THE WORLD’S LEADING KASHRUT ORGANIZATION
OU KOSHER e d i u G l e a r s I 5782 - 2021/22
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DIRECTORY OU International Moishe Bane – President Mitchel Aeder – Chairman, Board of Directors Rabbi Moshe Hauer - Executive Vice President Rabbi Joshua M. Joseph - Ed.D. Executive Vice President & COO Gary Torgow – Chairman, Joint Kashrut Commission Rabbi Menachem Genack – CEO/Rabbinic Administrator OU Kosher Rabbi Moshe Elefant – COO/Executive Rabbinic Coordinator OU Kosher Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz – Senior Rabbinic Coordinator Rabbi Dovid Bistricer – Rabbinic Coordinator for Israel Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Asher Weiss, Rabbi Mordechai Gross – Halachic Consultants
Tzvi Sand – President Esther Williams – OU Israel Chair Rabbi Avi Berman – Executive Director David Katz – Chief Financial Officer Chaim Pelzner – Director of Programing Rabbi Sam Shor – Director of Programing, OU Israel Center Rabbi Yissachar Dov Krakowski – Director, OU Kosher Israel Department Rabbi Ezra Friedman – Director, the Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education/Rabbinic Field Representative Rachel Stewart – Kashrut Office Manager
Rabbi Ezra Friedman – Editor Ita Rochel Russek – Assistant Editor Yael Hauftmann – Graphic Designer Laya Bejell – Content Consultant
Contact Information OU KOSHER ISRAEL DEPARTMENT Tel: 02-5609122, Fax: 02-5630061, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OU ISRAEL GUSTAVE & CAROL JACOBS CENTER FOR KASHRUT EDUCATION Tel: 02-560-9121, 0502004432 Fax: 02-5630061 Email: email@example.com
Israel Guide 5782
T A B L E
MEHADRIN: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
A GUIDE TO HAG’ALAH
GLOSSARY OF ISRAELI KASHRUT
C O N T E N T S
MILK OF ERETZ YISRAEL
IMPORTED KOSHER FOOD
INSECTS & VEGETABLES
This publication would have not been made possible without the editorial contributions of Dr. Nachum & Sally Stone, Judy Lee and my dear wife Ronit. Thank you for your advice, patience and (most of all your) tremendous editing skills.
OU KASHRUT is a community based organization. We are a project of the Orthodox Union.
We are here to provide our communities with kosher food. As such we feel an obligation to educate our communities regarding all aspects of Kashrus. If your yeshiva, kollel, school, or shul is interested in being educated do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to arrange all sorts of Kashrut seminars: from lectures, to hands on trips and more. We can be contacted here in Israel at 02-560-9122, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education
he Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education was established in the fall of 2019 in loving memory of Gustave and Carol Jacobs Z”L by their loving children Aviva & Joseph Hoch and Judy & Mark Frankel. Gustave and Carol were active lay leaders of the Orthodox Union and numerous other Jewish organizations for many decades. Working with the OU, they became pioneers of Kashrut in North America, ensuring that for generations to come Jews in America, and subsequently around the world, have easy access to quality Kosher food.
The goal of the Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education is to help English-speaking Olim and tourists understand the complexities of Kashrut in Israel. Directed by Rabbi Ezra Friedman, a graduate of Yeshivat Ohr Etzion, a close disciple of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, and Rav of the Musar Avicha Shul in Maale Adumim, the Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education educates tens of thousands of people on a weekly basis about Kashrut observance through: w Weekly kashrut Shiurim & community Shiurim w Engaging videos 4
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w w w w
Weekly kashrut column in Torah Tidbits Kashrut Guides Kashrut hotline Workshops
In addition to the Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education, the OU has a very active Kosher Israel Division. Our 180 Kosher certified companies in Israel include Osem, Strauss-Illit, Tenuva, and many more. We have numerous Mashgichim providing guidance and service for importers, hotels, and restaurants. Current initiatives include a new OU Shechita as well as expansion into the Israeli market. All this is done in close coordination with global OU Kashrut. We are here to provide our communities with Kashrut education, in addition to the highest standards of Kosher food. We take great pride in our work with educational institutions and communities. Interested in learning more? We are happy to arrange Shiurim and hands-on workshops for Yeshivot, Seminaries, Kollels, schools, and Shuls. We can be contacted here in Israel at 02-560-9122 or kashrut@ouisrael. org. Specific Kashrut questions? Call or WhatsApp Rabbi Friedman on our Kashrut hotline at 050-200-4432.
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LETTER FROM CEO OU KOSHER
he OU symbol is the “gold standard” for kashrut and is found world-wide. With over a million products in over a hundred countries, it is the largest and the most trusted name in kashrut. OU Kosher has been involved in kosher certification in Israel almost since the founding of the state in 1948. In recent years, OU Israel has expanded greatly, and now certifies over 180 companies. In addition, as a result of the global kosher market over fifty percent of imported raw materials to Israel carry the OU certification. The OU is certainly considered a mehadrin kashrut for Israeli standards as well.
The OU has always had a special connection to the State of Israel, as part of our responsibility to the Jewish nation as a whole. OU Israel is involved in numerous communal activities, including teens at risk, countrywide education programs, Birthright, support and absorption for new olim and Israeli Torah endeavors. The OU wishes to be part of the achievements of the State of Israel, and help it succeed in its role as a “Light unto the Nations.”
First and foremost, the OU is a Torah institution, integrating education, youth activities, and communal organization, as well as providing kashrut supervision. The Jewish nation's strength is closely bound by our educational efforts. With "ולמדתם אותם את
The upcoming shemitah year is an opportunity for us to fulfill this special mitzvah and acknowledge Hashem’s gift of our cherished land. At OU Kosher, the special sensitivity of the kashrut laws concerning shemitah presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
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"( "בניכםYou shall teach your children") as our motto, we are proud to present this guide for the English-speaking public in Israel.
Therefore, this year’s OU Kosher Israel Guide will address shemitah, as well as the usual array of kashrut issues, such as kashering utensils, milk products in Israel, bug checking and consumer kashrut. This guide is intended for both beginners and seasoned learners, who wish to gain knowledge and practical advice in dealing with the unique kashrut environment in Israel. This publication is the fruit of the OU Israel Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education, an initiative of OU Israel and the Hoch and Frankel families. Gus and his wife were dear, lifelong friends of the OU. Gus was dedicated to kashrut as a regular personality in the kashrut office, always encouraging strong shemirat kashrut. The Center is a true continuation of his legacy. Headed by Rabbi Ezra Friedman, the Center answers thousands of halachic questions a year. Most
questions are answered within minutes. Through the center's hotline, educational kashrut videos, shiurim and weekly halachic articles, we have brought kashrut education in Israel to a new level. We are proud that the Center has produced such an important and thorough guide. We are tremendously proud of our dedicated kashrut staff in Israel, headed by Rabbi Avi Berman, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Krakowski, Rabbi Ezra Friedman and Rabbi Mati Cohen. The OU hopes to continue our strong connection with Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, and will continue to raise the bar of Torah, kashrut and education for many years to come. Ketiva Vechatima Tova,
Rabbi Menachem Genack CEO OU Kosher OU KASHRUT
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LETTER FROM COO OU KOSHER Dear Rav Ezra Shlita, I have had an opportunity to review the material of your upcoming sefer about shemitah. The information is presented in a clear lucid fashion, with a particular emphasis on halacha l’maaseh on how people can properly observe the mitzvah of shemitah. We at the OU, are most proud of our achievements in the world of kosher supervision. Certainly, a crown jewel in this success is our certification program in Eretz Yisrael where we have been able to establish a mehadrin hashgacha staffed by a group of talmidei chachamim and yirai shamayim with Rabbi Krakowski, Rabbi Cohen and yourself. One of the areas which we have always been most concerned about is the mitzvah of shemitah, both for certified products that remain in Eretz Yisrael, and products that are exported overseas. We are proud that we are makpid on shemitah l’chumra, as we are makpid on cholov yisroel, pat yisrael and yashan for OU certified 8
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products in Israel. Kosher supervision in Eretz Yisrael comes with its unique set of requirements because of mitzvot hatluyot baaretz. However, we have B”H succeeded in building a program that properly deals with all those issues. With the creation of the OU Kashrut Education Center dedicated in the memory of a very special friend, Mr. Gus Jacobs a’h we are now able to disseminate important information about kashrus. Rav Ezra we look forward that you continue to have success in your avodas hakodesh, and in the zchus of our observance of the mitzvos of kashrus and shemitah, we should be zoche to be together in Eretz Yisrael with the binyan bais hamikdash bimheara. Thank you for all that you do!
Rabbi Moshe Elefant Executive Rabbinic Coordinator, COO, OU Kosher
LETTER FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OU ISRAEL
elcome to the OU Israel Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education Kashrut Guide. Chances are that if you are reading this you are one of thousands of individuals interested in better understating kashrut in Israel, a complex topic. Before coming to Israel, many people logically assume that keeping kosher in Israel will be simple. After all, if you can find the OU symbol on kosher found around the world, shouldn’t being in the Jewish State be even easier?
We all know that the answer to that question should be yes, but the reality is quite different. Food packages in Israel often have multiple kashrut symbols unfamiliar to the average person. Many olim and visitors wonder what the difference is between Rabbanut, Mehadrin, and different levels of Mehadrin. “If it says it’s kosher, shouldn’t I be able to eat it? And
what’s this I heard about Mehadrin not being equivalent to the level of kashrut I kept in North America (or elsewhere in chutz la’aretz)?” The reality is that kashrut in Israel is very complex. Yes, there are politics involved, but there is also history and growing opportunities as the population in Israel is Baruch Hashem growing significantly and importing and exporting food is expanding. In Israel we are also blessed with the Mitzvot Hatluyot Ba’aretz. This year is particularly special since it is a shemitah year. This Kashrut Guide is a direct result of thousands of requests and inquiries we have received from Anglos wanting to better understand and thereby keep kashrut in Israel. This was made possible thanks to the Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education. The Gustave
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& Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education was established in the fall of 2019 in loving memory of Gustave and Carol Jacobs z”l by their loving children Aviva & Joseph Hoch and Judy & Mark Frankel. Gus was a dear friend of mine, and he is sorely missed. He and Carol were active lay leaders of the Orthodox Union and numerous other Jewish organizations for many decades. Working with the OU, they became pioneers of kashrut in North America, ensuring that for generations to come Jews in America, and subsequently around the world, have easy access to quality kosher food. It is very fitting that this Center for Kashrut Education was established in their memory, expanding Gus’s vision for kashrut into our Homeland. Directed by Rabbi Ezra Friedman, a graduate of Yeshivat Ohr Etzion, a close disciple of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, and Rav of the Musar Avicha Shul in Maale Adumim, the Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education
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educates tens of thousands of people on a weekly basis about kashrut observance through shiurim, videos, a weekly Torah Tidbits column, and publications such as this. Our Kashrut Hotline answers over 6,000 questions a year. The OU prides itself on education as an essential component of kashrut. This Kashrut Guide includes kashrut of milk in Israel, understanding imported kosher food, bug checking, a special shemitah section, and more. We hope that these articles provide you with a greater understanding of the nuances and the zechut to keep kosher in Israel. B’vracha,
Rabbi Avi Berman Executive Director, OU Israel
MEHADRIN: What's it all about?
BY RABBI YISSACHAR DOV KRAKOWSKI
ne of the most confusing elements when living in Israel, or even when just visiting is kashrut. While in chutz la’aretz there might be differences in the standards of various kashrut agencies, for the most part the word kosher means kosher. However in Israel there seems to be a double standard – mehadrin and non-mehadrin. While in chutz la’aretz a hashgacha might print a chumra next to its symbol like chalav yisrael, pat yisrael etc. we don’t really come across the term “Kasher Lemehadrin”. Many Anglo-Saxons are bothered by the two standard system of “Mehadrin” and “Kashrut Regila”. What does it mean if a rabbinate certifies something as kosher and something else as mehadrin? If something is kosher then shouldn’t it be 100% kosher? In Yoreh Deah (the volume of Shulchan Aruch where the laws of kashrut are discussed) there
are many instances where there is a doubt as to whether something renders a food forbidden or not that the Shulchan Aruch tells us that one shouldn’t do it to begin with (lechatchila), but if it was already done (bediavad) than it is permissible. In kashrut (just like in all areas of halachah) there are many rabbinic disputes as to whether certain things are permissible or not (gelatin from a non-kosher animal would be a perfect example). In many instances most opinions will forbid something, but there will still be at least one or a few rabbinic personalities that will allow it. In such cases there is someone to rely on, however it is better to at least try to accommodate the opinions that forbid a given product. When Rav Betzalel Zolty (19201982) became the Rav of Yerushalayim he found that the Jerusalem Rabbinate Kashrut Division was not on the level he felt appropriate. Not because there were items that he deemed not kosher, but because he OU KASHRUT
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felt that there were many instances where they were relying on various opinions that were meikel (lenient) when most opinions were not. Additionally he found that there were many products that once they were produced were permissible yet in the first place shouldn’t have been produced in such a manner. Rav Zolty decided that since for the secular society it was better that there should be an extremely lenient kashrut he left kosher as meaning kosher lekula (in a lenient sense). He felt however that the more observant community needed a higher standard of Kashrus. Rav Zolty created a second level of kashrut “mehadrin”. Rav Zolty didn’t intend for mehadrin to mean extra kosher. He intended “mehadrin” to mean kosher lechatchila (the ideal kosher). Today we at OU Kashrut in Israel are attempting to reestablish the “mehadrin” standards. We are dedicated to making sure that all the halachic kosher criteria are met. We want to insure that the community is eating kosher lechatchila. It is with great pride that we feel confident in saying: we meet the highest standards of kashrut in all areas, and even are setting the standards in many areas. n 12 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
OU: Regular symbol you know and trust, always Pareve OU PAREVE: Same as the regular OU symbol, sometimes has Pareve written D
OUD: Symbol representing dairy (Chalav Stam)
OUD CHALAV YISRAEL: Dairy and Chalav Yisrael according to all opinions
חלב ישראל P
OUP: Kosher for Pesach to the highest standards, no Kitniyot
OU KINIYOT: Kosher for Pesach for those who eat Kitniyot, contains Kitniyot
OU GLATT: OU Shechetia symbol, GLATT
for both meat and chicken, highest standard of supervision
BADATZ OU: Symbol found in Israel indicating there is no issue of Cholov Stam or Chadash which apply specifically in Israel
F OU FISH: Symbol for fish, or products containg fish.
