What to do with a gentile’s Chametz that entered one’s home on Pesach?

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What to do with a gentile’s Chametz that entered one’s home on Pesach?

Before Pesach, it is permitted to store the Chametz of a gentile in one’s home, so long as one does not have any liability over it even in a case of negligence, and it remains behind a Mechitza [divider] of ten Tefach height.[1] Thus, we have the allowance to sell one’s Chametz before Pesach and leave it in one’s home. The following will discuss what to do with Chametz that arrived into one’s home on Pesach itself.

Gentile brought Chametz into one’s home to store, or to give as a present? If a gentile brought over Chametz on Pesach [as a gift, or] for storage, one is to refuse its acceptance and not allow it to remain in his home over Pesach.[2] If, however, this already occurred [such as against one’s will, or unknowingly to oneself], then although one does not transgress owning it[3], and is thus not obligated to destroy it, nevertheless, if one is able to return the Chametz to the gentile, or throw it into a public area without arousing the anger of the gentile, then he must do so.[4] However, one may not touch the Chametz with his hands, even for the sake of returning it, or throwing it outside.[5] If this is not possible, then one is to make a Mechitzah of ten Tefach [80 cm] height in front of the Chametz[6] or alternatively, move it with a stick to the area designated for the Chametz that was sold before Pesach.[7] If one discovered the Chametz of the gentile on Shabbos or Yom Tov, one is to cover the vessel until the evening, and then immediately make a Mechitzah of ten Tefach in front of it.[8] If the Chametz of the gentile was discovered on the last day of Pesach, towards the night, then there is no need to even cover the Chametz.[9] 

May one allow a gentile to eat Chametz in his home on Pesach?[10] One may allow a gentile to eat Chametz in one’s home on Pesach[11], so long as the gentile is not an employee for whom one must provide his meals [i.e. a maid].[12] The gentile may even eat the Chametz on one’s dining room table. Nonetheless, this carries the following limitations and regulations: The Jew is forbidden to eat on the same table as the gentile who is eating Chametz. This applies even if one will be eating on a different tablecloth. Likewise, after the gentile finishes eating, one must clean the table well from the leftover Chametz crumbs.[13] When the gentile leaves the house, one must make sure that he takes all the Chametz back with him.

 

Summary:

It is permitted to store a gentile’s Chametz in one’s home from before Pesach, if one does not have liability over it, and places it behind a Mechitza. However, on Pesach itself, one may not allow a gentile to leave his Chametz in one’s home, and certainly may not accept a Chametz present from a gentile. In the event that the Chametz was left in one’s home against one’s will, or without one’s knowledge, then if it cannot be returned to the gentile, or placed outside, then it is to be placed behind a Mechitza using a broom. It is permitted to allow a gentile to enter Chametz into one’s home, and eat it there, so long as he takes all the Chametz back with him upon leaving.

 

Q&A

May one visit, or live in, the house of a gentile during Pesach?

Although it is seemingly permitted to visit, or even live in the home of a gentile throughout Pesach even though the gentile will have Chametz in the home, nevertheless, it is best to avoid doing so.[14]

 

May one allow gentile employees to eat Chametz foods in one’s home/office/business?

It is permitted for a gentile employee to eat Chametz in one’s property, such as one’s home, office or business, so long as one did not obligate himself to supply the employee with meals. If, however, he supplies the employee with their daily meals, as is common practice with live in maids, then one may not allow them to eat Chametz in one’s home or property, as explained above.

 

What should one do if a child brings home Chametz on Pesach?[15]

If the child has reached the age of Chinuch, then one is to destroy the Chametz through flushing it down the toilet or burning it.[16] If the child is below the age of Chinuch, then one is to discard it outside the home, making sure not to touch it in the process.[17]

 

What should one do if he received a Chametz food in the mail?

One purchased/acquired the Chametz before Pesach:[18] If one purchased and acquired this Chametz before Pesach, then if he performed Mechiras Chametz, it is considered sold to the gentile, and he is to refuse its acceptance, and if it was already received, he is to move it with a broom to the area designated as sold to the gentile. If he did not perform Mechiras Chametz, then the Chametz must be destroyed, as explained in Halacha 6B. 

One did not purchase/acquire the Chametz: If during Pesach one was sent Chametz that he did not purchase and never acquired, such as he was sent Chametz from a company for promotion purposes, then it follows the same law as Chametz of a gentile which arrives on Pesach. Thus, he is to refuse to accept it, and if it was already placed on one’s property, then it is to be swept to the public area using a broom. If, however, the company is owned by a Jew, or the Chametz was sent by a Jew who did not perform Mechiras Chametz, then the Chametz is to be destroyed, as explained in Chapter 3 Halacha 14A.

 

What should one do if Chametz was delivered to his food store on Pesach?

This follows the same law as the previous Q&A.[19]

 

What should a prisoner do if he was delivered Chametz food to his cell on Pesach?[20]

This follows the same ruling as above, that one is to refuse its acceptance, and if not possible. Then it is to be placed behind a Mechitzah [if available] or under a vessel.

 

[1] Admur 440:2, 5; See Chapter 5 Halacha 5!

[2] Admur 440:3 and 448:5 regarding storage; See Admur 448:3-4 regarding a gift; See next Halacha!

