Volume 17 Number 86
                       Produced: Wed Jan 11  6:11:39 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Divine Authorship and Moshe's Free Will
         ["R. Shaya Karlinsky"]
Israeli produce - a correction
         [ Dr. Jeremy Schiff]
Israeli produce and Tu B'shvat (2)
         [Michael J Broyde, Lon Eisenberg]
One more try at Divine Authorship
         [Jules Reichel]
Rambam's 8'th Principle
         [Eli Benun]
Shmita fruit
         [Leah Zakh]
Tu B'shvat queries
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]


From: "R. Shaya Karlinsky" <msbillk@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 07:31:25 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Divine Authorship and Moshe's Free Will

In MJ 17/75 Avi Feldblum quotes a famous Meshech Chomchmah about Moshe
Rabbeinu rising to the level where he was deprived of his free will.

>In order for Moshe Rabbenu to be the agent through which the
>Torah was given, Moshe acheived a state where his bechira - "free
>will" was removed/absent. He no longer operated under the conditions
>of free will, but in a manner similar to a malach (angel).

So far so good.  However I believe that the next part is an incorrect
understanding and application of the R' Meyer Simcha's words.

>One very interesting result of this is that the two main
>protagonists in last week and this weeks parsha, Moshe and Pharoh
>both were operating with compromised free will systems, but from the
>two opposite extremes.

The loss of Moshe Rabbeinu's free will took place as a result of his
not returning to a human, physical level, after Matan Torah.  This was
necessary in order for us to have the absolute confidence throughout
the ages that every word Moshe taught was the exact and accurate
transmission of what G-d and dictated (Torah Shebichtav) and taught
(Torah Sheb'al peh).  From thereon, even a prophet doing miracles
could not undermine our confidence in the accuracy of that Torah,
since the prophet had free will in distorting the word of G-d -- and
Moshe Rabbeinu did not.  Until the time of his ascent to Sinai, he was
still in control of free will.

Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky                   Darche Noam Institutions
Shapell's/Yeshivat Darche Noam          POB 35209
Midreshet Rachel for Women              Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Tel: 972-2-511178                       Fax: 972-2-520801


From: <schiff@...> ( Dr. Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 95 11:10:05 +0200
Subject: Israeli produce - a correction

With apologies to Leah Zakh, some of the information in her posting
"warning about Israeli produce and Tu BiShvat" was misleading.

Shmitta is unfortunately an area of halacha were we are very divided
in practice. Before you start discussing individual halachot, you have
to make a decision about where you stand on certain key issues. I'm going
to tailor my discussion to two opinions, which I believe to be the most
common amongst the God-fearing community here in Israel. These are
1. "Strong Heter Mechirah" - if a farmer (or other landowner) gives 
   his consent to the rabbanut, they can sell his land to a non-Jew for
   the duration of shmitta year, and there is no problem of any sort
   with the produce of this land. You don't have to worry about 
   trumot umaasrot.
2. "No Heter Mechirah". The formal sale described above doesn't work.
   The halachot of shmitta produce apply, viz. (very, very roughly) 
   vegetables picked at a time consistent with the possibility that
   they could have been planted in shmitta are not allowed to be eaten
   (actually you shouldn't have picked them either), and fruit have
   the status of "kedushat sheviit" - which I will explain in a minute.
   Note that (with some exceptions), a vegetable is a shmitta vegetable
   if it is picked in shmitta year, while a fruit is a shmitta fruit if
   it undergoes an early stage of development called "chanata" in shmitta
   year. Now, "kedushat sheviit" is a whole bundle of halachot about what you
   can and can't do with the fruit - you can't trade with them (i.e. use
   them for profit), you can't damage them, you can't send them outside
   Israel, and (probably at the top of all of these) you _should_ eat them!
   There are differing opinions as to whether to take trumot umaasrot on them.

Whichever view you hold, shmitta for almost everything but fruit is now in 
the past. An exception to this is that a person who holds view 2, who might
not want to eat a can of vegetables with a hechsher on it saying that it
was produced using view 1 (i.e. it is from shmitta year, and edible -
according to view 1 people - because the farmer sold his land). You have to be
careful with trumot umaasrot on Israeli produce, and orlah and chadash on
all produce, at _all_ times. In my opinion, anyone who avoids Israeli produce 
because "he doesn't want to bother with trumot umaasrot" (whether to take
them, how to take them) is at the very least ignoring the injunction to
"run to do an easy mitzva", and is also quite likely displaying contempt for 
our land, and bringing further exile. I say this because I am aware of at
a Kashrut organization that advises consumers to stay away from not-firmly-
hecheshered Israeli fruit in the supermarket. It should advise how to take 
trumot umaasrot instead (this can be done in English). 