Making Decisions about Kashrut in Israel BY RABBI DOVID BISTRICER
earning in yeshiva or seminary away from home can be a very uplifting and exciting experience. The same is of course true when making aliyah. However, studying or living abroad also brings independence and a sense of responsibility. Part of the responsibility that comes with being on your own is maintaining proper kashrut standards. Although to some this may be obvious and sound simple, there are certain gray areas that can sometimes be
confusing. Nevertheless, with a little research and preparation these situations can be easily manageable. Whether buying groceries in a supermarket or going out to eat, we are accustomed to checking for the siman kashrut (sign of kosher certification) or hashgacha. However, what many do not realize is that no two hashgachot are necessarily the same. Each one may have different halachic standards or policies as to how they administer their supervision. It is therefore important for one to make sure that before choos-
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ing to rely on any supervision, they in a case where one person serves confirm that it meets their personal another and they have different minhagim and standards of kashrut. The standards. reason behind this is the assumption The first point that needs to be that a shomer torah u’mitzvot will considered is if a person’s family not serve something to another perhas a particular minhag that relates son that the recipient believes would to kashrut, any supervision that one be problematic even if the one who may possibly rely on should meet provides the food that same standard. would assume that Furthermore, even it’s fine. Nevertheif one doesn’t have It’s not uncommon less, if someone has a specific family to find differences a particular personal minhag per se, but restriction, halachithey are neverthebetween kashrut less accustomed to cally it is still apstandards in Israel propriate to tactfully relying on a certain inquire of one’s host level of supervision, one should whether the food ensure that they are maintaining served meets that requirement. This the same level of kashrut abroad responsibility should also extend to as they would at home. Both these inquiring as to what are the specific points relate to not only relying on halachic standards of a hashgacha. a particular Hechsher of a product It’s not uncommon to find differor restaurant, but eating in someone ences between kashrut standards in Israel vis-à-vis what one may else’s home as well. have been accustomed to in the There is a concept in halachah of North America and other commu“Eid Echad Ne’eman Be’issurim”. nities abroad. For example, gelatin This means that in realms of Issur derived from bones of non-kosher ve’heter, such as kashrut, a shomer animals may be contained in prodtorah u’mitzvot Jew is believed. ucts distributed in Israel under With kashrut specifically, this generally means that if a religious Jew kosher certification based on a psak vouches that something is kosher, from Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski, we can accept that it is kosher with whereas the common practice in no questions asked. This is so even the North America is to follow the 14 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
stringent opinion of Rav Aharon halachah, or just technically the Kotler. Moreover, whereas beef quality of supervision provided on sold in North America under relia practical level. This means that able a hechsher is glatt kosher, it two hechsheirim can have similar is possible to find non-glatt meat halachic standards, but can still sold under hechsher in Israel. Furbe very different. Just by the virthermore, while in chutz la’aretz tue of the fact that one hechsher the concept of mitzvot hat’luyot may require an onsite mashgiach b’aretz is foreign and on premises at all virtually non-existimes, while anothThere is a school tent; in Israel these er does not require issues pose a myriad onsite supervision at of thought that of questions and all distinguishes one distinguishes between concerns, especially from the other. during a shemitah The initial step relying on certain year. hechsheirim for dairy how to navigate the There is a school of kashrut scene in but not meat thought that distinIsrael is to estabguishes between lish what particular relying on certain standards one holds. hechsheirim for dairy but not meat. This can be determined by one’s Although it is true that hashgacha family or family Rav. One should of meat is unique in many respects also feel free to consult with one’s and highly complicated, one should roshei yeshiva, rebbeim, or teachers, reflect whether it is appropriate or who can serve as valuable sources possible to assume that a hechshof information as to the standards er can be considered responsible of different hechsheirim and also and reliable in some areas, but not provide good, practical advice how others. There are certain aspects of to deal with sensitive situations this argument that are meritorious, should they arise. The Gustave and but whether or when that approach Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut should be put into practice needs Education is an amazing resource ample consideration. and provides helpful guidance, feel Distinctions between hechsheifree to reach out to Rabbi Friedman rim can stem from differences in on any kashrut issue. n OU KASHRUT
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Enjoying the Milk of Eretz Yisrael BY RABBI EZRA FRIEDMAN
he Torah describes our land as, “eretz zavat chalav udvash”) Shemot 3:8), a land of milk and honey. Most commentators understand that the Torah is referring to goat milk and date honey, (see Mechilta D’Rashbi 13:5). While the dairy industry in Israel is very accommodating to kashrut standards, various concerns remain regarding the kashrut of milk.
CHALAV NOCHRI / MILK PRODUCED BY NON-JEWS Our Sages decreed that milk that was produced by a non-Jew is prohibited out of concern that the non-Jew might mix in non-kosher milk. The Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 2:6) explains that the only acceptable way for a non-Jew to produce milk for Jews is if a Jew was supervising the milking process, or if a Jew was in close enough 16 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
proximity that the non-Jew would be caught if he added non-kosher milk. According to halachah, even if the non-Jew was milking for a Jew and was aware of the prohibition of drinking non-kosher milk, the decree stands and the milk is prohibited (see Beit Yosef YD 115). There is a debate among later authorities regarding the basis of this decree. Does the decree apply if one is absolutely certain that no other milk was added? According to the Ridbaz (Responsa 4:75), there was no general decree.
Rather, if there is suspicion that non-kosher milk was mixed in, the milk is prohibited. Thus, in a specific farm where there are no non-kosher animals, the milk is permitted. The Pri Chadash (YD 115:6) is even more lenient, ruling that in a city where non-kosher milk is expensive or rarely consumed, all milk produced by non-Jews is permitted, based on the extremely low probability of other milk being mixed in. Most poskim over the last two hundred years have completely rejected these opinions (Darchei Teshuva YD 115:6, Zivchei Tzedek YD 115:12). The consensus is that our Sages made a decree across the board, and that all milk that does not have some type of Jewish supervision is prohibited (see Aruch Hashulchan YD 115:5-6).
CHALAV STAM / “STAM” MILK Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote a number of significant responsa regarding milk under government regulation (Igrot Moshe YD 1:47-49). He maintained that the strict government prohibition on mixing any unauthorized ingredients into milk and the severe fines if one were caught is enough to ensure that the milk is not chalav nochri. Rav Moshe explains that in many areas of halachah, if one has an undoubtable proof of a certain scenario, it applies in all areas of that halachah. According to this perspective, there is no intrinsic need for a Jew to see the milking process, but only the requirement that the non-Jew would be fearful to add non-kosher milk. In short, Rav Moshe argues that tightly monitored inspection is equivalent to Jewish supervision. Over the years, government-regulated milk has been termed “chalav stam”, or “factory milk.” Aside from those poskim who disagree with Rav Moshe’s ruling (Chelkat Yaakov 2:37, Minchat Yitzchak 2:21), there has been much subsequent discussion reOU KASHRUT
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garding what Rav Moshe practiced himself. Rav Moshe writes in his numerous responsa (Igrot Moshe ibid and YD 4:5) on this subject that a “pious person” should be strict, despite the clear logic of his lenient ruling. Moreover, in other rulings, he states that institutions should try to serve students only chalav yisrael (ibid 2:35). On the other hand, students of Rav Moshe have been quoted as saying that Rav Moshe was himself lenient in many cases, and many of his great students drink chalav stam without concern, maintaining that Rav Moshe saw his ruling as completely correct even ideally (l’chatchila) . The OU, based on the rulings of Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Eliyahu Henkin and others, certifies chalav stam. It should be mentioned that based on research done by OU rabbinical coordinators, it is clear that the standards of regulation and inspection over milk production have improved immensely in the last few decades. (However not all countries have such strict supervision. When purchasing milk products from other 18 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
countries, a competent kashrut professional should be consulted.) The Chazon Ish (YD 41:4) explicitly held a position similar to Rav Moshe. However, certain students of the Chazon Ish claimed otherwise (see Teshuvot Vehanhagot 1:421). There are many halachic authorities who rule that there is still a firm halachic obligation or at the least an added stringency to only drink chalav yisrael products (see Pesakim Uteshuvot YD 115:5).
POWDERED MILK Powdered milk, a common ingredient in many chocolates and sweets, is essential in the food industry due to its long shelf life and may be easily transported. It is produced by a spray-drying process, in which the milk is dried into a solid powder using hot gas. Halachic authorities discuss the status of milk powder in light of the prohibition of non-Jewish milk. If the milking process was carried out by a Jew or with Jewish supervision, it is considered chalav yisrael. What about powdered milk produced from chalav
stam or even chalav nochri? Those authorities who follow the ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein generally permit milk powder that was produced from regular milk in a place where there is strict government supervision over the milk industry. An even greater leniency was put forth by the former Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873-1960). Although he did not agree with Rav Moshe’s position regarding chalav stam, Rav Frank, in his responsa Har Tzvi (YD 103-4), permitted milk powder produced from non-Jewish milk. He based his position on a number of arguments, one of them being that since the milk has been transformed from liquid to solid, it is not included in the decree of chalav nochri as instituted by our Sages. While there are many authorities who disagree with Rav Frank’s rul-
ing, his position has been adopted by the Chief Rabbinate to allow the import of non-Jewish milk powder in non-mehadrin products. It is important to note that this discussion relates only to the milk itself. Since the spray-drying process uses complex and expensive equipment, it is common for this machinery to be shared by more than one factory or used in the production of other, possibly non-kosher products. Therefore, according to all opinions, the process of turning the milk into powder requires reliable kashrut supervision.
MODERN-DAY MILK PRODUCTION IN ISRAEL In Israel, milk is produced almost entirely by Jewish companies. All commercial milk is under kashrut supervision. When the milking is OU KASHRUT
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from the violation. There is much dispute among later authorities regarding milk that was milked on Shabbat. Consequently, the policy of all the Israeli dairy companies is not to allow milk that was collected on A complex issue Shabbat for any regarding milk mehadrin products. production in Israel There has been treis that of cows mendous progress milked on Shabbat. over the years reBy law, all milk garding milking on produced in the A complex issue Shabbat, including country must be regarding milk many technologipurchased by the production in Israel cal advancements Israeli dairy cooperatives (e.g. Tnuis that of cows milked that have helped va, Tara). In many avoid this issue. on Shabbat farms, systems However, milk have been put in that was produced place to ensure that on Shabbat is still milk is collected in quite common, the appropriate fashion. However, and since it is mixed in with other it is not uncommon for certain milk permissible milk, it is a difficult farmers to milk the cows in a proprocess to track. OU products prohibited fashion on Shabbat and then duced in Israel and shipped abroad sell the milk to dairy companies. do not contain Shabbat-produced According to an important minori- milk. In OU establishments in Isty opinion (Ktav Sofer OC 20), if rael, Shabbat-produced milk is not a Jew intentionally violates Shaballowed, and only mehadrin dairy bat, others may not derive benefit products are used. n done by Jews, strict supervision is not required. When the milking is carried out by non-Jews, mashgichim spot check and monitor milking using remote surveillance in order to insure that everything is chalav yisrael.
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OUT BY RABBI YISSACHAR DOV KRAKOWSKI, Director, OU Kashrut Israel Division
or some of you this may be your first time in Israel; for others Israel may be a familiar place. One of the things many are excited by upon their arrival in Eretz-Yisrael is the number of “kosher” restaurants. As we have pointed out in this guide there are various levels of kashrut in Israel. While the OU cannot decide for you which hashgachot are reliable and which aren’t – we can offer you
the knowledge of our standards in OU certified eateries. Aside from sharing with you what our standards are, you will better understand what issues need to be seen to in order to make a restaurant “mehadrin”. While it may be difficult if not impossible to enumerate every scenario that can arise in food services, we will discuss a few. We may miss some of the kashrut concerns in restaurants and with caterers, but we will try to cover most of the important ones. In order to guarantee the consumer a “kosher meal” from a OU KASHRUT
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caterer or restaurant we must be in many circumstances is deemed certain that all the “raw” ingredinon-kosher. Therefore, OU Kashrut ents that went into making the final has been very firm on our position product are kosher. We therefore that all meat restaurants must have only allow our mashgichim to complete and utter full time supervision from opening until closing accept products upon their arrival (צמודה/)השגחה תמידית. Additionalto our foodservices. This means ly all areas where unsealed meat that products that are delivered to and fish are kept must be locked a restaurant cannot be stored in by the Mashgiach before storage rooms or in food he leaves and only preparation areas until mashgichim can the mashgiach have the keys to checks their these areas. Alkosher status. ternatively, the Additionally, in mashgiach must every food service make sure to place there is a designated OU Kashrut has been seals on containers area for returns until very firm on our and/or plumbas on they are returned. position that all meat pieces of open fish In some cases items restaurants must have and meat (we have won’t even be allowed into holding complete and utter full all sorts of specially areas but must be time supervision from designed seals for gotten rid of immedifferent types of opening until closing diately. containers etc). After being Lettuce and greens approved for use by the mashgiach must be clean of bugs and supplied most products can be stored withfrom mehadrin growers. Noneout too many issues. Meat and fish, theless, OU Kosher policy also however, require extra precautions. requires all greens to be soaked in Chazal were extra stringent with re- soap water and then to be rinsed gard to meats that they require con- and checked by our mashgichim. stant supervision. Thus if meat is Rice and other legumes must be left unattended ( )בשר שנתעלם מן העיןchecked by our mashgichim prior 22 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
to use on a light box with a screen. After the legumes have been checked they must be stored in a freezer until their use. Gree ns that have too many issues are ruled out from use, as we cannot be sure to properly check and clean them. Although we are in Eretz Yisrael, many of the workers in many of the food services are non-Jews. In order to insure bishul yisrael we do not allow any non-Jews in cooking areas. Non-Jewish workers are allowed in other designated areas of the kitchen for other food preparation. Therefore, restaurants and caterers are bishul yisrael not just
for Ashkenazim, but for Sefardim as well. As the status of irreligious Jews with regard to bishul yisrael is somewhat questionable we require that fires must be lit by the mashgiach or other religious workers. In Eretz Yisrael we are fortunate to have special mitzvot (מצוות )התלויות בארץsuch as trumot, ma’asrot (tithes) and orla etc. Therefore, produce must be properly certified as well. Produce must come from special “mehadrin” suppliers. Produce can only be accepted by the mashgiach after the mashgiach checks to make OU KASHRUT
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sure that all the products received In order to ensure that our mashgchim are present at all times our match those on the delivery slip mashgiach must card in and out. and that the slip is stamped and The OU Kashrut office can then signed by the “Mehadrin” mashgiach. check up the mashgiach’s hours Baked goods often require against the hours of the other challah to be taken. Therefore, workers in order to ensure the mashgiach or another that at all times that there religious worker is responare workers in the sible to take challah restaurant there and to make a check is a mashgiach. on the hafrashat We have a challah sheets. special kashrut These sheets are supervisor who checked by our spot checks all foodservice Kosher the restaurants Supervisor. and foodservices Our sages teach us about once a Additionally, various week to ensure that it is a sakanah (dangerous) to mix other rabbis from the all are running fish and meat; theresmoothly. AddiOU Kashrut offices fore, fish and meat tionally various must be kept separate other rabbis from check up on the at all times. Thus, in the OU Kashrut restaurants regularly offices check up our foodservices fish can only be prepared on the restaurants in dedicated utensils. regularly. These utensils are well marked We are proud of the standards or quite noticeably different from we have set in our food services those used for meat so that they and hope that many others will shouldn’t be confused. All side follow in our footsteps. We are dishes served with meat must constantly striving to improve and be made parve and not in meaty therefore we constantly review our utensils. protocols and standards. n 24 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
A Guide to HAG’ALAH BY RABBI EZRA FRIEDMAN
hether kashering year round or in preparation for Pesach, knowing how to perform hag’alah is quite essential. Hag’alah, the form of kashering with hot water, can be done at home. The process is relatively simple, yet attention to detail is important in order to perform hag’alah properly. This article will explain the entire process of hag’alah from start to finish.
