Chametz burning
Chametz burningChief Rabbi of Russia's office

A Jerusalem grocer burned his entire stock after forgetting to sell his Chametz to a non-Jew before Passover, racking up enormous losses.

The custom of selling chametz allows Jews to fulfill the religious obligations of the holiday and not have chametz in their possession while at the same time not taking a critical financial loss. The sale contract stipulates that if the purchaser does not pay the balance by the end of Passover the ownership reverts back to the original owner, in a scenario that is agreed upon by both sides.

Gavriel, who owned the store in Jerusalem, said that he forgot to sell his Chametz due to the absence of his brother, who had been responsible for the sale for many years. After consulting with his rabbi, he was told that he had no recourse other than to burn everything he owned.

"I worked almost continuously to clean until the holiday came clean and I did not have time to think about the extra task that I had this year. During the holiday, my Rabbi came to me and asked me why I did not come to sell chametz this year. Then I remembered that I had actually forgotten to sell the chametz," recounted Gavriel.

"We took out the Chametz and completely burned it. I was left with a loss of NIS 50,000 but Jewish law is Jewish law," he continued.

Gavriel told the Kol Berama radio that he hoped that his actions, which he called "a sanctification of Gods name", would make up for his monumental financial loss. "This was a sanctification of Gods name here and I hope that God will make up my loss from someplace else. I don't regret it," he said.