Although the correct time for BC (searching for) and ‘biur’ (burning) is the night of the 14th and the next morning, respectively, it is not limited to that time. By that, we do not refer to possible earlier times for BC and biur; we refer to later times! Hmm…When might that be?
- For one, if a person failed to fulfill the mitzvah of BC at the right time, for whatever reason.
- For another, if he found chametz during the afternoon of Erev Pesach or even on Pesach itself (or new chametz was created on his property during those times.)
- Finally, BC may even be required after Pesach. Huh?! You heard me – after Pesach! (Keep on reading…)
First, please read this excerpt from our MBY Archives (MBY 447:10-11):
Intro: Chametz that has been (unlawfully) in the possession of a Jew during Pesach, is forbidden to be eaten or sold even after Pesach. The term for this chametz is chametz she’avar alav haPesach (lit. chametz that has been “passed-over” by Passover!) This, by the way, is the reason that we may not buy chametz from a Jewish-owned store that does not sell its chametz to a non-Jew during Pesach.
Thus if, at any time during the year, a person realizes that he has chametz in his possession which was not sold or destroyed on Pesach, he must seek out and remove this chametz. While he has no obligation to destroy such chametz per se, he may derive no benefit from it whatsoever, which includes selling or giving it to a non-Jew, or feeding it to an animal. Practically, then, he must destroy or discard it. (Ed. Possible exceptions will be discussed in later lessons.)
Question: Should a bracha be made over BC/biur that is conducted later than the prescribed time?
Answer: It depends:
1) If it is still before or during Pesach, and the person has not yet fulfilled the BC mitzvah (even if he did do a proper bitul/nullification), YES! (Note: If he did not do even a bitul, it is too late for that now, i.e. after the deadline on Erev Pesach and onwards, as the chametz is technically not his anymore.)
2) If he did do a proper BC, but he found chametz before or on Pesach, on which he must now do biur, NO!
3) If it is after Pesach, and he is “searching” for ‘chametz she’avar alav haPesach’, NO.
Question: What if a person realizes on Yom Tov that he did not to BC, should he do it right away or wait until Chol Hamoed?
Answer: That is a matter of controversy. The resolution is that if he at least did a bitul before the deadline on Erev Pesach, then he should wait until Chol Hamoed to do the BC. If he did not do a bitul, then he should do the BC right away, even on Yom Tov. If he finds any chametz, he may not burn it on Yom Tov; rather, he should lock it up (or turn a heavy vessel over it) and burn it on Chol Hamoed or after Yom Tov.