PRIOR TO KASHERING
Before beginning the hag’alah process, one should confirm that hag’alah is the appropriate form of kashering for that utensil. There are two main forms of kashering utensils for Pesach and year-round: hag’alah through hot water, and libun, which is through open flame. Halachah states (Avodah Zarah 75b) that the form of kashering
is based on how flavor was absorbed into the utensil. Thus, a pot used with liquids, to cook soups, sauces, pasta, etc. would be kashered by hag’alah. In contrast, libun is used when the form of absorption is through open flame or dry heat, for example kashering broiler, oven or barbecue racks. This rule that defines the form of kashering based on the form of absorption is called kebol’o kach polto, “the way it is absorbed is the way it is released.” Based on this principle, the Rashba (Torat Habayit Hakatzar 34:b) rules that a utensil that requires libun but was kashered with hag’alah must be re-kashered through libun, as the first kashering was not effective. The Ran (Avodah Zara 39:b) adds that even if someone planned to change the form of cooking with this utensil after kashering, from open fire to hot water, hag’alah would still not suffice. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 121:5) clearly OU KASHRUT
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rules that a utensil that requires libun cannot be kashered through hag’alah.
WAITING TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
Only flavor that is less that twenty-four hours old (ben yomo) can prohibit others foods cooked in that utensil. Early authorities discuss whether it is possible to perform hag’alah on utensils that have been used within the previous twenty-four hours. The Ra’avia (see Tur YD 121) maintains that it is best to kasher a utensil following a twenty-four hour period since the utensil was in use. He explains that in order to kasher a utensil that has been used in the last twenty-four hours, the flavor has to be nullified in the water used for hag’alah, which would mean having a ratio of 60 times more water than the volume of flavor in the utensil. This is based on the rule that flavor becomes nullified in a ratio of 60:1 (see Shulchan Aruch 98:2). When kashering utensils, it is very hard to measure the exact volume of absorbed flavor. In certain instances when a large amount of flavor exists, it is impossible to have a 60:1 ratio. Therefore, the Ra’avia rules that hag’alah should only be performed once the utensil’s status is 26 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
eino ben yomo. Other early authorities bring alternative reasons why one should wait twenty-four hours before kashering by form of hag’alah (Rashba, Responsa 1:263; Rosh, Avodah Zarah 5:7). The Rema (YD 121:2) and all later authorities (see Mishna Berura 452:1) rule that utensils should not be used twenty-four hours prior to hag’alah.
The Orchot Chaim (Chametz U’matza 92) discusses the heat source which is used to heat water for hag’alah. The Orchot Chaim ruled that hot water from the Tiberian Springs may not be used for hag’alah. (The Tiberian Springs are naturally occurring geothermal springs available for bathing to this day. They maintain a constant temperature of 60°C. The source of the heat is obviously not from fire. The Sages used the Tiberian Springs as the archetype for all such springs.) The logic of this ruling is that if a utensil absorbed flavor in water that was heated by fire, the hag’alah must be done in the same fashion. It would seem that this is an additional ramification of our Sages’ principle kebol’o kach polto. The Orchot Chaim adds, however, that if a utensil absorbed non-kosher flavor
or chametz from water heated in Tiberian Springs (or the like), then it may be kashered in the same fashion since the rule of kebol’o kach polto applies. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 452:5) quotes the ruling of the Orchot Chaim. Contemporary poskim debate the status of modern heat sources to heat water for hag’alah. Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Shevut Yitzchak 6:9) and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (ibid) agreed that electric coils that become red hot may be used to heat water for kashering a utensil used with fire-heated liquid. The logic is that the hot electric coil is equivalent to actual fire. However, an electric element that creates heat without becoming hot and red should not be used to kasher such utensils (see Halichot Shlomo, Nissan 3:3). Authorities also debate whether water that was heated by the sun or a microwave can be used for hag’alah. Rav Moshe Feinstein seems to be lenient on this issue based on different sources (see Rav Shimon Eider, Sefer Hilchot Pesach p.156). Many later poskim disagree and rule that utensils heated with water from fire should not be kashered with micro-
wave-heated or solar-heated water (see Ohel Yaakov, 452:5 footnote 27). It should be noted that this discussion is only regarding utensils that were heated with actual fire; however, utensils used with solar heat or in a microwave can surely be kashered in the same fashion, based on kebol’o kach polto.
CLEANING THE UTENSIL
One of the verses relating to kashering with hag’alah is from Sefer Bamidbar (31:22) ַאְך ֶאת ַהזָ ָּהב וְ ֶאת ַה ָכ ֶּסף ֶאת ַהנְ ּח ֶֹשׁת ֶאת ַה ַב ְּרזֶ ל ֶאת ַה ְב ִּדיל וְ ֶאת ָהע ָֹפ ֶרת Only the gold and silver, copper, iron, tin, and lead Our Sages (Sifre Zuta) learn from this verse that the material must be without any foreign substances on the surface of the utensil (“only the gold” meaning the kashering will only suffice for the gold of the utensil and not foreign matter.) Based on this, early authorities (Rosh, Pesachim 2:7) rule that the utensil be cleaned from any foreign matter, such as dirt, food residue, and rust. If the rust is merely a minor discoloration that has no substance, hag’alah may be done as is (Mishna Berura 451:22). OU KASHRUT
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Our Sages were concerned that kashering through hag’alah (see Shulnon-kosher food may still remain in chan Aruch OC 451:3). If the crevice the utensil under the rust. Accordingly, cannot be cleaned, libun kal must be rust that is found only on the outer part done on the area of the crevice before of the utensil should be of no conseperforming hag’alah (Rema 451:4). quence. Some authorities recommend Regarding cooking devices with fans removing and cleaning in between the and other mechanical parts, there is handles of pots before kashering (see a concern that even libun kal won’t Kovetz Beit Halevi be effective. This is 1:34). However due to the fact that After reviewing sous-vide it is clear from certain areas cannot machines, the OU poskim be reached, and one Shulchan Aruch Harav (451:15) concluded that they should might not clean or and Mishna Berura not be kashered, since the kasher properly out (451:43) that there heating mechanism has a of concern that the is no need to do so, fan and narrow areas that device might break since the concern of (see Mishna Berare difficult to kasher non-kosher residue ura 452:31). After under the rust is reviewing sous-vide only where food normally is used, i.e. machines, the OU poskim concluded the inner part of the utensil. However, that they should not be kashered, since visible food residues must always be the heating mechanism has a fan and removed. narrow areas that are difficult to kashNarrow areas of utensils need to er. The same is true regarding industribe cleaned as well. In a case where al deep-fryers. cleaning cannot be done, hag’alah is ineffective. In such a case a comHANDLES petent halachic authority should be The Mordechai (Avodah Zarah 577) advised on how to proceed. and Terumat Hadeshen (132) write that handles of the utensil also require CREVICES & NARROW SPACES kashering, and must be immersed in If a utensil has crevices, such as in the hot water. The Shulchan Aruch between the handle of a knife and (OC 451:12) and Rema (ibid) concur the blade, the crevices must also be that handles require kashering. The cleaned from foreign matter before Taz (OC 451:17) and Mishna Berura 28 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
(451:68) explain that this ruling is according to all opinions, even those who are lenient regarding partial or spot kashering, since quite often there are spills of hot food on the handles. Because of this likely possibility, the handles also require kashering.
KASHERING IN STAGES
The Shulchan Aruch (YD 121:6) rules that even if only part of the utensil was used, hag’alah must be done on the entire utensil, the Rema (ibid) disagrees with the Shulchan Aruch. Later authorities discuss the issue at length. The Aruch Hashulchan (YD 121:24; see also Darchei Teshuva 121:77) rules that ideally the stringent opinion should be followed, i.e. no matter how much of a utensil was used, hag’alah must be done on the entire utensil. In a case where hag’alah cannot be done in one shot kashering may be done in stages. For example, if a pan or pot cover is too large to submerge completely, halachah permits immersing one side in the boiling water followed by immediately immersing the other side (Shulchan Aruch OC 451:11; see also Shulchan Aruch Harav 452:17). It should be noted that this is not true when performing the mitzvah of tevilat keilim (immersing new utensils in the mikvah). Im-
mersing new utensils in the mikvah in stages does not fulfill the mitzvah under any circumstances.
THE “HAG’ALAH POT”
When kashering non-kosher flavor a kosher eino ben yomo pot (which wasn’t used twenty-four hours before kashering shuold be used) for the process of boiling water (see Rema OC 452:2). When kashering from milk to meat (or a mix up between milk and meat) the pot should preferably be of the type of the utensil being kashered. However, if any minor difficulty arises (such as availability) an eino ben yomo milk pot can be used to kasher a meat pot and vice versa.
Pure water should be used for hag’alah. The water should come to a boil and remain so throughout the kashering process. If after numerous immersions the water has stopped boiling, one should wait for it to reboil before continuing. If the water was not boiling when the utensils were immersed, the kashering must be repeated (Mishna Berura 452:8). In a case where hag’alah was done in water that had stopped boiling, the process must be repeated. OU KASHRUT
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Utensils must be clean and dry before hag’alah. In order to facilitate immersing cutlery and other small items in the boiling water, a metal strainer basket may be used. One should take care that the utensils are not piled densely in the basket, since that might prevent the water from reaching all surfaces. If utensils are too long or too wide to fit into the hag’alah pot, kashering may be done in stages (see Tur YD 121).
only 3-4 seconds. (See Sha’ar Hatziyun 452:4.) There is no concern if the utensils stay slightly longer in the boiling water (see Taz 452:2 and Levush 452:2). After removing the utensil, it is customary to immediately rinse or immerse it in cold water (Shulchan Aruch 452:7). Since rinsing in cold water is only a custom, if this was not done, it does not invalidate the kashering (Mishna Berura 452:34).
If utensils are too long or too wide to fit into the hag’alah pot, kashering may be done in stages
Once the water has boiled, one should submerge the utensil so that its entire surface comes in contact with the water. When performing hag’alah on a cup or small pot, one should take care that the water completely fills it. Utensils should not be left in the boiling water too long, so as not reabsorb the flavor. While poskim offer various time limits (see Pitchei Halacha, appendix 29), it is common practice to leave the utensil in the water for 30 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
KASHERING A LARGE POT
When kashering a large pot, the same procedure applies. An even larger hag’alah pot is needed so that the pot being kashered can fit inside. In most homes, it is hard to find such a large pot. Alternatively, one may completely fill the pot being kashered and allow the boiling water to overflow over the sides. This method is valid for hag’alah (see Shulchan Aruch 452:6). The same process can be done to the “hag’alah pot” used to kasher utensils, in order to subsequently use it for Pesach. n
SUMMARY OF HOW TO PERFORM HAG'ALAH u
is the process of kashering with hot water and can be done at home. A utensil that requires kashering through libun may not be kashered through hag’alah. All utensils should be eino ben yomo before performing hag’alah. Utensils that absorbed nonkosher flavor or chametz from liquid that was cooked using a microwave or solar heat may be kashered by hag’alah with water heated in the same fashion. Utensils that absorbed nonkosher flavor from liquids cooked on a flame may not be kashered with hag’alah from water heated by solar heat or a microwave. However, electric coils that become red hot may be used to Hag’alah
heat the water. All utensils need to be cleaned before kashering with hag’alah. This includes dirt, food residue, and rust. Rust in the form of minor discoloration as well as rust found on the outer part of the utensil need not be removed before hag’alah. Crevices must be cleaned before performing hag’alah. If this is not possible, libun kal must be done on those areas. The policy of the OU is not to kasher sous-vides. The entire utensil requires hag’alah, even if where only a part of the utensil was used. The handles of utensils also require hag’alah. Hag'alah may be done in stages, such as when utensils are
large and cannot be entirely submerged in one immersion.
hag’alah pot should be an eino ben yomo (not used for 24h). The pot should preferably be of the type of the utensil being kashered. OU KASHRUT
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Hag'alah involves hot water! As such, it is imperative to ensure the safety of everyone involved, as well as children who may be at home, precautions are essential! u
water should maintain a continuous boil. Breaks should be taken to allow the water to re-boil if necessary. The utensils being kashered need to come in complete contact with the boiling water, including their inner surfaces. The utensils should be removed from the boiling water after a short immersion of a few seconds. It is customary to then rinse or immerse them in cold water to prevent re-absorption of flavors. Large pots can be kashered in stages. An alternative is to fill them with water to maximum capacity, causing the boiling water to overflow and come in contact with the whole pot.
UTENSILS MADE FROM THE FOLLOWING MATERIALS MAY BE KASHERED: u All metals including silver, iron, copper, tin and lead. Aluminum can also be kashered. u Wood and stone utensils can be kashered. 32 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
UTENSILS MADE FROM THE FOLLOWING MATERIALS CANNOT BE KASHERED: u
this includes bricks, china dishware, coffee mugs and enamel. Glass. All types including Corning Ware, Corelle, fiberglass, porcelain, enamel and Pyrex.
Regarding plastic, poskim disagree as to whether it is possible to kasher plastic and other synthetic materials (see Igrot Moshe OC 2:92, 3:58) this includes teflon, synthetic rubber and formica. A Rabbi should be consulted on a case by case basis.
