Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Iyar 5761 - May 16, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Helping the Gibborei Hakoach
by HaRav Yeshayahu Deutsch

Seven years have passed, and in the Tirat Yehuda settlement, a moshav belonging to the national-religious stream, they still fondly recall the residents of Bnei Brak, Petach Tikvah, Jerusalem and Kiryat Sefer, through whom they were able to keep shmittah kehilchoso, by their purchase of kedushas shevi'is fruits and vegetables from distribution depots in these cities even if the produce was not always top quality. They also remember the warm admiration displayed towards shmittah observers of all affiliations.

I think that some of the residents of Bnei Brak still affectionately recall the shmittah fruits of Tirat Yehuda, especially since during the other years of the cycle some also enjoy produce from this settlement.

During the current shmittah year, HaRav Nissim Karelitz has once more agreed to include Tirat Yehuda in the Otzar Beis Din under his supervision.

Thanks to past positive experiences, more farmers on this settlement have agreed to join the shmittah observers, and this year we hope that there will be five times as much produce as in the past shmittah.

Distribution arrangements are at their peak, but still haven't been completed. We have distribution depots in many neighborhoods in the country. A full list of depots will be issued shortly, and the distribution depots will advertise in their areas. In Bnei Brak, there are depots in the central shuls, with signs stating: "Otzar Beis Din of HaRav Nissim Karelitz."

However, we need many more depots in Bnei Brak, Petach Tikvah, Elad, Ganei Hadar and Jerusalem. I will be very grateful to all those prepared to participate in this important mitzvah by setting up a distribution depot in their homes (for a fee). I may be reached at the following telephone numbers: 052-565751, 056-367333, 056-308402.

A manager of a distribution depot told me that many housewives prefer to buy produce from abroad at their local vegetable stores, in order not to have to bother with kedushas shevi'is and the shmittah bin.

Dear housewives: the farmers in Tirat Yehuda have made all- out efforts to observe shmittah. Other farmers, who want "an easy life," simply market their produce by means of a "heter mechirah," as in past years or sell the fruit on their trees to merchants.

In Tirat Yehuda, every task in the orchard undergoes scrutiny by the beis din as to what is permitted and what is forbidden. Everything takes place according to the directives of HaRav Nissim Karelitz and his beis din. The rabbonim visit the orchards often. Everyone knows that the Otzar Beis Din isn't a bank for the subsidy of the farmers' expenses, harvesting and transporting.

All expenses are covered only by the income from the produce distributed at the depots. In order to lower the costs (despite a steep rise in the price of water and the cost of preventing infestation), we try not too incur too many expenses. For this reason, the fruit is not sorted in Tnuva plants; we don't rent refrigerated warehouses nor hire many people to handle produce distribution.

As a result, we ask the housewives: Use Otzar Beis Din produce even if it involves the extra effort of keeping kedushas shevi'is! Your share in the mitzvos of shmittah focuses on the effort to buy Otzar Beis Din produce, and also in not being too fastidious about the fruits over which many have made great efforts on behalf of the mitzvah of shmittah. Don't try to avoid the effort, when so important a mitzvah -- one that comes our way only once in seven years -- comes your way: a mitzvah which only we who live in Eretz Yisroel can observe.

I constantly encounter farmers from non-chareidi settlements who complain that it is impossible to keep shmittah kehilchoso in Eretz Yisroel and that, as a result, the heter mechirah is a necessity. Let's not give them the opportunity to say that they are right. Reality proves that they most certainly are not correct, as those from Tirat Yehuda saw seven years ago.

I once again ask our loyal readers to make efforts on behalf of the mitzvah of shevi'is and to publicly show that Hashem has loyal soldiers in His world willing to strive on behalf of the mitzvah of shmittah.

May we merit to see the hoped-for success at the end of the summer.


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