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Mr. Metzger’s salary from his regular job did not suffice for the family’s needs. To help make ends meet, he also served his neighbors as a car service.

On Chol Hamoed he used vacation days for his full-time job, but drove for a few hours each day to defray the heavy Pesach expenses (see O.C. 542:2).


In the middle of Chol Hamoed he received a call from Mrs. Rodriguez, an elderly Hispanic woman who lived down the block.

“My son and daughter-in-law are celebrating their 35th anniversary,” Mrs. Rodriguez said.

“Oh, that’s very nice!” exclaimed Mr. Metzger.

“They’re having a party at their house tonight,” said Mrs. Rodriguez. “Should be very happy!”

“I guess that you want me to drive you there?” asked Mr. Metzger.

“I wish I could go,” answered Mrs. Rodriguez wistfully. “However, I’m not feeling well, so I can’t go.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” replied Mr. Metzger. “I wish you good health, and happiness to your children!”

“I made a special surprise for them, though,” added Mrs. Rodriguez. “If I can’t be there in person, at least I want to send them something!”

“That’s very nice of you!” exclaimed Mr. Metzger. “Would you like me to bring it to them?”

“Exactly!” said Mrs. Rodriguez. “If you could pick it up this afternoon and take it to them, I would greatly appreciate it. Obviously, I’ll pay you for the trip.”

“That should be fine,” said Mr. Metzger. “Can I ask what you’re sending?”

“I made a fancy cake,” said Mrs. Rodriguez. “Should be delicious!”

“Oh… one minute….,” said Mr. Metzger. “I have to check whether I can take your cake. You know, it’s our Passover.”

Mr. Metzger called Rabbi Dayan and asked: “Am I allowed to drive Mrs. Rodriguez’s cake for pay?”

“There are two halachic elements to consider here,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

First, there are prohibitions of bal yeraeh and bal yimatzei to maintain chametz in your possession on Pesach, beyond the prohibition of eating chametz.

“Nonetheless, if a non-Jew brings his chametz into a Jew’s premises and continues to be solely responsible for it, the Jew does not violate bal yeraeh. For this reason, a non-Jewish worker may bring chametz for his own lunch into a Jewish-owned house or firm, if he eats separately” (O.C. 440:2-3).

“However, if the Jew accepts responsibility for the chametz – that of shomer sachar or, according to some, even that of a shomer chinam – he violates bal yimatzei (O.C. 440:1).

“Normally, the courier of a package is responsible for it, so that you cannot accept the cake, certainly as a paid courier” (C.M. 303:2; see Mishna Berurah 440:2).

“What if I stipulate with Mrs. Rodriguez that I accept no responsibility for her cake?” asked Mr. Metzger.

“This brings us to the second issue,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Can you derive incidental benefit from chametz, e.g., a fee for driving it?”

Shulchan Aruch allows renting a donkey to a non-Jew to transport chametz on it, even though the Jewish owner receives a rental fee for the donkey” (O.C. 450:7).

“However, Mishna Berurah (450:9, 12, 25) writes that in previous halachos the Shulchan Aruch and Rema ruled that we do not allow deriving even incidental benefit from chametz, since it is assur b’hanaah – prohibited to benefit from. Thus, you are not allowed to accept payment for taking the cake.

“Were you to drive Mrs. Rodriguez, it would be permissible to take the cake as well, since then you are paid to drive her, regardless,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “Similarly, if Mrs. Rodriguez were to send other significant non-chametz items, so that you would have to drive them anyway, it would be permitted if you stipulate that you have no liability for the cake.”

Verdict: A non-Jew may bring his chametz into a Jew’s premises, if he retains full liability and keeps the chametz separate. A Jew should not derive even incidental benefit from chametz, which is assur b’hanaah, such as payment for driving it.


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Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to [email protected]. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail [email protected].