web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Chametz Credit Card

It’s 1 p.m. on Friday, Erev Pesach. The rabbi had already sold the chametz at 10 a.m. But I forgot to sell mine. Now the synagogue office is closed and I can’t get hold of the form the rabbi uses to sell the chametz. The Torah requires me to remove all chametz from my house on Pesach. But I just cannot bring myself to throw out that Glenfiddich. Is there a way the whisky can remain in my house during Pesach, and would I be able to drink it after Pesach?

The Torah prohibits the consumption and possession of chametz by a Jew after the seventh hour on Erev Pesach and the rabbis prohibit the consumption after Pesach of chametz possessed by a Jew during Pesachchametz she’avar alav haPesach. In order to create a safety zone and avoid the inadvertent consumption of chametz on Erev Pesach after noon, the rabbis prohibit the eating of chametz after the fourth halachic hour of the day. A halachic hour is the unit of time derived by dividing the period of time between sunrise and sunset by 12, and it can be more or less than 60 minutes depending on the time of the year. Between the fourth and the fifth halachic hour of the day one may not eat chametz, but one may still derive benefit from it or sell it to a non-Jew. By the end of the fifth halachic hour of the day, the chametz must be burned – biyur chametz – and legally nullified – bitul chametz – by reciting the nullifying declaration known as kol chamirah. At the same time, the sale of chametz to a non-Jew takes effect.

If the chametz has already been legally nullified and physically burned, so that it is neither owned nor possessed by a Jew, why is it necessary to sell it to a non-Jew? The answer is that the intent to nullify one’s ownership may not have been sincere (that bottle of Glenfiddich) or one may have entertained the thought during the bitul declaration to sell certain chametz rather than nullify it. Furthermore, one may have neglected to destroy all one’s chametz, such as certain brands of deodorants and colognes etc. So, if the chametz is sold, why is it necessary to burn it? The answer is that there is a positive commandment to destroy chametz called hashbata. While it is unnecessary to incur severe financial loss by destroying all chametz, a token amount of chametz should be burned to fulfill the mitzvah of hashbata.

Are you kidding? You know the non-Jew is not going to consume your chametz. He is not really paying you for it; neither is he taking possession of it. He does not even know where it is. Even if he did, how is he going to gain access to your house on Pesach? And what happens if, after Pesach, he refuses to sell it back to you?

If properly done, the sale of chametz is indeed an effective sale. Such a sale should cause as little skepticism on our part as other everyday legal structures such as the sale and lease back of machinery where the equipment never leaves the premises of the purchaser and little money initially changes hands. The fact that the non-Jew chooses not to exercise his right of ownership does not mean he does not have this right. Neither does it render the sale fictitious. In fact, if the non-Jew paid the full value of the chametz and refuses to transfer ownership of the chametz back to the Jew after Pesach, there is no way, under Jewish law, that one can compel him to do so. The sale is irrevocable, unless the non-Jew chooses to rescind it after Pesach.

The origins of this sale can be found in the Tosefta. A Jew and a non-Jew were traveling together on a ship on a business trip. It was Erev Pesach and the Jew had chametz in his possession. He did not want to throw it overboard nor did he want to give it away. The Tosefta permits the Jew to sell it to the non-Jew with the intention in mind of buying it back after Pesach. As long as the transaction is not structured as a conditional sale, it works. Later, the rabbis of the Jewish whisky merchants of medieval Europe further refined the legal structure. Because taking possession of the whisky by the non-Jew often resulted in damage and because few non-Jews were able to afford the full purchase price, the rabbis devised halachic ways to leave the chametz in the possession of the Jew during Pesach even after the sale and to effect the sale for a token up front payment.

“If you cannot remove the chametz,” said the rabbis, “sell or rent the room or space in which the chametz resides.” And based on the concept of a credit sale, already known to the Talmud sages (Bava Metzia 77b), they permitted a token payment to be made up front and the rest to be deferred as an IOU, to be repaid by the non-Jew after Pesach.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


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 “Chametz Credit Card”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Gidon Saar Resignation Announcement
Minister Gidon Saar Unexpectedly Announces Resignation
Latest Judaism Stories
Jonah and the Whale (2012) 23 x 23, bronze relief by Lynda Caspe.

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

To properly fulfill the mitzvah of listening to the megillah, each word must be heard.

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

The kohen gadol may not enter the Temple unless his hair is cut every seven days.

A commonly employed and permissible device regarding the prohibition of wearing fresh clothes during the Nine Days is to don them for a moment or two before the Nine Days.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/chametz-credit-card/2012/04/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: