by R. Daniel Mann
Question: Sometimes I have foods that I cooked in chametzdik pots without any chametz ingredients that I fail to finish before Pesach. May I keep them in the corner of the freezer and mark them as chametzdik? (I try to not sell chametz, especially if it was already cooked.)
Answer: First we will deal with the question of whether it is really forbidden to eat such food on Pesach. Let us assume (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 122:7) that the pot was eino ben yomo (had not been used for 24 hours) from chametz use. For forbidden food, what comes out of such a pot gives off a negative taste (noten ta’am lifgam), and the food is permitted if done accidentally (ibid. 103:5). If one made pareve food in an eino ben yomo fleishig pot without an intention to eat with milchig food, he may eat leftovers with it (ibid. 95:2). There is a machloket whether noten ta’am lifgam of chametz is permitted on Pesach (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 447:10), or not (Rama ad loc.). The Rama is machmir only on Pesach. On Erev Pesach, despite the Torah-level prohibition to eat chametz, the regular rules of kashrut apply, and it is permitted.
Do the laws of kashrut change when Pesach starts and turn what was not considered chametz due to bitul (nullification) pre-Pesach into chametz based on Pesach standards (chozer v’neior)? This too is a machloket. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 4) prefers the lenient opinion, that those things that were batel remain batel. The Rama says that it depends on the type of bitul. If it is only in regard to knowledge (i.e., we do not know where the chametzdik food is), the food becomes forbidden when Pesach starts. If there is a physical mixture (i.e., it is mixed in in a way that the chametz does not give taste to the mixture), it remains permitted. The classic case of the latter is when there was 60 times more kosher vs. chametz that is mixed in. However, we cannot assume there is 60 times more non-chametz because the food in a pot will not be 60 times the volume of the pot. However, since noten ta’am lifgam allows for bitul with less than 60, the food cooked in an eino ben yomo chametzdik pot was batel before Pesach (Mishna Berura 247:21). Thus, such a pot would not make the food forbidden even to eat on Pesach.
We must, though, consider the high possibility that small amounts of chametz got into the food, whether in the ingredients, the pot’s surface, the work area, or storage containers. Assuming, as is also highly likely, we are discussing trace quantities of chametz, it was batel by 60 times. We then return to the above question of chozer v’neior, which is permitted, according to the main opinions, in such a mixture. (For this reason, many purchase (e.g., milk) and cook as much as possible before Pesach, so that trace quantities of chametz would be batel before Pesach and remain such.) Thus, on this point as well, it is probably permitted to eat the food (although our minhag is not to do things like that).
If one is not in the practice of eating such food, may he at least keep it around? There is no violation of bal yeiraeh (possession of chametz) when there is only taste of chametz or there are trace quantities that are batel by 60 (Mishna Berura 452:1). While according to some (including Tur, OC 442) it is permitted to leave in one’s possession any food that is permitted to eat on the level of Torah law, the more accepted approach is to not leave most (exceptions beyond our present scope) foods that are forbidden to be eaten even Rabbinically (ibid.). This, though, would not apply to foods that it is only a chumra not to eat. Even so, it is proper to remove them from the places (like the same freezer) where kosher-for-Pesach foods are being kept, lest one mistakenly eat them (ibid.).
If you put such food in a different place (e.g., a different freezer or a section of the freezer that is taped off), you are not required to sell it, but you do not lose anything by including it in your sale. Stringencies regarding sale of chametz apply to cases where you need to rely on the sale, not when it is extra.