Dear Rabbi Simon,
I have a few Pesach-related questions:
1) Does one have to clean the home etc if one is travelling before Yom Tov and not returning until after the Chag? Also, what happens to bedikat chametz?
2) Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
3) Regarding the sale of chametz, does it include only food items or non-food items such as cosmetics, shampoo etc that may have wheat or other grains in it?
Thank you for your timely questions.
1) One who will be away for all of Pesach should adopt either of these two approaches:
a) Arrange to sell your chametz in the usual fashion. In order to fulfil the requirement to search your home for chametz (since you will be there within 30 days of Pesach), it is sufficient to designate a limited space, eg bedroom, and check for chametz the night before your departure. No bracha.
b) Arrange to sell your chametz on the 13th Nisan so that when the zman hiyuv bedika arrived, the chametz is no longer yours.
Each option has its merits. Either way, one should perform bedikat chametz at one’s destination on the night before Pesach
2) In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
3) The contract for the sale of chametz includes all (edible) chametz which the halakhah forbids you to own. This includes not only foodstuffs but potentially some cosmetic items as well, such as shampoo, conditioners, etc with wheat germ or oatmeal, for example. Nevertheless, the widely accepted view is that those items which are unfit even for canine consumption, may be used on Pesach in any case. The exception would be lipstick, mouthwash and the like, where Pesach certification, if available, is to be preferred.
I hope these answers are helpful.