Gentile returns hametz he took from J'lem community

Muslim man says drinking alcohol was against his religion and therefore he brought the merchandise back, which included pricey bottles of whiskey.

By JONAH MANDEL
April 28, 2011 04:27
1 minute read.
Israeli alcoholic beverages.

Israeli alcoholic beverages 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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After causing great consternation to the haredi community in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, a seemingly penitent gentile has decided to return the hametz he had taken before Pessah.

As reported in the haredi media and in these pages, a non-Jewish resident of Shuafat had acted on his right to take the food – much of which was liquor – that were set apart and legally bestowed upon him, to enable the Jews to fulfill the commandment of not owning leavened products over the holiday.

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Normally, observant Jewish communities sell the leavened goods to a gentile, who is bound to sell them back after the holiday. Members of the Ramat Shlomo community, at the encouragement of their Rabbi Simcha Rabinowitz, decided to take the deed a step further, and “give,” the gentile, rather than sell, their products that were not kosher for Pessah.

The symbolic act, however, was consummated when the man decided to simply show up on the eve of the Seder with his car and load it with the goods, which included pricey bottles of whiskey.

But overnight Monday, haredi website Hadrei Haredim reported that the man had telephoned Rabinowitz that night, telling him he would be there on Tuesday to return the goods.

According to a report on the competing Kikar Hashabat website, the Muslim man told the rabbi that it was against his religion to drink alcohol, and therefore he was bringing the merchandise back.

It remains to be seen if the man’s services will be sought again next year.

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