Volume 32 Number 42
                 Produced: Sun Jun  4 10:07:27 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Heter Mechirah (3)
         [Mark Steiner, D & J Weil, Mark Steiner]
Heter Mechirah and consumers
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Nachem in our times/ Honesty in prayer (2)
         [Shlomo Abeles, Avi Feldblum]
Yom HaAtzmaut
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Yom Yerushalayim - Thursday or Friday (2)
         [Yisrael Medad, David Ziants]


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 12:21:21 +0300
Subject: Re: Heter Mechirah

Shmuel Himelstein writes:
> It seems to me that the poster must have misunderstood the entire
> concept. The Heter Mechirah applies ONLY to someone who owns land. It
> has nothing whatsoever to do with the consumer, who obviously doesn't
> sell any land.

    This statement needs elaboration.  The heter mekhira is supposed to
convert Jewish land into Gentile land.  According to the conception
behind the heter, fruits grown on Gentile land in Eretz Yisrael during
shmita have no sanctity (note that this conception, though accepted by
many poskim, is itself disputed by others), and can be bought and sold
on the open market without restriction.  Furthermore, such fruits can be
disposed of in any way, unlike fruits that have sanctity.  Thus, the
heter mekhira is crucial mainly for the consumer.  As for the farmer, it
is not at all clear that a Jew may work the land of a Gentile during

Mark Steiner

From: D & J Weil <weildj@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 15:08:59 +0300
Subject: Re: Heter Mechirah

Somehow the problem of buying produce from non-Jews - i.e. from our
enemies (there wouldn't be the same objections if the Arabs were
friendly) - is one that comes up only at Shmitta time.

In practise a large proportion of the vegetables that we buy in Israel
at any time are grown by Arabs - only we don't know it. Interesting that
this never seems to bother anyone outside of the Shmitta period.

Anyone who wants to observe Shmitta without accepting the hetter mechira
and without buying Arab produce can do so by:

1. buying otzar beis din

2. buying gush katif vegetables (where there are special arrangements,
and a combination of hetterim, related to kedusha rishona and kedusha
shenia and other situations, too complex to explain in a short posting)

3. buying preserves, frozen stuff etc.

4. buying other long-lasting vegetables that were harvested during the
sixth year.

It may involve changing one's eating habits - but one wouldn't need to go

Best wishes,


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 15:37:10 +0300
Subject: Re: Heter Mechirah

Joseph Tabory wrote:

> 1.  There is not much of a legitimate humrah involved in a consumer
> insisting on products raised by non-Jews during shemittah but the
> question is how does this compare with the "kulah" of diverting economic
> support from Jews to non-Jews?

    I don't think we should judge how much legitimacy a humra has.  As I
wrote earlier, according to the Hazon Ish, a major contemporary posek,
the heter mekhira is legally invalid, and were it valid, would involve a
Biblical prohibition.  Similar views were held by the Netziv, a fervent
hovev tziyon.  The consideration of Jewish employment would be more
persuasive if Israeli Jews were willing to work in agriculture;
unfortunately, this is not the case.  The recent retreat of the Israeli
Defence Forces from Lebanon has left fruit rotting on the trees in
Northern Israel, because they were supposed to be picked by Lebanese
from across the border, and even unemployed Jews are unwilling to pick
the fruit.  So we are likely to be faced with the quandary next year of
supporing Thai workers or Palestinian growers.

2.  There is also produce grown by Jews in Israel without the heter
mechira, mainly fruits, and this should be even more encouraged by
consumers to support Jews in their attempt to keep the Israeli economy
going in a manner totally consistant with halakhah.

    This is a much better argument--there is an arrangment, called an
Otzar Beit Din, instituted by the Hazon Ish on the basis of a tosefta,
where the Beit Din markets shmitta fruits (not vegetables).  This should
indeed be encouraged wherever possible (and should, but does not always,
lead to a drop in prices for the consumer, as the Beit Din is supposed
only to charge expenses, not profit).  However, the consumers must learn
the laws of how to handle sanctified fruit.  This does not apply outside
of the Land of Israel, though, because it is forbidden to export fruit
of the Land of Israel during the shmitta (Mishna, Shvi`it 6:5).


