If I am asked for money by a beggar on the street, or see a homeless person with a sign, I try and give them food as it is usually more useful than money (which will probably be used for alcohol or drugs).

I was asked this morning for money and I offered to buy the person breakfast instead, he refused, but it made me wonder if it was acceptable to buy a gentile homeless person non-kosher food, most likely trief meat or pork?

Also, once Pesach begins would be acceptable to buy a gentile beggar chometz, as pretty much anything you would buy on the street would be chometz during Pesach?

I did see this similar question, and I'd obviously avoid beef with cheese as I know you cannot derive any benefit from it, ever.

  • 3
    You also cannot derive benefit from chametz during Pesach. Nor can you even own it, which you would be doing between the time you bought it and the time you gave it away
    – Daniel
    Mar 26, 2015 at 12:30
  • 1
    can one aquire the chametz on the beggar's behalf without ever actually owning it. Mar 26, 2015 at 13:22
  • @ClintEastwood that brings up a good point Mar 26, 2015 at 13:23
  • What if you went with him to the store, he selects the chametz but you pay the bill? Have you owned any chametz just by paying the bill?
    – DanF
    Mar 26, 2015 at 14:24
  • 1
    This actually happened to me VERY recently. After a Purim party, I bought a homeless dude a meal at this convenient store. I paid for it, but I never even touched the food. Hmm.
    – rosenjcb
    Mar 26, 2015 at 20:05

4 Answers 4


The answer to that other question provides most of the answer to this question, which is that you may engage in non-commercial activity with most non-Kosher foods. You may buy pork, and you may give pork away to a poor non-Jewish person. However, you may not gain any benefit, not even the intangible benefit of thanks, from a cooked meat/milk mixture, nor from Hametz on Pesah.

Sources for the latter point (or two points, If you look at it that way) to come.

  • To avoid the intangible benefit of thanks, you can put the item behind the poor man when he isn't looking. Mar 26, 2015 at 13:21
  • 1
    @clinteastwood I think doing giving charity is called deriving benefit, even if the person doesn't thank you.
    – Daniel
    Mar 26, 2015 at 13:25
  • @Daniel, I think this is a point of dispute.
    – Seth J
    Mar 26, 2015 at 14:01
  • Q - What if you went with him to the store, he selects the chametz but you pay the bill? Have you owned any chametz just by paying the bill?
    – DanF
    Mar 26, 2015 at 14:22
  • If doing a mitzva is a benefit, may I stipulate to god that he is not to consider this act of charity a mitzva? Mar 26, 2015 at 15:56

I am not sure how similar the prohibition of not benefiting from Chametz is to not benefiting from mixtures of meat and milk, so having said that...

I was once given cookies by a non-Jewish friend. The cookies ingredients included milk and - believe it or not - beef fat. I asked an (Orthodox) Rabbi about

  • Bal Taschit (avoiding wastefulness) and throwing them out


  • Benefiting from giving the cookies away

The Rabbi said that I could take them to my workplace (where I am the only Jew) and where it is common to leave snacks for others in the lunchroom, but I had to be sure that no-one knew that I brought it in so that they would not thank me or be grateful to be as that is a form of benefiting from the item.

Which makes me think that you could not buy Chometz for a beggar on Pesach as you would be benefiting from his/her appreciation.

  • While likely irrelevant, the beef fat was likely from suet, which is chelev, thus adding another issur to the mix were you to accidentally consume them. Mar 26, 2015 at 13:36

The elegant solution is to have the beggar order whatever breakfast he wants, offering to pay for it.

Once he's taken possession of the non-Kosher/Chametz food - you now pay his bill for him.

There is no problem having him thank you or being aware of your involvement.

The point is: You don't buy the food; you pay for it after the non-Jew has bought it. So you're simply taking care of his debt to the shopkeeper.

This is almost identical to the case the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch brings down in סימן קיז - קצת דינים מלקטים לפסח ובו י"ג סעיפים where he uses the above method to explain how to feed one's non-Jewish employees Chametz on Pessach:

מֻתָּר לוֹמַר לִמְשָׁרְתוֹ אֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי, אֲפִלּוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהֶחָמֵץ אָסוּר בַּהֲנָאָה: הֵילֶךְ מָעוֹת וּקְנֵה לְךָ מְזוֹנוֹת וֶאֱכוֹל, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁיִּקְנֶה חָמֵץ. וּבִשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק, מֻתָּר גַּם כֵּן לוֹמַר לוֹ, צֵא וֶאֱכוֹל אֵצֶל אֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי וַאֲנִי אֶפְרַע לוֹ, אוֹ לוֹמַר לְאֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי אַחֵר, תֵּן לִמְשָׁרְתִי לֶאֱכוֹל וַאֲנִי אֲשַׁלֵּם לָךְ. אֲבָל אָסוּר לְהַקְדִּים לוֹ אֶת הַמָּעוֹת, בִּשְׁבִיל מַה שֶּׁיִּתֵּן לִמְשָׁרְתוֹ. ‏


no, same reason that if you discovered chometz on pesach you did not sell (must be destroyed). One is not permitted to benefit from chometz and one cannot help but benefit when giving a gift or charity.

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