Corona times Mechiras Chametz & General Q&A on the Mechira

Corona times Mechiras Chametz & General Q&A on the Mechira

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May one appoint a Rav over the phone, or through fax, email or website registration form?[1]

Yes.[2] However, initially, it is best for one to personally sign on the Shtar Harsha and then send it in.[3] Practically, this year due to the corona required quarantine, one is to suffice with selling his Chametz in any of the above methods of communication.  

Does one have to do a Kinyan when appointing the Rabbi?

One is not required to perform a Kinyan with the appointed Rav who will sell one’s Chametz[4], although the custom is to do so.[5] Practically, this year due to the corona required quarantine, one is to suffice with selling his Chametz over the phone, or through fax, email or website registration form, and need not worry about the performance of a Kinyan.  

Does one have to give money to the Rabbi who is doing the sale?[6]

Although there is no obligation to do so, the custom is to give a donation to the Rabbi doing the sale.[7] Practically, this year due to the corona required quarantine, one should send money through an electronic method, such as using paypal, or bank transfer.  

Selling Chametz through a Rav within your time zone:

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One must be careful to sell his Chametz through a Rav who is located in his time zone and not in an earlier or later time zone. Selling the Chametz in a later time zone can invalidate the entire sale, and require one to destroy all his Chametz, as by the time the Chametz prohibition arrived in one’s location, the Chametz has not yet been sold. On the other hand, selling in an earlier time zone will cause the Chametz to be sold prior to the end time of eating, which will disable one from eating any of his Chametz from that time and onwards, being it already belongs to the gentile.[8] Thus, when selling Chametz online, through the phone, email etc, one is to verify the location of where the sale will be taking place. Next, we will discuss what to do if one is traveling for Pesach and leaving his Chametz in a different time zone.

 

If a person has traveled to a different time zone for Pesach, where should he sell his Chametz?[9] 

  • 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[10] rule that one goes after the area where the Chametz is located, 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 in Israel. Other Poskim[11], however, rule that one goes after the time zone of his current location for all matters. Thus, if an Israeli resident traveled from Israel to America for Pesach, he one can sell it before the 6th hour enters in his city in 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 sell the Chametz prior to the 6th hour in the area that the Chametz is in, if it is in an earlier time zone.[12]

Practical application: One who owns Chametz in a different time zone, 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. [If one is in the later time zone, he should discuss with the Rav in Israel as what he should do about eating Chametz once the 6th hour has arrived in the earlier time zone.[13]]

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 the area in which he currently lives.

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

Selling the Chametz on the 13th: Some Rabbanim and Batei Dinim sell the Chametz to the gentile also on the 13th of Nissan. One who signs on such a document would avoid the necessity of finding a Rav who sells the Chametz in the earlier time zone, as in any event the Chametz will be sold before the 6th hour of the day enters in either area. Thus, if one is traveling from America to Israel, he can sign in America on a Shtar Harsha that sells the Chametz on the 13th of Nissan. Nonetheless, one is to advise with the Rav as what to do regarding eating Chametz after this time.    

Buying back the Chametz after Pesach: There is no Halachic issue involved with being located in a later time zone and having the Chametz bought back after Pesach in the earlier time zone, as one has no intention to buy back the Chametz until after Pesach ends for him.[14] However, some Poskim[15] rule that one is to sell the Chametz in the earlier time zone and tell the Rav to not buy it back from the gentile on his behalf, until Pesach ends in his later time zone.[16]

 

If one who sold his Chametz through a Rav in a later time zone, is the Chametz prohibited after Pesach?

Some Poskim[17] rule the Chametz is forbidden in benefit after Pesach, and thus must be destroyed. Practically, one is to speak with a Rav regarding this matter.

 

Does one have to particularize in the contract all the areas that he owns Chametz in?

One is to write the exact address of where the Chametz is located.[18] Additionally, one should mention all the areas in the home where the Chametz is stored.[19] Nevertheless, even if one does not mention all the areas that contain the Chametz, the sale is remains valid.[20]

May one appoint two different Rabbis to sell his Chametz?

Yes. Doing so poses no Halachic worry of invalidating the sale, and whichever sale is validated first, makes the sale for him.[21] However, some[22] write that initially one should not appoint two different Rabbis to sell his Chametz for him.

May a Lubavitcher Chassid sell his Chametz through a non-Lubavitch Rav?

Being that there are areas of dispute amongst Poskim regarding the validity of the acquisitions, in which Admur rules in a specific way[23] it is therefore incumbent for one to sell his Chametz through a person who will be doing the sale in accordance to the rulings of the Alter Rebbe.[24] Most notably, is the Takana of Admur to use a Jewish Eiruv Kablan to guarantee payment for the sale, which is not followed by all sects of Jewry. [see Halacha 6A] Thus, when selling the Chametz through a non-Lubavitcher care should be taken to verify that it will be a valid sale according to Admur, and that a Jewish Eiruv Kablan will be used. Nonetheless, being that all standard sales of Mechiras Chametz use various forms of acquisitions, and if one is invalid the other validates the sale [See Halacha 6], Bedieved, one may appoint a non-Lubavitch Rav to do the sale on one’s behalf even if he will not be using an Eiruv Kablan.[25]

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[1] Tzemach Tzedek 46 “Since he revealed that he wants to appoint him as his messenger, it is valid”; brought in Shaar Hakolel 10; Sdei Chemed Chametz Umatzah 9:6-7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:17

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that it does not suffice to appoint a Rav to sell one’s Chametz, as the seller must personally sign on the sale document with the gentile. [Makor Chaim 8] According to this opinion, signing on the Shtar Harsha is an obligation, as only then is it considered that one signed on the sale document. Nevertheless, we do not rule like this opinion. [See Sdei Chemed ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 69]

[2] The reason: As stated above, and in the coming Q&A, one only needs to reveal to the Rav that he

[3] See Sdei Chemed Chametz Umatzah and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid that one should suspect for the opinion of the Makor Chaim ibid who requires a signature.