From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 13:53:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: re: Heter Mechirah and consumers

Shmuel Himelstein wrote: 

>  The Heter Mechirah applies ONLY to someone who owns land. It has
>  nothing whatsoever to do with the consumer, who obviously doesn't sell
>  any land.  If, then, the Heter Mechirah is indeed valid, there is no
>  Halachic impediment on anyone buying produce from such land.

I happen to agree with you that there shouldn't be any reason not to buy
Heter mechirah produce (and this is one of the points that R. Ovadia Yosef
makes in a teshuva in Yabia Omer V8 on this topic) even if you say that
the act of selling the land for this purpose is prohhibited.  The fact
remains however, that the Badatz'es and  Mehadrin Hashgacha's will not
certify Heter Mechira produce.  And for people who only buy Badatz or
Mehadrin, that means they will not be buying heter mechirah produce.


From: Shlomo Abeles <sba@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 04:01:59 +1000
Subject: Nachem in our times/ Honesty in prayer

> Akiva Miller  wrote:
> > My question, similar to Mr. Burton's, is whether such a position is
> > consistent with reciting the standard text of "Nachem" on Tisha B'Av:
> > "... the city that is mournful, ruined, scorned, and desolate: mournful
> > without her children, ruined without her abodes, scorned without her
> > glory, and desolate without inhabitant.... For You, Hashem, with fire
> > You consumed her and with fire You will rebuild her..."

Unfortunately, there's still plenty ro mourn for in a Ruchniyos
(spiritual and religious) sense.


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000 09:53:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Nachem in our times/ Honesty in prayer

On Fri, 2 Jun 2000, SBA wrote:
> Unfortunately, there's still plenty ro mourn for
> in a Ruchniyos (spiritual and religious) sense.

However, I do not think that the question being addressed is whether
there is reason to morn or not. No-one on the list has suggested that we
cancel Tisha B'Av. The question is whether the particular text of the
Nachem addition needs to be amended. I have a copy of the "Authorized
Kinot for the Ninth of Av" put together by Rabbi Abraham Rosenfeld. In
there, he has a modified version of Nachem, which if you read, still
clearly follows the sense of the tefillah, but without the issues of
refering to Yerushalaim being deserted of jews etc.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 18:18:58 +0300
Subject: Yom HaAtzmaut

 Chaim Mateh brings up a number of issues with regard to the celebration
of Yom HaAtzmaut. This is obviously a charged issue, and without even
looking at the index, I'm sure it has been discussed at length a number
of times. We should therefore be careful with this discussion not to
fall in to some sort of loop, with no reasonable exit.

In any case, a few points. First of all, any discussion of the religious
nature of Yom HaAtzmaut (as well as other issue of the modern State)
should give high respect to the Religious Zionist rabbis and their
followers.  A Jew has the right to follow his rabbi, even if it appears
difficult to someone on the other side. A debate about the halachic
authority of the Religious Zionist rabbis should be held in a different

Secondly, I strongly recommend to Chaim and others to read the book
"Hilchot Yom HaAtzmaut V'Yom Yerushalayim", edited by Nachum Rakover. A
number of prominent rabbis wrote about all of these issues, and their
arguments are much more in-depth than can be reflected on this list.

I will, however, try to reply briefly to the points that Chaim raised.

> Did not the Anshe Knesses Hagdola decree that we say Hallel on Chanuka?
> Did a similar Rabbinic body decree the same for Yom Haatzmaut?  Are
> Rabbis empowered today to rule new days for Hallel saying?

There are a number of halachic sources which indicate that Hallel should
be said for any redemption. Some hold that it is even d'oraita (a mitzva
from the Torah). Such opinions can be found by Rabbeinu Tam, the Netziv,
and the Chatam Sofer.

>Are they empowered to change the Hallachot regarding mourning 
>customs during Sfiras Haomer (during which Yom Haatzmaut falls)?

See "Moed L'Kol Chai" by Rav Chaim Falagi (sp?) who discusses cases
where families had their own Purims (for miracles that happened to them)
on 8 Iyar and 11 Iyar, and celebrated and got haircuts. See also Chaye
Adam 155:41 (the last section of the book), for a description of
community Purims (including his own). He mentions R' Yaavetz, who would
not fast when Tisha B'Av was postponed, because it fell on his Yom Tov.

> Why then was a Hallel holiday not decreed after Ezra returned to Eretz
> Yisroel?  Then too, we got our own country, and even the Beis Hamikdosh.
> Or when Shlomo built the 1st Beis Hamikdosh?

