Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, noted Rav, posek, and author of many sefarim, responds to Rabbi Yosef Dovid Chanowitz’s article on Mechiras Chometz, featured in the Pesach 5767 issue of Kosher Spirit.
We have included excerpts from Rabbi Bogomilsky’s letter, and Rabbi Chanowitz’s response.
To read Rabbi Chanowitz’s origonal article on Mechiras Chometz click here
Dear Kosher Spirit,
Over Yom Tov I had an opportunity to glance through the beautiful Kosher Spirit magazine the OK published…the article from Rabbi Y.D. Chanowitz, “Demystifying the Mitzvah of Mechiras Chometz,” is a learned piece and he should be commended for it. However, it left me, personally, somewhat mystified. Moreover, I have no doubt that Rabbi Chanowitz is an academician (Talmid Chacham) par excellence, but I doubt if he was ever involved in or witnessed Rabbonim doing the buy-back procedure after Yom Tov.
To my knowledge, Mechiras Chometz is not a mitzvah. Tashbisu/Bittul is a mitzvah of the Torah and Bedikah too may be considered a part of the mitzvah, but Mechiras Chometz is a Takanah. It was instituted as means to help people who had too much Chometz and did not want to destroy it or make it hefker – ownerless. The best description, in my opinion, would be, “The minghag (custom) of Mechiras Chometz.”
…Regarding the procedure for after Pesach, Rabbi Chanowitz writes, “After Pesach the rabbi, the guarantor and the non-Jew meet. The rabbi demands the payment from the guarantor…” This is incorrect!
According to the Shtar Mechira of the Alter Rebbe, and the comments of the Shaar Hakolel, and the one commonly used by Rabbonim, the non-Jew is sold the Chometz and he has till three days after Yom Tov to make payment…what right does the rabbi have to demand payment…right after Pesach?
What actually takes place is the following: The non-Jew and the guarantor meet…the non-Jew informs that he couldn’t sell anything…Now he says to him, “perhaps you would sell it to me”…the non-Jew happily agrees. The guarantor pays him and a handshake (and a kinyan chalipin) is made…
Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky
Rabbi Chanowitz responds:
…It is an honor to have Rabbi Bogomilsky, one of the leading poskim and rabbonim, respond to my article… I had the privilege as well to be an “arev kablan” for many years at [a mechira]…
Rabbi Bogomilsky might be right that mechira is not one of the 613 mitzvos, however… we are fulfilling the negative mitzvah of “bal yeroeh and bal yimotzeh” … the message we are trying to convey is that it is mandatory (for OK companies), not optional (in the case of a minhag).
Rabbi Bogomilsky questioned my description on what happens after Passover… Rabbi Bogomilsky is correct that I omitted some facts, and intentionally so, as I explained before, that it was beyond the scope of this article to delve into the many technical details of mechiras chometz. Although I do recognize that some of the wording could possibly be misleading for the scholar, however, to a layman I think this information is sufficient to give him the picture.
Rabbi Yosef Dovid Chanowitz