Back to shmitta, and the main point I want to make. Let's say you are
outside Israel looking at a pile of Israeli ornages in the supermarket.
If you hold view 1 - you can probably argue that a majority of exported
fruit from Israel is grown under strong Heter Mechirah. But - because of
possible doubt - you might want to treat it as kedushat sheviit. If you
hold view 2 it definitely has kedushat sheviit. Note that even though it
has been incorrectly exported, this doesn't remove it's kedushat sheviit,
and certainly does NOT make it forbidden to eat as Leah suggests!! In
fact it's still a mitzva to eat it. You can just walk away from the pile
of the oranges if you want - since they are not yours yet you have no
obligation towards them. But I think that more in line with the spirit
of the law is to buy as much as possible (taking appropriate measures, if
a Jewish storeowner is involved, that he will not violate the prohibition
on trading kedushat sheviit), and you should eat them in the appropriate

I don't feel right ending a piece about certain technical aspects of kedushat 
haaretz (the holiness of the land) without saying - something which I
imagine is unnecessary for most - that today we have merited to be able
to see the centrality of Eretz Yisrael in the lives of Am Yisrael. If taking
trumot umaasrot before eating a tomato seems too much to you, then find
out about what has happened here in the last 50 years - the wars that have 
been won, the miracles that our eyes have witnessed (yes, I know, there's
plenty of problems still) - I think you'll learn to feel why that tomato
is more special to us.



From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 09:41:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Israeli produce and Tu B'shvat

 Leah Zakh <zakh@...> states:
> Just a reminder for everyone planning to have Israeli fruit at their Tu
> B'Shvat seder. Last year was shmita. Thus most of Israeli fruit this year
> have Keddushat Shveit and are assur to eat in Chul. Even those with a
> hechsher might have been grown under Cheter HaMechira, which depending on
> whose psak you are following might not solve the problem.

	This is not correct, according to nearly all authorities.  Only 
vegetables, and not fruits are prohibited to eat under the gezerah of 
sefechim.  Fruits which will come up anyway are permitted.  For a 
discussion of this issue, see Minchat Shlomo #44 (by Rav Auerbach) and 
Rav Moshe's teshuva on etrogim.  See also my letter to the editor in 
volume 28 of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.  While 
according to some authorities export might be prohibited, I do not know 
of any source that prohibits the use of exported fruits.  In short, the 
prohibition to eat, according to those who reject the heter mechira is 
limited to vegetables, items that are rarely used to celebrate tu beshevat.

She also states
> Also ALL israeli
> produce requires Parshat Trumot and Maaserot unless it has a hechsher
> that already sapareted them (such as BaDaTz of the Eida HaCHareidit).
	This is a vast and significant dispute.  Many authorities do not
require the separating of terumah and maser from fruits and vegetables
that are exported; see for example Beit Avi 1:85 and sources cited there
in.  There is an article on this topic in volume 28 of the Journal of
halacha and Contemporary Society.
	More generally, there is something wrong with posting of this
type that take very complex halachic issues, simplify them into rules
that are very debatable, and post them on a list of this type with a
simple warning that THESE are the rules used by halacha, and halachic
Jews should comply.  Once again, I urge people to investigate halachic
issues and provide sources for assertions.  A little bit of research
makes posting much more worth while.

From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 95 09:51:50 IST
Subject: Israeli produce and Tu B'shvat

Leah Zakh <zakh@...> stated that most of the fruits from Israel
have kedushath shevi`ith, which is true.  However, I'm not so sure about
her statement "and are assur to eat in Chul".  The real prohibition is
exporting them, not eating them outside Israel.  There are some posqim
(I'd have to look up which ones) who even permit exporting, so long as
it is to Jewish communities; the real fear is that the fruits will not
be treated appropriately due to their sanctity.

