Insights into Halacha

For the week ending 21 February 2015 / 2 Adar I 5775

Fruit Use and Fruit Juice

by Rabbi Yehuda Spitz
Shemitta Basics Part III
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A previous article, Shemitta Basics Part II: Kedushas Sheviis Produce, delineated many of the important halachos governing the proper treatment of produce that has inherent Kedushas Sheviis, Shemitta sanctity. There are rules governing the growing, picking, acquiring, eating, how long it may be kept in your house, and even the disposing of these Peiros Sheviis. Interestingly, many of these rules were gleaned from several pesukim in Parshas Behar.

The Torah states (Vayikra, Parshas Behar, Ch. 25: 6 & 7) referring to the Shemitta year, “V’haysa Shabbos Ha’aretz Lachem L’achla…V’livhemtacha V’lechaya Asher B’artzecha Tihiyeh Kol Tevuasa Le’echol - And the Resting of the Land should be for you to eat… and for your domesticated animals and the wild animals in your fields, all the produce should be for consumption”.

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As detailed at length in the previous article, Chazal derived several essential Shemitta halachos pertaining to preserving the sanctity of Kedushas Sheviis produce from these verses. Yet, there is another important halacha that is inferred from these pesukim:

Lachem- for you, lechol tzarcheichem, for all of your needs. (Sukka 40a and Bava Kamma 102a)

According to the Mishna, and duly codified as halacha[1], Kedushas Sheviis produce is not only permitted to be eaten, it is even allowed to be utilized in whichever manner the owner deems it necessary: drinking, anointing, dyeing, and even lighting. However, there is a very important caveat, which is that what the owner uses it for during Shemitta must be that product’s main use year round. Otherwise, it would be considered ‘ruining’ the ‘holy’ fruit and duly prohibited[2].

Common Uses

For example, properly adhering to this proviso would still allow one to cook any Kedushas Sheviis food that is normally cooked. However, cooking Shemitta produce that is normally exclusively eaten raw would be forbidden. The converse would apply as well: one may not eat raw Shemitta produce that is generally cooked[3].

Similarly, Kedushas Sheviis olive oil may be used for frying[4] and lighting candles[5], but may not be used as part of a drink. Likewise, if one is making Havdallah using Shemitta wine (which several authorities maintain is preferable[6]), he must be careful not to spill it, nor use it to put out the candle; rather he must ensure that it not only is “good ‘till the last drop”, but that he drinks every last drop. Definitely not necessarily the easiest way to make Havdallah[7]!

A similar assessment is the reason why one should preferably not use Shemitta wine at the Pesach Seder. The customary spilling of wine during ‘The Ten Plagues’ would not be permitted with Kedushas Sheviis wine, as it is akin to ‘wasting’[8]. However, if one did use Shemitta wine, he can still rectify the situation, by making sure that the collected drippings of wine are drunk afterwards. This is a good reason to make sure that a saucer or plate should be placed underneath the cup. This way, any spills will be caught, allowing ‘recycling’ of any spilled wine, and no potential ‘wasting’ of Shemitta produce.

Juicing Up

An interesting and contemporary question is the now quite common fresh fruit juice phenomenon. May one make fruit juice out of Kedushas Sheviis produce? We know that although one may not change a Shemitta fruit’s natural form[9], nonetheless one may mash up produce that is generally mashed, and even one that is not, for a baby, as that is the normal way for a baby to eat it[10]. But obviously a fruit smoothie is not the main way of serving most fruit. Yet, it has nevertheless nowadays become the norm, especially among the health conscious (and Seminary girls). So how would we define juicing vis a vis ‘holy’ fruit status? And, are there certain specific fruits that we may juice as opposed to others?

Actually, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this Shemitta question. Although all agree that such juice retains Kedushas Sheviis status[11], nonetheless, there are several diverse approaches taken by contemporary authorities:

