Chometz Now – Where May We Buy it?

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By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com

Most people know to avoid Chometz sh’avar alav haPesach – Chometz that was owned by a Jew over Pesach (henceforth – C-Shaap).  How do they do this?  They find out which stores are considered to be Jewish-owned and determine whether the owner sold the Chometz that belonged to them.  The issue is not just about the store owner, however.  If the store purchased it Chometz from a Jewish wholesaler, then that too can present a problem.

The following list is based upon Star-K’s research.

  • 7-11
  • BJ’s
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Petco
  • Rite Aid
  • Trader Joes
  • Shoprite (Gateway Center)
  • Stop & Shop
  • Target
  • Walgreen’s
  • Walmart
  • Whole Foods
  • Key Food (5Towns: 935 Rosedale Road, Valley Stream & 1805 North Central Ave, Valley Stream)
  • King Kullen (5Towns)

 

 

WHEN THERE IS A DOUBT

If we are not sure whether or not something truly is C-Shaap – this is termed Safaik C-Shaap.  The Mishna Brura (449:5) rules that when there is a doubt one may eat Safaik C-Shaap in a case of need.  It is, however, a debate among the Poskim.

C& S WHOLESALE GROCERS

One of the biggest wholesalers of grocery items is called C&S – a company started nearly 100 years ago by Israel Cohen and Abraham Seigel.  Today, according to Forbes, it is the 12th largest privately held company in the United States. C&S Wholesale Grocers is the lead supply chain company in the food industry today – and the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S. According to their website, they supply independent supermarkets, chain stores and institutions with over 150,000 different products – from more than 50 high-tech facilities, delivering everything from seafood to soup to soap. They state:  “In fact, if it belongs on a supermarket shelf, it’s probably moving through a C&S warehouse right now.”

The big question is, do they sell their Chometz?

The answer is that they do sell their Chometz, and this year the sale was handled by Rabbi Teitz.

DOING BUSINESS OVER PESACH

But there is yet another question:  C & S unquestionably still does business over Pesach with Chometz. Is there any inyan to be stringent based on the idea that selling their doing business on Pesach with Chometz may invalidate the selling of the Chometz that the Rabbi performed prior to Pesach?

Most Poskim hold that it does not invalidate the sale and that which the company is buying and selling over Chometz is produce that actually belongs to a goy.  The issue, however, is a debate among the Poskim.

The Maharam Shick (OC #205) rules that the fact that the irreligious store owner is still conducting business demonstrates that the sale is, in fact, a sham sale.  This is also the view of the Minchas Shai, the Divrei Malkiel (4:24) and the Sdei Chemed (Chometz 9:35).

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (IM OC I #149) and the Divrei Chaim (II #46) both permit it, however.  Indeed, Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that there is no concern whatsoever and no need to be stringent since the essence is that the Rabbi had sold it.  The Chelkas Yaakov (III #31) seems to be lenient as well.

The author can be reached at [email protected]