This is an interesting historical question. I suppose it had to do with
the fact that in the time of Ezra the Jews did not have full political
independence, which was not achieved until the time of Chanuka, when in
fact, Hallel was prescribed. But we do find in Megilat Taanit a number
of holidays that were introduced because of victories involved in
conquering the land.

> What redemption did we get 100 years ago?

To quote the Yerushalmi Brachot, the redemption of Israel comes very
slowly. The Zionist movement, which began 100 years ago, set the bedrock
for the greater redemption that was to come. Had it not been for God's
help, the political planning and physical settling of the land,
thousands and millions of Jews would later have no where to turn.  Ask
*any* Israeli family, and you can see the wonder of God's ways.

> I might agree with you that we did experience a redemption at the end of
> WW2 in 1945.  Does anyone say Hallel on the day the war ended?  Yom
> Haaztmaut is not only the day Ben-Gurion declared the State of Israel.
> It's also the day that war broke out and many Jews were killed.  OTOH,
> does anyone say Hallel on the day the fighting stopped, months after Yom
> Haatzmaut?

The Chatam Sofer writes (Orach Chaim 191) that a Yom Tov can be added
only when we have a redemption from slavery to freedom" - i.e. political
independence, which was achieved on 5 Iyar.

> Are you referring to a physical redemption or a spiritual redemption?

This might sound strange, but can you define the difference? What makes
a "spiritual redemption"? The opportunity to do mitzvot?

> In either case, when and where in Jewish history (besides Purim and
> Chanuka) has it been ruled that we say Hallel (and all the other "chag"
> trappings) on days of redemption?

How about Pesach? 

Again, the halachic discussions are much more complex with many
more sources. 

-David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 23:50:56 +0300
Subject: Re: Yom Yerushalayim - Thursday or Friday

Jonathan Grodzinski wrote:
>In our shul (Ner Yisrael Hendon, London UK)the Gabbai announced that
>although 28th Iyar is on Friday, since in Israel Yom Yerushalayim will
>be celebrated one day early this year, we in our shul in London will do
>My brother-in-law who lives in Petach Tikvah, says that this is
>nonesense and that Yom Yerushalayim in Israel will be celebrated on 28th
>Iyar namely Thursday evening/Friday

I hope I am not the only one but in terms of Tefillot, Yom Yerushalayim
is Thursday night/Friday.  The only change is that *all* public events
are held on Thursday here to prevent Chillul Shabbat by not having
events run into Shabbat.

From: David Ziants <davidz@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 23:37:45 +0300
Subject: Re: Yom Yerushalayim - Thursday or Friday

I was told that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate mark Yom Yerushalayim, as a
religious holiday, on the 28th (Thursday night/Friday), and it is not
moved back. The official Israeli day, though, is on Thursday and this is
often what is printed on Israeli calendars.

Many of the secular ceremonies took place on Thursday, during the day,
although ceremonies actually officially started from the beginning of
the week. The youth march to the Kotel, which most years takes place on
Yom Yerushalayim afternoon with a festive mincha, this year takes place
the day before and finishes leil Yom Yerushalayim (i.e. Thursday night)
with a festive ma'ariv. (Ditto last year.)

Concerning all years:- Unlike Yom Ha'atzmaut, which is a day off for the
whole country - picnics, barbecues etc.- Yom Yerushalayim is largely
forgotten by much of the secular public, and it is not a national
holiday in the same way as Yom Ha'atzmaut. Y.Y., is not a compulsory day
off of work, although some work places designate this as an "optional
holiday".  With this most Israelis, including dati le'umi (Religious
Zionist), seem to go in. (This seems to me a bit ironic, as the reasons
given for saying Hallel on Y.Y. are acceptable to more people than the
reasons given for saying on Y.H.)  The schools and youth movements,
though, have special activities.

Y.H. is moved backward to Thursday when 5th Iyar falls on Friday or
Shabbat, and this has become an accepted move from both the point of
view of religious Jews who say Hallel and want less Chillul Shabbat;
together with the whole country who like a longer weekend.

Since Friday is the day off in any case for many people in Israel who
work a five day week, it seems to be easier for the religious public who
celebrate Y.Y., to keep it on Friday 28th. Why move Y.Y. to the day
before, when people are going to be going into work as usual!?

This is my guess why Yom Yerushalayim, at least as a religious holiday,
is not moved from Friday.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 32 Issue 42