Mechiras Chametz-The laws of Pesach-Summary & Review-Part 10

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Mechiras Chametz:

A. The obligation:
  • Anyone which is planning to own Chametz over Pesach is Biblically required to sell his Chametz prior to Pesach.
  • One who has cleaned his house from any known Chametz is not obligated to do Mechiras Chametz.
  • Nevertheless, the custom today is to be extra meticulous and do Mechiras Chametz just in case some Chametz has remained in his possession without his knowledge.



May one sell actual Chametz and leave it at home during Pesach?

Yes, and so is the Chabad custom. However, there are those which are particular against doing so.


Should one arrange a sale of Chametz for non religious people who may perhaps use the Chametz that was sold During Pesach?


Does one have to sell his Chametz stocks?

A person who owns stocks of a company which deals with Chametz foods should include these stocks in the Mechiras Chametz. However, some hold that if the stockholder does not have any power over anything in the company, then he does not need to sell. Whatever the case, according to all one may not sell Chametz stocks on Pesach.


Are pieces of Chametz that are in the Chametz room that is being rented to the gentile included in the sale?

Yes, in the contract Admur writes that all Chametz in the rooms rented are included in the sale even though they have no market value and would not be bought by anyone.


May/Should the Gabai sell the Chametz of the Shul?

The Gabai is unable to sell the Chametz, just like he may not nullify the Chametz, being that it does not belong to him but rather to others. However, some Poskim bring that the gabai, or another person appointed by the Shul, is able to sell the Shul’s Chametz, especially if the Shul is privately owned by an Admur or Rav which makes all the decisions of the Shul. [Nonetheless, even if sold one must still clean and search for Chametz in the Shul.] Practically the custom is for the Gabai or another person appointed by the shul directors to sell the Chametz, in addition to them doing the Bedikah.


Time zones

One may not sell his Chametz through a Rav that is in a different time zone if that time zone will accept Pesach after his time zone. However, he may sell it through a Rav in a time zone that will accept Pesach prior to his time zone. If one owns Chametz in a different time zone, then he may sell the Chametz in his current time zone although it is best to be stringent if his Chametz is in a time zone that accepts Pesach before his time zone, to sell that Chametz in its time zone.


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

  • 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?

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.]

A further example-Flying from east coast to west in America: Thus, when even 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 coast to east coast 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.  However, some Poskim rule that one is to sell the Chametz in the earlier time zone and tell the Rav not to buy it back on his behalf from the gentile until Pesach ends in his later time zone.

B. Where is one to store his Chametz that was sold?
  • All Chametz which has been sold to a gentile must be kept behind a Mechitza/divider that is at least 10 Tefach high. [80cm]



May one leave Chametz in his fridge or freezer and close it off?

No unless the entire fridge and freezer will be closed off and sold. This applies even if he wraps the Chametz well and writes sold or Chametz on it. However, there are Rabbanim that are lenient in this matter.

May one leave sold Chametz in his kitchen cabinets?

Yes. However, there are Rabbanim that discourage one from doing so.

May one leave Chametz in the cabinets under his counter?

Yes. However, some write against doing so as if one does so he will no longer be allowed to use the counter for his needs being that it is rented to the gentile.


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


May one sell his home to exempt it from Bedika and then live in it throughout Pesach?


May one enter into a Chametz room or closet which was sold if he needs to retrieve something from there?

Yes. However, one may not use the area regularly as if it was his, and rather the allowance is only to be allowed to enter on occasion to retrieve an item which one needs.


C. Doing the sale through a Rav:
  • One may appoint a messenger to do the sale for him. This is the way all the sales are done today, through the Rav of the community. Ones wife and child may be appointed as a messenger to sell the Chametz for him, or to appoint the Rabbi to do it for him. However, a Kinyan should be made with her. However, it is best for the person to sign himself onto the document as there are opinions which require this to be done.


D. May one begin to eat Chametz after Pesach prior to the conclusion of the sale?


Does one have to do a Kinyan when appointing the Rabbi, and if so then how is it done?

No, although the custom is to do so. One lifts an item [such as a Gartel or handkerchief] of the Rav. 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.

Are witnesses required when appointing him?


May one appoint a Rabbi to do the sale for him over the phone, or through email?


Does one have to give money to the Rabbi which is doing the sale?

The custom is to give a donation to the Rabbi doing the sale. Some authorities claim that this is more than a mere custom, but rather is required by the letter of the law, as the Rav cannot be ones 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 has the ability to sell the Chametz for the owner.

May one sell his Chametz through a Rav in a different time zone?

One is to sell his Chametz through a Rav that is in the same time zone that he is in. If this is not possible, one may sell it through a Rav found in an earlier time zone, that takes Pesach in earlier than him. One may not sell it through a Rav that is found in a later time zone, that takes in Pesach later than him.


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

Being that there are areas of dispute regarding the validity of the acquisitions, in which Admur rules in a specific way, such as that one must have a guarantor, and that a Kinyan chatzer does not help for a gentile, it is therefore incumbent for one to sell his Chametz through a person that will be doing the sale in accordance to the Alter Rebbe. Thus, when selling the Chametz through a non-Lubavitcher care should be taken to make sure that it will be a valid sale according to Admur. 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.


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

One should mention all the areas which he has Chametz is found in. Nevertheless, even if the gentile was not made known of which areas contain the Chametz, the sale is nevertheless valid.

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