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Subject:  Re: Seder meal, Christian home Date:  4/8/2008  3:51 PM
Author:  stevenjklein Number:  16867 of 23006

When a buyer has no intention of taking possession, and clearly has an intention of selling the item back, it's a sham.

If you'd read the article to which I linked, you'd see that's not so. There is an element of risk for both parties. The Jew expects to be able to buy it back, but the gentile is not obligated to sell. The gentile expects to sell it back, but the Jew is not obligated to buy.

Just for you, I found an "Ask the Rabbi" web page with this question: With this question: Q SELLING chametz to a non-Jew before Pesach seems a sham as no real sale takes place. Why did the rabbis bring in such a rule?
Click here for the answer:

Note that it makes a point I'd forgotten earlier: Even if a Jew rids his house of all chametz, he is still obligated to sell (just in case he forgot about some).

When you're ready, you can sell it online here:
(Well, I think that's what that website is for, but it's entirely in Hebrew, so my understanding may not be correct.)

I found another web page explaining it:
Are you kidding? You know the non Jew is not going to consume your Chametz. He is not really paying you for it and neither is he taking possession of it. He does not even know where it is. Even if he did, how is he going to gain access to your house on Pesach? And what happens if, after Pesach, he refuses to sell it back to you?

If properly done, the sale of Chametz is indeed an effective sale. Such a sale should cause as little skepticism on our part as other every day, legal structures, such as, for example, the sale and lease back of machinery where the equipment never leaves the premises of the purchaser and little money initially changes hands. The fact that the non Jew chooses not to exercise his right of ownership does not mean that he does not have this right. Neither does it render the sale fictitious. In fact, if the non-Jew refuses to transfer ownership of the Chametz back to the Jew after Pesach, there is no way, under Jewish law that one can compel him to do so. The sale is irrevocable, unless the Non Jew chooses to rescind it after Pesach.


Finally, this page:
Includes a well-documented story of City Councilman James F. Gennaro, of Queens, who said, " I'm under no obligation to sell it back. Theoretically I could come claim it and use it." One year he, "[W]ent to someone's house… knocked on the door, and I said, 'O.K., I'm here for the chametz.' I selected a bottle of single-malt Scotch." (emphasis mine)
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