[4] Tzemach Tzedek 46; Shaar Hakolel Seder Mechiras Chametz 10

[5] Shevach Hamoadim 8:6; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:17

The reason: This is done merely to elucidate to the seller that it is a true sale, as in truth no acquisition is needed in appointing the Rav to be one’s sale messenger. [Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

[6] See Sdei Chemed Chametz Umatzah 9:6 that he would not take payment; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:218 that there is Halachic basis for giving money; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:17; Rabbi Blumenkrantz page 3-53

[7] Some authorities suggest that this is more than a mere custom, and may be required by the letter of the law, as the Rav cannot be trusted simply as a Shliach to sell the Chametz, and through paying him money it turns him into an employee working for the owner of the Chametz, of which he then can be trusted sell the Chametz for the owner. [Teshuvos Vehanhagos ibid]

[8] See however Chapter 16 Halacha 1 for conditions in which it would be allowed to eat the Chametz after the sale even in such a case!

[9] 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; The leaning opinion of Rebbe in Shulchan Menachem 3:229 is that we follow the area of the Chametz

[10] Oneg Yom Tov 36 based on Pesachim 32a; Kaf Hachaim 443:17; Opinion of Rebbe ibid

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

[12] So rules Igros Moshe 4:94; Minchas Yitzchak 7:25 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[13] One suggestion is to 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. 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. However, in truth, many contracts give the Jew explicit permission for him to take the Chametz for himself, with intent to repay the gentile, and hence the above is not necessary. One should discuss these points with the Rav.

Left his wife and kids for Pesach in a later time zone: One who is in an early time zone than his wife and children who have been left at home, must sell his Chametz in his current location and thus enters into the same dilemma as described above, as how can his family now eat the Chametz in his home? Minchas Yitzchak 7:25 suggests that the husband needs to give over the Chametz to his family as a complete present saying that they have permission to do with it whatever they wish, and they should sell their own Chametz through the Rav in their time zone.

[14] Admur 448:3; 450:21 in parentheses; Piskeiy Teshuvos

[15] Igros Moshe 4:94

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

[17] See Igros Moshe 4:94 and so is implied from Admur in Seder Mechira who rules the sale is Biblical; However, see Mishneh Halachos 6:96; Piskeiy Teshuvos 443:1 and Admur 448:8 that the Chametz is permitted in benefit so long as one showed interest in selling it

[18] Divrei Malkiel 4:22; Igros Moshe 1:150; See Kinyan Torah 4:43 that this must be written even Bedieved; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:29

[19] In the contract, Admur writes that the rooms with the Chametz have been marked for the gentile to know. Thus, one should mention within the contract all the areas which he has Chametz in. Shaar Hakolel Seder Mechira 4 writes that one needs to mention all the types of Chametz that he is selling, making sure to mention all the areas that they are being stored in; See Divrei Malkiel 4:22; Moadim Uzmanim 3:289

[20] Tzemach Tzedek 46 writes that even if the gentile was not made aware of the areas that contain the Chametz, it is nevertheless valid, as anyways the gentile knows that all the rooms which contain Chametz within them are rented to him, and there is thus no greater sign for him then that, Brought in Shaar Hakolel Seder Mechira 12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:29

[21] Peri Hasadeh 3:91Minchas Yitzchak 6:38 based on Michaber C.M. 240:13; Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:6

The reason: There is no Halachic invalidation of the sale involved in appointing two different Rabbis to sell one’s Chametz, as whichever Rabbi sells the Chametz first, is the one who actually sells it for the person.

[22] Rabbi Blumenkrantz 3-55; However see Orchos Rabbeinu 2:2 that the Chazon Ish and Steipler would even initially sell through many different Rabbanim

[23] Such as that one must have a Jewish guarantor, and that a Kinyan chatzer does not help for a gentile. This is in addition to the fact that by all means one should use the sale contract which Admur authored as opposed to contracts taken from other sources. See Shaar Hakolel on Seder Mechiras Chametz for the explanation of the various nuances found in the Shtar Mechira of Admur, in contrast to that of other Poskim.

[24] So replied Rav Eli Landau and Rav S.B. Levin, that the main Kinyan of Admur in the Siddur is Kinyan Kesef, and it hence needs an Eiruv Kablan, while the other Kinyanim are just “Litosefes.” Hence, if the Kinyan Kesef is invalid, it can nullify the whole sale according to Admur. Vetzaruch Iyun, as Admur 448:8 clearly rules that Kinyan Kesef alone does not suffice, and hence one cannot rely on it alone. Thus, one must say the other Kinyanim are also valid in their own right, otherwise there is no Kosher Mechiras Chametz today according to Admur.

[25] Admur 448:7-8 rules that the main Kinyan is Meshicha, although Lechatchila one must do also Kinyan Kesef with an Eiruv Kablan because some say Meshicha is not enough; In 448:11 he rules that if one can’t do Meshicha, then he must do one of the other Kinyanim listed there [and here below]. This implies that the entire need of an Eiruv Kablan is only when one is relying on Kinyan Kesef with Meshicha, otherwise, one can rely on the other Kinyanim even without an Eiruv Kablan. So is also implied from Tzemach Tzedek in Piskei Dinim, brought in Shaar Hakolel 2, that “By Kinyan Kesef one needs an Eiruv Kablan.” In other words, lack of an Eiruv Kablan does not nullify the other forms of Kinyanim.

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