Providing a gentile, or gentile employees, Chametz foods to eat on Pesach

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Providing a gentile, or gentile employees, Chametz foods to eat on Pesach:

Providing him with Chametz before Pesach:[1] If one has a gentile employee which he has agreed to provide his daily meals, it is forbidden to provide him with Chametz foods for the meals that take place from the 6th hour of Erev Pesach and onwards. This applies even if one gives the Chametz to the gentile employee prior to the 6th hour on Erev Pesach, for the sake of his Pesach meals.[2] However, if one is not obligated to provide the gentile with his meals, then he may give him Chametz prior to the 6th hour, even if he will only be able to eat it during Pesach.

Providing him with money to buy Chametz: One may not give money to the gentile employee and tell him to purchase Chametz for himself. Furthermore, it is forbidden to give money to any gentile, even not an employee, and tell him to purchase Chametz with it.[3] However, one may give his employee lunch money which he can use to purchase whatever he wants, even if he knows for certain that the gentile will use it to purchase Chametz.[4]

Providing him with Chametz on credit:[5] One may tell a gentile to take his own money and buy Chametz for himself.[6] Furthermore, from the letter of the law, one may instruct a gentile to purchase Chametz from the store, and he will pay him back.[7] This applies even to a gentile employee, which he has arranged to provide his daily meals.[8] Likewise, one may arrange with a gentile storeowner to provide his employee with Chametz on credit, and he will pay him for it later on.[9] In such a case, he may even make the payment on Pesach, after the food is given to the gentile.[10] However, one may not pre-pay the storeowner a certain sum of money [and earn store credit] and arrange for him to provide Chametz to the employee in accordance to that sum.[11] Furthermore, even if one does not tell the storeowner to specifically provide Chametz to the employee, and he can thus provide him any food, it is nevertheless forbidden to do so.[12] Likewise, this allowance [when one will need to pay back the store] only applies if one did not obligate himself to provide specifically Chametz foods to his employee, and he can thus provide him with other non-Chametz foods. However, if one obligated himself to provide his employee specifically Chametz foods, and he thus cannot provide him with other non-Chametz foods in its place, then it is forbidden to arrange for him to receive Chametz from a store, even on credit, on the basis that he will pay the store back.[13] Practically, the above is all from the letter of the law, however, due to the severity of Chametz, one is to be stringent not to arrange for [any] gentile [even not an employee] to purchase Chametz on Pesach and pay [him or] the storeowner back later on.[14] [Seemingly, however, one may have the gentile purchase food on credit of future payment, if he does not tell the gentile to specifically purchase Chametz. Likewise, one may arrange for the storeowner to provide the gentile food on credit of future payment, so long as he does not tell him specifically to give him Chametz.[15] Vetzaruch Iyun!]

 

Summary:

One is not to arrange for a gentile, or gentile employee, to eat Chametz foods during Pesach, whether by giving him the Chametz before Pesach, or through having another gentile provide the Chametz on Pesach, unless:

1.       One is not legally obligated to provide the gentile employee with food, and he gives the Chametz to the gentile employee before the 6th hour on Erev Pesach.

2.       One gives cash to the gentile and tells him that he may purchase whatever he wants, even if one knows the gentile will purchase Chametz. However, one is not to tell the gentile to purchase Chametz for himself and he will pay him back. Likewise, one is not to give the gentile one’s credit card and tell him to purchase Chametz. In all cases, it is forbidden to allow a gentile to purchase Chametz using store credit that one has already paid for.

Q&A on Gentile employees

May one arrange for a Chametz business lunch to be served to his gentile employees?

As stated above, one is not to do so even if the catering company or restaurant will only bill the employer after the meal is given/eaten.[16] Certainly, it is forbidden to do so if one has prepaid the caterer, even if he did not specifically tell them to provide Chametz.

 

May one allow gentile employees to purchase Chametz foods using a business credit card?

A credit card is an essence an IOU arrangement with the credit card company. Accordingly, as stated above, one is not to allow a gentile to purchase Chametz using his credit card.[17]

 

May one give his gentile maid Chametz foods before Pesach for her to eat on Pesach?[18]

v  Example: May one give his leftover, bread, morning cereal [i.e. cheerios, bran flakes etc] to his maid for her to eat on Pesach?

If one has obligated himself to provide the maid with meals, then it is forbidden to give her Chametz foods even before Pesach for the sake of her meals on Pesach.[19] If, however, one is not obligated to provide the maid with her meals, then one may do so.

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

See Halacha 10!

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[1] Admur 443:4 in parentheses; Shut Bach 143; Chok Yaakov 445:4; Vetzaruch Iyun from 450:21-23 where Admur allows one to provide him Chametz that he does not own, unless one obligated himself to provide him specifically Chametz foods.

[2] The reason: If there is so much Chametz that one knows that she will not be able to finish it before the 6th hour begins, then one may not give it to her, as by doing so it’s as if that he is paying off his debts to the maid using Chametz which is forbidden in benefit. [Admur ibid]

[3] Admur 450:20

The reason: As it appears that the gentile is a Shliach of the Jew to purchase Chametz. [Admur ibid]

[4] Admur 450:19; Tur 450:6

[5] Admur 450:21-23

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is never permitted to allow a gentile to purchase Chametz on condition that he will pay him, or the store, back. [stringent opinion in Admur ibid; Bach 450:3; Shut Bach 143; Tur 450:6]

[6] Admur 450:20

[7] Admur 450:21 regarding having him buy Chametz from the store on credit and telling the owner that his employer will pay him back. Seemingly the same would apply if he told the gentile to buy Chametz with his own money, and he will pay him back.

[8] Admur ibid; Vetzaruch Iyun from 443:4 where rules one may not provide his Chametz from before the 6th hour.

[9] Admur 450:23

[10] Admur 450:21

[11] Admur 450:22

[12] Admur ibid

The reason: As the storeowner may provide him Chametz, and this Chametz is considered acquire to the Jew, as it is given in correspondence to his money.

[13] Admur 450:23 in parentheses; Beis Yosef Y.D. 132 in name of Rashba; Vetzaruch Iyun from 443:4 where Admur does not stipulate that it only applies if one obligated himself to provide him Chametz.

[14] Admur 450:23 in name of Yeish Omrim and that it is good to suspect for their words; Bach 450:3; Shut Bach 143; Tur 450:6

[15] Implication of Admur ibid; See however Tur 450:6 who implies one may not do so; See Bach Y.D. 132:13 and his Teshuvah 143

[16] Vetzaruch Iyun if one may do so if he does not tell the caterer to provide Chametz, even if he knows they will choose to do so.

[17] Certainly, one is not to do so if he instructed the gentile to purchase Chametz, and possibly even if he does not specifically tell the gentile to purchase Chametz, he may not do so. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[18] Admur 443:4 in parentheses

[19] This applies even if one did not explicitly state that it is for the sake of her Pesach meals, but simply gave her an amount of Chametz that she is unable to finish eating it before Pesach, and will thus certainly eat on Pesach. [See Admur 443:4]

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