Thursday, December 20, 2007

Selling Chometz Before Pesach

The Ktzos HaChoshen in 194:4 has an interesting discussion about what is the best way to sell chometz before Pesach. He finds a downside to almost every kinyan. For example, kinyan agav may only be d'rabbanan, kinyan chatzer may get into a problem of ein shlichus l'akum, kinyan meshicha isn't practical, kinyan kesef won't really work with m'taltlin etc. The Ktzos then suggests a novel way of transferring the chometz to the non-Jew - by means of a kinyan odisa. What is a kinyan odisa? It comes from a strange story related in the gemara in Baba Basra 149a. Here is a rough translation of that story:

Issur Giyora had twelve thousand zuz by the house of Rava. Rav Mari his son was conceived not in holiness [before his father converted] but born in holiness (thus he did not legally inherit him). (Rashi: This refers to Issur the Ger who had relations with Rochel the daughter of Mar Shmuel before he converted and she became pregnant while he was still a goy with Rav Mari the son of Rochel. Then, while she was pregnant, he converted. Then Rav Mari was born so that his conception was not in holiness but his birth was. [Rochel] was one of the daughters of Shmuel who was held captive as described in Kesuvos 23a.) He was by the house of Rav. Rava said, "How can Rav Mari acquire this money? If by inheritance, he is not an inheritor. If through a matanah, matnas shchiv maira (i.e. the matana of someone prior to his death) is like an inheritance according to the Rabbis. If there is inheritance there can be matnas shchiv maira, otherwise no. If by meshichah, the money is not with him. If by chalipin, money isn't acquired through chalipin. If by kinyan agav, he has no land. If through maamad shlashtan, I'm not going! [Maamad Shlashtan is a kinyan that involves the mafkid, nifkad and the mekabel matana. The mafkid tells the nifkad in the presence of all three, "the money of mine that you have goes to him". Rava didn't want to participate in this, because he would stand to lose the money!] Finally, Rav Ikka the son of Rav Ami asked, "Why not have Issur admit that the money is Rav Mari's and Rav Mari will acquire through kinyan odisa?" After that, an odisa was, in fact, sent out of Issur's house. Rava was upset about this.

The Ktzos understands that Odisa is a real kinyan. If you "admit" that something belongs to someone else, even if, in fact, it doesn't, this can effect a kinyan. By chometz also, the Ktzos suggests writing a contract admitting that the chometz belongs to the non-Jew, and that will create the kinyan.

This idea of a kinyan odisa is relevant to the discussion we had in this previous post about how hodaas baal din works.

It should be noted that not everyone agrees that odisa is a kinyan. Some learn that it is merely an admission. See, for example, the Nimukei Yosef in Baba Basra 69b in Dapei HaRif.