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FOLLOW-UP QUESTON

I saw online that a pizza place in Miami is having people reserve pizzas now for motza’ei chag – they obviously aren’t being made until after Pesach, and it wasn’t clear when payment was happening. It feels wrong to me, but is there actually any halakhic issue with it?

ANSWER

I think reserving is different than selling. They will be payed for when picked up and if not picked up then no consequences. So no sale has occurred. Technically it’s fine.


FOLLOW-UP QUESTION

An online grocery store order (like Fresh Direct). They don’t charge you until the order is picked since produce varies in weight and they may be out of things. However you can’t cancel the order without penalty.

ANSWER

I’m not advising to do it until I’ve given it more thought but לכאורה you are correct.  You don’t purchase the food until checkout which takes place soon before delivery. You can even take food off the list up until the point when the shopping starts. I also assume that the penalty is a flat amount not based on the purchase (not that that would necessarily matter, but just makes it even clearer that it is unrelated to the particular order). So לכאורה it’s fine.

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

What is the Rosh Yeshiva’s position on ordering chameitz from Amazon/online grocery/etc. during Chol HaMoed?

ANSWER

Totally אסור. You will own חמץ on Pesach even if not yet in your possession. The only way it can be okay is if the purchase doesn’t take effect until the food is delivered. I am assuming that is the case but it should be checked out. They certainly take your money up front. Let’s say they never deliver – do you ask for a refund or do they say that the order never went through? It is true that your item won’t be selected from among the others until the delivery date (at least in the case of the groceries), but for a דאורייתא we say יש ברירה so retroactively you will own it from the time of purchase.


FOLLOW-UP QUESTON

I saw online that a pizza place in Miami is having people reserve pizzas now for motza’ei chag – they obviously aren’t being made until after Pesach, and it wasn’t clear when payment was happening. It feels wrong to me, but is there actually any halakhic issue with it?

ANSWER

I think reserving is different than selling. They will be payed for when picked up and if not picked up then no consequences. So no sale has occurred. Technically it’s fine.


FOLLOW-UP QUESTION

An online grocery store order (like Fresh Direct). They don’t charge you until the order is picked since produce varies in weight and they may be out of things. However you can’t cancel the order without penalty.

ANSWER

I’m not advising to do it until I’ve given it more thought but לכאורה you are correct.  You don’t purchase the food until checkout which takes place soon before delivery. You can even take food off the list up until the point when the shopping starts. I also assume that the penalty is a flat amount not based on the purchase (not that that would necessarily matter, but just makes it even clearer that it is unrelated to the particular order). So לכאורה it’s fine.