What is Chametz? Neither science nor scholarship can really answer the question

Medieval illustration of passover

A sign in Jerusalem in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The English text reads: Please refrain from eating "Chametz" (bread and other leavened foods)in the Jewish quarter during Passover. Thank you!One of the key activities in an observant Jewish household’s preparation for Passover is the hunt for and destruction of chametz, anything that involves leavened grain. At one level, the search means that the house gets an extremely thorough cleaning at least once a year. At another, there are associations that equate ridding the house of chametz with ridding the mind of ego and other spiritual concerns. But what exactly is chametz? In trying to get to some sort of “truth” I discovered that there can be no right or wrong answer, only opinions, more or less persuasive, more or less accepted. In the end, the meaning of chametz rests on history and tradition, and new traditions are possible.


  1. I do have a list of all the sources I consulted, which I can share if needed.
  2. Here is a copy of the script.
  3. Banner image from the National Library of Israel. Cover image via Wikimedia Commons

huffduffer icon   Huffduff it