Selling Chametz and Selling the Land: Loopholes?

Question

The Torah, in DT 4:1-2, says to live according to God’s laws, not adding to them nor removing from them.

In Judaism, many traditions have been developed that seem to have become laws that override the Torah.

For example, the written law of God says to let the farmland be fallow for every seventh year. Tradition provides a way around the law by allowing people to sell their land for one year to a non-Jew, enabling the farmer to claim, ‘I did not farm MY land, so it is OK.’ If the land belongs to God, that farmer would still responsible for not having let God’s land rest. In fact, according to 2 Chronicles 36:21, because Israel did not keep the shmitah year for 490 years (70 shmitah years), the exile to Babylon was likewise 70 years, to give the land the rest it had been denied by the religious leaders of those days.

The same is done during Pessah, selling the Hametz. so you can say, “It’s not MY Hametz in my house”. These manipulations must be disgusting to God who said not to do them!

4 months

Answers

  1. I appreciate why you feel as you do with regards to things like selling Chametz. However, it is not as much of a loophole as it sounds at first. The Shulchan Aruch states, Orach Chaim 448:3, that chametz left in the jurisdiction of a Jew is completely forbidden to use after Pesach. If the chametz was sold or given over completely to a non-Jew without any preconditions, even with the knowledge that it will be returned after Pesach, the chametz is not regarded as his. Rather, it is the chametz of the non-Jew (see Mishna Berura, Shaarei Teshuva – at length, and Biur Halacha there). The Shulchan Aruch makes it clear that if the sale is not made in good faith, then the chametz does not leave the person’s ownership over Pesach.

    This is not a loophole, but rather is a determination of the legal facts and seeing if the mitzvah or prohibition applies.

    With regards to selling the Land of Israel in order to circumvent the issues of Shmittah, I suggest that you read two essays by Rabbi Jachter about the subject. Rabbi Jachter’s essays can be accessed from: https://www.koltorah.org/rav-jachters-halachah-files
    by typing in the word “heter” in the search box.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team