Imported Kosher Food BY RABBI EZRA FRIEDMAN
he phenomenon of imported kosher food to the Israeli market expanded greatly in the last twenty years. Studies show that over forty percent of food sold in Israeli supermarkets is imported and that number continues to soar each year. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel certifies tens of thousands of facilities around Israel and uses substantial manpower in order to provide this service. The Rabbinate never intended to certify products and facilities outside of Israel, as its purpose is to certify kosher food for the local Israeli market. The term “B’ishur HaRabbanut HaRashit” (with the permission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel) appears on every kosher imported product that passes through the Rabbinate
system. As opposed to the certification of local products, the Rabbinate has neither the manpower nor the finances to check and certify factories worldwide. As such, a number of years ago (when the import market was much smaller than it is now), the Rabbinate decided it would permit kosher products with foreign certifications to be imported, as long as the standards of the imported products more or less coincided with the standards of the Chief Rabbinate. The Rabbinate has no system to confirm the standards of foreign hecsheirim and relies on written testimony only. Unfortunately, there are many irregularities in the realm of kashrut supervision, particularly when huge numbers of products are being manufactured in chutz la’aretz and then imported to Israel. Some kashrut OU KASHRUT
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agencies are making use of extreme leniencies, based on minority opinions that have been rejected by virtually all poskim over the generations. We are not referring merely to issues of, for example, chalav stam or chadash. There have been documented cases of lenient kashrut organizations granting certification by phone/fax, without kashering any equipment or even showing up in person to supervise. In addition, there were cases in which ingredients were not checked properly and no regular visits were ever preformed. In other cases, specific products were labeled “Chalav Yisrael” or “Kosher for Pesach” when in fact halachic standards of these categories were not met in the factories. One should note, however, that even if bediavad (ex post facto) these products might not “treif” one’s dishes, one should choose to avoid relying on weak, flimsy leniencies. Unreliable hechsherim is particularly widespread in the house brands of Israeli supermarkets as well as with large Israeli food companies marketing imported items under their own labels. Unfortunately consumers mistakenly assume that B’ishur HaRabbanut HaRashit on the label signifies that the Rabbanut has properly checked the product and approves its supervision. 34 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
The OU Israeli office has made great strides in the last few years regarding imported products. We have built a strong connection with the import division of the Chief Rabbinate and importers have taken interest in OU products. Regarding the consumer, when choosing imported products, one should always confirm that there is a reliable certification (that you would trust if you were living overseas). This policy is familiar to kosher consumers in chutz la’aretz, but less so in Israel. Upon seeing an unfamilar hechsher, one should ask a Rav who is knowledgeable in modern kashrut (and preferably involved with kashrut certification overseas). If stores and importers were to realize that reliable and genuine kashrut is a priority for so many consumers, they would be more inclined to change their policies. We must strive as kosher consumers to improve the kashrut of products both in Israel and around the world. When we do our utmost, we gain merit not just for our own good deeds, but in addition, we are doing a true chesed (helpful deed) for the kosher consumer in Israel. By improving the kashrut standards of imported foods, we help those in Israeli society who truly want to keep kosher. n
Vegetables BY RABBI DOVID BISTRICER
ntil relatively recently, insect infestation in vegetables was not regarded a serious concern in the United States. This was largely due to the use of certain pesticides for several decades that avoided this problem. However, times have changed. The most effective insecticides are considered to present health risks to humans and are now illegal. Moreover, environmentalists will claim that global warming and hotter climates are contributing factors to increased levels of insect infestation. The purpose of this article is to separate fact from myth, and provide some guidance about the kashrut of vegetables. There are several myths associated
with insects and vegetables. One popular misconception is that farmers and companies are aware of insects and take proper precautionary measures to ensure that their crops are bug-free. This assumption may seem reasonable but has proven to be untrue. The FDA tolerance levels of insect infestation in produce are far more permissive than proper halachic standards. For example, the US government allows averages of up to 60 insects per 100 grams in frozen broccoli, and up to 50 insects per 100 grams of frozen spinach (See Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act 402 (a)(3)) Another well-known myth is that frozen vegetables are not subject to insect infestation. Some contend that freezing removes moisture from insects and eliminates them. However, this has proven untrue through research OU KASHRUT
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and experience. The freezing process simply preserves insects found in the vegetable. However, it is true that vegetables that could be infested may be processed in a way that indirectly addresses the problem. This is true of pureed vegetables and dehydrated herbs, where any insects would be eliminated. There is a very popular and mistaken assumption that a company with a highly advanced washing system will remove insects from vegetables. Although it’s true that many companies have highly advanced washing systems, this assumption is untrue. The effectiveness of a washing system will depend upon the level of infestation prior to washing. Moreover, vegetables with cracks and crevices, which are also more likely to suffer from infestation, are very difficult to clean. This is because there are areas for insects to hide and become trapped. For example, when insects become embedded in broccoli florets it is nearly impossible to clean them sufficiently. According to Jewish law, vegetables that consistently contain insects require checking prior to use. “Consistently” is usually assumed to be a 10% probability or higher. The general rule of thumb is that if it is 36 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
not unexpected or a surprise to find an insect in a certain type of food, it must be checked beforehand. Checking vegetables properly for bugs requires a sensitivity to detail. Insects could hide in hard to see places, and may also be very small. Nevertheless, a miniscule insect is not prohibited unless it is identifiable to the naked eye. By 1674 the powerful microscopes of A. van Leeuwenhoek were able to detect small phenomena, and crude microscopes date to the mid-15th century. However, the Torah was given many years prior at Har Sinai. Chazal in their great wisdom have declared, “The Torah was not given to angels” (“lo nitna Torah lemelachei hasharet”see Berachot 25:b). The position of most halachic authorities is that Torah observant, G-d fearing Jews should be capable of identifying insects without extraordinary means. Vegetables that consistently contain insects must be checked before use. If these vegetables are sold with a hechsher a Rav must be consulted to assess whether the hechsher is acceptable. The OU has published a vegetable guide to provide practical guidance how to check vegetables. Resources like this have proven to be extremely helpful to the public. n
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART Fruit and Vegetable Inspe
This is only a brief summary to serve as a quick reference guide
Type of Insect*
Location of Insect
Aphids and thrips
Deep between the leaves
Artic Hear exam wash not Solid
Under triangle parts Gree along the stem and in the t the tips Whi
Worms, when stored Can be in the middle Soak prolonged or improperly of the bean remo
Aphids, thrips or Lodged in the floret head, Fres broccoli worm; or at the base of area Fres may appear brownish connecting the floret each after parboiling to the stem flore trun flore ining head
Thrips or cabbageworms Most often in the outermost six leaves
Gree split direc laye are t used
* Aphids – size of a pin head, light-green, round insects; Thrips – size of a “1” in a dollar bill serial n size of a pin head, light-green, round insects; Thripsof–each size ofleaf a “1” in a be dollar bill serial *** Aphids When – checking leafy vegetables or herbs, both sides must checked.
number; linear, black or grayish insects.
Israel Guide 5782 37
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART
table Inspection Chart
eference guide. Please do not rely on this summary alone. This is only a brief summary to serve as a quick reference guide.
Please do not rely on this summary alone. Method of Inspection** Artichoke leaves: Examine one by one. Heart of the artichoke: Spread apart the artichoke leaves; carefully examine around and between the leaves. If no sign of insect infestation, wash thoroughly. Due to the difficulty involved in checking, they are not allowed in OU restaurants. Solid artichoke bottom: No inspection. Rinse prior to using.
arts Green asparagus: Shave down the tips; remove nd in the triangle parts along the stem and in the tips. White asparagus: Wash thoroughly before using.
ddle Soak for approximately 1/2 hour; remove wormy beans that float to top of water.
ret head, Fresh broccoli, stems: Wash thoroughly. area Fresh broccoli, whole: Parboil for no more than 1 minute. Segregate oret each head individually. Look carefully at the branched area of each floret, in the crevice formed by two branches forking out from a single trunk like a Y; spread apart each floret head and look through the florets, into the branch area; if 1 or 2 insects are found, continue examining the remaining sections of head; if 3 insects are found, the entire head should be discarded.
Green cabbage: Detach loose leaves; discard; core the cabbage and split head in half. Peel 3 layers; carefully check these 6 leaves under direct light; check both sides. If 1-2 insects are found, check an additional layer. If last three consecutive layers were clean and the remaining leaves are tightly packed together, the remaining leaves of the head may be used without further checking, but should be washed well before use.
a dollar bill serial checking number;leafy linear, black ororgrayish insects. ** When vegetables herbs, both sides of each leaf must be checked. ked.
38 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART Fresh Vegetables
Type of Insect*
Location of Insect
If 3 o and c Red c
Thrips or cabbageworms Most often in the outermost six leaves
Thrips or small orange Inside or between small Sepa insects thin white branches Exam
Thrips, flies or worms On inside and outside of Remo stalk, especially close to base down or on leaves if a w thoro
Aphids or thrips
On surface of leaves or stem
Soak deter forei may direc
In the folds and crevices of the first four layers
etac D the h check If last packe furth are fo
E Small white or red worms Imbedded in under part or in inner sections of mushroom
Shiita Oyste sectio Porto fan-li
ICEBERG LETTUCE Aphids or thrips
Israel Guide 5782 39
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART
Method of Inspection** If 3 or more insects are found, the remaining leaves must be washed and checked before use. Red cabbage: Same as green cabbage.
mall Separate and remove florets from stem. s Examine the under part of the floret; wash thoroughly.
de of Remove all leaves; hold celery firmly under strong stream of water; brush e to base down both inside and outside of stalk with finger or a vegetable brush; if a worm burrow is spotted, slit open celery stalk, remove worm, and wash thoroughly. Leaves must be washed with soapy solution. Remove leaves and wash, no visual inspection needed.
s or stem
Soak in cold water; add several drops of concentrated, non-scented liquid detergent or vegetable wash; agitate herbs in the water, removing all foreign matter and soap from leaf surface; alternatively, a vegetable brush may be used on both sides of leaf. Check each leaf on both sides under direct light. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
etach loose leaves; discard; core lettuce; split head in half; peel 4 layers off D the head; carefully check these leaves by holding the leaf under direct light; check both sides of each leaf. If 1-2 insects are found check an additional layer. If last three consecutive layers were clean and the remaining leaves are tightly packed together, the remaining leaves of the head may be used without further checking, but should be washed well before use. If 3 or more insects are found, the remaining leaves must be washed and checked before use.
Shiitake and Button: wash thoroughly. Oyster: Break apart in several places, especially the base, examine inner sections. If insects are found, discard mushroom. Portobello: remove stem, examine detached cap. Remove entire brown fan-like under-part. Wash thoroughly.
40 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART Fresh Vegetables
Type of Insect*
Location of Insect
OPEN LEAF LETTUCE Aphids (e.g., green/red or thrips leaf, Boston, chicory, bok choy, romaine, etc.
Found even in the inner Cut o leaves due to its open conce growth leave from leave
Tips or outer layers
Light-green Mostly in upper area of bulb, Cut s or brown thrips also between branches and thin occasionally on outside the r and inside of shoots If ins
SPINACH & ARUGULA
Thrips or worms In curls and inside of leaf
Cut o thoro
Soak deter use a surfa
Type of Insect*
Location of Insect
BROCCOLI (spears or florets only)
Aphids, thrips, Lodged in the floret head, Allow or worms or at the base of area the c connecting the floret inspe foun to ch
* When checking leafy vegetables or herbs, both sides of each leaf must be checked. * Aphids – size of a pin head, light-green, round insects; Thrips – size of a “1” in a dollar bill serial ** When checking leafy vegetables or herbs, both sides of each leaf must be checked.
Israel Guide 5782 41
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART
Method of Inspection**
nner Cut off lettuce base; soak lettuce in cold water with several drops of en concentrated, non-scented liquid detergent or vegetable wash; agitate leaves using a strong stream of water to remove all foreign matter and soap from leaf surface or use a vegetable brush on both sides of the leaf; check leaves under direct light. Cut off onion tips; peel off inedible and loose layers of skin; wash thoroughly
a of bulb, Cut scallion root from top to the bottom of bulb; examine between hes and thin layers where they merge from the bulb. If no insects are found, side the remaining scallions may be consumed after thorough washing. If insects are found, the entire head must be checked carefully.
Soak in cold water; add several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent or vegetable wash; agitate leaves in water to wash their surface; use a strong stream of water to remove all foreign matter and soap from surface of the leaf; check leaves under direct light.
Method of Inspection** Not recommended.
t head, Allow to thaw completely; look carefully at branched area of each floret, in ea the crevice formed by two branches forking out from a single trunk like a Y; et inspect inside the floret from the top into the branch area. If 3 insects are found, the entire package should be discarded. Frozen broccoli is difficult to check; it is therefore best to avoid uncertified product. Same as fresh.
* *Aphids – size of a pin head, light-green, round insects; Thrips – size of a “1” in a dollar serialnumber; number;linear, linear,black black or dollar billbill serial or grayish grayishinsects. insects.
42 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART Canned Vegetables
Type of Insect*
ARTICHOKE HEARTS Aphids or thrips ASPARAGUS Thrips
Location of Insect
Deep between leaves
See under “Fresh Vegetable” A
Type of Insect*
Location of Insect
Thrips or mites
On surface of berry, nestled in crevices
D o D in
ultivated: C Generally insect-free Wild: On surface or in center of berry
C u W
Thrips or mites
On surface of berry nd in open cavity a
G t p a
Under green leaf or on surface
R s b f
Type of Insect*
Location of Insect
Inside of date
Wasps or worms
Inside of fig
* Aphids – size of a pin head, light-green, round insects; Thrips – size of a “1” in a dollar bill serial n ** When checking leafy vegetables or herbs, both sides of each leaf must be checked.
Israel Guide 5782 43
FRUIT & VEGETABLE INSPECTION CHART
Method of Inspection**
egetable” Avoid completely.
Method of Inspection**
Drop pint of berries onto white cloth or light box, then inspect ne by one. If insects are found, do not use pint of berries. o Due to the difficulty involved in checking, they are not allowed in OU restaurants.
ultivated: place in a strainer or colander and wash thoroughly C under running water. Wild: Cut open and carefully examine on white cloth after washing.
Gently drop raspberries onto a white cloth or light box to dislodge the insects, then inspect one by one. If insects are found, do not use pint of berries. Due to the difficulty involved in checking, they are not allowed in OU restaurants.
Remove tops. Carefully rotate and inspect each berry. Place in soapy s olution. Agitate each berry and soak for several minutes. Wash each berry under powerful spray of running water. Place berries with insects found previously in a glass bowl of fresh water. Check water for insects.
Method of Inspection** Slice lengthwise and examine. No checking necessary when using pitted dates. Cut fig horizontally and split in half; check for obvious signs of insect damage or dark colored worms.
* Aphids – size of a pin head, light-green, round insects; Thrips – size of a “1” in a dollar bill serial All dehydrated herbs may be used without checking. number; linear, black or grayish insects. a dollar bill**serial linear, black or grayish insects. Whennumber; checking leafy vegetables or herbs, both sides of each leaf must be checked.
