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Israeli store owner loses £10,000 burning his entire stock after forgetting to sell it before Passover

He said his rabbi reminded him after the festival started

    A Strictly Orthodox family burns leavened items - or chametz - in a final preparation before Passover in Jerusalem
    A Strictly Orthodox family burns leavened items - or chametz - in a final preparation before Passover in Jerusalem (Photo: Flash90)

    An Israeli supermarket owner set fire to his entire stock after forgetting to sell it to a non-Jew prior to Pesach.

    The proprietor of the Jerusalem store, named as “Gavriel” on Israel’s Charedi Kol BeRamah radio station, said he had incurred a loss of 50,000 shekels (£10,000) as a result, but had “no regrets”.

    He said that usually his brother was responsible for selling the chametz, but was not around this year to make the sale, Israel’s Arutz Sheva news site reported.

    "I was cleaning almost non-stop until the holiday and didn’t have time to think about the extra job  I had this year,” he said.

    “During the chag, my rabbi came and asked me why no-one had come [to him] to sell my chametz this year – which was when I remembered.”

    The idea of selling chametz – or leavened food forbidden during the Passover festival – to non-Jews is a well-established way of avoiding significant financial losses.

    Jews are not allowed to own chametz during the festival and there is a ban on eating or making a profit from any chametz subsequently discovered in their possession.

    Selling all the chametz in one’s possession to a non-Jew prior to Pesach and buying it back afterwards is a popular way of avoiding that problem.

    The rabbi instructed that Gavriel had no choice but to destroy the chametz products, a decision Gavriel called a “Kiddush Hashem” or a sanctification of God’s name.

    “We took out the chametz and completely burned it,” he said.

    “I was left with a loss of NIS 50,000 but Jewish law is Jewish law. I don’t regret it.

    "I hope God will make up my loss from somewhere else.”

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