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Discovering Delivered Chametz After Pesach

Rav Yosef Kushner, Dayan at the Bais HaVaad

Question: We know that if someone received a shipment of chametz on Pesach, he would have to burn the chametz if his property is koneh it. What if someone discovers after Pesach is over that a shipment of chametz arrived on Pesach?

Answer: This shaila arises often for people who deal in closeouts. They may receive a large shipment of merchandise on Pesach, and only realize after Pesach that there was some chametz amongst all the items that were delivered.

Unless he said explicitly that he does not want his property to obtain possession of any chametz that arrives on Pesach, he would be koneh it. If he does explicitly say that he does not want to be koneh any chametz that comes on Pesach, it would become ownerless, which would also put him in a predicament. The Mishnah Berurah rules that if one does a proper bedikah and biur before Pesach, but then discovers chametz after Pesach that he was unaware of – meaning that it was ownerless chametz in his property that he didn’t know about – one should still not eat it. He says, though, that if one were to experience a big loss by burning this chametz, one may sell it. Presumably, the same would apply in this case.

As we said, if he did not have explicit intentions not to gain possession of any chametz that arrives on Pesach, he would automatically be koneh it, which would seem to mean that he would have to burn it. If such a situation does come up, one should speak to a Rav to determine if there is anything that can be done to salvage the delivery. 

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