The reason one may not accept the Chametz: The reason for why the Sages decreed that the Chametz may not be accepted is in order to a) avoid liability on the Chametz that is left for storage [Admur 448:5] and b) so one not forget and come to eat from it on Pesach. [Admur 440:3; 448:5] Accepting a gift: Regarding accepting a Chametz gift, there is a greater severity involved in accepting it, as through accepting it one shows he is interested to acquire it and transgresses the owning prohibition. [See Admur 448:3-4 and next Halacha] Vetzaruch Iyun why regarding a present in 448:3-4 Admur does not state that one must actually refuse it, but that he is simply to avoid telling him where to put it, thus implying it may stay in one’s home. Vetzaruch Iyun as nonetheless, the worry that one may come to eat it still applies.

[3] Admur 448:3 “However, if the Jew does not tell the gentile to place it in a private place and the like, then even if the gentile does place the Chametz down in his property, his property does not acquire it for him, as he probably does not want to own the Chametz, being that it is forbidden or him to own it, and being that he does not want to own it, his property cannot act as an emissary to acquire it for him, as one cannot become an emissary to acquire something for someone else against that persons will.”; 450:21 in parentheses “Although the gentile entered the Chametz into the Jews property, nonetheless, his property does not acquire it for him, as a person’s property does not acquire him an item that he does not want, such as Chametz on Pesach.” See also Admur Kuntrus Achron 436:3

[4] Admur 440:5 and 446:7 regarding a Pikadon

The reason: The reason for why the [Sages] decreed that the Chametz must be removed is because [if one were allowed to leave it], perhaps he will come to eat it. [Admur ibid]

[5] Admur 446:7 “If the roof of a gentile was near the roof of a Jew, and Chametz rolled from the roof of the Gentile to the roof of the Jew, then if it is Chol Hamoed or Erev Pesach from the 6th hour, then one may not take the Chametz with his hands to return it to the roof of the Gentile, [but rather] is to use a stick to push it into the Gentiles roof, or into a public area.”

The reason: The reason one may not move the Chametz with his hands and rather must use a stick is because the stick serves as a reminder, so he not forget about the Chametz prohibition and come to eat from it. [Admur ibid]

[6] Admur 440:5

The reason: The Mechitza serves as a Heker/reminder, so he not come to forget about the prohibition of eating Chametz, and not come to using it. [Admur ibid]

The reason it does not help to place the Chametz behind a Mechitza by disowned Chametz: The reason the Sages allowed one to place the Chametz of a gentile behind a Mechitza, even though one who disowns Chametz must destroy it completely from the home, is because by a gentile’s Chametz, one is more hesitant to eat from it, and thus placing it behind a Mechitza suffices. However, by Chametz of Hefker, that was disowned, one is not hesitant to eat from it even if a Mechitza is placed. [Admur in gloss on Kuntrus Achron 440:11]

If the gentile will return shortly to take back his Chametz: If the gentile plans to return within the day to retrieve his Chametz, then one does not need to make a Mechitzah in front of it, and rather it suffices to cover it with a vessel. [Admur 440:6]

[7] Admur 446:7; Shevet Halevi 9:116 in second option

[8] Admur 440:5 and 446:7 “If one found on Shabbos or Yom Tov the Chametz of a gentile which rolled onto his roof, he is not to push it with a rod, being that [by doing so] he is moving Muktzah, of which it is forbidden to move Muktzah even through moving another item as was explained in chapter 311 [Halacha 14]. Rather one is to cover it with a vessel until evening and then push it with a rod back onto the roof of the gentile or into a public area.

The reason: As the Chametz is Muktzah, and one may not move Muktzah even through using another item to move it, as explained in chapter 311. [Admur 446:7] One cannot rely simply on the vessel, due to a decree that one may come to remove the vessel and order to use it, and the Chametz will be revealed and one will forget and come to eat it.  [Admur 440:5]

[9] Admur 448:4

The reason: As there is no need to suspect that one may come to forget and eat it in such a short time period. [Admur ibid]

[10] Admur 440:3-4

[11] The reason: As there is no prohibition against seeing another person’s Chametz on Pesach. [Admur ibid]

[12] Admur 440:3

The reason: The reason a gentile employee which is provided meals may not eat his own Chametz in one’s home is because this appears to others as if the employer is giving his own Chametz to the gentile and is thus transgressing the prohibition against benefiting from Chametz. [Admur ibid]

[13] Admur 440:4; Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur omitted not to clean the crumbs using his hands!

[14] From the letter of the law it is permitted to do so, as although even the Chametz of a gentile must be placed behind a Mechitza lest he come to eat it [Admur 440:5], this is only required in one’s own home, when the gentile is not there. However, when living in a gentile’s home, in presence of the gentile, we do not suspect that one will eat from his Chametz unless one is eating with him the same table. [See Admur 440:3-4] Nonetheless, this is certainly not an ideal situation, and hence one should do all in his power to make other arrangements for Pesach.

[15]  See P”M Pesicha Koleles 4:2; 434 A”A 9; Har Tzevi 2:45Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:3

[16] The reason: The Chametz should be destroyed as the child has acquired it on Pesach, and thus, due to Chinuch, must be destroyed.

[17] The reason: The Chametz does not need to be destroyed as a) a child below Chinuch does not acquire an item and b) A child below Chinuch does not carry a prohibition against owning Chametz. Nonetheless, one must get rid of the Chametz from the home, as stated above regarding the Chametz of a gentile that was brought to one’s home on Pesach.

[18] See Chelkas Yaakov 1:44; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:32

[19] If the Jew had purchased and acquired this Chametz before Pesach, then if he performed Mechiras Chametz to all his Chametz, he is to refuse its acceptance, and if it was already received, he is to move it with a broom to the area designated as sold to the gentile. If he did not perform Mechiras Chametz, then the Chametz must be destroyed, as explained in Halacha 6B. 

[20] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:2 regarding selling the rights of his Chametz food before Pesach

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