Ask the Rabbi with Rabbi YY Schochet

Help! My Daughter Owns Chametz!

Dear Rabbi

My daughter runs the in-store bakery at our big local supermarket. Every morning she cycles in at 7AM so that when the bakery opens at 8AM it’s filled with the wonderful smell of freshly-baked bread. Next week it will be Pesach. We’re not worried that she will bring leavened matter back into our kosher for Pesach home, because she has to wear a full uniform at work, with a hat. No, our problem is that she works for a supermarket which is a partnership. This means that until they’re sold, she technically owns all the loaves that she has baked. Also what should she do when one of her obviously Jewish customers asks for a croissant over Pesach? As an aside, is she permitted to put crosses onto her hot cross buns?


Dear David

Insofar as the supermarket is concerned, she is not allowed to own any leavened matter over Pesach. I don’t know the technicality of the partnership, but if she does own any of the actual chametz then she would need to sell her share for the duration of the eight days of Pesach. 

If she identifies a Jew buying a bagel on Pesach, the right thing to do of course is make the individual aware that it is Pesach and that they really ought to go to isle four instead – where the matza is kept. If the customer gets upset and threatens to call the manager, have them call me instead.

As for the hot buns – seriously, don’t lose sleep over it. Then again, she could always try Magen Dovids and see if anyone notices. 


Taking the Matzah Express 

Dear Rabbi

More than fifty years ago there were only two brands of Matzo readily available in this country; a London company Bonns, in a small blue box about the same size as today’s Rakusens box, and Rakusens a Manchester company in a larger red box.

Bonns continued to pay for labels Kosher for Pesach to both London & Manchester Beth Din, while Rakusens decided it was not necessary to pay both and only carried the Manchester Beth Din label.

The Jewish media ran articles with the support of the then Chief Rabbi stating that Rakusens Matzos were not kosher for Pesach in London.

Sitting in a train at Manchester station bound for London, eating a Matzo sandwich, at which point in the journey did the sandwich become chometz?


Dear Derek

That would have to be at “Bakewell” Station. Sorry, you asked.


Who Can I Invite to my Seder?

Dear Rabbi

What is your view on inviting guests for Seder night if you know they are going to drive there?


Dear Rachel

It’s more a case of ‘I don’t ask you don’t tell.’ That is to say, your job is to invite – it’s not your business to play G-d’s policeman and determine how they’re getting there – especially if in theory they can walk. Otherwise we might as well close our Synagogues all the same. If however they live a sufficient distance that makes it near impossible to walk then you should ensure to offer them to stay with you overnight. If you’re sincere enough about your invite to the Seder, you won’t mind if they accept the invite to sleep over either.


I’m From Israel! Can I Fly?

Dear Rabbi

Is an Israeli allowed to fly from Israel to see relatives in the UK on the second day of Pesach which will be chol hamoed for him but Yom Tov for them? 


Dear Alistair

While technically he is not breaking Yom Tov per se, as it is indeed Chol HaMoed for him, nevertheless, even when an Israeli is in the UK, it is still wrong for him to do that which may be permitted to him, in public. As such, even as it is not wrong for the ‘person’ to fly, he is coming to a ‘place’ where the day is still holy and it would be wrong for him to publicly desecrate that. 


Hypocrisy or Ego – That is the Question

Dear Rabbi

I think Orthodoxy is such hypocrisy. I caught a guy with a beard staring at me on a bus in Clapham. Isn’t he supposed to be holier than that? 



Dear Fay

Don’t flatter yourself lady. He probably thought you were his long lost grandmother that his family often speaks about. Then again, if you really think you are all that, no one’s infallible. We all have contradictions in our lives even as we strive for perfection. Every time you do something wrong, that doesn’t make you a hypocrite, just a human being grappling with some vulnerability. In fact that’s a timely message from Pesach. We are very meticulous about no chametz, but inasmuch as that is something we do regarding Pesach, there is always the internal chametz and we need to eradicate ourselves of that just the same. Chametz is leavened matter – dough that rises reflecting the ego within. That ego is the basis for us seeing ourselves better than others and daring to look down and criticize at every opportunity. Eradicating the internal chametz means to park the ego and don’t be so quick to judge others until you know every fine detail of their life and situation. You know how they say, “those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” Well, we would all do well to look through the glass of our own souls before we dare cast stones at others. 

By Rabbi YY Schochet MA CIArb
Twitter: @RabbiYYS