An article in the recently published 5781 Pesach edition of The Kosher CORner entitled “Amazon after Pesach” recommended that consumers choose local kosher certified retailers over Amazon for their chametz needs after Pesach. This is due to the “verification advantage” that retailers maintain over Amazon since both they and their distributors can verify that all their chametz had been sold prior to Pesach which is not the case with Amazon.
There is another pertinent discussion that must take place regarding the Subscribe & Save program at Amazon. With Amazon’s subscription program, a consumer can set up regularly scheduled deliveries and earn savings. From diapers to toothpaste to dog treats to cereals, consumers can subscribe to thousands of everyday products.
The halachic concern with Subscribe & Save is that a consumer may forget to cancel his chametz subscription prior to Pesach. If this happens, chametz is automatically transacted on Pesach; a credit card will be charged and a subsequent delivery will be made. Such a transaction brings about a serious question as to whether he has violated the prohibition not to own chametz on Pesach (בל יראה). Accepting the package into one’s home can further complicate the matter. Furthermore, further ramifications must be considered since chametz which is purchased by a Jew on Pesach becomes prohibited after Pesach (“prohibited chametz after Pesach”). It is therefore of critical importance to remember to cancel all subscriptions for products that contain chametz prior to Pesach.
Someone who forgot to cancel his subscription and learns that an Amazon package containing chametz will be or has been delivered to the door on Pesach should not touch the package. Instead, he should immediately call a rov and seek guidance on how to best deal with the package in order to avoid violating the aforementioned prohibition as well as rendering it prohibited chametz after Pesach.
Rabbi Tsvi Heber is COR’s Director of Community Kosher