Greensboro Jewish Chametz to be Purchased this Pesach by Tara Sandercock

Greensboro Jewish Chametz to be Purchased this Pesach by Tara Sandercock

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Dear Friends,

Pesach is approaching, and many of us are busy cleaning and shopping and thinking about the Seders and menus for the rest of the Pesach week. Why are we cleaning? Because Jews are not only forbidden to eat any chametz, but we are also not allowed to possess any chametz during Pesach. So we are finishing up what we can, and putting the rest away, and locking it up in a cabinet or the garage.

But wait! If it’s in the garage in a box, or a cabinet, isn’t still in our possession?

The ancient rabbis (any rabbi older than me), recognizing that modern life is complicated, and that it’s not practical to consume or discard all of our chametz products by Pesach, devised a legal strategem to help Jews observe the holiday properly: After we have cleaned up what chametz we can, and segregated the rest in a closed area, we arrange for the ownership of our remaining chametz to be transferred to someone who is not commanded to observe Pesach. In other words, we sell it to a non-Jew, a Gentile.

Since the legal sale mechanism is somewhat complex, Jews throughout the ages have asked their community rabbis to serve as their agents to arrange the sale of their chametz, the sale taking effect just before Pesach, and to buy it back, immediately after Pesach.

So, I am happy to serve as your agent to sell your chametz! You may appoint me as your agent online, by contacting me directly at ehavivi@bdgso.org, with the subject line – Please sell my chametz, and your name and address in the body of the letter.

Or, you may fill out a form and put it in the box above the water cooler in the shul hallway, or if you prefer the traditional face-to-face way, you may come to minyan, or to the synagogue, anytime during the week before Pesach, pick up one end of a bandana, with me at the other end, and in that way signify your appointing me as your agent.

Do you have to pay me to serve as your agent to sell your chametz?
No, you already paid your synagogue dues, and I’m happy to do this as a community service.

However, it is customary at the same time that you appoint the rabbi to sell your chametz, to make a donation to a special “Pesach for the Poor Fund”, called Ma’ot Chitin, which means “wheat money.”

In olden times, this money was used to provide wheat or matza for the poor, so that they could have matza for Pesach. Nowadays, we use it to buy Passover food for families who cannot afford it, or to help people who would not otherwise be able to come to our community seder, and probably to any seder, to celebrate with us. I am happy to be your agent for these donations as well – cash is acceptable if you come in person to sell your chametz, or checks made out to Beth David Synagogue, with an earmark that says- ma’ot chitin.

You can appoint me as your agent anytime before Pesach, even if you haven’t finished cleaning for Pesach, since the sale doesn’t take place until just before the onset of the holiday. I will take care of selling your chametz, and the chametz of all the other families who have appointed me as their agent, and all the chametz in the synagogue, to a Gentile.

This year, I am delighted that my friend Tara Sandercock has agreed to be the purchaser of our chametz! Tara and I traveled to Israel several times on a Federation/NCCJ/ Community Foundation Interfaith Study Missions and became friends. Tara works as Senior Vice President, Foundation & Community Relations at The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. She works on affordable Housing issues, human relations, and strategic planning. She is an Elder at Guilford Park Presbyterian Church and a dear friend of the Jewish community.

Tara and I concluded the chametz sale agreement, complete with her $5 down payment on a $100,000 sale price (see photo!); the sale takes effect at 11:00 am, Monday, April 10, Erev Pesach. Tara will legally own our chametz for the eight days of Pesach. We will not be able to use it, because it won’t belong to us anymore.

And immediately after Pesach is over, Tuesday night, at 8:38 pm, I will call her up and ask for the full payment, and she might say that she can’t pay, and in that case, the sale will be revoked, and the chametz in your garage will return to your ownership, and you can safely drink a l’chaim of chametzdik scotch to celebrate, or enjoy a veggie pizza at Elizabeth’s!

So that’s how the “selling of chametz” works. I am happy to serve as your agent to sell your chametz, Please write to me, or visit me, during the coming weeks to arrange for the sale, make a contribution to ma’ot chitin, and most important…..

Have a healthy and joyous and kosher Pesach, you and all your loved ones.

Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Eliezer Havivi

 

P.S. Here are some wonderful Pesach resources for you to explore to make your seder and Pesach holiday more meaningful:

Hamilton Haggadah

Passover Videos