Displaying Art Made from Parchment Paper with Hametz Residue During Pesach

QUESTION

Toronto, ON

A new exhibition is planned for installation soon in the art gallery hosted in our shul’s storefront window. The artwork will be made from used parchment papers on which people baked hallah, resulting in brown stains. The exhibition is scheduled to remain up for 3-4 months, including Pesah. Beyond the conceptual strangeness of displaying it during Pesah, are there any halakhic issues with this? I imagine bitul (nullification) could apply to any hametz residue in the art, especially since it’s not ra’ui le’akhila (fit for consumption).

ANSWER

The brown stains left from the Hallah are not a problem. If there was actual mamashut on the surface, and it was still edible to a dog, then it could be an issue of bal yira’eh (the prohibition of owning chameitz during Pesach). Assuming that the mamashut in question is less than a kezayit, it is automatically bateil (nullified) due to its lack of significance (See Beitzah 7b, Pesachim 6b, Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayim 442:7, Mishnah Berurah 442:33). However, if the artist specifically wants this mamashut as part of the art, it would be considered “rotze b’kiyumo” – a situation where one desires the existence of the Chametz over Pesach – and could be problematic; however, if there is no interest in the mamashut, it is not an issue (Mishnah Berurah 450:24).

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