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Do you sell your חמץ before פסח?

Why or why not?

This is meant, in part, as a form of a survey, but also as a collection for arguments both for and against.

Please cite your sources.

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It is called a Haramah a trick –  SimchasTorah Apr 1 '11 at 18:07
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Most certainly not. It is a fully valid and legal sale, and would be upheld by any Jewish or (lehavdil) non-Jewish court. –  Alex Apr 1 '11 at 20:18
    
Please post your opinions (with sources) as answers. That's why I posted this question. I was hoping for this type of debate. Let's hash it all out. –  Seth J Apr 1 '11 at 20:33
    
Alex its legality is not questioned nor its legitimacy its just called what it is called –  SimchasTorah Apr 1 '11 at 21:30
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I'm applying a historical lock to this question. The OP (or anybody else) is welcome to ask the "what are the reasons/arguments for/against?" question separately from this survey. Such a question should not be closed as a duplicate of this one, though some answers here may also apply there. EDIT: The better version has now been asked here: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/26797/759 –  Monica Cellio Mar 4 '13 at 17:45
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locked by Monica Cellio Mar 4 '13 at 17:46

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5 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes (Hilchos Mechiras Chametz, appended to his Shulchan Aruch):

ומי שעולה על דעתו שמכירת חמץ הוא מדברי סופרים לפי המנהג שהכל מבטלין החמץ ואומרים כל חמירא ליבטל ולהוי הפקר כו', שגגה היא בידו, כי חמץ הנמכר אינו בכלל ביטול והפקר מאחר שדעתו עליו לחזור ולזכות בו אחר הפסח, כמבואר בתשובת הרשב"א בשם ירושלמי וכן פסק הרמ"א בד"מ ובפר"ח, ולזאת אם המכירה אינה כדת עובר עליו בבל יראה ובל ימצא, וא"כ י"ל בזה

...

ועיקר הכל שיהיה הישראל בעל החמץ סבור וקיבול באמת שאם ירצה הנכרי ימכור כל החמץ במקח השוה שאפשר לקבל בעיר זו, דמאחר שמוא סבור וקיבול באמת במקח זה שאפשר לקבל ממי שירצה לקנות [ב]עיר זו הוי פיסוק דמים, וכמו באומר כדשיימוהו בתלתא או אפי' א', עיין ב"י חו"מ סו"ס ר"ו, הגם שיודע בו שלא יעשה כן, כי מאחר שמה שאינו עושה כן אינו אלא מרצונו הטוב שרוצה להחזירו לישראל ה"ז מכירה גמורה, כדאיתא בהדיא בגמרא פ"ה דב"מ דא"ל מדעתיה

One who thinks that the sale of chametz need be valid only on a Rabbinical level, based on the custom that everyone nullifies their chametz by saying "All leaven... shall be nullified and ownerless..." - is making a mistake. For chametz that is sold is not included in the nullification and the declaration of ownerlessness, since he intends to re-acquire it after Pesach, as explained in the Rashba's responsum citing Yerushalmi; Rema in Darchei Moshe, and Pri Chadash, rule similarly. Thus, if the sale is not legally binding, one would transgress the mitzvos of "no chametz shall be seen" and "no chametz shall be found"; one must therefore be careful about this.

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The critical point is that the Jew who owns the chametz has to truly agree that if the non-Jew wishes, he can [re-]sell all of the chametz at a fair market value such as he might receive in this town. Then, since he [the non-Jewish buyer] knows with certainty, about this transaction, that he will be able to get [fair value for the goods] from someone else in town who will be willing to buy it, then a price has been set. This is similar to one who says, ["I will buy this] at the price estimated by a panel of three" - or even "by one [expert]" - see Beis Yosef, Choshen Mishpat, end of sec. 206. [And the sale is therefore valid on that basis.] It is true that [the Jew] knows that [the non-Jew] will not do so [find another buyer to whom to resell the chametz, but will sell it back to him. But this doesn't matter;] since the fact that he doesn't do so is out of his good will, that he voluntarily wants to give it back to the Jew - it is considered a fully valid sale, as stated explicitly in the Gemara, fifth chapter of Bava Metzia, "that [the buyer] says, 'It is up to me [whether to return the goods].'"

Based on all of this, he goes on to explain how the sale should be executed in a way that is valid both halachically and (lehavdil) according to secular law.

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How does this explain if you should sell or not? It only says how to do so if you decide to sell. –  Double AA Mar 4 '13 at 17:04
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The sale of chametz is based off a tosefta where it is clearly a real sale. The fact that the Jew buys it back afterwards doesn't cancel the sale. It became common in Europe for Jews in the whiskey business to sell their chametz before pesach and buy it back after pesach. It was clearly a full sale though, since often the gentile would drink some of it on pesach. One can sell his chametz as long as it is clearly a real sale. The gentile should know what he is buying, agree on a fair price, and be able to eat some of it if he wants to. If the whole sale is just done as ritual thing without actual intent by either party in the acquisition, then it will not work, and one may end up owning chametz over pesach.

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I have heard, and perhaps someone can find a source, that selling chametz is a kiyum of biur chametz.

Personally, about a month before pesach, we start living on leftover chametz and purim candy. By the time erev pesach rolls around our chametz is minimal, especially since almost all grain byproducts are made from corn because of allergies to gluten. So we just burn it or dump it- though we don't have liquor in the house.

We do make a sale for the possibility of chametz in toiletries, etc. which are not worth the hassle of investigating and the "just in case we missed something" factor.

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What you have heard may be based on S"A 447:1 and the idea implied therein. –  WAF Apr 6 '11 at 4:31
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-Which is what? –  YDK Apr 6 '11 at 14:32
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I do sell it, simply because my rav says it is an ancient custom and we should keep it, even someone that get rid of all of his hames should have some to sell it so we don't loose the minhag

source: ialcut iosef, if you want I can lookup where exactly

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This is fascinating. Please do look up the source. Thank you for sharing this opinion! –  Seth J Apr 6 '11 at 13:00
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Do you sell your Hametz before Pesah?

Yes.

Why or why not?

Because I don't want to own it or throw it out.

This is meant, in part, as a form of a survey, but also as a collection for arguments both for and against.

Please cite your sources.

Personal experience.

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