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Ask the rabbi Shabbat and Holidays Chametz Sale

Selling chametz online

Rabbi David SperlingAdar 22, 5773
2064
Question
Is it okay for me to "sell" my chametz online through the Chabad website?
Answer
Shalom, With the advent of online services, the question of selling one's chametz via the internet has become an issue the Rabbis address. In truth you are not selling your chametz over the internet, nor for that matter are you selling your chametz to the local Rabbi if you use the "old fashioned" sale. The Rabbi certainly doesn't want your chametz! What you are doing is making him an agent to sell your chametz for you to a non-Jew, and to do everything legally needed for that to work. This task of making the Rabbi an agent may be done via the internet. However, it is probably better to use your local Rabbi if you can, for a completely different reason. The relationship between a Jew and his community Rabbi needs to be a strong one in order to grow in Torah and Community. If you make the effort to meet your Rabbi and use him for your halachic and Jewish needs, you will find that your Jewish life is enriched greatly. For this reason I strongly believe in using your local Rabbi to sell your chametz. But if you cannot do so, for any reason, then the online services are acceptable. It would seem that this is the reasoning behind the disclaimer on the Chabad website - "Note: Leading halachic authorities have ruled that online authorizations are acceptable for the purpose of selling chametz. The traditional and preferred practice, however, is for the authorization transaction to be done in person with the local rabbi." Chag Semach.
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