Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Taking Stock of Chometz Investments

Rabbi Yitzchok Tzvi Ushinsky

It’s Erev Pesach, and all the chometz is out of your possession. Or is it? What about your financial holdings in companies that deal in chometz? Does one violate the prohibition of bal yimatzei by being a partner or partial owner of such a company?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Does the ownership of stocks or trust funds make one liable of transgressing bal yimatzei (chometz should not be found in your possession) if that company deals in or owns chometz on Pesach? In theory, since a stockholder shares in both the profits and the losses of the company, he is considered to have accepted responsibility for his shares. But the poskim debate whether that responsibility renders him enough of a partner or partial owner to be considered in violation of bal yimatzei.

In order to resolve this question, we must understand the distinction between a person who owns chometz that is in the possession of others and a person who accepts responsibility for chometz that belongs to someone else. A person who owns chometz is considered to be in violation of bal yimatzei even when the chometz is not in his possession, simply because he owns the chometz item itself (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 440:4).

But what if a person merely accepts responsibility over someone else’s chometz?

The Gemara (Pesachim 5b) questions a seeming contradiction in a baraisa, which begins by stating that it is permissible to have chometz belonging to other people in one’s possession, but then goes on to state that it is prohibited to accept deposits of chometz from non-Jews. The Gemara resolves the contradiction by positing that it is prohibited to have someone else’s chometz only when one accepts responsibility for it. The Gemara then cites an incident in which Rava told the residents of Mechuza to remove chometz belonging to the soldiers stationed in their town from their possession. Since they would have been liable to pay for the chometz if it were lost or stolen, they were considered “owners” of the chometz with respect to this bal yimatzei. It seems, then, that the Gemara establishes a general principle that a person who accepts responsibility for chometz becomes its “owner” vis-à-vis the prohibition of bal yimatzei.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you