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Yesterday, I heard the door open and close. I went over and discovered that the mailman had delivered the mail. A magazine (which I looked forward to reading), some envelopes and a small package. I wasn't expecting a package. I picked it up and noticed that it was supposed to be delivered to my neighbor, a block away. I also noticed that the return address was from the Jelly Belly corporation. And the package made a distinct noise when I shook it...

I have read about receiving free samples on Pesach, but this case was a bit more complex -- I wasn't receiving the sample, but I took it into my house. Do I hold on to it and destroy it without delivering it properly (though it isn't my mail to mess with) or do I deliver it and put it in his reshut and put him in the position to have to destroy it? Might that then indicate that I, even for a short time, took ownership of it without destroying it? And that I am willfully delivering chametz to him on Pesach that he might, even for a short time, acquire? I know about CYLOR but the issues here seemed complex enough to raise here as well.

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I'd be tempted to put it back in the box for the mailman with a "wrong address" note attached. Then whatever happens, happens, but it's not on you. (Essentially, this resets to what would have happened it the carrier hadn't erred in the first place, except for the consequences of your own brief custody of the chametz.) –  Monica Cellio Mar 28 '13 at 0:42
    
that was my first reaction as well but I was concerned about both my stewardship in the meanwhile and my contributing to the neighbor's ownership on pesach –  Danno Mar 28 '13 at 0:50
    
Do you know that it is chametz? –  Double AA Mar 28 '13 at 1:35
    
no, I didn't open it and am just surmising based on the return address and the sound it made –  Danno Mar 28 '13 at 2:02
    
Why would Jelly Bellys be chametz? jellybelly.com/candies/gluten%20free –  Double AA Mar 28 '13 at 4:47
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1 Answer

I don't get how you took ownership of it even for a moment. It's not yours, period. It belongs to the Jelly Belly company (it doesn't even belong to your neighbor), and their messenger simply left it on your property for a bit. You have no permission to destroy it since it's still theirs. Hashavahs avaida (returning a lost item) basically.

As for your neighbor (I assume he is Jewish) the same applies: It's not his until he takes ownership of it. The Jelly Belly company sent it to him, but until he accepts it, it's not his. It's either abandoned, or it belongs to the Jelly Belly company (depending on if they expect it to be returned in case of addressing errors).

(And Jelly Bellys are jellybeans, they are not usually chametz anyway.)

Assuming they are chametz, your neighbor should simply leave it on the porch, or some other public place - let the ownership remain with Jelly Belly, or abandon it (his choice). To destroy it, he would have to take ownership of it, at least for a moment. And it seems to me it's better never to take ownership.

If you are worried that your neighbor will not do the right thing, then just put it away somewhere and deliver it after Pesach.

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I assumed that by picking it up and moving it into my house (with the assumption that everything in the pile was for me) I already had the intent to acquire. And the jelly beans are at least kitniyot but with all the various flavors and such, I have no idea if there is any stam chametz in there also. –  Danno Mar 28 '13 at 1:27
    
@Dan Kitniyot is irrelevant as there is no problem owning it. –  Double AA Mar 28 '13 at 4:49
    
@Dan Even with intent to acquire you don't. It's not yours, your intent can't change that. –  Ariel Mar 28 '13 at 5:13
    
@Ariel, I don't know, but would guess, that I'm not allowed to steal chametz from a gentile on Pesach. (For laws-of-Pesach reasons, I mean. Obviously I'm not allowed to for laws-of-theft reasons.) –  msh210 Mar 28 '13 at 5:29
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