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 Eduardo David ben Esther
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Pesah- Bedikat Hames in a Hotel Room

If a person spends Pesah in a hotel, is he obligated to perform Bedikat Hames (the search for Hames on the night of Erev Pesah), and, if so, does this Bedika follow the same format as the standard Bedika performed in one's home?

The Gemara in Masechet Pesahim establishes that a tenant must perform Bedikat Hames in the rented property. Even though he does not own the property, it is he – as opposed to the landlord – who bears the obligation of Bedikat Hames. The Gemara further establishes that if the tenant's lease begins on the day of Erev Pesah, then the landlord bears the obligation to search the property for Hames, since it is in his possession on the night of Erev Pesah, when the obligation takes effect. Nevertheless, the tenant must, if possible, approach the landlord and inquire as to whether he had searched the facility for Hames the night before. If the landlord had not performed Bedikat Hames, then the tenant must search the home on Erev Pesah, though without a Beracha.

When it comes to a hotel, then, if a person checks into a hotel on or before the evening before Erev Pesah, such that the room is in his possession when the obligation of Bedikat Hames takes effect, he must search the room for Hames. This Bedika is performed in the precise same manner as a regular Bedika – with a flashlight and with the recitation of a Beracha. If a person checks in during the day of Erev Pesah, then he is exempt from searching the room only if he can reasonably assume that the owner of the hotel (or somebody he hired) searched the room for Hames. Generally, the hotel is owned either by gentiles or non-observant Jews, and thus the guest is required to search the room for Hames on Erev Pesah. Even though the hotel staff cleans the room before the guest arrives, the cleaning is not performed with the aim of searching for Hames. Therefore, in such a case, one must conduct a regular search for Hames, though no Beracha is recited, since the Bedika is performed after the normal time for Bedikat Hames.

This ruling is codified in the work Hag Be'hag by Rav Moshe Mordechai Karp, a disciple of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (contemporary scholar in Israel).

Summary: A person who moves into a hotel room on or before the night of Erev Pesah must perform Bedikat Hames in the room, in the same manner as he does at home. If he moves into a hotel room on the day of Erev Pesah, he searches the room for Hames without a Beracha, unless he can reasonably assume that the room was properly searched for Hames the night before.


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