Mechiras Chometz when traveling to different time zones

If a person has traveled to a different time zone for Pesach, where should he sell his Chametz?[1]  

  • Example 1: If an Israeli traveled to America for Pesach does he sell his Chametz in Israel or in America?
  • Example 2: If an American traveled to Israel for Pesach does he sell his Chametz in Israel or in America?

The dispute in Poskim: Some Poskim[2] rule that one goes after the area that the Chametz is in whether to be stringent or to be lenient. Thus, if one travels from Israel to America he must sell it before the 6th hour of Erev Pesach enters in Israel. Other Poskim[3] however rule that one goes after the time zone of the area that he is in. Thus, if one traveled from Israel to America then one can sell it before the 6th hour enters in his area America, and does not have to precede it to the time in Israel. Practically, we rule like this latter opinion, although its proper to be stringent like the former opinion to get rid of the Chametz prior to the 6th hour in the area that the Chametz is in.[4]

The final ruling: One who owns Chametz in the area which he traveled from, is to always do the sale in whichever area is the earlier time zone [east versus west], whether he traveled to an earlier time zone or later time zone. Thus, in both examples above, if one has Chametz in his home area he is to sell his Chametz through a Rav in Israel. [Although when doing so in the first example one should specify that he is only selling him the Chametz in that time zone, otherwise he will not be able to eat Chametz even before the 5th hour, as it was already sold.[5]]

A further example-Flying from east coast to west in America: When flying for Pesach from the east coast to the west coast in America, or from the east coast to the middle of America, one needs to make sure to sell his Chametz in accordance to the time that Chametz becomes prohibited in the east coast. Similarly, when flying to Hawaii from America for Pesach one must be careful to sell his Chametz by the Rav in area which he currently lives.[6]

Flying from west to east in America: He must sell the Chametz in accordance to the time of the east coast.

Regarding buying back the Chametz after Pesach: There is no problem for the Chametz to be bought back in a place that Pesach ends earlier then the time it ends in the place that one lives, as one has no intention to buy back the Chametz until after Pesach ends for him.[7] However some Poskim[8] rule that one is to sell the Chametz in the earlier time zone and tell the Rav to not buy it back on his behalf from the gentile until Pesach ends in his later time zone.[9]

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[1] Igros Moshe 4/94; Minchas Yitzchak 7/25; Mishneh Halachos 6/93; Beir Moshe 7 Kuntrus Elektri 115; Shraga Hameir 2/65; 4/84; Piskeiy Teshuvos 443/1; leaning opinion of Rebbe in Shulchan Menachem 3/229 being that we follow the area of the Chametz

[2] Oneg Yom Tov 36 based on Pesacim 32a; Kaf Hachaim 443/17; opinion of Rebbe ibid

[3] Chesed Leavraham Kama 35; Levushei Mordechai Tinyana 47; Eretz Tzevi 1/83; Mikraeiy Kodesh 1/55; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[4] So rules Igros Moshe 4/94; Minchas Yitzchak 7/25 brought in Piskeiy

[5] Accordingly, when one has traveled to a later time zone [east to west] one would need to make 2 sale contracts, writing in each one that it is only valid for the Chametz of its area, in order so he be able to still eat Chametz in the west after the time of the East has arrived.

[6]  Pashut. Brought in Blumenkrantz

[7] Piskeiy Teshuvah

[8] Igros Moshe 4/94

[9] Rather the Rav is to buy it for himself and then the original owner will buy it back from the Rav.

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