44 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
Understanding the Prohibition of
Q & A from the OU Israel Gustave & Carol Jacob Center for Kashrut Education By Rabbi Ezra Friedman
THE BASIC PROHIBITION QUESTION: I am a relatively new Oleh in Israel. In our garden we have fruit trees and vegetables. The produce this past year was very nice and my son was wondering if he could sell some of the produce at a school event. Is this a problem since the produce is Tevel? ANSWER: Tevel refers to produce and grain which has not had terumot and ma’asrot separated from it. Our Sages were extremely stringent regarding its use and therefore added various other prohibitions in addition to the Torah prohibition of consumption. Rabbinic
prohibitions include not feeding tevel to one’s animal (Rambam, Maaser 13:15) and not giving tevel to a nonJew for consumption, even though the non-Jew has no obligation regarding this mitzvah (Tosfot, Eruvin 17:b). In addition, it is prohibited to fulfill any mitzvah using tevel, such as using an etrog for the four species or eating matzah on Pesach from which terumot and ma’asrot were not taken (see Kedushat Ha’aretz 4:17 and Rambam Chametz Umatzah 6:6). SELLING TEVEL What is the law regarding the sale of tevel? The Mishnah (earliest Talmudic literature) in Demai (5:8) states:
Israel Guide 5782 45
Based on the Mishnah, the sale of accomplished by joining the bought tevel is prohibited other than in tevel with the problematic mixture a case of necessity. The Talmud to make them one entity, and then Yerushalmi (Demai 5:7) explains that separate terumot and ma’asrot from a situation of “necessity” refers to the the bought-tevel produce.) case of someone who has a mixture Aside from the specific exception of mostly tithed and some non-tithed above, the sale of tevel is prohibited. produce. In such a situation, it is Moreover, if tevel is sold to a buyer impossible to distinguish between who will definitely not separate teruthe non-tithed promot and ma’asrot, the duce and the tithed. seller is directly causDue to the tevel found “…one may not sell ing the buyer to sin in the mixture, one (see Kedushat Ha’aretz non-tithed produce 4:22). A practical apis still obligated to except in the case plication is regarding separate terumot and a kashrut certification ma’asrot. However, of necessity.” for a supermarket that one unknowingly plans to sell certain may separate from the tevel products. Certification should produce that was previously tithed, leaving the issue of tevel unresolved. not be given to such an establishment. According to later authorities (Chazon Due to this complex situation, our Ish, Demai 6:10 and Derech Emuna, Sages allowed for the sale of (other) tevel to the person with the problem- Ma’aser 66), even if the seller were atic mixture in order to enable him to to inform potential purchasers that the produce being sold is tevel, the sale clearly separate terumot and ma’aswould still be prohibited. Halachic rot, thereby permitting the use of the authorities go as far as to say that even entire quantity of produce. (This is
46 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
giving tevel as a gift and informing the takes ownership of the tevel, it becomes receiver that the fruit is tevel is prohib- his obligation to separate terumot and ited (see Shulchan Aruch YD 331:117 ma’asrot, but only on a rabbinic level. and Kedushat Ha’aretz 4:26) . Thus, by selling tevel, the farmer has There are two different reasons given negated the Torah obligation that was against the sale of only his to fulfill (see tevel. According Baba Metzia 88:b). to some opinions By selling tevel, the (Tosfot Yom Tov BUYING TEVEL farmer has negated the Demai 5:8, Torat Ha’aretz 2:36), the Is there also a Torah obligation that basis for this ruling prohibition to buy was only his to fulfill is out of concern that tevel? According to the buyer will in fact the Chalat Lechnot take terumot and em, by purchasing ma’asrot. Even in a case where there tevel, the buyer is enabling the seller is no such concern, our Sages did not to cast away his Torah obligation of differentiate between various situations, separating terumot and maasrot. but rather, they made a blanket decree. However, if the prohibition of selling According to other halachic authorities tevel is because of the potential sin (Chalat Lechem 2:21), the prohibition of the buyer who will not separate of selling tevel is because of tithes, then based on this logic, the seller’s wrongdoing. a buyer who does separate A farmer who grows terumot and ma’asrot produce has an obligashould be permitted tion to separate tithes to purchase tevel. Rav Chaim as determined by the Kanievsky (Derech Torah. However, if Emuna, p.236) the farmer sells writes and brings his non-tithed proof that the prohiproduce, he has bition is only on the seller, not undermined the Torah the buyer. He seems to conobligation of terumot clude that one is allowed to and ma’asrot. When the buyer OU KASHRUT
Israel Guide 5782 47
Although one might assume that the buy tevel. Rav Dov Lior also rules sale of tevel to non-Jews is permisthat there is no prohibition to buy sible, as they are not obligated to tevel, based on many sources from take terumot and ma’asrot, this is Talmudic times which show that not the case. one may purchase from a person In general it is who is known not prohibited to engage to separate terumot in commerce with and ma’asrot (see A source prohibiting forbidden foods also Mevo Leterumot the sale of tevel to (Mishna Shevi’it Umaasrot 11:13). According to these 7:3, Shulchan Aruch non-Jews is found poskim one is alYD 117), but tevel in the Tosefta lowed to purchase does not fall into this from a market that category, since the is known to sell tevfood becomes permissible once tithes are separated el. However, perhaps one should (Yad Yitzchak 3:343, Shevet Kehati still refrain in order to avoid 1:386). supporting establishments that A source prohibiting the sale of sell non-tithed produce. The issue tevel to non-Jews is found in the should be discussed with one’s Tosefta (a compilation of pre-Tallocal orthodox rabbi. mudic rabbinic rulings that In short, the sale of tevel is were not included in the prohibited. However, Mishnah). The Tosefta the purchase of tevel (Demai 1:11) states that is permissible as one may not sell tevel long as it can be to a non-Jew. Howensured that the ever, the Tosefta buyer will indeed does not explain the separate terumot reasoning behind the and ma’asrot prohibition. A number SELLING TEVEL of explanations are given TO A NON-JEWS by later authorities. Rav Betzalel Ashkenzi (Responsa 1) suggests 48 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
that selling to a non-Jew is actively annulling the obligation to take terumot and ma’asrot since nonJews have no obligation to so. Tosfot (Gittin 25:a) writes that the sale of tevel is an extension of stealing; once the non-Jew has purchased the non-tithed produce, all the tithes, which should have been given to the Kohanim and Leviim, are negated. A third opinion is that of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook (Mishpat Kohen 31), who explains the concern that once tevel is sold to a non-Jew, it might be sold back to a Jew, causing him to sin by inadvertently eating tevel. Many authorities cite the same reasoning as Rav Kook (see Chazon Ovadia Terumot Umaasrot p.131 and Halichot Sadei 65 p.14-20). In Israel, it is unfortunately very hard to regulate and prevent the sale of tevel to non-Jews. The Israeli agricultural market is very dependent on export and mostly to non-Jewish companies. Many non-religious farmers have no interest in paying for kashrut supervision for overseas export to nonJews. In addition, the Chief Rab-
binate has no jurisdiction regarding exported fruit and vegetables, and it is quite common for produce to be exported overseas as tevel. These business deals are not in accordance with halachah. Many poskim (see Chazon Ovadia, Terumot Umaasrot 2:1) have discussed the case of a farmer who grows produce with the intention of selling it outside of Israel. If the produce was initially grown for that purpose, would the halachah be any different? The Bach (YD 331) seems to hold that if the intention was to send produce outside of Israel, they are exempt from the obligation. This is also the opinion of the Mahari Kurkus (Rambam, Maaser 13:4), Rav Ovadia Yosef (Ibid) rules like the Bach as well, and cites other authorities who rule the same. However, an overwhelming number of halachic authorities completely dismiss this opinion (Radbaz Terumot 1:22, Mabit 2:196, Chazon Ish, Demai 15:4). They cite earlier sources (see Raavad, Terumot 1:22, and Orchot Chaim, Berachot 9) that once the produce ripens and is packaged in Israel, terumot and ma’asrot must be taken even OU KASHRUT
Israel Guide 5782 49
after being transported outside of produce abroad, one should confirm Israel and even if it is being sold to its status. non-Jews. This was also the ruling of It is important to emphasize that this Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe article should not be a deterrent to YD 3:127) and purchasing Israeli Rav Aharon Kotler fruits and vegeta(Responsa Mishbles sold overseas. The OU makes a great nat Rebi Aharon Rather, it should be effort to ensure that any YD 40). viewed as an opproduce certified under The OU makes portunity to support a great effort to the Israeli economy our supervision has had ensure that any and to merit the terumot and ma’asrot produce certified fulfillment of this under our superviseparated before shipment mitzvah of sepasion has had terurating trumot and mot and ma’asrot ma’asrot. The proseparated before shipment. The OU cedure is quite simple, and can easily rules that it is forbidden to sell tevel be learned. to non-Jews. It is also the position of the OU that produce that was grown SUMMARY with the intention of being shipped In conclusion, the fruit and vegetaoverseas requires terumot and bles can be sold at the school event ma’asrot to be separated. although trumot and ma’asrot should However, it’s not so be taken prior to the sale. It uncommon to find would be wise to menuncertified Israeli tion to customers that all tevel produce betithes have been taken ing sold abroad, according to halachah. especially in For more informaproximity to tion or step-by-step Jewish comguidance on how to munities. Thus, separate terumot and when finding ma’asrot feel to contact our Israeli-grown kashrut hotline. n 50 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
Glossary of Israeli Kashrut The following glossary includes additional terminologies relating to kashrut beyond the scope of this guide in order to enhance the reader’s overall familiarity with kashrut related topics. ASHKENAZIM ( )אשכנזים-
A Jewish ethnic group which originated from Western and Eastern Europe. The customs of Ashkenazim differ from Sefardim.
ARAVA DROMIT (ערבה דרומית,
Southern Arava) - A region in the southern Negev desert that’s exempt from certain MITZVOT HAT’LUYOT BA’ARETZ (TERUMA, MA’ASER, SHEMITAH). Authorities dispute the exact location and borders of this area.
the ground. All halachot pertaining to vegetation grown in the ground apply to produce grown in an atzitz nakuv. Authorities debate how large a pot’s holes must be in order for it to be considered an atzitz nakuv.
ATZITZ SHE’EINO NAKUV
great rabbis in the era following the SHULCHAN ARUCH, from the fifteenth century to today.
( עציץ שאינו נקובlit. “non-perforated flowerpot”) - A flowerpot or planter that’s completely sealed on the bottom. Our Sages decreed that anything growing in an atzitz she’eino nakuv is obligated on a rabbinic level in all halachot pertaining to produce grown in the ground. Authorities debate whether certain halachot do not apply to atzitz she’eino nakuv.
ATZITZ NAKUV ( עציץ נקובlit.
BADATZ (בד”ץ, acronym for בית
ACHRONIM ( )אחרונים- The
“Perforated flowerpot”) - A flowerpot or planter with holes on the bottom. Halachically, such a receptacle is considered connected to
)דין צדק- Private Israeli kashrut certification. Not all badatzim have the same standards. Not affiliated with the Chief Rabbinate. OU KASHRUT
Israel Guide 5782 51
BAYIT SHENI ( )בית שניThe
Second Temple, which stood in Jerusalem from 3622 (139 CE) to 3829 (69 CE).
BESARI ( )בשריMeaty, fleishik
- This term appears on kashrut certificates issued to restaurants serving meat as well as on products which contain meat.
prohibition may be fully cooked by non-Jews.
BISHUL YISRAEL ()בישול ישראל - Kosher food cooked by Jews. There is a dispute amongst authorities as to how much Jewish intervention is required in order to deem the food Bishul Yisrael rather than BISHULI AKUM. Not all food requires Bishul Yisrael.
BEDI’AVAD “ ;)בדיעבדafter the
fact”) - A less than ideal approach to a halachic issue, based on circumstances that have already occurred.
BEIT DIN ( ;בית דיןlit. “house of
judgment”) - Court of three rabbis, certified as Torah judges, which rules based on halachah.
BERACHAH ( )ברכה- Blessing,
usually referring to a prescribed text recited before or after performing various actions.
BISHULEI AKUM ()בישולי עכו”ם - Kosher food cooked by a nonJew which is prohibited for consumption by Jews. Only certain foods are included in the prohibition. Foods not included in the
52 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
BIUR ( )ביעור- The act of removing SHEMITAH-sanctified produce from one’s possession.
DEMAI ( )דמאי- All fruit that carries a doubt as to whether halachic tithes were taken.
CHADASH ( חדשlit. “new”) -
Grains (wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye) that have been planted after the fifteenth of Nisan and reaped before the fifteenth of Nisan of the next year is considered chadash and may not be consumed until the latter date passes.
CHALAV AKUM ()חלב עכו”ם - Milk from a kosher animal which was milked by a non-Jew
without any Jew present or in close vicinity. Our Sages decreed that chalav akum is prohibited for consumption.
CHALAV STAM ( )חלב סתם-
Milk that was milked from a kosher animal by a non-Jew in a place with government supervision. The supervision protects against any tampering with the milk including adding milk from other animals. The governing body also fines companies that break such regulations and hold them accountable.
CHALAV YISRAEL ()חלב ישראל
- Milk that was milked from a kosher animal by a Jew or alternatively by a non-Jew while a Jew was present or in close vicinity.
CHALAVI ( )חלבי- Milky,
milchig, listed on certificates or labels to state that a restaurant or food is dairy.
CHALAK ( חלקlit. “smooth”)
- Refers to the smoothness of the lungs of a cow. This term is used to define if beef is glatt kosher. In Israel, not all meat is glatt. The term is also commonly misused regard-
ing the kosher status of slaughtered chickens. Although it has become accepted in certain circles as a term to define a higher standard for the SHECHITA of chickens.
CHARAKIM ( )חרקים- Insects, see TOLAI’IM.
CHUMRAH ( )חומרה- Stringency in observing Jewish law within and sometimes beyond halachic requirements.
CHUTZ LA’ARETZ ( ;חוץ לארץlit.
“outside the land”) - Any location outside the land of Israel.
HAGALAH ( )הגעלה- The pro-
cedure for kashering utensils using boiling hot water.
HANA’AH ( )הנאה- Benefit. It is
forbidden to benefit (sometimes even indirectly) from certain mitzvot or transgressions.
( )הרבנות הראשית- Chief Rabbinate. In Israel there is a state rabbinate that oversees matters such as kashrut, to a minimum halachic standard. OU KASHRUT
Israel Guide 5782 53
HAVLA’AH (הבלעה, lit. “swal-
lowing”) - Bundling, packaging, i.e., the practice of overpaying for one item or service in order to receive another as well.
HETER MECHIRAH (היתר
מכירה, lit. “dispensation based on sale”) - Circumvention of SHEMITAH observance by selling or leasing land in Israel to a nonJew for the duration of the SHEMITAH year.
ISUR VE’HETER ( איסור והיתרlit.
“the prohibited and the permissible”) - The halachic expression pertaining to kashrut and dietary laws.
KEDUSHAT SHEVI’IT (קדושת שביעית, lit. “holiness of the seventh”) - SHEMITAH sanctity.
KILAYIM ( )כלאים- Forbidden
mixtures, such as the prohibition on planting certain different species together.
L’CHATCHILAH (לכתחילה, lit.
“from the outset”) - In the most ideal manner, i.e., the way one should ideally approach an issue of halachah.
54 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
LIBUN ( )ליבוןThe form of kashering utensils using an open flame. There are two different types of libun, libun kal and libun chamur. MA’ASER pl. MA’ASROT
( )מעשרות- Tithes that one is obligated by Jewish law to remove from produce grown in the land of Israel.
MA’ASER RISHON (מעשר ראשון lit. “First Tithe”) - A tenth of what is left in the grain or produce after the distribution of TERUMAH. The tenth is set aside and given to the Levites.
MA’ASER SHENI ( מעשר שניlit.
“Second Tithe”) - A tenth of the crop remaining after the distribution of TERUMAH and MA’ASER RISHON, which in the times of the Temple would be brought to Jerusalem. If the quantity of the ma’aser was too large, it was redeemed monetarily on animals for sacrifices or on food consumed in Jerusalem. Today, all MA’ASER SHENI is redeemed through money. The money is not spent and remains “holy.”
MATZA MENUTAK (;מצע מנוטק lit. “separated surface”) - Methods of growing produce during SHEMITAH in indoor greenhouses on raised surfaces and disconnected from the ground.
MASHGIACH pl. MASHGICHIM ( )משגיח- Kashrut supervi-
sors. Normally mashgichim are on site workers supervising kosher production. The amount of time the mashgiach needs to be present depends on the type of food and production.
MEHADRIN ( )מהדרין- Exceeding the minimum standards of halachah, generally associated with kashrut, although many standards and opinions exist regarding what exactly is considered “mehadrin”. The subject of mehadrin is very subjective and complex. One should be consulted with their rav. MEHUDAR (מהודר, lit. “beauti-
fied”) - Exceeding minimum halachic standards or requirements.
