There is a minhag that everyone sells their chometz to a goy. The chometz must be sold before the sixth hour [Mechaber (443:1)]. This year even though one still needs to eat chometz on Shabbos, many poskim hold the chometz is still sold Friday morning before the sixth hour. This is to ensure that one won’t make a mistake during a regular year. However many poskim say that since people and stores are stilling buying and selling chometz after the mechira it looks like the whole mechira is a joke and it should be done later in the day.
There are two accepted minhagim how to do the mechira. The first minhag is that it is sold in the fifth hour like every other year, however it is written in the shtar that the sale should only take effect close to the start of Shabbos. When done this way it should also say in the shtar that the chometz that is needed for the seudas Shabbos is not included in the sale. Some say it is better to verbalize it than to write it in the shtar. The Mishnah Berura (448:17) discusses which kinyanim may be used when selling to a goy. When doing a kinyan sudar the kerchief of the goy must be used. Reb Shlomo Zalman zt”l says that in a year like this, one has to make sure not to give the kerchief used during the kinyan back to the goy before Shabbos otherwise the kinyan won’t take effect. The second minhag is that the kinyanim are all done during the fifth hour, however it doesn’t take effect until Shabbos during the fifth hour. Even though most poskim are of the opinion that it is prohibited to sell chometz to a goy on Shabbos, that is only if the kinyanim are being done on Shabbos. In our case everything is being done before Shabbos, except it only takes effect on Shabbos.
It should be noted that in the shtarei mechira of earlier generations we don’t find a difference in the language of the shtar in a year that Shabbos is Erev Pesach. The reason seems to be that they relied on the fact that the goy gives them permission to eat the chometz on Shabbos. Still it is best to ask permission at the time of the sale as mentioned earlier.
The Mishnah Berura says that if one has a lot of chometz in a room and he forgot to sell it to a goy, he must give it as a present to a goy. The goy must acquire the chometz either by lifting it up or pulling it into his own domain. If there is too much chometz for this to be done, then he should give him the key to that room. Since this present is for the purpose of a mitzvah it is permitted to do so on Shabbos.
If he is afraid that the goy will not return it to him after Pesach some poskim hold that he may sell it to him. Since he is doing so in order not to transgress issur chometz it is not considered a business deal and it is permitted. However most poskim hold that this is also forbidden, even if he only agrees on a price without taking the money from the goy.1
Prepared by R’ Avrohom Yehoshua Ziskind
1Sources: Mishnah Berura, Piskei Teshuvos, Hilchos Mechiras Chometz