Business interactions with Chametz on Pesach-Debts, rentals, brokering, presents

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Business interactions with Chametz on Pesach:[1]

As discussed in Halacha 4-5, it is Biblically forbidden for a Jew to own, or receive benefit from Chametz over Pesach. The following Halacha will discuss various cases of business interaction with Chametz, and whether they transgress the above prohibition.

*Important note: The following laws are only in relevance to the Chametz prohibition. In addition, at times a working on Chol Hamoed prohibition may be applicable, and must be negated, as explained in the laws of Chol Hamoed.

Receiving payment for Chametz sold before Pesach:[2] It is permitted for a Jew to accept payment on Chol Hamoed Pesach for Chametz that he sold before Pesach. Likewise, a Jewish buyer may pay on Chol Hamoed Pesach for Chametz that he bought before Pesach. [Accordingly, groceries that give future credit to customers to make purchases, may collect payment for their purchases on Chol Hamoed Pesach.]

Selling one’s Chametz business for the duration of Pesach: See Chapter 5 Halacha 1!

Renting a car, or property, to a gentile if one knows he will enter Chametz into it:[3] It is permitted to rent a donkey [i.e. car] or room to a gentile even if one knows that the gentile will enter Chametz into the room or car and eat it while there.[4] This, however, is with exception to a case where the gentile explicitly told the Jew of his intent to use it for Chametz, as explained next.

Renting a car, or property, to a gentile for the sake of transporting/storing Chametz:[5] It is forbidden during Pesach [or on Erev Pesach, even before the 5th hour[6]] to rent a donkey [i.e. car] or room to a gentile for the sake of him transporting, or storing his Chametz there.[7] This, however, is only forbidden if the gentile states that this is the purpose of his rental, otherwise, it is permitted to rent it to him, even if one knows this to be his intended use.[8] Furthermore, before Erev Pesach, it is permitted to rent a car or room to a gentile for the duration of Pesach, even if the gentile explicitly states his intent to use it for Chametz storage or transportation.[9] It is permitted to lend a car to a gentile on Pesach even if one knows that his intent of borrowing it is to transport Chametz.[10]

Storing Chametz of a gentile for free?[11] If a gentile brought over Chametz to a Jew on Pesach in order to store it in his house, one must refuse its acceptance.[12] If the gentile is of domineering nature and will not allow the Jew to deny him from placing the Chametz in his property, then the Jew must explicitly tell the gentile that he does not want to accept the Chametz, and is thus not liable for any damages that may occur to it.[13]

Brokering Chametz-Buying Chametz on behalf of a gentile:[14] It is Biblically forbidden for a Jew to purchase Chametz on Pesach on behalf of a gentile, even if he will be paying with money that the gentile gave him, and certainly if he is using his own money.[15] [If, however, he will not be paying at all, and is simply brokering between the gentile and Chametz owner, then it is only forbidden to be done if the Jew receives benefit from the Chametz deal that he has brokered.[16] Thus, a Jew may act as a broker on Pesach to help a gentile purchase Chametz from another gentile if he receives no payment or liability, and does not perform the actual purchase.[17] However, a paid broker whose occupation involves purchasing Chametz from food companies on behalf of food stores that he represents, may not do so on Pesach even if he does not pay the company at all, and the payment is taken care of by the store he represents.[18] If, however, he is also purchasing non-Chametz products from the store, and is not the one giving payment, then it is permitted to be done.[19] The same applies if he receives a monthly salary for his work which is not exclusive to brokering the purchase of Chametz.[20]]

Receiving a Chametz present from a gentile:[21] It is forbidden for a Jew to accept a Chametz present from the hands of a gentile during Pesach, and he may not direct the gentile to leave the Chametz in a private area of his home.[22] This applies even on the last day of Pesach, near the end of the holiday. If he accepts the Chametz and takes it in his hands, or has it acquired by having it placed in his home, he transgresses the Biblical owning prohibition and it is obligated to be immediately destroyed. 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, and he does not transgress owning it by having it left in his possession.[23] Nevertheless, it is proper[24] to be stringent to explicitly tell the gentile that one does not want ones property to acquire the gentile’s Chametz for him.[25] Whenever the gentile’s Chametz gift was left in one’s possession, and one did not acquire it, it is either to be returned, placed outside, or placed behind a Mechitza, as explained in the previous Halacha!

Providing gentile employees Chametz foods to eat on Pesach: See Halacha 12!

Giving a gentile money for him to buy Chametz for himself: See Halacha 12!

Benefiting from money received from transgressing and selling Chametz on Pesach:[26] It is Rabbinically forbidden for the seller to benefit from the money received in exchange for selling Chametz on Pesach, if one received the money prior to giving the Chametz to the gentile, unless it is a case of great loss.[27] This applies even if the person selling the Chametz is not the owner of the Chametz.[28] However, if one received the money only after the gentile took the Chametz, the money remains permitted in benefit even for the seller.[29] The above only applies to the seller, however, for all other people, the money remains permitted in benefit in all cases.[30] This applies even to the original owner of the Chametz in a case that someone else sold it on his behalf.[31]

 

Q&A

May a Jew work for a gentile owned store, or company which sells Chametz products?[32]

If the store also sells non-Chametz products, and the Chametz products is not their main item of sale, then it is permitted to do so [in those cases in which it is permitted for one to work during Chol Hamoed] so long as one does not come into hand contact with the Chametz [such as a store guard, accountant, or manager, etc]. If the main product that is sold is Chametz, then it is forbidden to work for them over Pesach even if one will not come into contact with the Chametz [such as a guard and the like].[33]

 

May a Jew working for a delivery company, deliver a Chametz package for a gentile on Pesach?

