Pesach is a VERY busy time for women.  There is much organizing, cooking, and cleaning!  It also can be a time of confusion with so many different halachot.  It is very important to sit down as a couple (with your spouse) or as a community and determine what your family's chalakah will be concerning Pesach and keep a journal about your discussion and activities.

Four years ago my husband and I did that very thing.  We found that if we did not then we would forget what was agreed upon.

One of the big issues we discussed is "what exactly is leaven?"  Scripture uses two different words for "leaven": chametz and seor.

Seor is a substance which, through fermentation, makes dough rise.  Yeast, baking powder, and baking soda are all leavening agents.  However there are "kosher for passover" baking powder and soda available.

Chametz is any product made with "seor" in it.  White, fluffy Wonderbread, donuts, and bagels are "chametz" because they have leaven in them.

Scripture tells us that leaven [seor] should be removed from our homes on the first day (Exodus 12:15) and that it should not be in our homes for seven days (Exodus 12:19).  Nothing leavened [chametz] should be seen among you or within your borders (Exodus 13:7).  We should not eat anything leavened [chametz] (Exodus 12:20).  See The Feast of Unleavened Bread for more details.

Update [02/06/2011]: Since this paper was originally written, some things have changed at the Bitting house regarding preparation for Passover.  We now prepare according to Ashkenazic chalakah.   We rekasher the kitchen... oven, sinks, countertops, anything that can be made "kosher for Passover".  What cannot be kashered is cleaned and stored in sealed containers.  We use only "kosher for passover" food items and we have a separate set of dishware and pans, etc, specifically for Passover. 

As for the rest of the house, we do a thorough search/cleaning specifically for crumbs, crackers, pretzels etc, which have infiltrated the various spaces of our habitat. :>)  Dust is not necessarily the target. 

However, this article is still a good place to start for newcomers.  We also would like to recommend this website with helpful tips, recipes, resources, and other insightful information:


In order to prepare our home for Pesach and the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Chag HaMatzot] we have put together the following checklist for our cleaning cycle:

Things to Remember

  1. Planning
    1. Just BEFORE Purim:
      1. Go through the pantry and label all things which are pasadik (contain seor/leaven)
      2. Put green stickers on pasadik items (green means they must go) and red stickers on things that are not.
        Color label dots can be found in the office/school supply area of Walmart or at Office Max/Office Depot.
      3. Make a section in the pantry for non-pasadik items.
      4. Make a list of non-pasadik items to help build your menu for the week of Unleavened Bread.
    2. IMMEDIATELY AFTER Purim plan the seder:
      1. Who (how many people)?
      2. Where?
      3. Which haggadah?
      4. Menu
        1. Pesach day (Nisan 14- the seder)
        2. First day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15- a day of rest)
        3. Seventh day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 22- a day of rest)
        4. The week of Unleavened Bread
    3. Make a list/menu for the days leading up to Pesach so you can use up all of the pasadik/leavened items.
  2. Making Menus
    Here are some sample menu items that do not contain leaven/seor:

    1. Breakfast
      1. Fruit drinks
      2. Matzah cinnamon toast
      3. Matzah frittata
      4. Apple muffin mix (kosher for Passover)
      5. Veggie & fruit cupcakes  (see this recipe for an example of kosher for Passover cupcakes)
    2. Lunch
      1. Matzah pizza
      2. Grilled chicken salad
      3. Passover style farfel and cheese
      4. Baked potato
    3. Dinner
      1. Shepherd's pie
        green beans
        apple crisp
      2. Roast beef
        potato kugel
        zucchini/ zucchini kugel
      3. Breaded chicken (breaded with matzo meal)
        french fries
        mixed vegetables
      4. Matzo meal & cottage cheese latkes
      5. Stew
        Prince Albert cake
      6. Three veggie kugel
      7. Matzah ball soup
      8. Spinach cheese lasagna
      9. Leftovers
  3. Cleaning
    1. When
      1. Start cleaning the day after Purim (unless, of course, it's Shabbat!)
      2. Reduce homeschool and other activities to allow for time to clean
    2. Where
      1. Tackle one room at a time (see list below)
      2. Closets can be time consuming.  Treat them as a separate "room".
    3. What
      1. Donate or throw away all items that have not been used.
        Honestly think:
        "Will I use this or is it ust taking up space?"
        "Does someone I know need this more than I do?"
      2. Use this as an opportunity to organize, containerize, and label.

    Reminder! Once you have cleaned a room/area be sure to tell the rest of your family that food is off limits in that area.
  4. Teaching
    1. Plan Scripture memorization during cleaning time.
      1. Select verses that pertain to the moedim.
      2. Select verses dealing with the leaven/sin that Hashem is trying to get out of our family.
      3. Make these verses into a poster and place the poster in a high traffic area to keep them in our faces.
    2. Have Pesach/The 48 Ways journals ready.  Use this season as a time of personal growth and introspection!
  5. Purchasing
    Get these as soon as possible after Purim
    1. Lining paper for pantry and drawers
    2. Green and red labels for food items
    3. New toothbrushes
    4. New scrubbie for kitchen sink (the old one likely has chametz on it!)
    5. Matzah meal
    6. Matzah cake meal
    7. Chicken broth
    8. Matzah (about 1-2 boxes per person for the week).  Consider buying in bulk with other families.
    9. Mayonnaise
    10. Many larger grocery chains will have stores with special "kosher for Passover" products.
  6. Searching
    1. Use FFOZ's haggadah for children's teaching.  Also include lamb symbol.
      1. 7 pieces of chametz that are wrapped
      2. Lamb picture
      3. Red marker
      4. Cotton balls and glue
  7. Pesach event
    1. Meal- only enough for one night.  Limit leftovers to the absolute minimum.
    2. Decorate with the "plagues" of the exodus (plastic toy frogs, insects, mice, etc).


Cleaning List


Sort through books

Sorth through drawers

Sort through closets

Wash bedding, bed skirts, and curtains

Vacuum mattress, turn over, and vacuum again


Clean ceiling fans

Clean light switches, doors, and door knobs

Vacuum room

Wash windows (remove screens and clean gutter areas also)



Clean out linen closets

Go through cabinets

Clean shower/bathtub

Clean toilet (recaulk base)

Clean counter and mirror

Clean and oil cabinets

Vacuum and mop floors


Living areas

Vacuum upholstered furniture, vacuum underneath cushions, wash cushion covers (if possible)

Move furniture and vacuum underneath



Clean ceiling fans

Wash windows (remove screens and clean gutter areas also)

Clean fireplace

Wash curtains


Dining room

Go through drawers in cabinets and furniture

Clean glass on curio/china cabinets

Clean mirrors


Sweep/mop/vacuum floors

Wash windows (remove screens and clean gutter areas also)



Label all pasadik items

Dust and wash shelves

Use up all leaven items in pantry, freezer, and refrigerator

Sweep/mop/vacuum floors


Kitchen (save for last)

Clean inside and tops of cabinets and drawers

Oil cabinets

Remove toaster/toaster oven... anything that would have toasted bread

Wash cookie jars (keep empty)

Wash counters

Clean the stove

Wash windows (remove screens and clean gutter areas also)

Wash curtains

Sweep/mop/vacuum floors


If you have any other thoughts or recommendations to share, please contact us!  :)


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