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Apr 7, 2010

Rabbanei Tzohar respond about buying chametz

In response to the publicized psak in the name of Rav Elyashiv (note that I never said Rav Elyashiv said it, just that it is being said in his name - unless you hear a psak from him directly you should never assume something said in his name is accurate or true), the Rabbonim of Tzohar have issued a counter psak.

Rabbanei Tzohar have said that such a psak is divisive and is not correct. You can buy chamtez from a chiloni who sold his chametz before Pesach to a non-Jew. You cannot look at it as a chiloni selling his chametz as doing a purely religious act, with no meaning or intent behind it. A chiloni businessman who decides to sell his chametz before Pesach to a non-Jew does so with full intention to sell it because he knows that religious people will not be able to buy from him if he doesn't do so. Because of that, his intention is to sell the chametz.

Rabbanei Tzohar continue and say that if Rav Efrati's statement would be correct, we should invalidate everything religious chilonim do - we should invalidate their marriages, because after all, maybe they didn't really have full intention, full gemiras da'as..and maybe they were doing a "purely religiously imposed act". Such piskei halacha have no basis or foundation and are simply divisive in situations where there is no justification to be so. (source: Ynet)


  1. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l argues that we do not have to take account of what these people are thinking. The rule is that devorim shebelev aynom devorim. What makes or breaks a transaction is what a person says or does. If he thinks differently, this has no bearing on the validity of his transaction.

    Rav Elyashiv disagrees. Everybody knows that most non Torah observant businessmen merely view the sale of chomets as a religious ceremony. It therefore falls into the category of devorim shebelev ubelev kol odom – thoughts and intentions which are in everybody's mind. Such thoughts would invalidate the sale.

    In accordance with this opinion, many kashrus authorities (She'eris, Rav Rubin, Belz, Rabbanut Yerushalayim) have incorporated a special clause in their documents for the sale of chomets, emphasizing that this is a binding sale and adding that calling the validity of the sale into question will result in a fine of 100,000 NIS! If a non Torah observant businessman signs on such a document, there is no question that the sale is valid.

  2. True about things "said in" Rav Eliyashiv's name.

    RBH reminds us there's an issue with the lack of validity of many (not necessarily all) such a contract, with a frum Jew, too.

    Most believe that their getting back the hametz after Pesah anyway.

    I am aware of the counter arguments, but am not convinced.

    I'm no fan of the Tzohar rabbis either. MAny of them are mamlachtim (undying state loyalists), which I believe may pasul them.



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