A person should begin studying the laws of Passover 30 days before the holiday (429:1). It is customary to give wheat to the poor so they can have MATZAH (429:1). TACHANUN is not recited and eulogies are forbidden during the month of Nisan (429:2). Fasting, except because of a bad dream, is forbidden during Nisan, but the male first-born fast on the 14th of Nisan (the day before Passover), or on the preceding Thursday if the 14th is a Sabbath (429:2;470:1-2). Psalm 100 is not recited on Passover or on the day before it (429:2). The Sabbath before Passover is called the Great Sabbath; it is customary to recite part of the HAGGADAH (the text of the service at the Passover evening meal; see Ch.37) after the afternoon service on that Sabbath (430:1). A person should not do most types of work during the day on the 14th of Nisan, but preparations for the holiday are permitted; see 468:1-10. A person should not eat much during the last quarter of the day, so that he will have an appetite for the evening meal, and he should not eat ordinary MATZAH during the entire day; see 470:3 and 471:1-3.
After dark on the 14th of Nisan a person must search for CHAMETZ by candlelight (see 433:1-2) in every place where CHAMETZ may have been brought (431:1;433:3-5,9-11) and remained (see 433:6), and where it is not dangerous to search (see 433:7-8;438:2). A person should not eat, study, or do work when it is time to search for CHAMETZ (431:2), and the search should not be interrupted (432:1). Before beginning the search, the blessing “…Who commanded us about disposal of CHAMETZ” is recited (432:1-2). After the search, the remaining CHAMETZ should be put away in a safe place (see 434:1;438:1;439:1-4) and the unknown CHAMETZ should be annulled (434:2,4). All of a person’s CHAMETZ should again be annulled the next morning just after disposing of the known CHAMETZ; see 434:2-3.
If the search was not done at night, it must be done the next day, and if it was not done before Passover, it must be done on or after Passover; see 435:1. On disposing of CHAMETZ that is found during Passover see 446:1-4. It is unnecessary to search in places where the owner or his representative will have no access on Passover or 30 days before it; see 436:1-3. On who is responsible for searching in rented property see 437:1-4; on responsibility for CHAMETZ that belongs to or is deposited with a non-Jew see 440:1-4 and 441:1-2.
On the 14th of Nisan, CHAMETZ may be eaten until two hours (i.e., 1/6 of the day) before noon, and benefit may be derived from it for an additional hour; see 443:1-2. During that time (or earlier, if desired; 445:1) it may be given to a non-Jew (445:2) or disposed of, preferably by burning (445:1-3); when it is burned then, it is permitted to derive benefit from the fire (see 445:2). If no CHAMETZ was found during the search, the utensil used in the search should be burned; see 445:3. On a person who is unable to dispose of his CHAMETZ see 444:7-8. Even after noon, if CHAMETZ was sold or exchanged, the proceeds are permitted (443:3).
If the 14th of Nisan is on a Sabbath, CHAMETZ must be disposed of before the Sabbath, except for what is needed for the Friday night and Sabbath morning meals (444:1). Neither CHAMETZ nor MATZAH should be eaten at the Sabbath afternoon meal; see 444:1. It is preferable to dispose of the other CHAMETZ on Friday morning at the same time as when the 14th is on a weekday (444:2), and to annul it then (444:6). On disposing of the CHAMETZ left over from the Sabbath meals see 444:3-5; it is also annulted again then.
The prohibition against possessing CHAMETZ on Passover applies only to edible CHAMETZ (see 442:2-3,5,9-10;447:12) and edible mixtures that contain CHAMETZ (442:1). Mixtures containing CHAMETZ that are not normally eaten may be kept, but not eaten; see 442:4. On cleaning surfaces that may have CHAMETZ adhering to them see 422:6-8,11 and 447:5.
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.