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It is a common practice for people to buy their Pesach eggs in advance of Pesach. I've seen different reasons for this, including:

  • The popular notion that some chametz might somehow get into the egg, and therefore the egg must be owned by a Jew in advance of Pesach when the chametz in the egg is nullified (batel b'shishim). A possible means for chametz getting absorbed into the egg is discussed and dismissed by R' Moshe Feinstein, although he recommends requiring people to clean the outside of their eggs before cooking (Igros Moshe OC vol. 3, § 61).

  • The concern of benefiting from an animal derivative whose creation is partially due to chametz that the animal may have eaten during Pesach, as chicken feed typically includes some of the five types of grain that can become chametz.

  • If an egg is stamped, the ink sometimes includes grain-derived ethanol. To quote the Star-K website: "Most authorities are of the opinion that alcoholic beverages such as whiskey, which is derived from wheat, barley or rye, are chometz gamur, and a person must not own these products on Pesach (Mishna Berurah Orach Chaim 442 Shaarei Teshuva ibid. )." According to the London Beth Din, such eggs can be permitted on the grounds that any trace of ethanol in the ink evaporates immediately after stamping.

The second point above is discussed by acharonim, mostly with respect to milk. A major point of debate is whether zeh vazeh goreim (something whose existence results from both prohibited and permissible causes) is permissible when one of the causes is forbidden chametz on Pesach. For example, the Magen Avraham (OC 445:5) rules it is forbidden, while the Nishmas Adam (vols. 2-3, § 119:9) permits it (and in fact permits drinking such milk on several grounds1 and implies that zeh vazeh goreim exists even if an animal's diet is exclusively chametz2). In the case of eggs, commercial chicken feed generally consists of both grain and non-grain ingredients, so presumably there are two gormim present.

There is additional reason to be lenient with the milk of animals owned by non-Jews, as non-Jews are not subject to the prohibition against owning or benefiting from chametz on Pesach (see Beis Efrayim OC, end of responsum 35).

While there seem to be strong halachic similarities between eggs and milk, I found only limited explicit discussion among the acharonim regarding eggs purchased on Pesach.

My question:

Assume a Jew purchases eggs on Passover that were from a farm owned by non-Jews. Are there contemporary poskim that rule on whether a Jew may eat the eggs, and, if so, what do they say? Does it make a difference if it is sha'as had'chak (e.g. a person would have a very limited diet without those eggs, and his health may be affected by abstaining)? Does it make a difference whether the eggs are purchased during the first half of Pesach (or so), when they were most likely laid before the holiday?


1 One ground for leniency presented in the Nishmas Adam appears to be a novel ruling that milk from a kosher animal cannot technically become forbidden even via a single goreim due to the general g'zerias hakasuv permitting milk of kosher animals. If so, this reasoning might be extended to eggs based on the Behag (§ 67, see also § 63) and Tosafos (Chullin 64a, second s.v. she'im rikmah) who appear to say that a similar g'zeiras hakasuv exists for eggs.

2 He considers the animal itself to be one of the gormim. R' Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC vol. 1, § 147), in a complex p'sak that does not entirely rely on zeh vazeh goreim, permits drinking milk that was produced on Pesach even if the animal's diet consists solely of chametz. Rather than assume that the animal is a goreim, R' Moshe rules that even echad goreim is permissible in the case described.

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I found this here contributed by Nooch. He quotes from here It is best to buy eggs that were laid before Pesach. This is because chickens are usually given feed which is Chometz. He asserts - It has to do with chametz in the crop. If a mashehu of chametz adheres to the egg shell and then ends up in your reshus, it's not batel. But it can be batel b'rov or b'shishim (depending on its state), before Yom Tov begins. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Apr 7 at 17:09
    
@AvrohomYitzchok The reason given by Nooch is one that you often hear people throw around (but it isn't specified in the linked pamphlet from R' Eidlitz). The reason doesn't even make sense, since there would be no bitul even before Pesach since the residue is b'eyn on the outside of the egg and no lach b'lach ta'aroves occurs prior to Pesach. That said, R' Moshe Feinstein (cited above) encouraged people to rinse their eggs before cooking on Pesach due to the chance that there might be residue on the outside (but it's a small chance, since the eggs are cleaned industrially prior to sale). –  Fred Apr 7 at 17:33
    
I once knew someone who planned on selling whatever Chametz they had left but told me they were proud they at least used up their eggs, because they knew not to buy eggs on Pesach. (I'm not advocating this position but lamenting that sometimes people forget what is a Chumra and what isn't.) –  Double AA Apr 9 at 2:50

2 Answers 2

Rabbi Avraham Yosef says it is permitted L'chatchila to buy eggs on Pesach.

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Thank you. I saw a similar p'sak by R' Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l here. In both instances, they indicate a preference for eggs that do not have stamps that might have grain alcohol in the ink. The Badatz seems to insist that people should only purchase eggs with stamps that are certified as chametz-free. This contrasts with the ruling of the London Beth Din (cited above) and the Tnuva website who say that there is no problem since all of the alcohol evaporates immediately after stamping... –  Fred Apr 8 at 17:17
    
The link to an article re. the Badatz is here, but it's a secondary source, and it's not clear whether they also insist that people purchase their eggs before Pesach. | Do you happen to know of any Ashkenazi rulings re. egg purchase on Pesach? Thanks again and +1! –  Fred Apr 8 at 17:21
    
I am aware that there are those who as a Minhag do not purchase eggs on Pesach. If I recollect correctly it is a Minhag Yerushalayim which was adapted by many Jews both Ashkenazi and Sephardi. To the best of my knowledge there is no Halacha forbidding it. –  Gershon Gold Apr 8 at 20:47

I saw that Rabbi Abadi said you may buy eggs on Pesach.

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+1 and thank you. I thought both answers were of approximately equal quality, but the link in Gershon's answer is a bit more detailed so I awarded him the bounty. –  Fred Apr 9 at 4:54
    
@Fred I understand. Rabbi Abadi does talk about it in different places. I just linked to the simplest one which he says you can. No bounty needed. =) –  RCW Apr 10 at 2:32

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