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Apr 26, 2011

The Goy Returns The Chametz

In what was perhaps the most dramatic story of Pesach in Israel 2011 a community had decided to improve upon the general sale of chametz and give their belongings to a non-Jew as a gift, storing all the goods in a location offsite. The non-Jew came along right before the holiday began, in front of many of the people who had deposited their expensive belongings into the storage room in the hopes of fulfilling the mitzva in the most mehudar fashion, and emptied the entire contents of the storage room into his car and drove off with his newly acquired belongings. The bystanders were shocked, never having considered that the goy would actualize his end of the gift and actually take his stuff, thinking they would simply get it all back after the holiday.

Bechadrei is reporting that last night the non-Jew called the rabbi of the community and informed him, to everyone's relief, that he will be returning the goods in the morning.

Upon reflection, the rabbi probably told the non-Jew to do this whole thing, just to impress upon the people that their "gift" or "sale" is a real business transaction and change of ownership and not just a fictitious loophole.

Some questions remain:
  1. Will any of these people do this again, giving it as a gift rather than as a sale, now that they realize they can easily lose it all?
  2. Does their regret have any ramifications as to the efficacy of their gift, or even a general sale as their reactions might be indicative of how most people would react in a similar situation, or to how things will be done in the future?
  3. If there were utensils among the goods, will they need to be toiveled, as they have now been owned by a goy? If there were wines, are they going to be thrown out as yayin nesech? etc.


  1. This certainly smells of a setup by the rav. This could backfire on him in that if he really thinks that people should give their hametz as a gift they may be rather loath to do this next year or put it in the room in the beit midrash after seeing what can happen. They also may be rather wary of any other ideas he might come up with.

    Maybe his idea was to make people realize that all the selling or giving of hametz is really a farce and that they should do biur next year. Maybe he should have got them instead to really give their hametz away as a gift to some tzedaka organization to feed some needy people in the days before Pessah.

  2. This maybe a setup. How could things turn so chaotic.

  3. if they gave the pots, yes they need micve, this is why when we sell we don't sell the actual utensils but the taste of hamets in them

  4. yes. but here anythign they put in the room was a gift to the goy (if I understood it correctly base don the little info publicized), which is why one family lost an expensive stroller, and not just the cookie and pretzel crumbs stuck to the seats.

  5. Tovmeod, how can you sell the taste of Hametz in the walls of a pot? How do you expect the goy to come and possess the taste without the taking the pot as well?? This is rubbish. You only need to sell products that are or contain or may contain Hametz. And at that you are better off not selling the real Hametz because of the dodgy status of the sale.

    I don't think you can sell cookie crumbs either while we're at it and you don't need to anyway unless you have a whole Kazayit of a cookie there.

  6. How could it be a setup? Wouldn't that make the whole "gift" invalid?

  7. I get into an argument each year with my rabbi when I cross off the line about selling the bliot in my pots. The argument point and counterpoint went:

    P) I couldn't deliver the bliot to him even if he wanted them.
    C) If he wanted the bliot, he could just boil some water in the pot and he'd get some. If he kashered the pot and somehow kept all the water involved he'd get all of them.

    P) Nobody wants the bliot anyway - it isn't anything useful.
    C) A manufacturer can package something you want and something you don't want together and your choices are to buy both or neither - you don't get to split the products up.

    P) Schmutz is not chametz, and bliot are even less than schmutz.
    C) Jews love to be machmir on pesach - it is the custom to be stringent where possible.


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