ARTICLES

SALE OF CHOMETZ

RABBI REUVEN STEPSKY

May 1, 2017

This is the easiest way of getting rid of chometz and it saves cleaning! However one needs to be aware of how the sale of Chometz works. Sale of Chometz forms will be available from the JLE reception or you can download it from www.jle.org.uk/chometz. Please make sure your forms are handed in or faxed to JLE before the time and date written on the form..

The Purpose of Selling your Chometz
 
The Torah tells us that not only is it forbidden to eat or have benefit from chometz on Pesach (see Exodus 12:15 & Exodus 13:3), but it is even forbidden to own chometz wherever it is (see Exodus 12:19 & Exodus 13:7). This is more stringent than any other Torah prohibition.
 
Origin
 
Jews who had large stocks of whisky etc had to hold on to their stocks because of their livelihood. Therefore, the sale was introduced. This is discussed in Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law). Nowadays it is the accepted custom that anyone may sell their chometz.
 
1.     Selling is not a religious act; it’s a monetary act, just like giving a ring to get married, or buying a product. It’s important to know that this is a monetary act because normally with a religious act, even if you do not understand why you’re doing it, you have still fulfilled your obligation i.e. teffilin. With a sale you have to know what you’re doing, signing and saying.
 
2.     You are not selling to the Rabbi, rather you empower the Rabbi to be your shaliach (agent), the form you sign is to appoint him as your agent. 
 
3.     Originally when the chometz was sold to a non-Jew, it was transferred to his domain. This made it difficult to sell either because there was so much chometz and thus the burden involved, or often the non-Jew didn’t have space to store the chometz. Due to this it was instituted that the chometz should remain in the Jew’s home and the area where the chometz is stored is rented out to the non-Jew for storage purposes.   This is all included in the contract.
 
Therefore one should dedicate an area to store his chometz; if possible, it should be locked away or at least be out of sight and not easily accessible, i.e. a shed. The storage place is rented for 9 days to a non-Jew. Thus, you empower the Rabbi to do 2 transactions on your behalf: (a) to rent out a storage area (b) sell the chometz.
 
4.     This is a real legally binding sale. Therefore, the non-Jew must know what he’s buying. Ideally one should specify what he is selling. The non-Jew should be able to access “his” chometz. If you’re at home you can give your address. However, if you are you’re away or your business is closed, you should state where the keys are available from. 
 
5.     You may also include open packets as the sale is done as a package deal to include all these products.
 
6.     Chometz Pots, Pans, Dishes & Silverware may be owned over Pesach provided they are clean and they are put away so you don’t come to use them by mistake. If they are not clean then you can put the pots with the chometz. It is advisable to do this anyway as it saves you the job of checking all the plates etc. However, it should be noted that one is not selling their pots etc because that creates problems regarding Tevillas Kelim, rather one is selling just the chometz attached to the pans etc. As mentioned previously, nobody is going to buy dirt attached to pots etc but since it’s part of the deal and the non-Jew is told, it’s a valid sale.
 
7.     You may have heard that one should not sell proper/pure chometz e.g. bread, biscuits or something that contains real chometz, e.g. jam which contains glucose which may come from wheat or corn. Some people do not sell chometz because they are concerned it’s not a valid sale because perhaps the non-Jew doesn’t really want to buy the chometz. All this is a stringency (chumra). All the shops and bakers sell chometz
 
8.     If you will be away for Pesach you can sell all the chometz in your possession. You do not have to clean those areas. However, you would miss the opportunity to perform the mitzvah of searching for chometz. For possible options in how to fulfill this mitzvah in these circumstances please contact a Rav.
 
9.     What makes the non-Jew want to buy the chometz? Either before the transaction he is given a gift (money or whisky etc) to keep, or after Pesach he gains from the sale back with a profit
 
10.The non-Jew is told at the time of sale that this is a complete sale. We hope he’ll sell it back but he can refuse and the Jew can refuse to buy it back. 

TAGS for this article: Pesach | Chometz | Sale Of Chometz