MINHAG ( )מנהג- custom, nor-
mally refers to customs in the area of halachah.
MITZVOT HAT’LUYOT BA’ARETZ ()מצוות התלויות בארץ
- Torah commandments pertaining to the land of Israel, mostly referring to agricultural laws.
NETA REVAI ( )נטע רבעי- Produce of a tree in the fourth year of its growth, after the prohibited three-year ORLAH period has passed. The fruit needs to be eaten in a certain part of Yerushalayim or redeemed on a coin. Today all Neta Revai is redeemed and not eaten in Yerushalayim. NOCHRI ( ;נוכריlit. “stranger”) - Non-Jew. OLEI BAVEL ( עולי בבלlit. “those
who made aliyah from Babylonia”) - The territories of the land of Israel that were conquered by the Jews who moved from Babylonian at the beginning of the Second Temple and were sanctified by Ezra and his BEIT DIN. This conquest of the Jews is also called “second holiness” (Kedusha Sheniya). It is universally accepted
Israel Guide 5782 55
that this area is biblically obligated in the MITZVOT HAT’LUYOT BA’ARETZ.
process of produce during the SHEMITAH year.
OLEH MITZRAYIM (עולי מצרים lit. “those who made aliyah from Egypt”) - The territories of the land of Israel that were conquered by the Jews in the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun and were sanctified by Yehoshua Bin Nun and his BEIT DIN, and ended in their conquest in the days of King David and were sanctified in the time of the First Temple. The area wasn’t reconquered by the Jews during their return from Babylonia. According to certain authorities, one may be lenient regarding the mitzvot of the land of Israel (TERUMAH, MA’ASER, SHEMITAH) in these areas.
“SHEMITAH Bin”) - A special bin/ waste basket for leftovers and edible peels of holy SHEMITAH fruit.
ORLAH ( )ערלה- The Torah prohibition on eating fruit that grows from a tree during the first three years after it was planted.
OTZAR BEIT DIN (אוצר בית דין
lit. “a storehouse [operated by] beit din”) - A system in which the beit din takes control of the growing conditions and the distribution 56 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
PACH SHEMITAH ( פח שמיטהlit.
PAT AKUM ( )פת עכו”ם- Kosher
bread from the five grains (wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye) baked by a non-Jew. Early sources record a rabbinic prohibition against consuming pat akum. There is a dispute amongst early authorities and later poskim regarding the validity and extent of this prohibition.
PAT YISRAEL ( )פת ישראל-
Kosher bread from the five grains (wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye) baked by a Jew. It is sufficient for a Jew to have minimal involvement in the baking process in order to deem the bread pat yisrael. For example, according to all opinions if a Jew lit the oven and a non-Jew placed the bread in the oven, the bread is considered pat yisrael.
RABANUT MEHADRIN (רבנות )מהדרין- A higher standard of
kashrut from local rabbinates. Not all local rabbinates have the same standard.
RABANUT MEKOMIT (רבנות
)מקומית- Local Rabbinate, municipal rabbinate in charge of kashrut for different jurisdictions. The local rabbinate follows the standards of the chief rabbinate and is an extension of the larger government organization.
RISHONIM ( ;ראשוניםlit. “the
forbidding the consumption of all self-seeded (and purposely grown) produce that sprouts during the SHEMITAH year. Legumes, grains and vegetables are part of the decree. Fruit is not included.
SHA’AT HABIUR ()שעת הביעור
- Deadline by which one must renounce ownership of all Shemitah-sanctified products.
SHABBAT HA’ARETZ (שבת
First Ones”) - The great rabbis in the era preceding the SHULCHAN ARUCH, from the eleventh to fifteenth centuries.
)הארץ- The sabbatical year of the land of Israel. Also a book on the laws of SHEMITAH by Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook OBM (1865-1935)
SEFARDIM ( ספרדיםlit. “those
SHAMUR V’NE’EVAD (שמור
from Spain”) - a Jewish ethnic group originating from Spain, North Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia. This group has a wide range of customs regarding kashrut which varies from that of ASHKENAZIM.
SAFEK ( )ספק- A halachic doubt or question.
SEFICHIN ( ;ספיחיןlit. “herbs”) -
A prohibition enacted by the Sages
;ונעבדlit. “guarded and worked”) - SHEMITAH produce that was guarded and/or worked in a prohibited fashion.
SHECHITA ( )שחיטה- Ritual slaughter
( )שמירת המצוות- Observance of the commandments. A non-observant Jew isn’t trusted in certain halachic areas.
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SHEMITAH ( )שמיטה- The
sabbatical year which takes place in the land of Israel according to Torah law (Vayikra 25:1–5). SHEMITAH occurs every seven years based on an ancient cycle. In a leap year, SHEMITAH lasts thirteen months.
SHE’ERIYOT ( שאריותlit. “Left-
overs”) - Leftover food or edible peels of holy SHEMITAH fruit that may not be discarded in a regular manner.
SHEMINIT ( שמיניתlit. “The
Eighth Year”) - The year following the SHEMITAH year referred to as the eighth year. Certain halachot pertaining to SHEMITAH apply to the eighth year as well.
SHEVI’IT ( ;שבעיתlit. “the sev-
enth”) - The seventh year of the seven-year SHEMITAH cycle. See SHEMITAH
SHISHIT ( ;ששיתlit. “the sixth”)
- The sixth year of the seven-year SHEMITAH cycle.
SHULCHAN ARUCH (שולחן
;ערוךlit. “set table”) - The Code
58 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
of Jewish Law. The shulchan aruch was written by Rabbi Yosef Caro in Safed in 1563. The Rema (Rabbi Moshe Isserles) added in his comments to this work.
TE’UDAT KASHRUT (lit. Certificate of Kashrut) - Certificate of kashrut for an establishment.
TERUMA pl. TERUMOT
( ;תרומותlit. “Removed portions”) A type of tithe given to the Kohen. It can only be consumed by a pure (halachically) Kohen whilst the produce is still pure (halachically).
TERUMAT MA’ASER (תרומת
)מעשר- A tithe given from the Levi to the Kohen. A tenth of the MA’ASER RISHON the Levi received is given to the Kohen. terumat ma’aser can only be consumed by a pure (halachically) Kohen while the produce is still pure (halachically).
TEVEL ( )טבל- Untithed produce grown in Israel. Such produce is prohibited for consumption.
TOLAI’IM תולעיםlit. “worms” Non-kosher insects present in foods.
TZIBBUR ()ציבור. Community.
The term is sometimes used in relation to a custom or practice of a certain group (see Avot 2:4).
YERUSHALAYIM ()ירושלים. Jerusalem. Certain food-related mitzvot apply only in Yerushalayim, and even then, only on Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) and in some sections of the Old City. YEVUL CHU”L ( יבול חו”לlit.
“Diaspora Crop”) - Produce imported from non- Jewish farmers living outside ERETZ YISRAEL. According to all opinions there is no need to keep the sanctity of SHEMITAH (KEDUSHAT SHEMITAH) with yevul chul.
YISHUV, the ( ;הישובlit. “settle-
ment”) - In context, this refers to the modern-day Jewish settlement of Israel.
YITZUR MEYUCHAD (יצור מיוחדlit. special production) Special kosher production performed at times at non-kosher factories worldwide. In Israeli plants, it refers to a special production carried out by private certifications. YASHAN ( ישןlit. “old”) - Grain
(wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye) harvested after the fifteenth of Nisan and therefore permitted for consumption.
YEVUL NOCHRI ( יבול נוכריlit.
“Non-Jewish Crop”) - Produce marketed during SHEMITAH from farms in Israel owned and controlled by non-Jews. In many cases, the non-Jewish produce is from Palestinian farmers in Judea and Samaria. According to certain authorities, one should treat YEVUL NOCHRI with the sanctity of SHEMITAH (KEDUSHAT SHEVI’IT).
YOVEL ( )יובל- The jubilee year
which following seven SHEMITAH cycles. Authorities debate whether yovel is the forty-ninth year (coinciding with SHEMITAH) or the fiftieth. Among the unique halachot of yovel, certain land purchases must be returned to their original owners, and Jewish slaves go free. OU KASHRUT
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60 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
SHEMITAH: An Introduction to a Special Mitzvah During shemitah it is prohibited to plant, prune or harvest anything from the Land. Chazal (Our Sages) went a step further and prohibited working he year 5782 on the Jewish the Land. They also prohibited plantcalendar which corresponds to 2021-2022, is a shemitah year. This is ing and tending herbs that grow wild. a sabbatical year in Eretz Yisrael. You This ban is referred to as sefichin. In Sefer Vayikrah, the Torah also tells may be somewhat us that during the familiar with shemitah shemitah year, we because it has become During shemitah it must declare all proa topic for discussion is prohibited to plant, duce ownerless. This and debate in modern means anyone can prune or harvest day Israel. The purpose of this anything from the Land take what they need from a farmer’s hararticle is to explain vest. While shemitah some of the most is a Biblical commandment, shemiimportant aspects of shemitah. This is based on what the Torah says, how tah in modern day Israel is actually rabbinic law on shemitah developed, based on rabbinic sources. This is according to most opinions including and modern practical applications. Please note that all references to “the the Shulchan Aruch. During earlier periods in Jewish hisland” refer to the land of Israel only. tory society was different and people Shemitah does not apply to agriculwould actually take advantage of the ture outside of the biblical land of availability of produce. This means Israel. Shemitah is a mitzvah like all others. they would pick whatever produce they wished from wherever they Regardless of what approach is takwished. In modern times, most peoen, it is essential to become familiar ple living in cities cannot afford this with its basis and halachot. BY RABBI YISSACHAR DOV KRAKOWSKI
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There are two basic systems for shemitah: heter mechira and otzar beit din
luxury. Almost everyone today relies on retailers where they can buy fruits and vegetables. Various systems have been created to solve modern society’s need for a retail option. Before going into the details of shemitah, it is essential to know what produce falls into the category of shemitah produce. shemitah applies to all produce grown on Jewish-owned land in Eretz Yisrael during the sabbatical year. It is a matter of contention as to whether land owned by a non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael has kedushat shevi’it. This will be discussed subsequently. There are two basic systems for shemitah: heter mechira and otzar beit din.
HETER MECHIRA At the end of 19th century when Jews began returning to Eretz Yisrael they had slightly different issues vis-à-vis shemitah. They had very little produce. Planting and tending fruits and vegetables were essential for their survival. They also needed any profit that could be made from selling to the local population. The result was that many of the great rabbis developed the heter mechira which allows selling Jewish ownedland to non-Jews for the duration of the shemitah year. According to many opinions produce grown on land owned by non-Jews does not have kedushat 62 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
shevi’it. This system bypassed many of shemitah’s hardships. There are complications in making a halachically valid sale of land to a non-Jew for a year. The concept of heter mechira is attributed to Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook OBM (1865-1935), the Chief Rabbi of the Yishuv in Eretz Yisrael. There were other minor heterim formulated by earlier rabbis. But during the British Mandate, when Rav Kook was appointed, the need to feed the Jewish population was particularly serious. During his lifetime he dealt with four shemitah years. He felt the heter mechira should only be used if there is no alternative. Another issue with heter mechira is that we are not supposed to sell land in Eretz Yisrael to non-Jews. There have been various answers to this issue. The bottom line is that it may be permissible if it ultimately helps the Yishuv in Eretz Yisrael (Jewish settlement in Israel). Due to the issues surrounding heter mechira many people opt not to rely on it. Nevertheless the Chief Rabbinate organizes a large scale heter mechira which is accepted by the majority of the Israeli public today.
Due to the issues surrounding heter mechira many people opt not to rely on it
OTZAR BEIT DIN Because picking your own fruit is not practical, the only really practical system that is to provide people with proOU KASHRUT
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duce that has kedushat shevi’it. This is based on otzar beit din. This is a distribution system run by a rabbinic court that takes care of harvesting the produce, transporting it to different areas and distributing it. While even the beit din cannot make a profit from this produce, it can fix a price that will cover the expenses involved in getting it from the field to the consumer. This system is an excellent option when properly organized and supervised. Since fruit sold in otzar beit din systems are kadosh b’kedushat shevi’it, special care has to be taken so that growers do not work their fields or perform any act that is intended to insure a bountiful harvest. In addition, prices and selling conditions must be tightly controlled by the beit din.
The laws of shemitah are only applicable in halachic Israel. This means that shemitah is not necessarily applicable to all parts of modern day Israel. Eilat for example is not part of halachic Israel and therefore one may plant, grow, and harvest produce there during shemitah. Most of the fruit and vegetables from the Arava
Yivul nochri is the hebrew term for the non-Jewish produce. As mentioned previously, according to many opinions, this produce does not have kedushat shevi’it. As such during shemitah some communities opt to purchase non-Jewish produce. 64 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
kedushat shevi’it and shemitah prohibitions are not applicable to plants that are grown indoors in containers without holes in the bottom of the pot. Consequently, various techniques of mass growing in specially designed green houses are used for farming during shemitah years. As this heter is somewhat more complex it is important that it be supervised by a reliable rabbinate. This also applies to produce grown hydroponically. It should be noted that for purposes of shemitah there is no difference between growing in soil or water.
Dromit (southern Negev) to Eilat are acceptable during shemitah.
KEDUSHAT SHEVI’IT Aside from otzar beit din, the other approaches are intended to avoid shemitah produce entirely. otzar beit din preserves produce as shemitah produce. While many of the aforementioned approaches to shemitah are convenient, most of them circumvent shemitah which means forgoing the privilege of eating shemitah produce. We cannot do whatever we wish with shemitah produce, and we must treat shemitah produce with respect because it is special. otzar beit din offers the ability to shemitah produce. Shemitah produce cannot be ruined or disgraced. We must be careful not to dispose of edible leftovers. This includes peels of produce that are often consumed with the produce such as apples and cucumbers. On the other hand, peels that are not usually eaten, like avocado and kiwi, can be disposed of. If there are leftovers that will not be consumed, they must be allowed to rot and only then can the rotten remains be disposed of. There are some opinions that are lenient and allow
the remains to be double wrapped and thrown away. Another restriction for shemitah produce is that one cannot cook an item that is usually eaten raw or eat raw an item that is usually cooked. Many opinions are more lenient regarding items that are usually eaten raw but are sometimes cooked (and vice versa). These opinions enable them to be consumed either way. Shemitah produce cannot be taken out of Eretz Yisrael. Any visitor to Israel after Rosh Hashanah 5782 (2021) can take advantage of eating sanctified shemitah produce.
SEFICHIN Planting during shemitah is forbidden in the Torah. Chazal prohibited eating herbs and other vegetables that are generally planted to be harvested in the same year during shemitah. Because they grow quickly Chazal were concerned that people would plant them during shemitah.
