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The halachic transfer of property between parties (chaloth kinyan) conventionally involves a physical exchange of a tangible object (maaseh kinyan). For example, the rabbi of the synagogue I used to attend prior to the apocalypse, when acting as an agent for selling chametz, used to always have the seller sign a tangible contract authorizing his agency. In addition, the agency itself was apparently effected by a kinyan chalipin involving the seller acquiring the pen from the rabbi. Considering the current crisis, is there a universally accepted way for all parties involved to effect a halachic sale remotely, avoiding any need for direct physical contact between the parties?

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    Rav Moshe Heinmann said that a in person contact between rabbi and congregant is not necessary, but the actual sale the Rabbi makes with the non jew needs to be done in person.
    – sam
    Mar 24 '20 at 1:50
  • I seem to remember seeing that there was in previous years a possibility of selling hametz online. If it was valid then, this year even more so.
    – Epicentre
    Mar 24 '20 at 9:52
  • My local Rabbi is certainly no slouch. Even in a normal year, he offers about two hours on the Sunday before Pesach where he'll be available to do the transaction in person for people who want to, but most people just sign their names with some very brief details about the location of the chametz being sold on a sign-up sheet he leaves on a table outside each minyan in the weeks leading up to Pesach.
    – Daniel
    Mar 24 '20 at 10:17
  • My rav as well as a number of others have arranged to become the agents to sell chametz using email. Mar 24 '20 at 16:35
  • @Daniel A sign-up sheet also seems to involve a fair amount of direct physical contact.
    – Loewian
    Mar 24 '20 at 18:08
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As Epicentre says, there are multiple opportunities to sell Chometz online without the kinyan chalipin.

See here from the Federation of Synagogues in the UK.

Here you have the version from din-on-line.

Chabad have a form too and say:

Note: Leading halachic authorities have ruled that online authorizations are acceptable for the purpose of selling chametz. The traditional and preferred practice, however, is for the authorization transaction to be done in person with the local rabbi.

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  • traditiononline.org/hershel-schachter-on-hilkhot-covid-19 Rabbi Hershel Schachter notes the Rambam writes that appointment of a shliach (in this case, congregant-to-rabbi) can be done verbally or certainly in writing, but the custom is an in-person chalipin transaction. So we're definitely fine with the bare-bones letter of the law in odd times like these. (Someone asked about the rabbi selling to the non-Jew; he didn't see a way to avoid them being in the same room.)
    – Shalom
    Mar 24 '20 at 10:55
  • Even to satisfy the custom: He said RYBS addressed the question of a congregant who phones the rabbi an hour before the sale -- I can't make it to the synagogue, but can you sell mine too? The verbal appointment is enough. But you can still satisfy the custom if the congregant does a chalipin with someone at his home/office to signify appointment of the rabbi; alternatively, the purpose of chalipin is to solidify intent, so additional language can be added to the telephone proclamation of "I do this wholeheartedly, in a legal binding fashion and it's not a wager" or the like.
    – Shalom
    Mar 24 '20 at 10:58
  • Ergo ... if I were designing chumra-of-the-week club (and I'm not) and had congregants (I don't), I may ask them to type the above "wholeheartedly" declaration letter-for-letter not just copy-paste it) in an email/webform.
    – Shalom
    Mar 24 '20 at 11:01
  • This only answers half the question (appointing a messenger to sell it)
    – Double AA
    Mar 24 '20 at 12:05
  • @DoubleAA oh sorry forgot to complete. In the above mp3 RHS replied briefly that he saw no way for the rabbi and non-Jew to effect the sale without them being physically present. (At least that way we're cutting waaaay down on the number of people who need IRL contact.)
    – Shalom
    Mar 24 '20 at 13:16

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