A Moral Dilemma for the Shabbos Table

By Rabbi Yitzi Weiner

We know that there is a mitzva to get rid of all of one’s chametz on Pesach. One way that we get rid of our chametz is by selling it to a non Jew. This brings us to the following true question.

A man whom we will call Yosef had a large collection of expensive whiskeys in his cellar. Every year when Pesach arrived, he sold his chametz, and included his extensive whiskey collection in the sale.

One year a fire broke out in his cellar on Pesach. Luckily, Yosef had fire insurance. Once the holiday was over, the insurance company made a large payout to Yosef, based on the contents of his cellar. A large part of the payment was intended to cover the loss of the liquor. Yosef wondered if he was allowed to accept payment for the chametz.

He thought,’’if I accept the money I will be benefitting from chametz. Also, this particular chametz didn’t even belong to me; it belonged to the non Jewish gentleman who purchased it from me. Additionally, if I accept this money, it will be clear that I never took the sale of the chametz seriously.”

Yosef took his question to a Rav. Would it be permitted to keep the insurance money? What do you think?