Pesach (Part 2)


We continue with the study of Chinuch Halachos for Pesach (Part II) concentrating on the use of medicine on Pesach.

Chinuch Halachos for Pesach (Part 2)

A. Chametz Medication on Pesach [1]

1. I did my homework on this one. I asked our Halachic Advisor, Rabbi Tendler about administering chometz medication on Pesach forchildren. He says that if the chometz is a minor ingredient in themedicine, and it is absolutely necessary for the child’s health, it may be administered as usual on Pesach. Please consult your Rav onwhich of these medications are allowed on Pesach.

2. The problem comes in when the medicine is actual Chometz itself. Then the laws described in [1] should be adhered. We shallstudy these laws here, with the hope and prayer that we will not needto apply them this Pesach.

3. A Jew, male or female, is forbidden to eat chametz, benefit from chametz, or even own chametz throughout the festival of Pesach.It is the parents’ chinuch obligation to prevent their children fromeating chametz or bennefiting from chametz from the age at which the

child can understand that such an action is wrong.

4. Below that age, parents are not obligated to stop children from such activities. Despite this, however, they may not give chametz toa child from birth onwards, just as they may not cause a child to sinin any other way.


6. When the sickness is serious but not life-threatening, Magen Avraham states that the parent should ask a non-Jew to carry the childinto a non-Jewish house and administer the medication there.

7. If it is impossible to move the child, it is permissible to have the non-Jew bring his own chametz into the Jewish home and administerit to the child. The non-Jew should remove the chametz medicationfrom the house when he finishes adminstering it and bring it back with

him when it is needed again.

8. If this is also impossible, the medication can be left in the Jew’s house for the necessary period of treatment, as long as thenon-Jew remains the owner of the chametz medication. However, theparent is not allowed to administer the medication. Each time it is needed this must be done by a non-Jew or a minor.

9. The Jewish parent must make sure that he does not become the halachic owner of the chametz medication left in his home. Heestablishes this by verbally declaring at the time the non-Jew bringsit into his house that he does not want to obtain ownership of it. The parent must be careful under all circumstances not to give thenon-Jew money in advance to buy the medication. If he does this, hebecomes the halachic owner of the chametz.

10. If the non-Jew refuses to buy medication without payment in advance, there is a dispute among the poskim on the appropriateaction.

a) Magen Avraham permits the parent to promise the non-Jew that he will reimburse him for his expenses after the purchase, becauseit is considered to be paying back a debt rather than purchasingchametz.

b) Other authorities argue that when the Jew makes such an arrangement, he is considered to be buying chametz on Pesach.

11. Most later authorities agree with Magen Avraham. Aruch HaShulchan says that it is permitted to pay the non-Jew money in advance to buychametz medication, if there is even a small doubt that the untreatedillness might develop into a life-threatening condition.

12. When the chametz medication is left in the Jew’s home on Pesach, it should be locked away with the ordinary chametz which was soldbefore the holiday. If this is impossible, then it should beseparated from the rest of the house by a barrier with the height of 10 tefachim, or at least be completely covered up when not in use.

B. Baby Food on Pesach [1]

1. Chametz is defined by Halacha as the product of wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt mixed with water and allowed to ferment. Any othergrain or grainlike substance aka “kitniyos” does not become chametzand is permitted on Pesach.

2. Ashkenazic communities have accepted a binding restriction on themselves that kitniyos are to be regarded as chametz and not to beeaten on Pesach, but there is no restriction on benefitting fromtheir use or owning them on Pesach.

3. Chametz contained in baby formula is exlusively of the kitniyos, and there is no problem keeping such substances in one’spossession during Pesach. There is no restriction on feeding kitniyosto infants, unless there is an alternative food source (such asnursing).

4. The formula should be prepared and served on separate dishes and utensils. Once the baby can be changed to cow’s milk without anyadverse reaction, there is no justification for continuing to useformula on Pesach.

5. For babies on solid foods, baby cereal are generally chametz and cannot be fed to babies on Pesach. If ordinary matzah is notacceptable to the babies and toddlers, egg matzah can be fed instead.

6. Sephardic communities generally follow Rabbi Yosef Karo’s ruling that permits egg matzah on Pesach. Although Rema forbids consumptionof egg matzah on Pesach, he permits the elderly, the sick and smallchildren to partake of egg matzah on Pesach.

[1] A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot by Rabbi Shmuel Singer

[2] Children In Halachah by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen