How to store the sold Chametz

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Leaving the sold Chametz in one’s home over Pesach and where it should be stored:

It is permitted to leave a gentile’s Chametz in one’s home over Pesach[1], if one does not have any liability over it even in a case of negligence[2], and one places it behind a Mechitza/divider of ten Tefachim [80 cm.].[3] Thus, it is permitted to leave all of one’s Chametz that is included within the sale of Mechiras Chametz within one’s home over Pesach, so long as it is behind a divider that reaches the minimum height of ten Tefach.[4]


The laws of the Mechitza-Where is the Chametz to be stored?

The Chametz of a gentile must be kept behind a Mechitza/divider as stated above.

Height:[5] The Mechitza must be a minimum height of ten Tefach [80 cm.]. It does not suffice to cover it with a vessel.[6]

Sturdiness:[7] The Mechitza placed in front of the Chametz must be permanent and sturdy in a way that it obstructs people from entering. It does not suffice to hang a sheet and the like in front of the Chametz.[8]



Examples of valid Mechitzas and areas where the sold Chametz may be stored:[9]

·         A room which will be closed and locked throughout Pesach.

·         A closet that will remain closed and locked throughout Pesach.



Must the Mechitza/divider surround the entire Chametz?

Yes. The Chametz must be surrounded by all sides by the permanent and sturdy ten Tefach divider in order to remove its direct accessibility. It does not suffice to simply place it in front of the Chametz and leave the sides not surrounded.[10]


Taping and locking the sold areas:

All the areas that are sold to the gentile due to containing Chametz, or due to not being cleaned for Chametz, are to be properly closed and locked [with use of string, padlocks, child locks, or plastic cable ties] throughout Pesach.[11] However, by areas that contain only a suspicion of Chametz, and not actual Chametz [such as areas sold due to not being checked for Pesach] then it suffices to place tape on them and write Chametz and the like.[12]


May one leave wrapped Chametz in his fridge or freezer?

If he will be using the fridge during Pesach, then it is forbidden to leave any actual Chametz there even if he wraps the Chametz well and writes sold on it, and even if he tapes off an entire shelf for the Chametz.[13] If, however, one will not be using the fridge at all during Pesach, such as he has a Pesach fridge, then one may leave Chametz there and lock up the fridge [or turn it around so its door faces the wall] throughout Peach.

Closing up only the freezer or fridge compartment: It is disputed amongst Rabbanim if one may leave Chametz foods in his fridge or freezer, and close up the entire fridge or freezer compartment throughout Pesach, while making use of the other compartment.[14] Practically, one should not do so, especially if he is unable to properly lock the compartment that will store the Chametz.


May one leave sold Chametz in his kitchen cabinets?

It is best not to do so[15], although the custom is to be lenient.[16] One should make sure to close and lock these cabinets properly [with use of string, padlocks, child locks, or plastic cable zip ties].


Does one have to do Bedikas Chametz to areas of Chametz that will be sold to the gentile?

See Chapter 4 Halacha 2 in Q&A!


Entering and opening the areas that contain Chametz and were sold to the gentile:[17]

It is forbidden for one to make use of the areas sold to the gentile.[18] However, on mere occasion, one may momentarily enter into a Chametz room or closet, in order to retrieve something from there that is not Chametz.[19]


May one sell his home to exempt it from Bedika and then live in it, or have others live in it, throughout Pesach?[20]

No, as stated above. See also Chapter 3 Halacha 1 in Q&A!


May one who went away and did not clean his home for Pesach, having included it in the sale to the gentile, enters the home during Pesach?[21]

One may not do so on a steady basis. However, one may do so on occasion to retrieve a necessary item and the like.


May one who sold his house with exception to a single room live in that room over Pesach?

This matter requires further analysis.[22]


[1] Admur 440:2 and 8; 448:7 ; See Chapter 2 Halacha 5A!

[2] Admur 440:9-16; See Chapter 2 Halacha 5C!

Do we retain liability over the gentiles Chametz that remains in our home? Simply allowing the Chametz to remain in one’s home after the sale does not make it into a Pikadon, and does not make one liable for damages, even due to negligence, unless the gentile stipulated otherwise. [Admur 448:7 “It is proper for the gentile to remove the Chametz from the property of the Jew before Pesach, as otherwise it appears as if the Jew has accepted to store the gentiles Chametz in his home. Nevertheless, from the letter of the law, there is no room to suspect for this.”; M”A 448:4; Taz 448:4; Bach 448] Nonetheless, since it appears as if the Jew has accepted to store the gentiles Chametz in his home and has thus accepted liability, therefore, the custom is to include as part of the sale transaction, the renting of the rooms in which the sold Chametz is found, as now the Chametz is no longer in our property. [See Admur 448:7; Makor Chaim 448:9]

Issues of liability involved in Mechiras Chametz: In addition to selling the Chametz to the gentile, one must also negate any liability from the Chametz which remains in one’s home. There are several issues presented regarding Mechiras Chametz today that can cause liability to fall. 1) No known amount: Some Poskim rule that in today’s form of Mechiras Chametz, there is some form of liability that the Jew has for the Chametz that was sold to the gentile being there is no known amount of Chametz being sold. To counteract this issue, part of the sale transaction must include renting the rooms in which the Chametz is found in the gentile, as although we remain liable, the Chametz is not in our property. [Makor Chaim 448:9; See however Sheiris Yehuda 8, brought in Shaar Hakolel 18 who counters this claim; Seder Mechiras Chametz Levin p. 162] 2) Access to the Chametz: Not giving the gentile access to the Chametz can cause one to have liability. [See Admur 448:14 and Halacha 6C!]

[3] Admur 440:5 and 8; 448:4; See Halacha 10 and Chapter 5 Halacha 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 440:5]

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 Acharon 440:11]

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

[4] See Admur 448:7 that it is nevertheless proper to remove the Chametz from the home being it appears like one accepted liability, and for this reason that we rent to the gentile the rooms in which the sold Chametz is found. [Makor Chaim 448:9]

[5] Admur 440:5 and 8

[6] Admur 440:5; 446:7

The reason: 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]

[7] Admur 440:5

[8] The reason: As one is able to [move the sheet and] go under the sheet, and there is thus worry that one may come to eat from the Chametz that is placed there.

[9] So is the custom; In general, Tzaruch Iyun as to the allowance of leaving Chametz in a room or closet. Admur ibid ruled that leaving it under a vessel is invalid because we suspect one may take the vessel to use and then come to eat the Chametz. This worry should likewise apply to leaving Chametz in a room or closet, as perhaps one will open the room or closet to get something, and will then come to eat the Chametz. However, in truth the cases are not the same and it is hence permitted to do so, due to the following reasons: a) The room and closet themselves are sold/rented to the gentile, and we do not suspect that one will steal the use of the gentile’s property. b) Even if one does enter the room once in a while to retrieve something [as will be explained below], this is only momentarily and perhaps we do not suspect he will come to eat the Chametz in this short amount of time. [See Admur 440:6]

[10] So is implied from Admur ibid in his reasoning for invalidating a sheet due to that one can bypass it. So too here, if one can bypass the Mechitza from a different angle, then what purpose does it serve.

[11] See Admur 451:1 regarding Chametz vessels, and all the more so would this apply to actual Chametz!

[12] Nitei Gavriel in name of Ashel Avraham Butchach; Betzel Hachochma 6:34; Kinyan Torah 1:110; Mishneh Halachos 8:189; Orchos Rabbeinu Pesach 17

[13] The reason: As a) The Chametz must be behind a Kosher Mechitza of ten Tefach, and wrapping it up, or taping it, is not defined as a Kosher Mechitza. b) The Mechira contract rents the areas of the Chametz to the gentile, hence the entire fridge is rented to him, and one thus cannot make regular use of it over Pesach.

[14] Although it is possible to define the compartment as a valid Mechitza, nevertheless a second issue still remains, and that is that the entire fridge is rented to the gentile, and hence how can one now make use of it.

[15] Rav M.S. Ashkenazi of Kfar Chabad discouraged using it. This can be due to several reasons: a) It is not a Mechitza of ten Tefach; b) One is accustomed to opening the closets throughout the year and taking out food [see Admur 451:1]; c) This possibly causes all the cabinets to be rented to the gentile. This especially applies against leaving Chametz in the cabinets under one’s counter, as if one does so he may no longer be allowed to use the counter for his needs being that it is rented to the gentile. [Rav Ashkenazi]

[16] Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:11 footnote 50; Based on Mishneh Halachos 8:189 regarding bathroom cabinets; and so is the custom!

The reason: Although the cabinets are not ten Tefachim tall, as is required by a Mechitza, nevertheless it is valid being that we consider the wall that the cabinet is attached to, to be the Mechitza. [ibid] Vetzaruch Iyun, as a) We explained above that the Chametz must be surrounded by all sides by a Kosher Mechitza. b) People are used to opening it during the year.

[17] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:14; 436 footnote 20

[18] The reason: As a) Due to worry that one may come to eat the Chametz as it is for this reason that the Chametz, or potential Chametz in an unchecked room, must be placed behind the Mechitza, and by making use of the room or closet one invalidates its Mechitza [which were the closet and room doors]. B) The sale of Chametz to the gentile that is performed today rents to the gentile all the areas of one’s home where the Chametz is kept, and all the areas where there is possible Chametz and one did not perform Bedikas Chametz. Accordingly, it is forbidden for one to make use of the rooms, closets, and cupboards which were designated to be sold to the gentile.

[19] The reason for allowance: a) Some contracts explicitly include a clause which allows the Jew to enter the rented areas on occasion if he needs to. [Sivas Tziyon 10 in name of Noda Beyehuda; Orchos Chaim 448:19; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:290; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid] Furthermore, even those contract who do not include this clause [such as the contract written in Seder Mechiras Chametz [Levin], Contract of Rav Raskin] seemingly one always retains the right to retrieve an item that is his from someone else’s property. [See Admur Hilchos Gezeila Ugeneiva 28 based on the principal of Adam Oseh Din Leatzmo] b) We are not worried that one may come to eat from the Chametz, as one will only remain there momentarily, and the worry seemingly does not apply in such a case. Hence, we do not find any source for prohibiting passing by a Chametz stand of a gentile.

[20] Piskeiy Teshuvos 436 footnote 20

[21] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 448:14; 436 footnote 20

[22] Seemingly, it is permitted to live in the room as the gentile must give the Jew passage way to get to the unsold room, and hence this is not considered a constant use of the sold property. Nevertheless, it would be forbidden for the resident to lounge in the other rooms or even hallway for no reason, and he may only enter there on a non-steady basis. Regarding using the bathroom-seemingly if there are no children at home it is not included in the sale as there is no obligation to check a bathroom for Chametz. See Chapter 3 Halacha 3!

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