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Chametz bonfire on Pesach


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Nisan 30, 5772
I will be hiking with a few nonreligious Jews for Hol HaMoed. We want to make a bonfire, perhaps setting up some stones to level it out, and thereupon cook some food. I’m not quite sure how to do this. Would it work if I double wrap my food in aluminum foil? Does it make a difference if the foods are cooked separately or at the same time (they’re cooking with a poyke pot)? Does a bonfire act like an oven, or is there an essential difference? Additionally, I do not know if some of these hikers will carry and/or eat bread (chas v’shalom). Would I be partly sinning for not removing someone else’s chametz from our midst (the camping ground) and may I eat alongside someone directly eating chametz? This involves a sibling, and I’m afraid of harming that relationship. One last issue, on a mussar level: do you have any advice for what to tell a small child (1.5 yrs) that she can’t eat the chametz she sees someone eating? I haven’t been able to find halakhic sources for the bonfire situation, so I would be very appreciative if you could help. Moadim L’Simcha!
Shalom, I’m sorry but I received your question only after the end of Pesach! But for next year, covering the food very well with two coverings solves all problems, even if the foods are cooked together. If others have chametz, that’s not your prohibition, nevertheless, I think that you should tell them if it bothers you. Regarding such a small child, I don’t think that a 1.5 year old child will notice nor understand, but at a later age, it’s important to stress that we love all of our Jewish brothers (either genetic, or otherwise, we’re all brothers!), even if they act improperly, as a result of lack of education, explanation, understanding or motivation. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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