Chief Rabbinate Update – 009/5773

The following is a basic translation of Chief Rabbinate of Israel Kashrut Update 009/5773. A link to the original Hebrew appears at the end.


Chief Rabbinate of Israel
Kashrus Update 009/5773
9 Adar 5773 – February 19, 2013

Preparations for Pesach 5773 – addressed to employees of the kashrut system

With Pesach on the horizon we must begin preparations in store branches including the purchase of Kosher for Passover items, the sale of chametz before Pesach and proper identification regarding items assumed to be chametz which includes blocking the sale of such items by entering them into the barcode system.

The barcode of chametz items is to be blocked in a store’s computer system so that on Pesach a store may NOT sell such an item even if one wishes to or is unaware of the item’s status. This is a most practical method to safeguard that no chametz transactions occur during the holiday.

Receiving Items Marked Kosher for Passover:
1. Items must say Kosher for Passover 5773 on packaging and the shipment must be accompanied by a kashrut certificate attesting to the product’s kosher for Passover status for 5773.
2. The writing must be on a product’s packaging, not a sticker. In exceptional cases a sticker is permitted for use providing it is approved in advance in writing by the supervising rabbi. Such a sticker must contain the following information; (1) factory name (2) product name (3) kosher for Passover 5773 (4) the name of the certifying rabbis/agency (5) only for those who eat kitniot [if this is the case].
3. Organized shipments of products for Pesach with appropriate labeling.
4. The local mashgiach must prepare a special folder for Pesach items and keep a copy of the kashrut certificates on file for any and all items accepted for Pesach 5773.

1. It is recommended that chametz items are stored in a separate storage facility which is to be locked by the mashgiach and store branch manager, and this facility may not be opened during the holiday.
2. Centralized areas on store shelves may be designated for storage of chametz items during Pesach not later than Sunday, 13 Nissan 5773 (March 24, 2013). These areas must be covered and out of sight on the eve of the holiday. The outside of the covering must display a large easily visible sign reading “CHAMETZ – not for sale”. From past experience we recommend sealing the area to prevent any and all access to chametz during the yomtov, including leaving an open window to those areas.
3. You may not stock items similar in appearance aside one another if some are kosher for Passover and others are not. There must be total separation to avoid confusion. Some shoppers may not understand or not see the small print.
4. Be certain that pet food does not contain chametz

Please make necessary arrangements with your local Rabbinate.

1. Signs must be posted in bakery departments reading “This area will close on the evening of Sunday, 13 Nissan 5773 (March 24, 2013).
2. Chametz matzah or matzah meal may not be sold after Wednesday, 1 Nissan 5773 (March 12, 2013).
3. Other departments such a meat, dairy, deli, olives and pickles, spices must be prepared for Pesach no later than Tuesday, 1 Nissan 5773 (March 12, 2013). Non kosher for Pesach items from the delicatessen department may be sold after the specified date provided that they are packaged and sold from another area, not the deli area that was prepared for Pesach.


When the term “Sunday evening” is used, this refers to the early afternoon hours of Sunday 13 Nissan, and at the very latest the late afternoon if special arrangements were made. A special request may be made [with the local Rabbinate] to permit a store to continue operating into the evening hours. This will be at the discretion of the local Rabbinate and greatly dependent on manpower availability.

4. The sale of bread and the return of breads to the supplier will be no later than Sunday, 13 Nissan 5773 (March 24, 2013) in the evening.
5. The bakery and pastry departments may operate until Sunday, 13 Nissan 5773 (March 24, 2013) in the evening.
6. Items not marked “kosher for Pesach” in accordance to specifications will be sealed in accordance to paragraph two addressing “chametz items not for sale”.
7. Separating and closing off chametz items must be accomplished by Sunday, 13 Nissan 5773 (March 24, 2013) in the evening.
8. Beginning on Sunday, 13 Nissan 5773 (March 24, 2013) in the evening until the end of the holiday the sale of chametz is prohibited under any and all circumstances. A local Rabbinate must verify adherence to Pesach protocol after closing.
9. Beginning on Monday, 14 Nissan 5773 (March 25, 2013) during the morning hours the barcodes of non kosher for Passover items must be blocked in the checkout computer system. A kosher for Passover certification may not be given to a branch store of a major company that does not block the barcodes of such items. (JKN: Not referring to small grocery stores that may not have this ability).
10. Baby food: one may not sale chametz baby food/formula, including powders, grains, or baked items. Regarding infants and the elderly, requiring medication and/or food supplements that do not have a Passover replacement, one must consult with the local rabbinic authority prior to Pesach to make appropriate arrangements.

