In an (almost?) unprecedented incident, the non-Jewish "chametz" owner of the Jerusalem Neighborhood Ramat Shlomo decided hours before Pesach to actualize his legal right, and take possession of all the chametz he purchased. Actually, he didn't even purchase it -- it was given to him as a present...
Kikar Shabbat reports that days before Pesach, Rabbi Simcha Rabinowitz from the "Mishkenot Yaakov" synagogue community announced that he was setting aside a special room in the synagogue for everyone to put their chametz. [Normally, Jews sell their chametz/unleavened products for the period of Passover, and buy it back after the holiday is over...yet this story takes a different twist.]
The rabbi explained that it is better not to sell actual "chametz" to a non-Jew, but to give it to them as a present. If the non-Jew doesn't actualize ownership over Passover, then after Pesach, one can re-take ownership, and this is considered "much better" (mehadrin) than selling chametz to a non-Jew.
Dozens of people decided to use this "better" option and transferred tens of thousands of dollars worth of whiskey and leavened bread products to the room allocated by the Rabbi...all assuming they would retake ownership of it, after Pesach.
However, much to their dismay, hours before the holiday the person showed up and happily claimed his present in front of all. He cleared out the room of the whiskey and alcoholic drinks, as well as expensive baby carriages (worth thousands of NIS) that the owners didn't clean for Passover -- and had placed in the room...
The owner disappeared, leaving an empty room in the "Mishkenot Yaakov" synagogue. (source)
Hope you're enjoying your Pesach...
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