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Oct 28, 2007

Shmitta: Who is minding the store???

Ynet is reporting that nobody is minding the shmitta store in the Rabbanut right now.

There was a committee of 15 Rabbis, 2 of whom were named are big name Rabbis Veitman (a.k.a. the Tnuva Rabbi) and Avraham Yosef (one of the sons of Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Chief Rabbi of Holon and very involved in kashrut supervision) in charge if shmitta issues, most specifically dealing with the HM (heter mechira).

The whole committee was just sacked. Not because of policy or wrong-doing. Rather, the PMO (Prime Minister's Office), under whose purview they work, failed to transfer the money that was budgeted for the committee. No reason was given. Money was allocated and approved, just not transferred. The manpower company running the committee has employed the Rabbis for a month on the promise of the money, but since it still has not come in, they had to shut it down.

Being just 6 weeks into Shmitta, with 10.5 months still ahead of us (really much more becuase fruit are affected by shmitta a few months into next year), this creates a big problem for anybody relying on heter mechira and the Rabbanut. There is no supervision as of right now and nobody can be sure of where anything is actually coming from until this situation gets resolved.

"Somebody connected to the committee" indicated that they suspect that the Haredi politicians are responsible for the situation. They suspect that these politicians and askanim have pressured the government to fire the committee and delay funding. The reason for this would be the conflict between the Haredim and the Rabbanut over the Hetter Mechira situation.

They provide no actual reason to suspect the Haredim for this situation other than being conspiratorial. I do not think, without reason to at least, that the Haredi politicians would have gotten involved like this. I suspect it is really just the indifference of the PMO. The same way they are allowing the teachers strike to go on and not working at getting involved and finding a solution, they just allowed this to happen and did not bother coming through with the promised monies.

Anyways, we will be following this situation and hope it gets resolved soon. In the meantime, it could mean a lot of trouble for a lot of people.


  1. The latest episode of the tragicomedy "Shmitta 5768".

  2. This is certainly not good onthe kashrut of vegetables. But get this -- when the rabbanut has kashrut mishaps, it is well publicized in the press and even ont he rabanut's own website which is constantly being updated with 'kashrut alerts'

    Ever see a kashrut alert put out by badatz? Ever hear of a 'fashla' in a badaz run restaurant? Ever hear of a recall by the Eida Chareidit on a certain product which didnt meet standrads, or worse?

    I rest my case.

    And on behalf of Hamas and the Islamic Resistance, I would like to thank Moishy Shternbuch for his continued support of Gaza produce.


  3. anon - DA - I did not compare the two hechshers, neither in their quality nor in their levels of transparency. I agree with what you say, but it does not diminish the severity of the situation of the Rabbanut not currently having a shmitta committee with still so much work to be done.


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