Volume 32 Number 75
                 Produced: Sun Jul  2 23:05:06 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bring us up to our land
         [Gershon Dubin]
Heter Mechira (2)
         [Carl M. Sherer, Shaul Yutav]
Kashrut Standards - Publication
         [Daniel Katsman]


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 09:07:22 -0400
Subject: Bring us up to our land

From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
<<I don't know about Shabbat Musaf, but Rav Goren recited Birkat HaMazon
with some changes. Instead of "hu yolicheynu komomiut l'artzeinu" (he
will lead us upright to our land), he said "b'artzeinu" (in our
land). Also, instead of "she'hinchalta l'avotaynu eretz chemda" (that
you granted our fathers a desirable land), he said "she'hinchalta
l'avotaynu v'lanu" (that you granted our fathers and us).>>

	Strange.  I don't know the origin of the part of birchas hamazon
that you quote first, but the second quote is from the second bracha,
birchas ha'aretz.  The Gemara informs us that this bracha was instituted
by Yehoshua when the Jews first came into Eretz Yisrael.  Therefore, it
would appear that the "fathers" referred to are Avraham Yitzchak and
Yaakov, and if "vlanu" were appropriate Yehoshua could have put it in

	Does anyone have any further information on Rabbi Goren's
rationale for this?



From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 15:24:35 +0200
Subject: Heter Mechira

A number of posters have written regarding the Heter Mechira (permission
to sell land in Eretz Yisrael for the Shmitta year) as if one who does
not rely on the Heter is simply observing a chumra
(stringency). Historically, this is incorrect. Reliance on the Heter, or
non-reliance on the Heter, involves real halachic issues, which are
sometimes lost in the attempt to turn reliance on the Heter into a test
of one's Zionistic fervor. A bit of perspective is in order.

Rav Kook didn't invent the heter. The heter goes back to 1888-89.  Rabbi
Berel Wein writes in "Triumph of Survival" at 229-30:

"The impending struggle over the nature of Jewish colonization of
Palestine was reflected in the halachic dispute over the observance of
Shemittah... which fell in the year 1889. In 1882, the previous
Shemittah year, there were very few Jewish farmers in Palestine, and
those few farmers did indeed allow their fields to lie fallow during the
Sabbatical year. However, the rapid increase in new Jewish farming
settlements in the mid-1880's, forced the Rabbis aligned with Chovevei
Zion to face the problem of the forthcoming Shemittah, 1889. The
settlers, their sponsor Baron de Rothschild, and most of the leadership
of Chovevei Zion claimed that the entire project of new agricultural
settlements for Jews in Palestine would collapse if the land of the
existing settlements would not be tilled that year.

"The threat of the closure of the existing settlements and of the
withdrawal of Baron Rothschild's continued support forced a meeting of
the rabbinical trustees of Chovevei Zion in Vilna in the fall of
1887. Two of those trustees, Rabbi Mordechai Eliasberg of Brisk and
Shmuel Mohilever of Bialystok undertook to publish a halachically sound
heter to allow the fields to be tilled in 1889. The third trustee, the
renowned Netziv of Volozhin, opposed any such heter. The heter was
nonetheless published over the signatures of Rabbi Yehoshua of Kutna,
Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever, and Rabbi Shmuel Zanvil Klepfish of Warsaw. The
heter was further strengthened by a long, legal halachic discourse
supporting it, which was published in 1888 by Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan
Spector of Kovno. However, it was bitterly opposed by the Rabbis of
Jerusalem, as well as by the Netziv, Rabbi David Friedman of Karlin,
Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik of Brisk, and Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch."

So we see that much of religious Jewry and its luminaries opposed the
heter from day one, before there ever was a State of Israel and some
thirty years before Rav Kook wrote Shabbat haAretz, his treatise about
the Heter Mechira. And they opposed it on purely halachic grounds. Rabbi
Wein goes on to describe how the problems reflected by the controversy
over the heter continue to this day, and in a footnote he describes a
trend away from reliance upon the heter that began with the Chazon Ish
in the 30's and continued to the point that the Israeli government
started to import grain for those who do not hold by the heter in the
1987 shmitta.  In 1994, all grain used in Israel came from Chutz
La'Aretz. (This was challenged by a "Bagatz," a petition to Israel's
Supreme Court.  The challenge failed because the granaries claimed they
could not sell flour ground from wheat grown during Shmitta).

