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
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"