Question: When faced with a choice, is there any reason to patronize a Jewish-owned store rather than a non-Jewish-owned store?
Rashiin Parashas Behar (25:14) states that one should patronize a Jew whenever possible. Although this is not recorded as law in the Rambamand Shulchan Aruch, the Chafetz Chayim rules that one should follow this policy. Even if the Jewish-owned business is located a bit farther away and it will take longer to shop there, it is still a mitzvah to give preference to the Jewish-owned establishment.
One must shop at Jewish-owned store, however, only when the price is the same or slightly higher. If the price is much higher, then there is no mitzvah to patronize it. The poskim do not give a precise definition of what is considered "much higher" and what is considered "slightly higher," and it may, therefore, be up to each individual to decide this for himself.
When judging what is considered much higher or slightly higher, the judgment may be based on the total outlay of money, not on the price differences per item. For instance, if shopping at the non-Jewish store will yield an overall savings of twenty dollars, even though the savings per item is only a few cents, twenty dollars may be considered a significant difference and it would be permissible to shop at the non-Jewish store.
The same ruling applies to differences in service. If there is only a slight difference, then it is a mitzvah to support the Jewish businessman. If there is a great disparity, then it is not a mitzvah.
Question: Must one really clean and check for chametz behind the stove or refrigerator?
No, it is not required that one move out their stove or refrigerator to look and clean for chametz. One is only required to clean the areas in the house where chametz may be found during Pesach. For all other areas where chametz is inaccessible, and will remain in accessible during Pesach, one could rely on the process of nullification (bittul chametz) that is made right after the bedikah and repeated again after the burning of the chametz.
Question: What should be done if some edible chametz is found in one's house or workplace during Pesach?
If the chametz is found on Shabbos or Yom Tov, then it should be covered with a utensil or a towel, etc. The chametz, which is considered severe muktzeh, should not be moved at all, not even with one's feet or body. If the chametz is found on Chol ha-Moed, it should be disposed of immediately. If possible, it should be burned. If this is not possible, then it should be flushed down the toilet or crumbled and thrown to the winds or cast into a river.
Question: Is it permitted to go shopping on Chol ha-Moed?
Generally speaking, it is forbidden to go shopping on Chol ha-Moed for items that will not be needed on Chol ha-Moed or the last days of Yom Tov. It is forbidden, for example, to go shopping for clothing, household goods or sefarim which will not be used until after Yom Tov is over. There are, however, a number of exceptions to this basic rule. Among them:
- It is permitted to buy a gift which will be given on Chol ha-Moed, even though the recipient will not use the gift on Chol ha-Moed.
- It is permitted to shop on Chol ha-Moed if the item will not be available after Chol ha-Moed.
- It is permitted to shop on Chol ha-Moed if one must be out of town after Chol ha-Moed and will not be able to buy the item elsewhere.
- It is permitted to shop on Chol ha-Moed if the item is on a special sale (such as a clearance or an end-of-season sale) and will cost considerably more after Yom Tov. It is advisable to consult a rav to determine what exactly is considered “considerably more” in this case.
Addendum to Pesach Koshergram
Soy Milk: The following brands contain no chometz, and may be used on Pesach by those who are permitted by their Rav to eat Kitniyos: Soy Dream Original un-enriched Soy Milk, and Vitasoy San Sui Original Natural Soy Milk.
Israeli Peppers (red, yellow, orange) are now being sold at local stores (e.g. Sam’s Club, Trader Joe’s, Meijer), and require taking of Terumos and Maaseros. Check the label or sticker of each package for the country of origin.
Elite Chocolates are recommended only when bearing the certification of the OU or the Badatz of the Eda Hacharedis. For Pesach, special Pesach marking is required.
Listerine Pocketpaks Breath Strips and Listerine Pocketmist Oral Care Mist that still bear the Kof-K symbol are Kosher for year-round use, but not for Pesach. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has decided to discontinue Kosher certification, and new packages will therefore not bear a Kof-K and are not recommended. Consumers can express their disappointment to the manufacturer at 1-888-222-0182.
Nestle Nesquik Regular Chocolate Powder, which used to be pareve, is now dairy equipment and bears an OU-D. Older containers with a plain OU are pareve. – The “No Sugar Added” variety contains whey, a dairy ingredient. – Nestle Nesquik with Vitamin Complex, made in Mexico, bears no OU and is not recommended. – For Pesach, only containers with special Pesach marking may be used.
Chometz After Pesach: In the March 2009 KosherGram, we listed several Jewish-owned stores such as Hiller’s / Shopping Center, Natural Food Patch, Efros Drugs, Sav-On Drugs, Produce Palace and Restaurant Depot Foodservice Wholesaler in which we recommended that you consult your Rabbi, prior to purchasing any chometz after Pesach. We have received communication from some of these stores that they have made a Mechiras Chometz with other Rabbis in the community. These stores, which are not VAAD certified establishments, did not make the Mechiras Chometz through the Council of Orthodox Rabbis; therefore, the VAAD will not render an opinion as to any Mechiras Chometz made by them. We suggest that you contact management for relevant information and consult your Rabbi for a Halachic ruling concerning buying Chometz after Pesach from these or any other Jewish-owned store.
Pistachio Recall: The FDA and the California Department of Public Health are investigating Salmonella contamination in pistachio products sold by Setton Farms of Terra Bella, CA. These pistachio nuts have been repackaged into many different consumer level containers, and were also used as ingredients in a large variety of foods. The FDA is therefore advising people at this time to avoid eating all pistachio products, and in particular Setton Farms and Kroger brands of pistachios, until further information is available about the scope of the contamination. A full list of recalled pistachio products is available at http://www.fda.gov/pistachios/
Buyer Beware: This is true with purchasing kosher foods year round, but especially during the Pesach season. Many non-kosher stores sell a very wide variety of foods including kosher, treif, chometz and foods that are Kosher L’Pesach. Do not assume that when making a purchase at a non-kosher certified store that the products you are buying are free of chometz, or even kosher. Finding it in “the kosher aisle” is meaningless in these stores, as there is no guarantee that the store clerk did not place the product on the shelf in error. There is also no guarantee that another shopper did not place one of the items they intended to buy but changed their mind, in the kosher section after changing their mind. Many packages look alike. Please inspect each individual item that you are purchasing for a reliable kosher and/or kosher L’Pesach certification.
The Council of Orthodox Rabbis wishes you and your family a Chag Kosher V'Sameach!
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