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May one request/accept/open a delivery of something (let's say, an Amazon order, a present from a friend) during Pesach? I'm not talking about during Yom Tov days, and I'm not talking about potential conflict with the laws of Chol Hamoed. I'm talking about the issue that there could be minute amounts of unexpected chometz in the package, which you would then own, and possibly see.

Obviously the chances are very low, but, since as I'm pretty sure the punishment for owning chometz is kareis, and this chometz would not have been sold nor nullified, I'm just wondering.

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    I'm confused what the order is. Did you order chametz? Did you order something not even edible and are worried they threw in some free food without telling you? – Double AA Mar 21 '17 at 22:58
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    I think there is a M.Y. question that addresses what happens if you actually receive chametz in the mail during Pesach. Essentially, you have to cover it over and dispose it. You can't bring it into your house, as that means you now own it. As for ordering non-food items, I don't think you have to be concerned that the packager MAY have dropped a crumb from his sandwhich into your order, and therefore, you shouldn't make the order in the first place. It's quite unlikely that would happen. Amazon, BTW, does not give unannounced free food samples, as far as I have seen. – DanF Mar 22 '17 at 2:00
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    There definitely is a M.Y, question regarding what to do if your friend brings you a chametz present on Pesach. I'll see if I can locate it. In that situation, I believe you need to tell your friend to take it back and not give you the present. If you don't want to embarass your friend, then you would do what I previously mentioned. – DanF Mar 22 '17 at 2:02
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    Perhaps you're thinking of bringing the Korban Pesach, which is kareis. – Double AA Mar 22 '17 at 2:05
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    @SAH Here are the 36 things that get Kareit: sefaria.org/Mishnah_Keritot.1.1 – Double AA Mar 22 '17 at 14:20
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From torah.org:

QUESTION: What should be done if a package containing chametz arrives at one's home or business during Pesach?

DISCUSSION: One who knows - or even suspects - that the package may contain actual chametz, may not assume ownership of the package. If he can refuse to accept the package, he should do so. If he cannot, he should not bring it into his house or yard and should have specific halachic intent not to "acquire" the chametz. The package is considered "ownerless" - anyone who wants it is free to take it.

If the package was mistakenly brought into the home or business, one must have specific intent not to "acquire" it. One may not touch the actual chametz. O.C. 446:10.

If the package comes on Chol ha-Moed, the chametz should be immediately discarded, either by burning it or by flushing it down the toilet. If it comes on Shabbos or Yom Tov, it should be left where it is [The chametz is severe muktzeh and may not be moved for any reason; O.C. 446:1. Some poskim add that it may not even be moved with one's body or foot, even though other types of severe muktzeh may be; L'ehoros Nossan 5:30] and covered with a vessel until it can be discarded.

While most people do not expect to receive packages containing chametz during Pesach, one should be aware of a recent problem that applies to almost everybody. Many packaged items are insulated by packing pellets that protect the contents during transport. In the past, this cushioning was made from polystyrene, but recently, some companies have begun using biodegradable "peanuts" which are made from edible corn starch or wheat starch. Those that are made from wheat starch may be halachically considered "actual chametz" since they are fit for human consumption. If a package insulated with these "peanuts" arrives on Pesach, the halachos stated above may apply. A rav should be consulted.

A more lenient ruling might be based on the arguement that these pellets have been designated as packing material - not food. They have been processed to remove their nutrients and thus lost their "chametz form" and may be stored on Pesach; refer to O.C. 442:3 and 9, Mishnah Berurah 15, 41 and 42 and Chazon Ish O.C. 116:8. This is a questionable argument and a rav must be consulted.

While it may not always be easy to differentiate between the different types of packing pellets, there is a definite difference in appearance between the polystyrene and the starch ones. The polystyrene ones come in random shapes while the starch ones look as though they have been extruded through the holes of a machine. Each piece is perfectly cylindrical and is water soluble.

  • Why would you have to refuse to accept the whole package? Just don't accept the chametz part. – Heshy Mar 22 '17 at 20:47
  • Related answer - judaism.stackexchange.com/a/52895/5275 – DanF Mar 23 '17 at 17:56
  • The fake peanuts is interesting useful info. Perhaps, I can inquire what Amazon is using. – DanF Mar 23 '17 at 17:58

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