• Rav Zev Jacobson
DAF 6a
            R. Yehuda stated in the name of Rav: "One who sets sail or sets out in a caravan company, more than 30 days before Pesach is NOT required to dispose of his chametz before he leaves.  However, one who departs within 30 days before Pesach, IS required to dispose of his chametz."
            According to Abaye, this applies only if one intends to return during Pesach.  One who has no such intention is exempt altogether from disposing of his chametz.  According to Rava, though, one who intends to return during Pesach is obligated to dispose of his chametz NO MATTER WHEN he departs on his journey.  The 30-day rule is relevant only to one who plans to spend Pesach elsewhere.
            Thus, Abaye and Rava's dispute centers on two cases:
1.  One who departs WITHIN 30 days but does NOT intend to return.
2.  One who departs MORE than 30 days before Pesach but INTENDS to return during the chag.
            In both cases Abaye does NOT necessitate disposal whereas Rava DOES.
            A number of inter-related questions can serve as the basis for our analysis of the sugya:
A.  What is the reasoning of R. Yehuda?
B.  What is the relevance of THIRTY days?
C.  Why does a person have to dispose of his chametz before he leaves?  (In other words, what potential problem is being addressed?)
D.  What is the function of "da'ato lachzor" (intention to return)?
E.  On what grounds do Abaye and Rava disagree?
            Rav Yehuda is not concerned whether one plans to return during Pesach or not.  It seems logical to explain that, according to R. Yehuda, the obligation to dispose of one's chametz was extended by the Rabbi's to 30 days before Pesach (if it will not be possible at its appointed time).  Thus, one who departs more than 30 days before the chag is not required to dispose of his chametz before leaving, whereas one who departs within 30 days is - REGARDLESS of his travel plans.
            In order to understand why Abaye and Rava explain R. Yehuda differently it is necessary to examine the source of the 30 day period.
            The gemara itself discusses the issue of THIRTY days and explains, that beginning 30 days before Pesach we are required to study and expound upon the laws of the upcoming Yom Tov (sho'alin ve-dorshin).  Therefore, one who leaves his home within the 30 day period is required to dispose of his chametz before departure.
            One must study the laws of the upcoming Yom Tov so that he will know what to do when the time comes.  One must PREPARE himself mentally and intellectually beforehand so that he will not make any mistakes or fail to discharge his obligations in the correct manner.  So too, one must PREPARE himself PRACTICALLY and ensure that he not transgress any of the laws of Pesach.  However, the question must be asked: To what EXTENT must a person prepare himself?  To what lengths must he go to avoid future pitfalls?
            It is possible that Abaye and Rava argue on this very point: According to Abaye, one need worry about the upcoming chag only 30 days beforehand.  Thus, one who departs more than 30 days before Pesach is not obligated to concern himself with chametz that will be in his possession during Pesach - he will deal with the problem when it arises (i.e., upon his return).  Furthermore, bi'ur (disposal) that does not function at all as preparation is unnecessary.  Therefore, one who leaves WITHIN 30 days but does NOT intend to return during the chag may leave chametz in his house.  Accordingly, Abaye re-interprets R. Yehuda.
            According to Rava, however, the requirements for preparation are much more demanding.  One who intends to return during Pesach must make adequate preparations before he leaves - NO MATTER WHEN his departure takes place.  One who leaves WITHIN 30 days but does NOT intend to return must, likewise, dispose of his chametz.  It is difficult to view this as direct preparation for Pesach; rather it seems that Rava ADDS to our understanding of R. Yehuda: Not only is there a rabbinic obligation to dispose of chametz if departure takes place within 30 days - no matter what, there is also an obligation to prepare oneself for Pesach.
            We have explained that Abaye and Rava disagree as to the extent one must PREPARE for Pesach in advance.  How exactly does one prepare for Pesach by DISPOSING of chametz BEFORE departure?
            At this juncture our sugya becomes increasingly complex and is subject to a multi-dimensional machloket (argument) between the Rishonim.  I will, therefore, outline the basic directions taken to answer our question, without explaining each case according to R. Yehuda, Abaye and Rava.
I.  Possession
            It is possible that we are concerned about the eventuality of the Jew having chametz in his POSSESSION during Pesach.  Thus, we seek to avoid:
1. Transgression of the biblical injunctions against POSSESSION of chametz (bal yera'eh and bal yimatzeh).
2. The chance occurrence that the Jew will EAT the chametz that he finds in his possession (issur akhila).
            If the Jew NULLIFIES (bitul) his chametz #1 will NOT apply.  If he does NOT nullify his chametz, #1 WILL apply.  However, it is questionable whether he will transgress the injunction if he does NOT return home.
            Whether or not the Jew nullifies his chametz, #2 will apply with the proviso that he intends to return home on (or just before) Pesach.
II.  Bedika
            There are two ways of understanding this possibility:
1. Focus on the HOUSE - The Rabbis enacted that the bedika of a house should take place on the 14th.  Failing this (as in our sugya) bedika can and must be done WITHIN thirty days of Pesach.
2. Focus on the INDIVIDUAL - R. Yehuda "quotes" a Tosefta (chapter 1: ) found at the back of most standard editions of the Talmud.  There is, however, a significant difference between the statement of R. Yehuda and the Tosefta: R. Yehuda requires one to DISPOSE of  (le-va'er) his chametz before departure (perhaps referring only to chametz that one is AWARE of).  The Tosefta requires one to CHECK (livdok) for chametz before departure.  (Without a doubt this refers to chametz one is UNAWARE of as well.)
            This difference may be a function of the EXTENT of preparation required by the Rabbis - the Tosefta imposing a stricter obligation than R. Yehuda.  However, it is possible to explain that according to the Tosefta, we are concerned that the wandering traveler may not have an opportunity on the night of the 14th to do bedika, therefore, he is required to do so before he leaves.  It is not the state of the house that concerns us, rather it is the personal obligation of the INDIVIDUAL to fulfill the mitzva of bedikat chametz.
            It is beyond the scope of the shiur to work through the statements R. Yehuda, Abaye and Rava based on all of the possibilities we have raised.  However, it is definitely worthwhile to do so.  Furthermore, the gemara parallels the  din of Rava to another law that he taught concerning Beit Ha-otzar - any possibilities raised with regard to Rava must, therefore be checked against the background of this case.