Selling Chametz

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Institution of Selling Chametz

  1. Some authorities question the sale of complete Chametz, however, most authorities allow it and such is the minhag. [1]

Those who don't sell real Chametz

  1. Even if one wants to observe this stringency, it is advisable to perform Mechirat Chametz for mixtures of Chametz. [2]
  2. If one doesn’t sell real Chametz such as cake, bread, or noodles, one still sell ketchup, mayonnaise or any mixture of a minority of chametz. [3]
  3. If one doesn’t sell real Chametz such as cake, bread, or noodles, one still sell flour commonly found in the market which is Chametz since in the processing the grain is washed and comes into contact with water. [4]

Procedure of Selling Chametz

  1. When selling Chametz one should write down one’s address, and provide access to get in by leaving the keys by the Rabbi, neighbors, or security guard. If one feels uncomfortable doing that one should at least write down one’s cell phone number at which one would be reachable over Pesach. [5]
  2. One should make sure to sell one's chametz completely and not with a gift with a condition that it must be returned after Pesach. [6]However, one may assure the non-Jew that one will buy it back after Pesach and make it profitable for the non-Jew.[7]
  3. One may not sell one's chametz to a Jew who "converted" to another religion.[8]

Stocks of companies which own Chametz

  1. Some authorities hold that there's is no prohibition of owning Chametz to a shareholder of a company which owns Chametz on Pesach who has no say in the actions of the company, while others hold that one should sell the shares together with one's other Mechirat Chametz through the Rabbi. [9]

Storing the Chametz

  1. Chametz which one sells to a non-Jew for Pesach should be put away in a closet or another partition of 10 Tefachim and not opened on Pesach. Similarly one shouldn’t leave sold Chametz out in the refrigerator but rather it should be partitioned off with a wall of ten Tefachim. [10]
  2. One shouldn’t store sold Chametz on the shelves of the door of the refrigator but rather should be put in the back of the refrigerator and sealed off. [11]

Seventh Day on a Friday

  1. If the seventh day of Pesach falls out on a Friday in Israel, some poskim say that that you can eat Chametz on that Shabbat. [12] Others are strict. [13]

Links

Sources

  1. The institution of Mechirat Chametz is based on a Tosefta (Pesachim 2:6) that says that a Jew on a boat with a non-Jew may sell his Chametz to the non-Jew and then buy it back after Pesach. This is codified by the Rambam (Pesach 4:6) and S”A 448:3. The Beit Yosef 448:3 writes that selling it before Pesach and buying it back is Ha’arama (a scheme to avoid a prohibition) and yet it is permitted. The Talmid Haritva printed at the end of the Chiddushei Haritva on Pesachim limits this permission to an incidental sale of the Chametz but doesn't allow the sale in an institutionalized manner.
    • Gemara Shabbat 139b says that a certain Rabbi slept on a non-Jew’s boat on Shabbat claiming that he intended to sleep, even though he knew the non-Jew would sail the boat across the river. The Gemara says that his claim was HaAramah, but is permitted since it’s only an isser derabbanan and he was a talmid chacham. Bechor Shor (Pesachim 21a) learns from here that Ha’aramah is permitted only if the issue is derabbanan. He writes that after Bitul, the issue of owning Chametz is only derabbanan and Ha’aramah is acceptable. Bet Efraim 1:33 and Minchat Bikkurim (Tosefta 2:7) agree.
    • Mekor Chaim 448:11 rejects the Bechor Shor and explains that in Gemara Shabbat HaAramah was only permitted on an isser derabbanan because the Rabbi was actually violating an isser, however, by selling Chametz, one circumvents the issue altogether.
    • Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (quoted by Rav Hershel Schachter in Nefesh HaRav p. 177) held that one shouldn’t sell Chametz BeEyn. [Halachos of Pesach (pg 32) defines Chametz BeEyn as mixtures which have a majority or equal amount of Chametz in comparison to the non-Chametz ingredients.] This opinion is based on the idea that Ha’aramah shouldn’t be performed except for Derabbanan issues. According to this, one may rely on Rabbeinu Tam (Pesachim 42a s.v. VeElu), who holds that mixtures of Chametz are only a derabbanan issue of Bal Yeira’eh.
    • Rav Schachter in BeIkvei HaTzon (siman 15) writes to defend the minhag that Ha’aramah is acceptable to avoid an isser, but not to exempt one from a mitzvah because at the end of the day, one didn’t fulfill the mitzvah. Therefore, selling one’s Chametz only avoids the isser, and one may still fulfill the mitzvah of Tashbitu with burning the last unsold kezayit.
    • Halachos of Pesach (p. 123) records the practice of Rav Aharon Kotler not to sell Chametz BeEyn. However, Halachos of Pesach quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein, Tzitz Eliezer 20:51(2), and Yalkut Yosef 448:3(1) permit selling all forms of Chametz. Halachos of Pesach (p. 123) writes that most poskim allow the sale and that such is the minhag. See, however, Haggadah of the Roshei Yeshiva (pg 13) which writes that Rav Moshe's minhag was not to sell actual chametz but he did sell alcoholic beverages.
  2. Halachos of Pesach (p. 123) writes that sometimes those who desired not to sell Chametz unknowingly retained Chametz items. He adds that a student in a dorm should not assume that his Chametz was sold for him; rather, he should specifically request his father (or another individual) to be his representative to sell his Chametz. http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5757/metzorah.html also says that one should sell his chametz even if he doesn't think he has any because there may be denatured ethyl alcohol in deodorant, shaving cream, or cologne.
  3. Rav Schachter on OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 26 and 27
  4. Rav Yisrael Belsky on OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 79 and 80
  5. Rabbi Sobolofsky at yutorah.org between minutes 4 and 6
  6. Shulchan Aruch 448:3 writes that one may not do a Matana Al Menat LeHachzir. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 114:6 agrees. Mishna Brurah 448:21 explains that even though usually a Matana Al Menat Lehachzir works to completely acquire something (such as Shulchan Aruch 558:4), by chametz because of the chumra of chametz one may not do a Matana Al Menat LeHachzir.
  7. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 114:6, Mishna Brurah 448:23
  8. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 114:7
  9. Piskei Teshuvot 440:1 and http://www.vbm-torah.org/pesach/stocks.htm quote the dispute. Rabbi Yisrael Belsky based on Rav Moshe and many others at the OU Pre-Pesach Webcast between minutes 29:30 and 32:00 permits someone who owns shares but doesn't have any say in the company, however if someone has 30% (or so) of the company it's considered as if one is a partner and it'd be forbidden. Minchat Yitzchak 3:1 and Moadim Uzmanim 3:269 say that one should sell these stocks along with the rest of the chametz and not trade them during chol hamoed.
  10. Rabbi Sobolofsky at yutorah.org between minutes 6 and 8
  11. Rav Yisrael Belsky on OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 27:00 and 28:30
  12. Yechave Daat 2:64
  13. Or Litzion 3:9:4