SHA’AT HABIUR During shemitah, everyone can pick fruit for themselves and their family from another person’s trees. This is provided they do not pick more OU KASHRUT
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than they actually need. People don’t usually pick just enough to be eaten immediately. It is permissible to pick a bit more than you need to eat right away. Generally one could pick a week’s worth of a given produce. The Torah tells us that the fruit during shemitah needs to be ownerless to the point it is even accessible to wild animals. Chazal explain this to mean that we cannot keep fruits or vegetables in our home once they are no longer available in the fields. A minimal amount of food may still be kept in the home. This amounts to about three meals per person. However, once the harvest season for the given fruit is over ownership must be relinquished. This is known as mafkir/being hefker. Ownership is relinquished by placing the items outside in a public area where it is easily accessible to anyone. The fruit must be left outside long enough for people to help themselves. After enough time has elapsed the owner can reclaim the remaining produce and bring it back into the house. As the seasons for different produce varies each type of fruit has its own sha’at habiur. Some types of fruit have very precise dates that were set by Chazal. See our list at the end of the guide. n 66 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
The Halachot of Holy Shemitah Produce BY RABBI EZRA FRIEDMAN
he areas of hilchot shemitah in Eretz Yisrael are split into three different categories: working the land, relinquishing ownership of the produce, and handling the holy fruit. Fruits and vegetables that have reached a certain stage of growth during shemitah have a special holiness called kedushat shevi’it (see Sefer Hashemitah 7:1). According to some opinions, there is a positive mitzvah to consume such produce (see Megilat Esther on Ramban, Shechichat Asin 3). The holiness of the produce has several halachic implications.
WHICH PRODUCE IS INCLUDED? Fruits, vegetables, herbs, etrogim, and plants used for cosmetics can have kedushat shevi’it. Categories of kedushat shevi’it include:
Vegetables and fruits picked from a home garden or from areas declared ownerless during the shemitah year.
Fruits and vegetables purchased from otzar beit din.
Heter mechira produce (Even for those who do not rely on the heter mechira, such as the OU, according to certain poskim one must treat the produce as if it has kedushat shevi’it).
The timing of kedushat shevi’it in produce varies for each crop. There are calendars that detail exactly from which dates each fruit or vegetable is to be considered shemitah produce. kedushat shevi’it is present in the produce itself and also in any food that include ingredients with kedushat shevi’it. For example, salad dressed with kedushat shevi’it oil has kedushat shevi’it. If even one vegetable with kedushat shevi’it is in a soup, the entire soup is considered kedushat shevi’it (Kedushat Ha’aretz 21:6-12).
WHO CAN CONSUME KEDUSHAT SHEVI’IT
Produce that has kedushat shevi’it may be eaten only by Jews. One should not give produce with keduOU KASHRUT
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shat shevi’it to non-Jews, even as a present. However, if a non-Jew is invited to a Jew’s home for a meal, shemitah produce may be served to everyone (see Ridbaz on Rambam Shemitah Veyovel 5:13). Regarding feeding animals, halachah states that kedushat shevi’it food may not be fed to animals. Even if the food is slightly spoiled, it is still prohibited to be fed to animals since feeding kedushat shevi’it to animals is considered “wasting” shemitah produce (see Tosefta Shevi’it 5:13 and Mishpetei Eretz 23:4).
TAKING PRODUCE OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL
It is prohibited to take kedushat shevi’it produce out of Israel. Early authorities suggest different reasons for this prohibition. Rav Shlomo of Siriloi (Yerushalmi shevi’it 6:5) rules that since the produce has holiness, it should only be eaten in the holiest place, the Land of Israel. Most authorities maintain that the reason behind not exporting kedushat shevi’it produce is because of other halachic concerns, not because of the essence of kedushat shevi’it. The Ra’avad (Torat Kohanim, Behar 1:9), for example, writes that the concern of exporting shemitah produce is that 68 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
people outside of Israel will not manage to abide by the proper respectful handling of such produce. It is accepted among most poskim that exporting fruits and vegetables that have kedushat shevi’it is prohibited. As such, the OU does not certify holy shemitah produce for export. However, certain circumstances exist which might allow one to either order or export kedushat shevi’it produce (such as, the four species for Sukkot or exceptional wines). One should consult with a competent halachic authority on a case-by-case basis (see Derech Emuna 5:95).
HANDLING KEDUSHAT SHEVI’IT
One may not do business with such produce, such as selling fruit from one’s trees to a neighbor. Redeeming a loan through giving shemitah produce is also prohibited. Actively ruining shemitah produce is also strictly prohibited. For example, our Sages rule that one should not pick fruit before it ripens, as the fruit is not yet edible and its’ removal from the tree prematurely is considered ruining the fruit (Mishnah shevi’it 4:10). It is permissible to give shemitah produce to a child who will consume it, even if the child will play minimally with the food or
eat it unconventionally. However, a young baby who will certainly throw the food around should not handle or eat produce with kedushat shevi’it (Derech Emuna 5:13). It is best to avoid using kedushat shevi’it wine or grape juice for havdalah if one’s custom is to fill the cup until it overflows (Shabbat Ha’aretz 22). The havdalah candle should not be extinguished in the grape juice or wine, as this is inconsistent with the proper handling of shemitah produce (Mishpetei Eretz 21:5). Based on the prohibition not to actively ruin shemitah produce, one may not dispose of edible produce by putting it in the garbage or in any place which will ruin it. However, one is not obligated to put shemitah produce in a fridge in order to keep it for longer. The prohibition is only on actively ruining the produce (see Peirot Shevi’it p.270). See below regarding the proper way to dispose of shemitah leftovers.
WHAT CAN BE MADE WITH SHEMITAH PRODUCE?
It is permissible to prepare kedushat shevi’it produce in conventional ways only. For instance, juicing an eggplant, cooking a tomato, mashing a banana, or making popcorn
from fresh corn kernels. Any form of preparation which is not conventional is prohibited. For example, making liquor from shemitah dates is prohibited, since it is not considered a common use. However, date honey (silan) may be made from dates, since it is considered a more common use (Kedushat Ha’aretz 27:11). It should be noted that even if the holy food was produced in an inappropriate manner, the food is still completely permissible to consume (Sefer Hashemitah p.30). It is permissible to eat shemitah produce in any regular, conventional manner, even if some of the food might be wasted or lost (hefsed). For example, it is permissible to eat half of an apple, even though the remainder will end up spoiling (Mishpetei Eretz 21:11). When possible, it is best to finish the entire fruit or vegetable, to avoid hefsed (loss).
DISPOSING OF SHEMITAH LEFTOVERS
Small, insignificant scraps that people generally throw in the garbage (bits of leftover salad or soup, peels, pits, a drop of grape juice in a cup) should be thrown away using a pach shemitah. It is permissible to wash away the small bit of food stuck to OU KASHRUT
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the walls of the pot, the cutting board or a grater (see Kissei David 6:46). If food has become slightly spoiled one is permitted to change its form, or use part of the food to make it edible. For example, slightly spoiled shemita tomatoes can be cooked or used for dips (Derech Emuna 5:85). Certain poskim (Tzitz Eliezer 2:17) maintain that orange peels have kedushat shevi’it since they are often candied. Although, according to all authorities peels that many people eat should be handled as having kedushat shevi’it, even if one peels them, such as cucumbers and apples. Remainders of kedushat shevi’it can be disposed in the following fashion: Place the leftovers in a designated receptacle (“pach shevi’it”, shemitah bin), until it is no longer edible to humans. If the food is cooked, after two days it can be discarded in the regular garbage bin. If raw, wait a week until adding it to the regular garbage. It is important to be careful when adding new leftovers to the pach shevi’it. If Tuesday’s scraps touch Monday’s scraps, it will accelerate the new scraps’ rate of spoilage. For this reason, either place each day’s leftovers in a separate bag or separate each day’s scraps with newspaper or paper. It is best to prepare a wide, 70 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
shallow bin and place each day’s scraps side by side and not on top of one another. Liquid leftovers should be left out until they spoil and are considered non-edible. Food that does not have kedushat shevi’it but was cooked in a utensil that was used for kedushat shevi’it produce does not acquire kedusha by absorption from the utensil. The new dish is not considered holy and may be treated as regular food (Brit Olam 8:55).
shemitah fruits are for eating and not for preserving for following years. When each type of fruit is no longer available in the fields, there is an obligation to observe the mitzvah of biur (Relinquishing ownership, “hefker”). The laws pertaining to biur are somewhat complex and differ for various types of produce. In practice, for most consumers this obligation applies only to food products that last for a long time such as wine, oil and jams. Even after biur has been done, the produce is still holy with kedushat shevi’it and the laws regarding holy produce still apply (Ohr Letzion, Shevi’it p.54). n
SHEMITAH in Non& A from the OU Israel Perforated Pots QGustave and Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education BY RABBI EZRA FRIEDMAN
We live on the sixth floor with an outdoor open-air garden. We have two fruit trees, herbs and flowers, which are in pots that have no holes on the bottom. What laws of shemitah apply in this case?
The Torah instructs us to observe the mitzvah of shemitah to let the land rest every seventh year in the land of Israel (Sefer Vayikra 25:1-5). There are other positive and negative mitzvot that apply during the shemitah year. For example, there is a positive mitzvah to consume fruit that has the holiness of shemitah (see RamOU KASHRUT
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Is there a prohibition of sefichin ban, Shichachat Asin 3). There is also for vegetables and herbs grown in a mitzvah to relinquish ownership of the produce during the shemitah year non-perforated pots? (Rambam, Shemitah Veyovel 4:24). THE STATUS OF POTTED PLANTS Trees and plants that are planted on The Pe’at HaShulchan (one of the Jewish owned land are subject to all primary students of the Gr”a, who the mitzvot of shemitah. However, moved to Israel many sources as a result of the discuss the halaIt is universally accepted teachings of his chic status of trees that potted plants that have Rav) ruled that and plants that are anything grown planted in pots. It no holes (non-perforated) do below a roof is universally acnot hold the same obligation (and surrounded cepted that potted regarding shemitah as plants by walls; see plants that have no Halichot Sadeh holes (non-perfothat grow in the ground 27, p.19) is not rated) do not hold subject to the the same obligalaws of shemita. He based this ruling tion regarding shemitah as plants that on the fact that the verses use the grow in the ground. term “sadecha”, meaning one’s field. By addressing the following topics Since a closed building (roofed and regarding hilchot shemitah the status walled) is not considered a field, it is of outdoor non-perforated pots will not included in the laws of shemitah. become clear. Accordingly, any agricultural labor What is the halachic status of within a building is permitted, inplants planted in pots? cluding planting and harvesting large What is the obligation regarding quantities (see Pe’at Hashulchan the performance of agricultural la- 20:52). In addition, indoor produce bor on plants in non-perforated pots? does not have kedushat shevi’it (the holiness of the seventh year.) Is there a mitzvah to be mafkir (re- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minlinquish ownership of) the produce chat Shlomo 41:4) had a different way non-perforated pots? of thought (but did not rule this way
72 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
in practice.) Our Sages (Yerushalmi Orlah 1:2) ruled in the same fashion for potted plants without holes as potted planted with holes (based on the concern that people would mistakenly use pots with holes). However, Rav Auerbach suggested there is room to be lenient as shemitah only occurs once in seven years. As such, the laws of shemitah would not apply to outdoor plants potted in pots without holes, as one would take more care to keep a halachah occurring only once in seven years. The Chazon Ish (Shevi’it 22:1) did not accept the rulings of the Pe’at HaShulchan that indoor plants are
not included in the laws of shemitah nor that of Rav Shlomo Zalman that non-perforated pots outside are exempt. However, when the plant is both planted indoors and in a non- perforated pots, the Chazon Ish was lenient. Thus, a plant or tree in a non-perforated pot in a roofed building is completely exempt from the laws of shemitah. Modern poskim accept the ruling of the Chazon Ish that only under open skies is a plant or tree in a non-perforated pot included in the laws of shemitah. However, this obligation is only rabbinic in nature, which may leave room for certain halachic leniencies.
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consumed by the public. In order to ensure that the land becomes ownerless, there is a mitzvah incumbent on owners of trees or fields to verbally As outdoor plants in non-perforated relinquish (mafkir) ownership of the pots are still rabbinically obligated produce. This applies equally to fruit in the laws of shemitah, poskim rule in non-perforated pots (Halichot Hathat any type of labor that improves shevi’it 11:28). One must relinquish the plant or its fruit is prohibited ownership and (Ritv’a, Moed allow others (with Katan 3a). With plants and trees in certain conditions) However, our non-perforated pots, there to come and take Sages allowed certain activities is room to be lenient and to fruit. Based on the above halachah necessary for the water them as usual that the fruit must survival of plants be ownerless, one and trees. Nevmay not harvest the whole tree at once, ertheless, according to early Sages rather little by little. Some say that the labor should be performed at a minimum (see Mishpitei Eretz 3:1-6). “little by little” means enough to eat at one meal, while others say three meals For example, irrigating plants that are in the ground is permitted during (see Sefer Hashemitah 3). Chazon Ish (Shevi’it 12:6) allows one to harvest shemitah, but less water than usual enough fruit to feed one’s family for up should be used (Chazon Ish, Sheto seven days. In halachic practice, we vi’it 21:17). With plants and trees in non-perforated pots, there is room to observe the view of the Chazon Ish. be lenient and to water them as usual It should also be noted that all fruits and vegetables grown in (see Halichot Hashevi’it 11:7). For questions on this matter, one may outdoor non-perforated pots have contact a competent halachic authori- kedushat shevi’it (holiness of the seventh year.) ty or call the OU Israel hotline.
AGRICULTURAL LABOR IN OUTDOOR NON-PERFORATED POTS
HEFKER FOR OUTDOOR NON-PERFORATED POTS During shemitah, the produce of the land becomes ownerless, and may be 74 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
THE PROHIBITION OF SEFICHIN The Talmudic Sages decreed that any produce that grows on its own (known as sefichin) during shemitah
is prohibited for consumption (Torat in non-perforated pots are permitted Kohanim, Vayikra 25:20.) Chazal for consumption. observed that when sefichin was perThere is a debate among authorities mitted, some would plant vegetables if there is a prohibition to benefit and other produce during shemitah from forbidden sefichin (see Ohr and claim that they Letzion, Shevi’it grew on their own. 5:3). Thus, we Thus, the decree refrain from beneMany authorities rule was necessary fiting from flowers to ensure correct that since a closed pot is that grow during observance of the shemitah. Howevnot biblically obligated mitzvah (see Ramer, since anything in shemitah, there is no ban, Vayikra 25:5). grown in closed The decree also rabbinic decree of sefichin pots is not conincludes plants that sidered sefichin, were purposely flowers grown in grown. this way may be Our Sages ruled that only plants that smelled, cut, and used as ornaments self-seed or are replanted annually (see Shemitah Kehilchata 2:12). are included in the prohibition of SUMMARY sefichin. This includes grains, legumes and herbs (see Derech Emuna, Plants and trees grown non-perforated Shemitah 4:17.) Fruit trees, which are pots under open skies are rabbinically planted infrequently and provide fruit subject to the laws of shemitah. Therefore, minimal labor such as regular for many years, are not included in watering may be carried out without the decree. concern. The fruit has kedushat sheDoes the decree of sefichin extend to vegetables grown in non-perforat- vi’it, and ownership must be relinquished. Vegetables and herbs grown ed pots? Many authorities rule that in non-perforated pots are not subject since a closed pot is not biblically to the decree of sefichin, and may be obligated in shemitah, there is no consumed during shemitah. One may rabbinic decree of sefichin (Minchat derive benefit from flowers grown in Shlomo, Tanina 123:6). Based on this, all herbs grown during shemitah outdoor non-perforated pots. n OU KASHRUT
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The Prohibition of Sefichin on
SHEMITAH A ccording to biblical law, during the shemitah year the Land of Israel must not be worked, including plowing, planting and harvesting. While these prohibitions only begin on Rosh Hashanah, there are numerous additional laws, both Biblical and rabbinic, that apply prior to and following the shemitah year. An essential part of properly keeping shemitah is understanding the rabbinic decree of issur sefichin.
