Jan 10, 2008

Shmitta: kasher your pots

Rav Elyashiv recently spoke out on the issue of "shmitta l'kula" (or "lenient shmitta observance") a.k.a. reliance on the hetter mechira.

Rav Elyashiv said, "There is no such thing as shmitta l'kula and no such thing as shmitta l'chumroh. Shmitta is halacha. You are either keeping shmitta, or you are not keeping shmitta and transgressing the prohibitions. there is no other option.

Rav Elyashiv said that the fact that shmitta is only rabbinic today is not a reason to be lenient. He compared it to cooking and eating chicken and milk together. That, too, is only rabbinically prohibited, yet would you give a hechsher to a restaurant that was "lenient" and cooked chicken with milk?? would you eat it?

Rav Elyashiv holds the hetter mechira is no longer an issue of debate. It was a hetter that was used and is no longer relevant. It is no longer a hetter and no longer a leniency - it is prohibited.

According to Rav Elyashiv, if you were to cook produce from hetter mechira in your pots, you would have to kasher your pots, as hetter mechira is like chicken and milk and it would render your pots unkosher.

7 comments:

  1. If I'm not mistaken, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (and maybe even the Chazon Ish), while not in favor of the Heter Mechira, did allow such produce to be eaten.

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  2. yes he did. Rav Elyashiv himself was not so against it in the past as he is today (I have even heard some testimony about his previous position on the matter but I am trying to verify it).

    Rav Elyashiv says even though maybe it used to be acceptable, today it is not. The original hetter no longer applies at all according to Rav Elyashiv.

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  3. JustThinkingOutLoudJanuary 10, 2008 10:53 PM

    While I don't rely on heter Mechira myself....

    I wonder what the poskim hold about having to Kasher pots that cooked Arab produce.

    Such produce has the blood of Jews in it.

    Otzar Bet Din all the way!

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  4. Oh my. Rav Eliashiv has spoken. Siani has shaken. The angels are trembling.

    For the rest of us, there are a variety of options and opinions.

    I would have expected so irresponsible and insenstitive a statement from someone like Moishy Shternbuch, not Rav Eilashiv.. Oh well. You learn something new each day.

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  5. I think Rav Elyashiv is, at best, being misquoted. The comparison to chicken and milk is an odd one. There are kulot which apply to a chicken/milk combination (just like there are kulot which apply to meat/milk), and some of them are even due to the fact that chicken/milk is d'rabanan. Making the comparison to shmittah would therefore not lead one to conclude that there are no legitimate kulot there as well, as the statement attributed to Rav Elyashiv would have one believe, but rather that there are.

    Even if the heter mechira is not a legitimate kulah nowadays, then the comparison to chicken/milk just begs the question of what circumstances were being referred to in the statement which would allow one to keep such kulot by shmittah, bearing in mind that these kulot are OK at least b'diavad under one set of circumstances (and l'chatchila according to many poskim), and assur even b'diavad today (thus, one would have to kasher his pots).

    The source of this statement needs to be checked out, since the way it is being quoted doesn't seem to make a ton of sense, L'fi aniyat da'adi

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  6. yoni - would you give me an example of a kula by chicken and milk?

    from the articles I read that were quoting him (and it could very well be that they left out important info or took a statement out of context), it did not seem like he was comparing eating heter mechira to eating chicken and milk. When asked about being meikil on heter mechira because shmitta is d'rabanan, his response was that just because something is d'rabanan does not mean you can be meikil on it. For example, chicken and milk.

    That is how I understood it.

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  7. you cannot be "meikil" on an isur derabanan just for the heck of it.
    but if there is a safek (i.e. if milk fell into a pot of chicken) or if there is a machloket regarding a milk-chicken question then we do go lekulah and it is permissible.
    (as rav shlomo zalman orbach says specifically regarding heter mechirah)
    BTW he also says specifically (see minchat shelomo siman 44?) that "even according to those that are machmir and do not allow heter mechirah, even they agree that it is only a chumra and not really assur - as even they agree that the pots used with HM do not becon\me asur and do not need kashering" (my translation from memory, but definately his words)

    ReplyDelete

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