So, IMHO, what you really have to worry about is not eating the fruits,
but treating them properly: not throwing them into the garbage, not
mashing them (unless that type of fruit is normally mashed), etc.  If
you have a large quantity (more than 3 meals' worth for the members of
your household), then you also have to make them hefqer (ownerless) when
their time of bi`ur comes (when there are no more of that type of fruit
left on the trees).


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 15:41:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: One more try at Divine Authorship

My prior posting favored our using the word "inspired" to create a best
image for the preparation of Torah. My concern is with the language
conundrum that as we demand the use of words like "dictated" and
"written" we change Moshe from being our human teacher into a machine
with no humaness. Avi pointed out in the following posting that one
source indeed views Moshe as an angel.  That is the logical consequence
for those who have God dictating and writing, i.e. Moshe was also some
form of devine and wrote Torah in some kind of trance state. Rabbi
Adlerstein posts again to support his view that G-d dictated "every
single letter" even if that creates this necessity that Moshe be an
angel, and he resolves this seemingly startling (to me) role for Moshe
by explaining that Moshe is not diminished since only he was "a
candidate for the most elevated form of prophecy".

My view of "inspired" is that it comes from the word to breath in. It's
as if Moshe breathed in God's message and was then able to write. Stan
Tenen improved my explanation of this process when he explained that
it's more than an ordinary "inspired". Stan said, "We will never know
what Moshe experienced until we can internalize all of Torah as one
gestalt-- one extraordinary and unique meditational experience". If
there was a word which meant gestalt-inspired I would use it. It comes
very close to expressing the image which I think most people draw up
when they try to describe revelation.  



From: <EBENUN@...> (Eli Benun)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 23:40:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rambam's 8'th Principle

 Yitzchok Adlerstein wrote in MJ Vol. 17 No. 84:
> Surely Mr. Reichel cannot mean that G-d did NOT dictate every
> single letter of the Torah!  The fact that Moshe was the
>faithful amanuensis of Hashem, and that he received all of it
>directly from G-d, is of course the substance of the eighth of
>the Thirteen  Principles of Faith of Maimonides. Those
>principles determine (as Rambam himself adds at their end) who
>is in and who is out of the community of the Torah faithful.  

In the Torah U-Maddah Journal (Volume 4) Marc Shapiro writes a thorough
article on how many Rishonim and Aharonim differed with the Rambam on
many aspects of the Thirteen Principles. Regarding the eighth principle
in particular Shapiro cites opinions from Ibn Ezra and Yehudah he-Hasid
(among others) who believed there were post-Mosaic additions to the


From: Leah Zakh <zakh@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 10:57:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Shmita fruit

seeing a number of responces to my previous post Iwould like to post a 
clarification. Not meaning to  do so I passed a judgement on the validity 
of Heter HaMechra. The following is what I really meant to say.
There is a problem with eating fruit that has kedushat shviit in Chtz 
Laaretz. Depending on whose psak you follow Heter HaMechira might or 
might not solve this problem. Contact your LOR for a specific psak. Also 
we should be aware that foods processed in Israel may include fruit, 
grains and vegetables grownduring shmita. IF someone does not rely on 
Heter Hamechira he/she should be careful that the hechsher on the product 
is appropriate for him/her.
I hope that this clarification will be found satisfactory.
Leah Zakh
You can reach me at <zakh@...> or 212-779-1939


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 19:59:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tu B'shvat queries 

Does anyone have solid information to confirm or disconfirm the following 
things I have "heard"?

(1) This is not really the greatest time of year to plant trees in 
Israel. The tree-planting is more symbolic.

(2) A story about Rav Kook.  He went to a children's tree planting 
ceremony, where each child had a "shtil" (little tree to plant) and shovel.  
Everything seemed to be going fine, but he seemed troubled.  When asked 
what was the matter, he asked "eyfoh sheli"? (where is mine?).  Of course 
they gave him a shtil and a shovel.  He proceeded to ignore the shovel 
and dig in the earth with his hands, saying that the land is holy. 

Also, I was wondering.  Does anyone recall from their own experience, or 
have they heard about, tree-planting ceremonies *outside* of Israel? Or 
is Tu b'shvat so closely tied to the land of Israel in the minds of 
people that no one would do this? (If you live in a warm climate outside 
of Israel, please try to think about this.)

Aliza Berger


End of Volume 17 Issue 86