Tag Archives: leaven

Selling the chametz – myth or mitzvah

Traditionally before Passover / Pesach we remove the leaven foods from our home, so that we can bring Pesach food in without fear of it being tainted by the leaven that is forbidden on this holiday. Most people I know will just put away all the regular not-kosher-for-Pesach food in sealed cabinets, and employ their Rabbi to sell the chametz. The rabbi sells the chametz for all the people in his community to a gentile that he knows, for a small sum which is returned right after the holiday. In order to facilitate this sale the Rabbi asks for location of all chametz items. Technically this gentile should be able to come into the houses of anyone who has sold him their leaven items and take what he wants, after all it does belong to him. However, this is all seen as something symbolic even though contractually binding.

Some people will finish up every crumb, every drop of chametz so they have nothing to sell. (A friend of mine is working his way diligently through his single malt collection). But still some of these people will sell their chametz pots and pans and appliances, just to be sure they do not own any chametz. Is this taking things a step too far, is this really necessary? Can a pot really be counted as chametz, if it is clean? I mean, we wouldn’t use it to cook for Pesach unless we had kashered it, but is it technically chametz or just a pot that was used to cook chametz in it?

After we have done the symbolic search for chametz (bedikat chametz) and burned that bread, we say the Kol Chamira “All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, which I have neither seen nor removed, and about which I am unaware, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.” – shouldn’t that nullify our need to sell any of the chametz in our possession? After we have said the Kol Chamira prayer – we don’t own it anymore…

I came up against an interesting situation this year. As you know the KoD and I maintain two homes (ok that makes us sound like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – so not!!) due to our current immigration issues that are soon to be over BH. I was told that I have to sell my chametz here in Montreal, but that the KoD not only has to sell his chametz in NY, but he has to also sell my chametz again, just so we are covered. Why? Because as his wife anything that I own apparently becomes his. Therefore my apartment is no longer mine, it belongs to the KoD and it is therefore his responsibility to sell my chametz. Even though he does not live here!!! As you can imagine I am not right pleased about this.

So I am asking you folks out there to tell me about selling your chametz, why you do it, why you feel it’s necessary, why don’t you do it, what are the halachas, what are the chumras etc.

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