See also Rav Tukichinsky's Sefer haShmitta Pages 59-62, which also
discusses the Heter's historical background. At the bottom of Page 62 in
Rav Tukichinsky's sefer he writes how Rav Kook continued to hold
throughout his lifetime that the heter was a temporary measure and that
he encouraged farmers not to rely upon it if they didn't need to. In
fact, Rav Kook was instrumental in founding the Keren HaShmitta, which
supports farmers who do not rely on the Heter. See also Rav Kook's
Mishpat Cohen 63.

The precursor of those who do not hold from the Heter, as noted above,
is the Netziv, who, as one of the big supporters of the Chovivei Tziyon
(those who were behind much of the aliya in the 1880's) had impeccable
"Zionist" credentials. Those who do not hold from the Heter today base
themselves upon the Netziv, and the Chazon Ish. The major issur
(prohibition) involved in the Heter Mechira is "Lo S'choneim," a
prohibition of giving a non-Jew "chaniya ba'karka" (a place of
encampment in the land).

The Rambam writes (Avodah Zara 10:6): "Assur lanu le'haniach oved
cochavim beineinu, afilu yoshev yeshivas arai oi oiver mi'makom le'makom
b'schora, v'lo yaavor b'artzeinu ad she'yekabel alav sheva mitzvos bnei
Noach she'neemar 'lo yeishvu b'artzecha' v'afilu l'fi shaa. V'im kibel
alav sheva mitzvos harei zeh ger toshav; v'ein m'kablim ger toshav ela
b'zman she'hayovel noheg aval shelo b'zman ha'yovel ain mekablim ela ger
tzedek bilvad."

(We are forbidden to leave idolators among us, even temporarily or in
transit for commercial purposes, and they may not even pass in our land
until they accept upon themselves the seven mitzvos of the Children of
Noach, as it says "they shall not sit in your land," even
temporarily. And if he accepted upon himself the seven mitzvos, then he
is a ger toshav, but we do not accept gerei toshav except when the
Jubilee is observed (i.e. not today - C.S.), but when there is no
Jubilee we accept only righteous (i.e. full - C.S.)  converts).

See also the Raavad in Issurei Biah 14:8 who has a slightly different

In Shmittas Karko'os Perek 10 S'K 6 Note 11, R. Zvi Cohen brings from
the Chazon Ish in Sanhedrin 35 and in Shviis 27:7 at the end of s"v v'im
kein, three reasons why the sale to a goy (non-Jew) has no effect:

1. Because it's sold by a shaliach (agent) and ain sh'liach li'dvar
aveira (an agent cannot sin for you - the sin being Lo S'Choneim).
2. Because the sale was not registered in tabu (the land registry), a
problem which AFAIK has been rectified from the 1987 Shmitta onwards.
3. Because no one takes it seriously (unlike mechiras chametz (selling
chametz) where we have an um'dana (judgment) that in order to avoid the
issur (prohibition) of ba'al yeraeh and ba'al yimotzei (chametz being
seen or found), a person has gmiras daas (resolve) to sell his
chametz). As the Steipler zt"l wrote (in the portion cited below):
"d'vadai ilu haysa m'chira amisis mamash hayu borerim yoiser lishmor
shviis mi'limkor kol Eretz Yisrael." (For surely if it were a true sale,
they would choose to keep Shmitta rather than selling the entire

In Shviis Siman Yud Ois Vav s"v v'Esrogin, the Chazon Ish writes that if
a person sells his own field to a goy, even though he is oiver
(violates) on the issur (prohibition) of lo s'choneim (giving non-Jews a
portion of the land) nevertheless the mechira (sale) is chal
(effective). R. Cohen brings something similar from the Kisvei Kehillos
Yaakov (of the Steipler Gaon, Rav Yisrael Yaakov Kanievsky zt"l), Chelek
Alef Soif Siman Chaf Heh, where the Steipler writes that although tabu
is not m'akeiv (required to make a valid sale) between two Jews, it is
m'akeiv (required to make a valid sale) between a Jew and a goy
(non-Jew). However, as noted above, they treat a sale of the entire
country (which is what the Heter Mechira is about) differently.

The Netziv in Ha'Amek Davar learns from "v'ha'Aretz lo simocher
l'tzmisus" etc. (VaYikra 25:23) that one cannot sell his fields to a goy
for Shmitta and Yovel (the Jubilee year). He also learns from "geula
titnu la'aretz" (VaYikra 25:24) that one has a mitzva to be goel
(redeem) fields from nochrim (non-Jews) so that shmitta and yovel will
be kept in those fields, but he says that only applies where all of the
land is in Jewish hands and only a part has been sold to a goy to work
during Shviis (Shmitta).

The Netziv in Meishiv Davar 2:56 writes that the heter mechira violates
the issur of selling land in Eretz Yisrael to a goy, which he says is an
issur d'oraysa (forbidden as a matter of Torah law). See also the Rambam
in Hilchos Avoda Zara 10:6 cited above.

