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Depending on the rules of the state, one might need to pay sales tax on food items. Thus, If I buy my arba minim off of some vendor and pay in cash, there is a non-zero probability that somewhere in the chain, there was some sort of tax-evasion issue.

This potentially raises an issue of גזל. see Choshen-Mishpat 396:6)

ולא עוד אלא שהמבריח ממכס זה עובר (על לא תגזול) מפני שהוא גוזל מנת המלך בין שהיה מלך ישראל בין שהיה מלך עכו"ם

Roughly translated (and one would need to look at the commentaries to really get down to the exact meaning and king/government equivlence), avoiding taxes is literally stealing no matter if the government is jewish or otherwise.

Basically, it seems to me that there's a case for claiming that such a lulav is "lulav hagazul" and therefore not kosher. I was wondering if anyone was aware of any sources discussing how much one needs to worry about this.

  • Where is the evidence backing this non-zero probability. LeChora, because Kol Yisrael BeChezkas Kasheirim, it would seem that it would first have to go against that Chazaka. – TrustMeI'mARabbi Oct 7 '16 at 18:47
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    Wouldn't it be the seller who is stealing from the government, not the buyer stealing the Lulav? Plus, whoever it is has stolen money from the government, not a Lulav. I just don't see how you can call the Lulav stolen, even if someone is stealing money. – Double AA Oct 7 '16 at 18:55
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    My rav mentioned that a similar situation like this was discussed in a discussion with the Chazon Ish (I think. May have the wrong name.) Someone relayed to the Czar that Jews were not paying taxes on lulav sales to which the Czar responded that this was not a real sale. When people heard about this, they panicked because if it wasn't a real sale, then, certainly it was a stolen lulav. Chazon Ish responded that what Czar meant is that the it is a real sale, but the gov. makes it tax exempt. So, question you have to inquire is if lulav sales are tax exempt by your local gov. – DanF Oct 7 '16 at 19:36
  • @DanF Are you sure that the issue was a stolen lulov and not the issue that you're not yoitze if the arba minim aren't yours (which is why we do matono al m'nas l'hachzir)? Because even if the sale isn't a sale, the so called seller lets you have it because he's still getting money. – user613 Oct 9 '16 at 10:27

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