It is absolutely forbidden to sell any items during Pesach that are not properly marked ‘kosher for Pesach’ including alcoholic beverages. Despite this stringency, if a local Rabbinate gives permission in writing after checking the kashrut integrity of a specific item, it may be sold during Pesach.

It is worthy of stressing that all arrangements must be made with the local certifying Rabbinate ahead of Pesach.

1. All koshering for Pesach will be done in total coordination with the local Rabbinate with the personal approval of the mashgiach of a particular branch acting as an agent of the local Rabbinate.
2. A thorough cleaning of areas to be kashered for Pesach is a must. This including the removal of dirt, grease and rust.
3. IMPORTANT NOTE: between the cleaning process and koshering there must be a 24-hour hiatus during which the equipment designated for koshering is not used. This includes cooking units, frying units, roasting and so forth.

1. Cutlery, pots, stainless items, metallic items- may be kashered as they were used as we learn (כבולעו כך פולטו). A ‘pogem’ agent must be introduced into the water. After hagalah, the item must be immersed in cold water.
2. Items made of earthenware, wood or porcelain may not be kashered for Pesach.
3. A silicone or wood working (cutting) board may not be kashered. They must be replaced with new ones for Pesach. A stainless steel work table can be kashered.
4. Cutting implements should be sharpened and placed in the branch only after the area has been kashered for Pesach.
5. The koshering of cutlery made of two parts (eating end and handle) are questionable and the rabbi must decide on a case basis.
6. A work table may be kashered following thorough cleaning and pouring boiling water on it.
7. Display cases may be kashered by thorough cleaning.
8. Refrigerators may be kashered by cleaning them thoroughly and placing an emphasis on cracks, crevices and rubber gaskets.
9. Microwave ovens will not be kashered.
10. Grills: All parts must be thoroughly cleaned. The item will then be operated at maximum temperature for at least one hour. Based on past experience, it is recommended that the item not be used on Pesach due to the complexity of cleaning properly.

1. Returns such as empty bottles may not be accepted throughout the week of the holiday. Appropriate signs should be posted.
2. The staff must be briefed regarding Pesach regulations, particularly check out personnel, told not to ring up non-kosher for Pesach items. This is in addition to blocking the barcode scanners to these numbers.
3. Workers may not bring food to the store during the yomtov.
4. The sale of chametz from a chain store will be done by management with the Rabbinate or the store’s rabbi acting as an agent.
5. Stores must be closed two hours before Shabbos and Yomtov. One may open 30 minutes after Shabbos or Yomtov ends. Each according to local times.
6. Employees must be released in time for Shabbos and Yomtov to permit everyone to return home without chilul Shabbos.
7. Mashgichim and their supervisors working in stores that offer customers food tasting or having food served in any and all fashions by an outside catering firm must have a special Pesach certification from the local authorized Rabbinate. This must be verified before Pesach.
8. The branch managers must make certain that all cleaning supplies are ready in time as coordinated with the local Rabbinate officials.
9. Needless to say there can be no contact with chametz dough sold to a non-Jew after the prohibited time or any chametz item that was frozen towards defrosting said items, especially on the eve of the last day of the Yomtov. Disregard of this regulation will result in the loss of kashrut certification.

1. The branch manager must be accountable to the local Rabbinate carrying out the kashering and preparations for the holiday. A manager will assign a responsible person on each shift to ensure Pesach preparation and regulations are followed to the last detail.
2. The branch manager will brief employees in coordination with the local Rabbinate and its representative.
3. The local Rabbinate will ensure the mashgiach adheres to the regulations and if and when the need arises, provide for additional mashgichim on different shifts.
4. The kosher for Pesach certification and sale of chametz certification will be issued by the authorized personnel and conspicuously displayed in the store.
5. Store rabbis and supervisors will do their utmost to ensure total compliance especially regarding logistical centers.
6. This directive applies to all distributors, and vendors dealing with branches.
7. Chametz items may not be sold until 30 minutes after the end of Pesach.

Rabbonim from the Kashrut Department of the Chief Rabbinate will make inspections during the pre-holiday and holiday period to evaluate compliance.




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