Rav Kook argued in favor of the Heter for the limited purpose of
avoiding the risk that the Yishuv (settlement in Israel) would not
survive observing Shmitta in 1910. For that limited purpose only, he
held that one could sell land to the local Arabs because they are not
idolators, because the sale was being undertaken for the good of Klal
Yisrael (the Jewish people), and because he felt there was no other
alternative (he referred to it as a "shas ha'dchak" - a time of
need). He also relied upon the fact that all the Rishonim other than the
Ramban hold that Shmitta today is Rabbinic only (or only a custom - the
Ramban holds it is a Torah commandment even today). In a note in Shabbat
haAretz, he imposed the additional requirement that the Arab to whom
land is sold must be one who already owns land in Eretz Yisrael.

The Chazon Ish in Shviis Siman 24 Ois Alef holds similarly to the

I have written extensively on both sides of the controversy on Avodah
(much of this post comes directly from those writings). For those who
are interested, you can find the discussion in the archives of those
lists (located at http://www.aishdas.org). The messages are under the
subject headers "Lo S'choneim (was Aniyei Ircha)," "Heter Mechira (was
Lo S'choneim)," and "Heter Mechira" and are dated between April 27 and
May 29 of this year.

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...> or mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.

From: Shaul Yutav <Tshaul@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 16:49:17 +0200
Subject: Heter Mechira

In  mail-jewish Vol. 32 #37           Joshua Hosseinof wrote:
> "                    Similarly, we allow the heter mechirah for the
> kibbutzim because they would have a big loss if they could not sell
> their produce from the shmittah year.  But, when I am a consumer in the
> supermarket in Israel, I do not have a big loss if I have to pay
> slightly more for produce that did not come from the heter mechirah."

If you do not buy, to whom will they sell?. If no Jew in Israel buys the
product they will be forced to export it, while exporting Shmita products
if forbidden (by Halacha' not by law)

Shaul Yutav 


From: Daniel Katsman <hannah@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 23:17:20 +0200
Subject: Kashrut Standards - Publication

Several people have written me asking for further information, after I
wrote a while ago that the Rabbanut of Tel Aviv publishes a booklet
listing its standards for both regular and "mehadrin" hashgahot.

I received the booklet five years ago, after calling the Rabbanut and
requesting a list of kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv.  It was published
in advance of Rosh Ha-Shana 5755 (September 1994), and its list of
restaurants was good for half a year.  The booklet is aesthetically
impressive, containing 64 glossy pages and a kashrut primer in addition
to the list of restaurants and standards.

As a result of the inquiries, I was moved to call the Rabbanut (at
03-693-8989, I think) and request an update to the booklet.  I was told
that there is no updated booklet, and instead was faxed a five-page
HANDWRITTEN (mostly legible) list of the current kosher institutions.
For each step forward, we are taking at least that many backward.
Anyway, the clerk told me that the list of standards is still in force,
so here is my translation.  I had not looked at it in a long time, and
upon seeing it now realize that much of it is a lot more vague than I
would care for.

REGULAR: 0.4 sifter.
MEHADRIN: 0.4-0.5 sifter.

REGULAR: Sample checks on the best quality categories (?).  Removal of bugs
for types suspected of infestation.
MEHADRIN: Removal of bugs by hand.

REGULAR: Fruits and vegetables according to the Heter Mekhira or reliance on
the majority (of produce in the market).
MEHADRIN: "Shemitta le-Humra".

REGULAR: Washed with cleaning substance to remove worms.
MEHADRIN: Vegetables grown specially to remain worm-free, also washed.

REGULAR: Separation of Terumot u-Maaserot.
MEHADRIN: Separation of Terumot u-Maaserot.

REGULAR: Under supervision of local rabbinates; checking of invoices.
MEHADRIN: "Glatt Kosher" from Mehadrin hashgahot only.

REGULAR: Under supervision of local rabbinates.
MEHADRIN: "Kosher for 'mehadrin min ha-mehadrin'."

REGULAR: Under supervision of local rabbinates.
MEHADRIN: Under supervision of local rabbinates.

REGULAR: Under supervision of local rabbinates.
MEHADRIN: "Glatt kosher" only (ever examine the lung of a honey cake?)

REGULAR: Under supervision of national (chief?) rabbinate.
MEHADRIN: Not used.

REGULAR: Spot checks ("nikhnas ve-yotse") or full-time if necessary.
MEHADRIN: Constant supervision during all hours of operation.

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva


End of Volume 32 Issue 75