What foodstuffs people will keep in their homes over Pesach could fill an encyclopedia full of differing opinions. Some people hold that no "echt" chometz can remain in the house. Some people hold that flour falls in this category and will not keep it over Pesach. My uncle's minhag was to buy 15-20 pounds of flour before Pesach and sell it with the other chometz. I knew lots of people with the same minhag. Some people won't keep even closed boxes of pasta products over Pesach; some throw out only opened boxes. Some people keep bread in their freezers; others won't. Some keep cereals, some don't. I'm not here to discuss or to argue how you hold and what you hold as regards chometz over Pesach.
I am, however, reminded of what R'Moshe Feinstein said many years ago: "Az muh farkoift nisht kan chometz, demults vos farkoift men?" If you aren't selling chometz, then what are you selling? Just a thought.
I wish more poskim today were as reasonable and realistic as Rav Moshe Feinstein was.
One of my rebbeim says that you're selling things that might have chometz in them, but you aren't sure- say, a can of vegetables that has the ingredients of "beets, water, salt", but since industrial food processing plants use some sort of starch to keep balls of salt together before they add them, there might be chometz, you just don't know- probably not, but maybe.
Selling chometz didn't originate in modern times when products might or might not have chometz in them because of chemical additives. People sold chometz even when all foods were unprocessed, raw and truly "organic." how many ready made kosher products were there pre WWII? or WWI? Salt wasn't iodized--a fairly modern notion--which is also why so many Jews suffered from goiter, for which iodine insufficiency is a cause. There were no cake mixes and packaged pasta and ready to eat cereals in Europe pre the wars. So what did people sell? Real honest to goodness chometz. They sold flour and oats and wheat.
I wonder if we added up the cost of all the items that are thrown out or given away to non Jews before Pesach if we might not gasp. Might they equal $100? or $200? Whatever the amount, one rav I know (a talmid of R';Moshe's) who says you may sell all chometz says it is like telling someone to go and take a $100 bill and then telling them that they have to throw it in the garbage. How many people would do it?
Do you not buy flour and bread after Pesach? Do you not buy cereal and pasta? Why? Because the store you buy the things from sold their chometz before Pesach. It would be a financial hardship on the stores if they had to throw out their stocks. Why is this different from individuals who also have a stock that represents a monetary loss to them? Is the store's bread more "heilig" in some way?
Not that I asked for it, but there's a discussion about this in comments on a recent post I wrote about using up flour.
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