|Ask Rabbi Lerner|
A Jewish couple owns a food business (an Ice Cream Shop). Do they have to close for Pesach because of the hometz? Can they "sell" the shop for the week and have someone run it? Or, can they just not go to the shop during the week, but have someone else keep it open during the week (without the "selling")?
Thanks for writing, and I see that you are connected from a synagogue site. Above all, the Rabbi of the congregation is the final authority and it is his/her definition that is paramount.
In terms of Passover, here in my community I am involved with dietary laws supervision and we have several ways of handling the process as do the traditional communities.
Believe it or not, I believe that there are many reasons for us to be grateful when a Gentile operates a kosher food concession, such as a bakery. Passover is one such time
If there are Jewish owners however:
1. Encourage the Jewish owners to take off for Passover every year as a vacation! They sell the contents of their store as well as their home, including anything and everything involved with food and edibles and preparation, though a procedure known as "mechirat chametz," selling to a Gentile the option to purchase. At the end of Passover, everything reverts back to Jewish ownership and a contribution is given to the Gentile or the charity of their choice in gratitude.
2. Some who are in a partnership will sell the Jewish "half" to the Gentile "half" and at another time it will be compensated for in the division of propfits. In my opinion this is less than desirable.
3. The last approach of which I am aware is for the Jews to sell their chametz, operate the store and the supervisory agency will announce that for Passover they are NOT supervising. This is a procedure I don't endorse at all, but I've seen it done.
Check with your Rabbi and enjoy
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Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner
Foundation for Family Education (FFFE)