But Where Can We Buy Chometz Now?

6

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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.

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.

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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.

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The author can be reached at [email protected]

The following information comes from AKO

Introduction

The following memo provides important information about Chametz She’avar alav HaPesach at various establishments.

 

In general, it is difficult to make definitive statements about the acceptability of purchasing chametz from specific stores after Pesach because of practical and halachic ambiguities.

  • First, it is not easy to establish Jewish or non-Jewish ownership. Nonetheless, in this paper we have assumed that publicly traded companies may be treated as non-Jewish entities since the majority of potential stockholders are not Jewish.
  • Secondly, even if a product is sold in a non-Jewish store, it may be chametz She’avar alav HaPesach if the distributor is Jewish Determining the identity of the distributor is a formidable task because this information is proprietary and is not readily available.
  • Thirdly, while chametz that is delivered after Peach to a Jewish establishment is not Chametz She’avar alav HaPesach, it is difficult to determine the arrival date of any given product, as the turnaround time is generally unknown. Nonetheless, some Poskim maintain that if there is a safek when product was delivered, the principle of safek d’rabbanan l’kulah applies, while others hold that safek d’rabbanan l’kulah is not applicable in this situation for various reasons.

Finally, some Jewish companies participate in a mechiras chametz, but there are divergent opinions among Poskim about the validity of a sale of a company that is operating on Peach. Furthermore, the sale will not be effective for chametz acquired on Peach because one cannot sell a davar she’lo ba l’olam. To address these concerns, some

Poskim recommend selling the entire company rather than the chametz, but this too is a matter of dispute if this is acceptable.

Our goal is not to recommend buying or not buying chametz from any particular establishment. Rather, each kashrus organization or Rav must formulate their own set of standards and guidelines for the purchase of chametz. Once that is done, this memo will provide information that will be helpful in determining which stores fall into the categories of acceptable or not acceptable sources for the purchase of chametz after Pesach.

Categories of Establishments


Below are six general categories of establishments with lists of stores that fall into each specific category.

Non-Jewish Companies Supplied by Non-Jewish Distributors

Either publicly traded companies (which are assumed to have non-Jewish ownership), or privately owned by non-Jews

 

Chometz may be purchased at these stores after Pesach

 

  • Aldi
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Duane Reade
  • Hannaford
  • Kmart
  • Publix
  • Rite Aid
  • Sam’s Club
  • Trader Joes
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Wawa
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods
  1. Non-Jewish Companies Supplied by Jewish Distributor

Publicly traded company or privately owned by non-Jews

Supplied by a Jewish distributor who sells the company (not only the chametz) before Peach but continues to operate on Pesach

General List

  • D’Agostino Markets
  • Food Emporium
  • Foodway Supermarket
  • Gristedes Foods
  • Key Food
  • Kroger
  • Safeway – see below
  • Stop and Shop
  • Target – see below
  • Winn Dixie

Note: Target

 

  1. Franchised Stores

Stores are individually owned, and it is necessary to research each store’s ownership

 

Note: 7-Eleven

Some stores may be Jewish owned, but the supplier for all these stores is not Jewish.

Note: Shoprite

  1. Jewish Owned Company

Traditional mechiras chametz executed, but store is open on Pesach

 

Price Chopper

 

  1. Less than 50% Jewish Ownership of Store and Distributor

The majority of the company is owned by non-Jews. Zecher Yitzchok (#8) and Chemed Moshe (quoted by Mishna Berurah, Sha’ar HaTziun 448:4) hold that chametz She’avar alav HaPesach is batel b’rov if there is a majority of non-Jewish ownership, though Sha’ar HaTziun and others question this position.

 

The Jewish partners sell their shares in the business (not only the chametz), and the business operates on Pesach

Albertson’s Chains include

Acme (see below), Jewel-Osco Pavilions Randall’s Safeway (see below) Shaw’s Star Markets Tom Thumb Vons Kosher aisles of Acme in PA, NJ and New England and the kosher aisles of all Safeway stores are stocked by a kosher certified supplier who sells the chametz and is closed for Pesach.

 

Wakefern (which supplies all Shoprite stores)

Wakefern Food Corporation is a cooperative which is owned by the Shoprite store owners, some of whom are Jewish. A Rabbi arranges transfer of Jewish ownership to non-Jewish partners.

  1. Online Distributors

Online merchants, such as Amazon, Sam’s Club and Walmart, are not Jewish-owned, but often serve as distributors for other businesses, some of whom are Jewish owned. The name of the supplier is generally posted on the website and consumers should make a reasonable effort to determine if the supplier is Jewish before purchasing chametzafter Pesach.

2701 West Howard Street, Chicago, Illinois 60645

(773) 465-3900

Fax: (773) 465-6632

www.akokosher.org

6 COMMENTS

  1. Besides that, the issue is only with pure chometz and NOT mixtures and NOT kitnios either.

    In fact, you could even go into the store in a few days, if you’re so concerned and buy bread, for sure by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

  2. Jersey, who said anything about kitniyos? Kitniyos can be owned during Pesach, and need not be sold. I did not put away my kitniyos, and certainly did not include them in my mechira, because there is no problem at all in owning them, using them, or doing anything with them except eating. Even if they accidentally get into the food it is not a problem, they are batel berov. So there was never any question about buying them from a Jew after Pesach, even if we know for sure that he didn’t sell any chametz.