There are always a few crumbs an eagle-eyed shopper can find among the clothes, furniture and tchotchkes for sale on eBay. But this time, they were real crumbs. Crumbs of chametz, the leavened food like bread and cakes that observant Jews rid their homes of before the start of Passover. Chametz that they want to use after Passover ends can be technically sold to a non-Jew.
A seller known as Ronen1972 from Newton, Mass. (he or she wanted to remain anonymous, said Ronen1972 in an e-mail exchange) auctioned off a crop of crumbs to the highest bidder in an auction that ended last Saturday night.
Someone going by the handle SeeMoreClearlyNow paid $255. The money, Ronen1972 said, is going to charity. The idea "just started as a half joke me and my son thought of doing: then we decided it could be cool to actually sell our chametz on eBay," said Ronen1972 in an e-mail. "We never expected to get any bids."
Their blurb was as honest as a loaf of peasant bread: "Buy my genuine chametz for a week. You will be getting my chametz for a week (it is sold as is) some of it is brand new but most of it is in crumbs and has been lying around on the floor for up to a year. I need to sell it for Pesach. This is a lease only (I will not actually send any chametz to you) if you insist I can send a sample box of selected chametz: shipping in the US only $15.00 flat rate."
The winning bidder didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Catherine England, an eBay spokeswoman, says it’s the first time she’s ever heard of chametz being auctioned off.