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I work for a publicly-owned company, and I have reason to believe that the majority of the shares of this company are owned by Jews. In the office there are snacks that are available for employees to take. Am I allowed to eat the chametz snacks that were owned during Pesach by this company?

Addendum: Someone suggested another part to this question. For many companies, there are different types of shares which confer different voting rights. So what if Jews have a majority of the voting rights in a company, but not the majority of the financial stake. Or vice versa? Which aspect of ownership is more relevant here?

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This sounds like a question for a Rav since it has immediate practical implications for you. My thought though is that even if there was just one Jewish stock holder there would be a problem. To solve this problem before Pesach the CEO could probably sell the chametz on behalf of the Jewish owners. These are just thoughts so I'm not posting an answer. –  David Perlman Apr 28 '11 at 19:35
    
See also mi.yodeya.com/questions/6753/investing-in-halacha and mi.yodeya.com/questions/6367/… , from the shareholder's point of view. –  Isaac Moses Apr 28 '11 at 19:48
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Fortunately, this is not of immediate practical concern, since the snacks are restocked daily. I just need to know about the supplier. But I still thought it was an interesting question. –  Sam Apr 28 '11 at 20:25
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I asked my LOR about the sodas in the machine at work. The majority of the owners of the company are Jewish. Well, the sodas are Kitniyos only, so there's no issue. "What if there were such a thing as chametzdik soda, then what?" I asked. His answer hinged on**who** specifically owned the sodas and whether any one person had the right to take one from the supply. Since the putative owner of the items is a corporation and no one person has the authority to just take one as if it were his, there is no issue with the Chametz being owned by a Jew over Pesach. –  Jonathan May 16 '11 at 11:40
    
@Jonathan, this sounds like a solid answer... –  AviD Jun 16 '11 at 11:40
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Even if Jews own a majority of the company they don't have an active role in its day to day operations. The Chametz would only be an issue if a Jew was responsible for supplying the snacks and he actually owned them during Pesach. Most likely the snacks belong to the company and not an individual so you are fine.

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Welcome to judaism.SE and thanks for your concise answer. It would be even more informative if you added a source reference which the questioner could consult. –  WAF Jun 5 '11 at 14:01
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In my opinion I don't think you could have benefit from it but as pointed out by David Perlman this is a question for a competent Rav, and you'll need to explain the situation further with more details.

of course all this if you assume they didn't sell the hames, at least in israel even non religious offices and specially public companies do sell.

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but distinctly not all companies in Israel do (many do, even most, but not all). –  AviD Jun 16 '11 at 11:41
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