families that applied the blood of the sacrificed lamb to their doorposts. Maimonides, Meir, and HaChinuch agree that chametz is not to be eaten after the middle of the 14th day of Nisan because the Passover lamb was slaughtered at dusk.


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