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Most of us who have chametz we don't wish to destroy (or consume) before Pesach sell it to a non-Jew; after Pesach, he usually will sell it back to us instead of settling in cash.

It's well known from the rules of the arbaa minim (lulav et al. that we use on Sukos) that a minor cannot transfer property. (This comes up on the first day of Sukos, when the one using the arbaa minim must own them in order to do the mitzva. An adult can't give the minim to a minor to own and expect them back, since a minor can't give anything away.)

What, then, can a minor who owns chametz do before Pesach, if he doesn't want to consume or destroy it? That is, what advice have rabbis given over the years, or what have such minors done over the years? And what does such a minor do, in practice, today? I'd even be interested in theoretical answers — what such a minor could do — if well-reasoned or, especially, sourced.

  • Just for clarification: arent they different cases? by lulav he must do it himself, by Chametz his father/apitrupos may do it on his behalf? – user3113 Mar 31 '14 at 22:29
  • @BackseatChazan, if you say so. Beats me. I don't know why a parent/guardian would be able to sell chametz (to benefit the minor) and not give away a lulav (to benefit the minor: specifically, to ensure that he complies with the conditions of a matana al m'nas l'hachazir). – msh210 Mar 31 '14 at 22:33
  • Oh. Nice article here tvunah.org/2013/03/05/… – user3113 Mar 31 '14 at 22:53
  • The daf yomi in sukkah dealt with this not long ago. A katan can be koneh but cannot be makneh. As a result, a person cannot give a lulav on the first day to a katan before he has used it himself. During Chol Hamoed a person can let a katan use his (the adult's) lulav. In the case of chametz, since a katan cannot sell, he would be unable to sell it to a goy. His father or guardian would have to do that. – sabbahillel Apr 1 '14 at 0:12
  • @sabbahillel, yes, that was all part of the premise of the question, except your last sentence. If indeed his father can sell the son's chametz, a source saying so would be good, and that'd make a good answer to this question. – msh210 Apr 1 '14 at 1:42
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Generally everything a child owns a father owns, so the father is selling his own Chametz on Pesach. For someone without a father, ר"ל, a Katan has an אפוטרופס - a guardian appointed to him to deal with his property, and he can execute the sale.

If there is no such guardian, or if he is unable to sell the Chametz, Rabbi Gedalia Felder discusses at some length if there is any issue with the Chametz after Pesach, and finds only one opinion that there is, and many opinions that there is not. There are several cases he discusses situations where there is no non-Jew to sell the Chametz to (the local authority forbids it) or other extenuating circumstances even giving it to the minor in the first place is an option.

So from this it would seem that in a case where there is no guardian, there would be no issue with the Chametz, and thus no real need to sell it, as that would be an extenuating circumstance. Perhaps it would be worth it to go through a "sale" for the purpose of Chinuch, but that is another question.

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I doublechecked with my LOR and he confirmed what I had thought. A katan cannot sell property. If he has a father, his father would own all the chametz and sell it. If he is, chas veshalom, an orphan, then he will have an apitropos who will sell the chametz for him. We see a basis for this in Maseches Sukkah were a person cannot give a lulav to a katan (al mnas lehachzir) because the katan cannot give it back. On the other days of succos, one can lend the lulav to the katan because it does not have to be shelo.

  • "his father would own all the chametz"?? Why? – msh210 Apr 1 '14 at 1:42
  • @msh210 according to my LOR, a father actually owns any property that a katan acquires. Thus, if the katan would buy something, since it is with his father's money, the ownership actually passes to the father. The only way a katan can actually own property is by inheriting it from his father. – sabbahillel Apr 1 '14 at 1:58
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    Curious, then, that we don't give a katan a lulav: such acquisition would be ineffective anyway. – msh210 Apr 1 '14 at 2:45
  • @msh21o The mishnah seems to say that he can give it to him under certain circumstances. It is just that he could not get it back. It is normal kinyan that automatically goes to the father. – sabbahillel Apr 1 '14 at 10:32
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    zachin l'adam -- selling is to the kid's benefit. Getting a lulav back from him is not for his benefit. – rosends Apr 1 '14 at 16:16
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Basically, it is definitely possible for a katan to own chametz and it would not belong to his father. For example, if he receives money as a birthday present, his father would say that it is his (the katan's). The katan could then use it to buy chametz which would be his alone. The only eitzah would be for the father to include the child's chametz in the sale of chametz that he does with the Rav. He would have to write this in SPECIFICALLY and not that it is automatically included. Similarly, this would also apply to adult children living at home.

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    Welcome, and thanks for your answer. This is unlike some other sites you may be accustomed to, and I encourage you to take our tour to learn more about it. One thing we value highly here is source (after all, almost nobody here knows who you are and therefore we don't know whether what you're saying is correct unless you source it). Can you please edit your answer to provide sources or other evidence for your claims? Also, I don't understand how your etza would work: if it's the kid's and not the father's, how can the father sell it? – msh210 Apr 3 '16 at 2:49
  • Welcome to MiYodeya The Maven. the kinyan for Katan is deorayta.? The father or the makne should see this? Can you develop your answer a little more? – kouty Apr 3 '16 at 6:39

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