LETTERS
Sale of chametz is NOT just an easy get-out

THERE is much to say for the suggestion in your editorial last week that "the disposal of chametz [could] become a force for good . . . [if it were] offered to non-Jewish charities for the homeless, the needy or others . . . [and] an organisation or individuals within our communities might adopt such a project in the future".

Though one may not as yet exist in Manchester, they certainly do in other places.

However, your preamble to the effect that "the so-called sale of chametz is a very convenient get-out, for we all know that after Pesach, the items we have 'sold' are actually returned to us" is incorrect.

The practice of selling chametz was introduced many centuries ago in Poland because many Jews were involved in the liquor trade, one of the few occupations open to them, and would have been ruined if they had to dispose of their entire stock on Pesach.

Giving it to needy non-Jews would have been equally crippling.

In reality, the Beth Din goes to great lengths to ensure that the sale is done in a 100 per cent legal manner and the non-Jewish buyer pays a deposit but retains the option to cancel it if he wishes. Though he almost invariably does decide to cancel after Pesach, he could keep it and pay the outstanding balance.

So it is not quite a "complete fiction", which claim only goes to strengthen the perception, which you yourself decried some weeks ago, that your paper is prejudiced against Orthodoxy.

Martin Stern,
7 Hanover Gardens,
Salford,
Manchester.

The editor replies: What an utterly naÔve conclusion that because the Jewish Telegraph questions the fictional sale of chametz to non-Jews, this newspaper, ipso facto, must be anti-Orthodox!

The fiction is perpetrated from the most extreme charedi communities down to the most average of middle-of-the road congregations and even some Reform synagogues.

Perhaps our correspondent could supply us with the evidence that any of those non-Jews who agree to 'buy' the chametz of hundreds, if not thousands, of homes ever actually retain it after Pesach.

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