THE SOURCE OF THE DECREE All planting and cultivation during shemitah is a Biblical transgression and its produce is prohibited for consumption (see Tosafot Sukah 39:b). Our Sages call this transgression ne’evad, referring to food that has been “grown from work" and is prohibited. However, any vegetables that have grown on their own are biblically permitted during shemitah (Rambam, Shemita Veyovel 4:1). For example, it is common for vegetables to grow on their own as a result of seeds falling from the plants or non-ripe vegetables falling and causing a new plant to sprout. Because there was no human involvement in their planting or cultivation, such vegetables 76 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
are not considered ne’evad. Nevertheless, the Talmudic Sages decreed that any produce that grows on its own (called sefichin) is prohibited for consumption (Torat Kohanim Vayikra 25:20). They saw that when sefichin were permitted, some people were planting vegetables and other produce during shemitah and claiming that they grew on their own. Thus, the decree was inevitable and necessary (see Ramban, Vayikra 25:5). Our Sages ruled that only plants that self-seed or are replanted annually are part of the prohibition of sefichin, this includes grains, legumes and herbs (see Derech Emuna, Shemitah 4:17). Fruit trees, which are planted rarely and provide fruit for many years, are not included in the decree. As part of the prohibition of sefichin, if plants were purposely grown, or self-seeded and grew on their own, these plants must be uprooted, and the produce destroyed (Chazon Ish 9:4). Since the produce has a special status of holiness (kedushat shevi’it), it should be destroyed in a respectful manner by leaving it on the ground to rot on its own (Mishpetei Eretz 16:4).
SIXTH YEAR SEFICHIN Early authorities debate over which stage of growth are vegetables considered the crop of the sixth year, which are permissible for consumption, rather than the crop of the shemitah year, which falls under the issur sefichin. The Rambam (Shemitah Veyovel 4:11-12) writes that vegetables, rice, and legumes must be ripe and picked prior to the seventh year in order to permit them for consumption. The Chazon Ish (Shevi'it 9:3) clarifies the position of the Rambam, meaning that any vegetable that has continued to grow during shemitah is included in the decree of our Sages regarding sefichin. However, vegetables that have fully ripened when shemitah begins are not considered sefichin, even though they are picked during the shemitah year. As such, any vegetables that continue to grow during shemitah are prohibited to be eaten, and the plant must be uprooted. In contrast, Rav Shimshon of Sens (Rash, one of the Ba’alei Hatosafot) rules that as long as the beginning of the growth took place during the sixth year, any additional growth during the shemitah year does not render the vegetables sefichin, and therefore may be consumed (see Rash on Shevi'it 9:1). This dispute between Rambam and Rash regarding when sixth year produce
is considered sefichin has numerous implications for shemitah observance. First among them is planting prior to shemitah. If one decides to plant vegetables prior to shemitah, an assessment must be conducted regarding how much time is needed in order to prevent a complication with sefichin. To clarify, if halachah rules like the Rambam, the crops would need to be planted much earlier, as any planting adjacent to Rosh Hashanah would inevitably cause the produce to be considered sefichin. However, if we rule according to Rash, crops may be planted much closer to the shemitah year without causing issur sefichin (see Pea't Hashulchan 22:3). The accepted ruling is like the Rash (the more lenient opinion). However, prominent later authorities debate the extent of the leniency. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo 49) wrote that the produce must have substantial growth during the sixth year in order not to be considered sefichin. He felt that Rash required that the vegetables start to appear (even the initial shape) on the plants before Rosh Hashanah in order to permit their consumption, and not be considered sefichin (see Shulchan Shlomo, Shevi'it p.127-130). The Chazon Ish (9:17), however, was much more lenient, based on his understanding that a plant with even a small sprout above ground before Rosh Hashanah OU KASHRUT
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would not be considered sefichin. It has been largely accepted to rule like the Chazon Ish (see Mishpitei Eretz 16:8). In addition, there is reliable testimony that Rav Auerbach himself accepted the Chazon Ish's ruling out of respect for his seniority (see Minchat Shlomo 50).
FRUIT AND SEFICHIN Fruit trees are not included in issur sefichin. The reasoning for not including fruit trees in the issur sefichin is based on the logic of the decree. Our Sages were concerned with "cheaters" who would plant, harvest and consume crops during the shemitah year. They would falsely claim that these plants were self-seeded, which according to Biblical law is permitted. Fruits generally do not have the same concern, as trees take a long time to grow until they produce fruit. As such, planting a tree during shemitah would not have any shortterm benefit, since the fruit would not be ready until after shemitah has passed (see Minchat Shlomo, Shevi'it p.104). Later authorities discuss the status of bananas and certain other fruits regarding issur sefichin. The consensus amongst poskim is that bananas are not included in the decree of sefichin. Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (Kerem Tzion 11:1) writes that only plants that are replanted 78 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
every year have the status of sefichin. Banana trees, however, remain in the ground for a number of years, and new branches sprout during the new season. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo, Tanina p.430) also concludes that bananas are not included in sefichin. Rav Auerbach adds that since bananas don’t give fruit during the first year of growth, but only in the second or third year, there is less concern of people planting during the shemitah year. The same rule applies to papayas, pineapples and raspberries. Passion fruit (passiflora) is included in the decree of sefichin. Passion fruit differs from bananas as the bush often gives fruit during the first year, which would raise the concern that one might plant and harvest during the shemitah year (see Yechaveh Da’at 4:52). Other poskim add that since there is no way to differentiate between a new passion fruit bush and a two or three-year-old bush, they are included in issur sefichin (Yalkut Yosef, Shevi'it p.499). Poskim mention others types of plants that are similar in their development to passion fruit, such as strawberries, eggplant, and artichokes. All of which are considered sefichin (Kedushat Ha'aretz 26:12).
HERBS AND SPICES Herbs that require replanting each year
are prohibited due to the decree of sefichin (Derech Emuna 4:17). However, our Sages were primarily concerned with the actual consumption of sefichin. Therefore, only herbs that are consumed are prohibited, while leaves that are used to flavor remain permissible. An example of this rule is mint (nana). When mint is used in a salad, it has the status of sefichin and may not be consumed if grown during shemitah. However, mint grown to flavor tea would not be considered sefichin as the leaves are discarded and not consumed. These leaves may be picked and used during the shemitah year (see Kedushat Ha’aretz p.187). Coriander, dill and basil are examples of herbs that fall under the issur sefichin. Others, such as rosemary and thyme, are not included in this decree. The difference is due to the way they grow. Our Sages prohibited sefichin based on the concern that people would plant crops and then claim that they grew on their own. This scenario generally relates to annual plantsthose that are planted yearly. However, perennial plants, such as rosemary and thyme, are not normally planted every year, but rather continue to grow new branches (similar to bananas). Because people would be far less tempted to illicitly plant them, these crops are not included in the decree of sefichin.
The Rambam (Shemitah Veyovel 4:3) writes explicitly that consumption of sefichin is prohibited, but makes no mention of a prohibition of benefit from sefichin. The Mikdash David (59:3) claims that our Sages only prohibited consumption, since that would be enough to prevent people from illicitly planting new plants, and Sha'ar Hamelech (Shemitah Veyovel 4:2) concurs. However other later authorities try to prove from different sources that the prohibition of sefichin does include benefit from the produce (Kehilot Yaakov Shevi'it 12). The Chazon Ish (13:16) maintains that there is no prohibition of general benefit from sefichin, but only a prohibition to “use” them. The Chazon Ish himself does not explain the difference between the two concepts. Later authorities grapple with the definition of "using" sefichin. Rav Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo 1:51) disagrees with the Chazon Ish, distinguishing between normal use of the food and other benefit. Rav Auerbach explains that vegetables that are meant for eating are prohibited for consumption, but are permitted for benefit. With plants that are normally used only for benefit, such as for smelling or animal food, it is prohibited to smell them or feed them to one’s animals, since that is their main purpose. OU KASHRUT
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DIFFERENT TYPES OF BENEFIT It is clear from various sources that animal food is part of the decree of sefichin, even if it is only edible for animals. The Chazon Ish and Rav Auerbach agree that sefichin may not be fed to animals (Netiv Hashemitah 6:5). However, authorities rule that the prohibition is only to directly feed animals sefichin. If an animal is let into a garden and eats the produce on its own, there is no prohibition (see Beit Ridbaz 3:5). Many private and public gardens contain fragrant annual plants, such as basil or lemongrass. According to most poskim, such plants are considered sefichin (Derech Emuna 7:127; Chut Shani 1:10). As such, one should not smell them, even if they belong to someone else. Similarly, they may not be used as besamim for havdalah. Poskim discuss whether oils extracted from sefichin crops, such as legumes, are included in this decree. If the oil is extracted and used for food, it is certainly prohibited to consume it, just as it is prohibited to eat the sefichin itself (see Derech Emuna, Shemitah 4:17; Kedushat Ha'aretz 26:7). Poskim disagree, however, over whether such oil may be used for fuel. According to Tzitz Eliezer (11:69), there is room to be lenient regarding burning sefichin for benefit. Rav Shmuel Wosner (She80 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
vet HaLevi 1:184) at first also seems to be lenient, but due to certain concerns leaves the matter unresolved. Based on the opinions of the Chazon Ish and Rav Auerbach, there should be no concern using sefichin oil for lighting candles. Using the sefichin plants themselves for a bonfire or in a fireplace should surely be permissible (based on Rav Auerbach, cited above.)
SELLING OR GIVING AS A GIFT If someone has sefichin in his garden, whether edible vegetables or fragrant plants, is there a halachic problem with giving them to someone as a gift or selling them? It would seem that selling or giving sefichin as a gift to a fellow Jew is strictly prohibited - not because of the benefit of sefichin, but rather due to “lifnei iver,” the prohibition of causing someone to sin. Even though such benefit might be permitted for the giver, if the receiver (a Jew, even if not observant) would consume the sefichin, the giver is causing a sin. Regarding selling or giving to a nonJew, based on the explanations above, it would seem permissible. According to the Chazon Ish, there is no "usage" when selling or giving as a gift. According to Rav Auerbach, food that is meant to be eaten does not have an issue of benefit. Rav Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani 4:2)
rules, based on his understanding of the Chazon Ish, that selling to a non-Jew should be prohibited because of the prohibition of "using" sefichin. However, this does not seem clear from the words of the Chazon Ish. In addition, some authorities write explicitly that under certain circumstances, sefichin may be sold to a non-Jew and also given as a gift (see Brit Olam, Shevi'it 3:19).
FLOWERS DURING SHEMITAH The halachah regarding flowers during shemitah depends on the characteristics of the flower. Authorities distinguish between types of flowers and their shemitah status. Flowers that are grown for eating or smelling, such as sunflowers or carnations, have different halachic guidelines than flowers that are only grown for decorative use. The accepted ruling is that if the flowers are meant for eating or used for their fragrance, they have kedushat shevi'it and should not be sold or used inappropriately (Dinei Kedushat Shevi'it p.30). However, flowers with no smell (or where the scent is of no significance) that are used only for their nice appearance do not have kedushat shevi'it. Can flowers that have no significant smell or flavor be used as ornaments? Would there be a concern of sefichin? The decree was originally on vegeta-
bles and grains, although herbs are also included in sefichin. Would there be a prohibition to use non-scented flowers grown in one's garden as an ornament for one's home or event? Rav Binyamin Zilber (Brit Olam, Shevi'it, p.29-30) points out that since a flower market exists, there is a concern that people might deliberately plant flowers during shemitah for profit. Based on this, Rav Zilber maintains that flowers should be included in the decree of sefichin, since the original decree was out of concern that people would plant crops during shemitah and then claim that they grew on their own. Rav Zilber adds that since according to some poskim there is a prohibition to benefit from sefichin, it is prohibited to use flowers that grew in one's garden for any type of benefit, including using them for decoration. Many authorities disagree with Rav Zilber, based on a number of halachic arguments. Firstly, if a plant does not have kedushat shevi'it, according to many there is no concern of sefichin (Sefer HaYireim 186; Ma'adnei Eretz, Shevi'it 9:9). As previously discussed, there is a dispute amongst poskim whether a definitive halachah exists prohibiting benefit from sefichin (Ohr LeTziyon, Shevi'it 5:3). Secondly, using flowers as a centerpiece might not be considered benefit in a halachic sense. The fact that someone enjoys looking at OU KASHRUT
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the flowers, or that the flowers make the Shabbat table look more elegant may not be considered actual benefit from the flowers themselves (see Shemitah Kehilchatah, p.33). Accordingly, ornamental flowers are not part of the decree of sefichin, and thus one may pick such flowers from one’s garden and use them as ornaments, even if they grew on their own. In addition, since the decree of sefichin does not apply, one may plant ornamental flowers up until Erev Rosh Hashanah of shemitah and pick them during shemitah (Chazon Ish 17:25).
PURCHASING FLOWERS Ornamental flowers are normally purchased from designated stores. As discussed above, although ornamental flowers are not part of the decree of sefichin and the benefit of decoration may not be significant, purchasing flowers from a store may have other concerns. Planting flowers during shemitah is strictly prohibited, even if the flowers are not edible. As such, it is also prohibited to purchase such illicitly-planted flowers. Although there is no actual transgression in using the flowers, our Sages prohibited any action that would assist those who blatantly desecrate shemitah (Rambam, Shemitah Veyovel 8:1, based on Mishnah Shevi'it 5:6). Thus, when purchasing flowers, 82 OU KASHRUT Israel Guide 5782
one should ascertain that they were not planted during shemitah. In past years, some flower shops have received certification for their flowers during shemitah. It is recommended to purchase from establishments that either have certification, or whose owners can be trusted that the flowers were not planted during the shemitah year.
RECEIVING FLOWERS AS A GIFT As opposed to buying in a store, if one receives flowers as a gift from someone who does not keep shemitah, there is room to be lenient. This is especially true if refusing the gift would cause ill will. There is ample precedent for this position, as our Sages are lenient regarding certain halachic decrees when there is an issue of potential enmity (see Aruch Hashulchan YD 112:23). There are additional reasons for leniency, such as the halachic doubt whether these flowers were actually planted during shemitah. Furthermore, in this situation when the flowers were already purchased, receiving them is not considered supporting the store but merely being polite to the giver, who is not actively or consciously purchasing in order to assist the desecrators of shemitah (Chut Shani, p.246-247). Thus, one may be lenient and receive flowers as a gift from someone who does not keep shemitah. n
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