Brief Questions and Answers by Rabbi Yehoshua Grunwald
Q. Can one appoint a rav to sell the chametz on his behalf through a phone call, email, or text?
The contemporary poskim permit appointing the rav via phone call, text, or email. Although in normal situations it is preferable to appoint the rav in person and perform a kinyan, nonetheless, due to the current environment it is certainly preferable to appoint the rav via form of technological-distant communication. It is preferable that the rav has documentation from you that you are appointing him, the amounts and types of chametz, and the locations of the chametz. Speak to your rav how he advises to go about this. Lastly, it can mentioned that it is customary to give some compensation when appointing the rav, which can be done even when not coming in person.Q. I have never made Pesach before, and now because of COVID-19 I am forced to stay home and make Pesach. Can you offer me some guidance?
Firstly, it is recommended that you buy 2 new sets of pots for all your Pesach cooking: one for milchigs and one for fleishigs. Although, technically many pots can be koshered, however, the halachos of doing it are intricate, the process is tedious, and there is a lechatchila to buy new ones in any case. As such, where ever possible it is my recommendation to buy new ones. The chametz flatware and dishes also cannot be used for Pesach, but for those you can mostly manage with disposable. Secondly, remember that you will need to toivel your new pots. (Usually when toiveling a new pot you will be required to make a beracha for the tevila, when in doubt ask a shaila.) Thirdly, you will need to ask your rav how he advises you to kosher the kitchen. You will certainly have to clean down the sinks, countertops, cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, and anywhere else where the Pesach food or utensils will be touching so that there shouldn’t even be a crumb of chametz there. Following that, everything will need to be covered or kashered. As for the counters, refrigerators, freezers, and tables, most poskim are satisfied with covering them. Additionally, most poskim are satisfied with koshering a self clean oven by running it through a full self clean cycle. Pertaining sinks, stove tops, and non-self clean ovens, there are many varying opinions, so ask your rav. On a final note, when you start cooking for Pesach make sure all your chametz dishes are stored away so that you don’t mistakenly use a chametz utensil.

Q. Usually I go to a hotel for Pesach and perform a mechiras chametz on my entire home. As such, I usually don’t clean my house for Pesach. This year that I will be staying home, I seek guidance how much I must clean my house to rid it of chametz. Please advise.
A. You must clean in a way that you rid your house of any chametz that is approximately the size of a cheerio or greater, so that you shouldn’t come to mistakenly eat chametz on Pesach. Use your common sense where such chametz may be found. For example, you may likely expect chametz to be found under the pedestal of your dining room table, in pockets or pocketbooks, in the crevises of your couch, or in your baby’s carriage. After performing your best efforts of cleaning, the remaining chametz will be covered by your bittul and/or mechiras chametz.

Q. I had a reservation at a hotel for Pesach and already paid a deposit for it. Am I halachically entitled to demand that the deposit be returned?
A. Questions pertaining to payments for cancelled jobs and rentals due to COVID-19 are very intricate. Many of the shailos need to be asked by both parties accepting a mutually accepted rav or dayan/im. During the time that it is difficult to deal with approaching a rav or dayan/im, the money can remain in the hands whose it’s in. It should be mentioned that the one holding on to the money has greater chances of winning and an early return of the money may forfeit those rights.