Update: Goy Who Made Off With Kehillah’s Chometz Decides to Return It


chometzA goy who made off with the chometz of a Yerushalmi kehillah, acting on his right to take their chometzdike products bestowed upon him ahead of Pesach, has decided to return those items.

The tradition of selling one’s chometz to a non-Jew is what allows Yidden to keep in their possession various products which are not kosher for Pesach. Normally, after the chag, the non-Jew will sell the goods back. However, as first reported here on Matzav.com, members of the Mishkenos Yaakov kehillah in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in Yerushalayim were encouraged by their rov, Rav Simcha Rabinowitz, to take the tradition one step further and, rather than selling the chometz, actually give it to the non-Jew, who would presumably return it after the Yom Tov.

Many people chose to put their products – including expensive alcoholic beverages – in the room destined for the chometz, believing that such an act would be a higher degree of observing the issur of not owning chometzdike products.

After the transaction took place and shortly before the chag began, however, the goy arrived with his vehicle and proceeded to take the goods, which were legally his. Objecting to his actions was not an option, since that would prove that the deal was not sincere, which would mean that the chometz would have belonged to the Jews.

However, the Muslim man, a resident of Shuafat, now says that since drinking alcohol is against his religion, he has decided to return the items, including expensive bottles of whiskey and liquor. The man called Rav Rabinowitz at the beginning of this week to inform him of his change of heart, stating that he’d come on Tuesday to return the items.  He told the rov that it was against his religion to drink alcohol and he was therefore bringing the shnopps back.

It remains to be seen if the man’s services will be sought again next year. Don’t bet on it.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. No Sweat, were he to decide to keep it, he would have to pay the real value, decided by the average price of three qualified appraisers, after Pesach when the deal would be completed.

    You see before Pesach he only gives a deposit, and we trust him to pay us the full amount after Pesach should he decide to follow through on the deal.

    However, according to Halacha/law the merchandise is legally his from when he gives the deposit.

  2. People should not try to be more frum than the gaonim and poskim of the past many years. Klal Yisroel has relied on selling of Chometz for thousands of years, and if people think they are frummer than they SHOULD have their things taken away. It serves them right. And the goy has ZERO reason to give anything back, they were given to him as a gift, why SHOULD he give it back??! I wouldn’t.

  3. Now You have to Kasher all the Keylim. Do you trust all the food that the Arab had in his possesion?

  4. #8,

    No, Jews have not ALWAYS sold chametz; the custom arose in the middle ages as a way to avoid serious financial losses.

    I wish he had kept at least some of the chametz; it would prove beyond any doubt that the transaction was real.