Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heter Mechira and the Economy

Nava translates an NFC article that talks about a meeting of Kabbalists on Tu Bishvat of Shemitta, where they said that since the State of Israel is keeping Shemitta more vigorously than in previous years, this acts as a segula to spare the economy of Israel from that of the rest of the world.
Even Rav Ovadia Yosef, who vigorously defends the Heter Mechira, does say at the end:

כי המחמיר לרכוש פירות מתוצרת שאינה של היתר המכירה, תבא עליו ברכה
That one who is stringent to acquire fruits that are not of Heter Mechira produce, a blessing should come upon him.

All the more so when the country as a whole is stringent in this matter.

We are in the year 5768 תשס"ח. The final 2 letters are ח and ס, which spell חס. In this year, Hashem is חס על ממונן של ישראל.


At Tue Jan 22, 03:18:00 PM 2008, Anonymous josh said...

this year, if otzar ha'aretz is selling produce, then we'll buy it instead of heter mechira, even if more than double the price. The kedusha tomatoes until now have been wonderful, I'll miss them.

On the other hand, will make every effort to avoid yibul nochri. Until next year, we are not buying veggies at the 'Haredi' supermarket chains where we do our regular shopping.

At Tue Jan 22, 07:07:00 PM 2008, Blogger joshwaxman said...

Israeli news here:


"Sharp declines recorded in trade early Tuesday morning were curbed later in the day as the Tel Aviv stock market responded to the nose dive taken by global stock markets, amid fears that a possible US recession will cause a worldwide economic slowdown.

The TA {=Tel Aviv} 25 was down 1.83 percent to 1096.71 points, the TA 100 index was at 1025.58, a 1.93 percent decline, and the Tel-Tec was depreciating by 1.84 percent to 283.77 points."

At Tue Jan 22, 09:03:00 PM 2008, Blogger joshwaxman said...

I obviously have issues with this, and with what I think Rav Ovadia Yosef would say was an overinterpretation of his words. But it might be a good place to plug "Keren HaShevi'is," which would seem to be an even better fulfillment, since they are not using *any* haarama at all, not even the halachically firmer one of "otzar bet din."

At Wed Jan 23, 12:03:00 AM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

Josh Waxman,

I fail to see how Keren Shvi'it solves problems for the Jewish consumer in Eretz Yisrael.

Obviously the best thing to do is to actually run around all the fields in Eretz Yisrael and collect your food, but this is not something that many are prepared to do or are table to do at this time.

Behind this in preference is a mixture of different shitot:

Otzar Beit Din (still provides Kedushat Shevi'it produce)
Metza' Menutak (vegetables not grown attached to the ground, patur from mitzvot teluyot ba'aretz, 'atitz she'eino nakuv)
Buyint from farms in areas that are patur like the Aravah.

Keren Shevi'it provides a solution perhaps for the farmers, but how does it help me as a simple consumer?

Instead of Keren Shevi'it, could not companies raise prices by 1/7th (or is it 1/6th?) and keep that in their own Keren Shevi'it. This would only happen if they were to be told 100% that heter mechirah is not going to exist next time.

At Wed Jan 23, 01:15:00 AM 2008, Blogger Rafi G said...

we hope and daven that the brachos of shmitta should be bestowed upon Israel...

At Wed Jan 23, 10:11:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

Josh W.,
Re: the news, we'll have to wait and see what happens. All I know is that the dollar has fallen sharply against the shekel recently.

Re: overinterpreting R' Ovadia's words, I have to disagree. You don't think that if the whole country took on a valid humra (that he contends is merely a humra), that he would give his blessing?

At Wed Jan 23, 11:55:00 AM 2008, Blogger Devash said...

From a JPost article: "Local economy should withstand the shock"

"As stock markets around the world continued to tumble, bringing the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) down with them, Israeli investors agreed that psychology rather than economics stood behind the fall....

The Israeli economy was sound, and the TASE would not fall to recession-inducing levels, Alumot Investment House CEO Shai Sharon told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.

"I don't see the Israeli economy going into a recession, or the TASE reaching rates that will cause one," he said. "I have learned an important thing - the economy wins. The economic parameters in Israel are strong in terms of growth, employment and inflation, despite fears that the latter will raise its head."

Israelis have got to get over their mental dependence on chu"l in more ways than one. Thinking in terms of shekels as opposed to dollars/shekels for example. I saw in another place that travel agents are now going to price trips in shekels instead of dollars and already about half the rental listings are using shekel denominations instead of dollars. This is great news for Israel.

At Thu Jan 24, 07:19:00 AM 2008, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"re:overinterpreting R' Ovadia's words"

kol hamachmir תבא עליו ברכה is a general halachic rabbinic idiom, not just in the case of shemitta, but for example within eruv. Rav Ovadia Yosef is a great man, and of course he wants klal Yisrael to succeed. He would give his blessing for hatzlacha regardless. And if all of klal Yisrael were willing and economically able to accept this, presumably he would be in favor of it (the other meaning of him giving his blessing). But that does not mean that, due to some spiritual knowledge, he is connecting a *promise* of specific blessing to this specific chumra, on a national level. I think this is the overreading, and making him echo the words of these kabbalists where this was never his intent.

Kol Tuv,

At Thu Jan 24, 08:41:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

I'm keenly aware of how תבא עליו ברכה is used in Halacha.
OK, I'll grant you this may not have been his intent, but it might be an unintended interpretation of his words, that caused a spiritual blessing to those who practice it.

At Thu Jan 24, 11:40:00 AM 2008, Blogger joshwaxman said...

granted, in turn. (and I knew you would be aware of how it was used. I'm sorry if the implication was otherwise.)

Kol Tuv,

At Mon Jan 28, 12:07:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

No apology required.
I hope you know that I appreciate you keeping me honest. Whether in the form of disagreement or Tocheha, I welcome both immensely.


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