web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Q & A: Selling One’s Chametz


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Questions: Please explain the concept of selling one’s chametz. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to dispose of all of one’s chametz prior to Pesach? Why go through this charade every year?

Malka Berg
(Via E-Mail)

(We again interrupt our series on “A Sabbath Desecrator” to answer this timely question. We will continue the series next week.)

Answer: The entire concept of mechirat chametz – of selling one’s chametz to a gentile for Pesach – was introduced so that one shouldn’t violate the precept of “bal ye’ra’eh…u’bal yi’matze[chametz] should not be seen…and should not be found” (Exodus 13:7, supra 12:19).

You ask: Wouldn’t it be easier to just discard all of one’s chametz before Passover? The answer is that selling chametz began as a solution to greater dilemma. In Europe, Jews were not landed, i.e., they did not live on their own property. In fact, in most instances they were forbidden to own land. They typically lived on the lands of the local nobleman, known as the “poretz.” It was common for a Jew to rent a tavern from his poretz and serve liquor therein.

Since most of the liquor was chametz, the Jew would have been required to dispose of all his liquor before Passover. Since most liquor requires aging, he would have found himself in great financial hardship at the conclusion of the festival without any ready product on hand to sell the next day. Any funds acquired through a pre-Pesach sale of the liquor would not have been sufficient to purchase new inventory since such a sale would probably result in distress prices.

Thus, the poskim, based on Tosefta (Pesachim chap. 2:6, cited by Rosh, Pesachim 2:4), resolved to allow one to sell one’s chametz to a gentile for the duration of Pesach. Generally, the buyer and seller agree on a price and the buyer gives a down payment for the product, with the balance due at the festival’s conclusion. Indeed, if the buyer wishes to pay the balance at the stipulated date, the seller has no recourse but to hand over the product. Yet, this has rarely ever happened.

There is much discussion regarding the necessity of giving the buyer complete access to the chametz, i.e., providing him the key to the area where the chametz is stored. The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 448: 12) notes this requirement, which he is rather reluctant to forego. The Aruch Hashulchan (ad loc. sk23), on the other hand, is more lenient in this matter.

The Sha’are Teshuvah (ad loc. sk12) relates an incident which might have been the source for the Aruch Hashulchan’s leniency. He recounts that a gentile once bought the liquor of an innkeeper and was given the key to the storeroom. During Pesach he entered the room and proceeded to drink to the point of intoxication. When presented with this problem, the Sha’are Teshuvah suggested that while the gentile was in his drunken stupor, the innkeeper’s servant should lift the key from him. Upon his awakening, the gentile will simply assume that he lost the key. Indeed, that was what transpired.

Now, you must realize that just as one who owned a tavern or inn of old had no choice but to rely on selling his chametz, the same is true of merchants today. If they had to sell their chametz without the option of getting it back, they would find themselves at the mercy others who would likely pay very low prices for the food. In addition, after Passover, very little chametz food would be available, and consumers would have to wait a while until they could buy such basic necessities like cereal for children. This is especially true today when Jews are often not only the food retailers but often the wholesalers as well. What our sages sanctioned, and introduced for the benefit of the Jewish people of their time, serves us well in our time as well.

A rabbi once asked Rav Moshe Feinstein whether one should be stringent and not buy chametz immediately after Passover, even from a Jew who sold his chametz to a gentile. Rav Feinstein (Responsa Igrot Moshe: Orach Chayim vol. 4:95) responded that there is no need to act stringently since surely every Jew, even the least observant, does not wish to cause another Jew to transgress. We must add that the mere fact that he went to the bother of selling his chametz to a gentile should serve as proof of his intention.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Selling One’s Chametz

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The new peace partners; Hams leader Khaleed Meshaal (L) and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas
Khaled Mashaal Rejects Ceasefire and Says Israel Must Disarm for Peace
Latest Judaism Stories
The Yabok River

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

Lenny1

Will Your brothers go to war, while you sit (in peace) here? (Bamidbar 32:6)

PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-selling-ones-chametz/2013/03/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: