Nov 11, 2014

Shas rabbonim abandon Rav Ovadia's allowance of hetter mechira

Rav Ovadia Yosef was, famously, a supporter of the use of hetter mechira produce. Not as a "bdieved", but even as a lchatchila. Some say he meant it only for the general public but not for bnei yeshiva, and that is fine (for the purposes of what I am about to write). It might be debatable what his position was on that, but either way is fine by me - in general Rav Ovadia supported the use of hetter mechira. Rav Ovadia has written in support of the hetter mechira, he is on video supporting hetter mechira, and he spoke about it many times. Even for bnei yeshiva, whom he might have said should not rely on hetter mechira, would tell them to not waste their money on more expensive produce and buy the cheaper hetter mechira produce when someone experiencing financial difficulties would come to him. He would say the person should not be a "friar" and buy the more expensive produce.

So I was surprised (only sort of) to see Shas rabbonim moving away from that position. For a group that constantly quotes Rav Ovadia and uses his imagery in everything and acts as if Rav Ovadia's word is the final say, they have moved away from that awfully quickly.

The Shas rabbonim have announced that the hetter mechira cannot be relied upon at all. They are saying that any hetter was only in the past and can no longer be relied upon and its produce cannot be purchased and eaten.
source: Kikar

Every rav can, and should, make his own halachic decisions and pronouncements according to his conclusions of any given subject. It is just surprising that for a group that has culturally gone a certain way, to suddenly do a 360 degree turn and abandon that.. one might wonder if it is pressure to fit in with the Litvishe community or is it is an independent decision..

When in the future they go back to quoting Rav Ovadia on this or that, feel free to say that Rav Ovadia only said that for then and not for the future.

Update: it turns out that at least 2 of the rabbonim signed n the letter are now claiming they never signed and it is a forgery. Rav Shimon Baadani and Rav MosheTzadka. So, out of 5 signatories, 2 are already denying their signatures. That's 40%.

As well, Rav Ovadia's grandson is speaking out against this letter opposing hetter mechira. He is saying that some people are making a lot of money off this and are taking advantage of avreichim. Some rabbonim, he says, work for one year now and earn 7 years worth of wealth.

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  1. Actually the signatures are fake, seeמרן-הרב-שטיינמן-לחקלאי-היתר-מכירה-זה.html

  2. that information was included already at the bottom of the post

  3. Make that three of five; R' Shalom Cohen says that he signed something about how avreichim should be mehader not to rely on the heter mechira.

  4. Rafi, you must mean a 180 degree turn (since a 360 degree turn brings one right back to where they started from).

    That last line, "Some rabbonim, he says, work for one year now and earn 7 years worth of wealth," shows that they must have gotten an extra special Shmitta blessing to be able to rest 6 full years!

    Catriel Lev, Ramat Bet Shemesh

    1. yes I believe that was a phrase made famous by a football player....

  5. Can I just pass a Turing Test next time to prove that I'm not a robot?
    Trying to read some of these letters and numbers can be very trying (pun intended)!

    Catriel Lev, RBS-Alef


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