It is forbidden to have liability over Chametz on Pesach as explained in Halacha 5C. Thus, if the Jew will be held liable if he is negligent and causes loss or damage to the product, it is Biblically forbidden for him to deliver it. Aside for the above issue, it is also forbidden to get paid for delivering Chametz. Furthermore, it is forbidden to touch Chametz on Pesach, as explained next. If, however, the Jew will not have any liability over the Chametz even in case of negligence, and he is not involved in touching the Chametz [i.e. he is the driver and another person comes with him to deliver], and he will not be getting paid specifically for this delivery [i.e. works for UPS and gets a monthly salary], then it is permitted to be done [if he has an allowance for working on Chol Hamoed].

 

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[1] See Admur chapter 450 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 450 for various case examples of business interactions involving Chametz, and when it is forbidden or allowed.

[2] Admur 450:1; Michaber 450:1

[3] Admur 450:9

[4] The reason: As the entering and eating of the Chametz is not the purpose of the rental, and hence one is not making money from the fact the gentile can eat Chametz there. [Admur ibid]

[5] Admur 450:8; M”B 450:25; Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:6

[6] Admur 450:11

[7] The reason: As it is forbidden to make money from an item that is forbidden in benefit. [Admur ibid]

[8] The reason: As so long as the gentile did not make clear the purpose of his rental, the Jew would receive payment regardless of what he uses it for, and hence he makes no money from the fact that he specifically used it to store Chametz. [See Admur ibid]

[9] Admur 450:11

[10] See Admur 450:12 who only prohibits lending by a pot, as the Jew receives benefit from the cooked Chametz, however, if there is no benefit involved, then it is allowed; This is unlike Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:6 who writes to prohibit even lending

[11] Admur 448:5

[12] The reason: 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] See Admur ibid regarding the last day of Pesach that we do not suspect for the second reason.

[13] The reason: As if he were to accept it then he would be liable for any damage that might occur to the Chametz and when one has liability for Chametz it is as if he owns it. [Admur ibid; See Admur 441:14, 440:13 and Kuntrus Achron 440:6 that a Shomer carries liability of negligence even for the Chametz of a gentile, and we initially suspect that such liability is considered ownership, as ruled in 440:16; See Halacha 5C!]

[14] Admur 450:27

[15] The reason: As there is no status of “Shlichus” by a gentile, and hence whatever purchase the Jew makes on behalf of the gentile, is legally considered that he acquired it, and he thus transgressed the owning prohibition of Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzeh. [Admur ibid]

[16] P”M 450 A”A 12, brought in M”B 450:23

[17] Shraga Hameir 1:13; Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:4

[18] Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:299; Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:4; Furthermore, some say he may not do so even before Pesach if the acquisition will only take place on Shabbos. [See Maharash Engel 4:52; Hagahos Maharsham 450; Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 117:14; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

The reason: As a broker gets paid for the transaction, and it is forbidden to make profit from Chametz dealings on Pesach. [ibid]

[19] P”M 450 A”A 12, brought in M”B 450:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[20] Piskeiy Teshuvos 450 footnote 13

[21] Admur 448:3-4

[22] The reason one may not accept a present: If a gentile brought Chametz over on Pesach to a Jew to give to him as a present, then even if the Chametz was brought on the last day of Pesach, near the end of the holiday, the Jew may not accept it from the gentile’s hand, as through accepting it he acquires it with an absolute method of acquisition, and thus the Chametz now belongs to a Jew, and he thus transgresses the prohibition of Baal Yiraeh and Baal Yimatzei until night. Similarly, the Jew may not tell the gentile to place the Chametz in a private area in his house, as by saying so the Jew shows that he is interested in acquiring the Chametz, and in such a case when it is placed in one’s property, the property serves as one’s hand and acquires for him the Chametz, as one’s property is like ones emissary for all matters. Similarly, the Jew may not make any motion implying that he is interested in acquiring the Chametz. [Admur 448:3-4]

[23] Admur 448:3

The reason: As he probably does not want to own the Chametz, being that it is forbidden or him to own it, and since 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. [Admur ibid]

[24] Lit. Tov

[25] Admur 448:4

[26] Admur 443:9-12

[27] The reason there is no Biblical prohibition: Biblically, it is only with regards to idolatry that we hold that the money received in exchange for the sale is forbidden in benefit. This is learned from the words “Vehayisa Cherem Kamohu“, while from the words “Ki Cherem Hu“ we learn to exclude all other prohibitions, like Arlah and Kileiy Hakerem and Chametz and meat and milk, that by them if they are switched or sold, the item/money received is permitted in benefit. [Admur 443:9]

[28] Admur 443:11

[29] Admur 443:12

The reason: According to all, if at the sale the Chametz was first taken by the gentile and only afterwards the money was given, then the money may be used even by the seller, as when the gentile took the Chametz he automatically acquired it [as it is prohibited in benefit, and thus is Hefker], and thus the money given is like a present and it’s not considered to be the sales money for the Chametz. [Admur ibid]

[30] Admur 443:10

[31] Admur 443:11

[32] See P”M 450 A”A 12; Shaareiy Efraim 66; Halef Lecha Shlomo 263; Doveiv Meisharim 1:40; Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:11

[33] See however Shaar Efraim ibid who is lenient; See also Shearim Hametzuyanim 117:13 regarding receiving Behavlah, such as if he receives a monthly salary.

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