Monday, April 2, 2012

Mekhirat Chametz: Selling of the Chametz

In some communities it is customary to sell the Chametz, through the local rabbinate, to a non-Jew. This is the way this selling is done: the community member signs a paper (virtually, a power of attorney) authorizing a Rabbi to sell his Chametz to a gentile. The rabbi sells the Chametz to a non-Jew Pesach eve. The buyer gives a down payment for the Chametz and commits to pay the balance up to a few minutes after Pesach is over. During Pesach, then, the buyer is the legal owner of the Chametz, even if the Chametz remains in the property of the Jewish seller. When the buyer fails to pay the balance, immediately after Pesach, the Chametz belongs back to the seller.
In Sephardic communities it was not customary to sell the Chametz, except for an exceptional case: someone who owned a food store. Traditionally, Sephardic Jews got rid of all their Chametz, as prescribed by the Rabbis of the Talmud, and if some Chametz accidentally had not being detected, the bitul--renouncing to our ownership of Chametz-- would prevent the transgression of owning Chametz.   Whenever possible, this is the best way to proceed, preserving our ancient Minhaguim.   Remember that you only have to get rid of a food item (medicines, perfumes or any non edible items could be kept, regarding of its composition. Pet's food cannot be kept!). For food items: you could keep anything that does not contain any of these five grains: wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt.   For those community members who wish to continue with the tradition of removing all Chametz from your premises, today and tomorrow only, you can email me ( a list of food you wish to keep and I will email back the status of that food (K: Keep.  D: Discard or give as a gift to a non Jew)   

For those community members who would keep their valuable Chametz products (whiskey, vodka or liquors made from grain alcohol), in order to avoid transgressing the prohibition of owning Chametz during Pesach, our UMJCA Religious Council arranges a Chametz selling.  The form has to be summited to the Gabbayim, named in the form, until Thursday April 5th at 8.00 PM. This year the forms cannot be sent by fax. 

Click HERE to download the Selling of the Chametz form.