  1. Only olives and grapes. This, the most machmir opinion, is the opinion of the Brisker Rav and Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky[12]. Their reasoning is based on the Halachos of the more stringent Terumah, where we find that only regarding olives and grapes can one be chayav for ‘wasting’ Terumah produce by drinking its juice. The reason is that only the ‘juice’ of olives and grapes are still considered the essence of fruit itself, as opposed to other fruit juices. Ergo, by Shemitta produce, only the juices of olives and grapes are still considered the ‘fruit itself’ and are permitted to juice; all others would be considered ‘wasting’ the fruit, and forbidden. Additionally, these are the only two ‘juices’ mentioned explicitly in the Mishna (Sheviis Ch. 8, 2) as permitted to be used during Shemitta, and wine and oil are mentioned numerous times throughout Tanach as normal uses of grapes and olives[13].
  2. Oranges, Lemons, and Grapefruits. This is the opinion of the Chazon Ish and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, and is the most commonly followed. The reasons for allowing these fruits to be juiced as opposed to others, is that these citrus fruits’ main use is via juicing, especially lemons, as they are rarely eaten by themselves. In fact, many of these citrus fruits are grown exclusively to be used for juice. Moreover, the proper eating of these fruits is akin to drinking, as the juice is sucked out. Additionally, these citrus fruits, as opposed to many other fruits, when juiced actually use the whole essence of the fruit inside, leaving only the peels behind.[14]
  3. Pomegranates. Although juicing it is not the most common way of its being used, nevertheless, it is reported that the Chazon Ish later made an exception for pomegranate juice[15]. The reason is that in Shir HaShirim (Ch. 8, verse 2) it mentions ‘Asis Rimoni’, which the Metzudas Tzion (ad loc.) translates as Pomegranate Juice, produced by squeezing. Therefore, since it was mentioned in Tanach as a common use of pomegranates, it is still permitted nowadays to juice them on Shemitta.
  4. Any produce that is commonly juiced. This, the opinion of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, and the Yalkut Yosef, would include common favorites, such as apple juice, carrot juice, and strawberry smoothies. These authorities maintain that this halacha depends on the time and place. As such, if it is common to use these fruits for juices, then it would be permitted to continue doing so with Kedushas Sheviis produce during Shemitta. This is also implied by the Aruch Hashulchan, who although not referring to our ubiquitous juicing, nonetheless maintains that any use regarding Shemitta fruit that is widespread, is permitted[16].

One should ascertain from his local competent halachic authority which of these opinions he should follow. To paraphrase a popular expression, “Make sure what’s good for the juice is also good for the Jews”.

Note: This article is not intended to serve as an exhaustive guide, but rather to showcase certain aspects of the intricate and myriad halachos of produce imbued with Kedushas Sheviis. Many other relevant halachos of Peiros Sheviis and its uses, will IY”H be addressed at length in future articles.

This article was written L'iluy Nishmas the Rosh Yeshiva Rav Chonoh Menachem Mendel ben yechezkel Shraga, R’ Chaim Baruch Yehuda ben Dovid Tzvi, L’Refuah Sheleimah for R’ Shlomo Yoel ben Chaya Leah, Henna Rasha bas Yitta Ratza and Rochel Miriam bas Dreiza Liba, and l’zechus Yaacov Tzvi ben Rivka and Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam v’chol yotzei chalatzeha for a yeshua sheleimah teikif u’miyad!

For any questions, comments or for the full Mareh Mekomos / sources, please email the author: [email protected].

Rabbi Yehuda Spitz serves as the Sho’el U' Meishiv and Rosh Chabura of the Ohr Lagolah Halacha Kollel at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim.

[1] Mishnayos Sheviis (Ch. 8, Mishna 2), Tosefta Sheviis (Ch. 7, 2), Rambam (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, 1 - 5), Rash (on Mishnayos Sheviis ibid.), Aruch Hashulchan HaAsid (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 24, 3; however he classifies this as a separate issur and not that of ‘ruining), Chazon Ish (Sheviis 10, 4), Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak (vol. 8, 102).

[2] As delineated at length in the previous article ‘ShemittaBasics Part II: Kedushas SheviisProduce’.

[3] See the main commentaries on Mishnayos Sheviis (Ch. 8, Mishna 2), as well as the Rambam (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, 3), Aruch Hashulchan HaAsid (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 24, 8), Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7, 1 & 2), Chazon Ish (Sheviis 25, 32), Shemitta Kehilchasa (Ch. 3, 11), Mishpetei Aretz (Sheviis Ch. 21, 4), Kovetz M’Bais Levi (vol. 16, pg. 35, 6 - 8), Chut Shani (Shemitta, Ch. 5, 16, pg. 219), Mishmeres HaSheviis (Ch. 16, 3), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, 4).

[4] See Mishpetei Aretz (Sheviis Ch. 22, 8). However, since the leftover oil may be used for lighting, one may not simply discard it but rather dispose of it in the manner befitting Kedushas Sheviis produce (as described in the previous article). See Sefer Peiros Sheviis (pg. 771), Mishnas HaGri”sh (pg. 82), Mishpetei Aretz (Ch. 23, 14), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Shemen, 4, pg. 192).

[5] See Mishnayos Sheviis and Rambam (ibid). Interestingly, although the Mishna explicitly rules that anointing the body with olive oil that has Kedushas Sheviis is permitted, and is cited by many Rishonim, including the Rambam (ibid), Rashi (Sukka 40a s.v. shehanaaso), and the Rash and Rosh (in their commentaries to Maseches Demai, end Ch. 1), however, nowadays when we are no longer accustomed to anointing at all, several contemporary authorities rule that it is forbidden to use the oil for this purpose. See Mishpetei Aretz (Sheviis Ch. 24, 5; and in the footnotes).

[6] This is the opinion of the Ridbaz (glosses to Pe’as Hashulchan, Sheviis, Ch. 5, 18, haghah; cited in Dinei Sheviis Hashalem, Ch. 32, 1, 4). His reasoning is that instead of simply performing one Mitzvah, Kiddush or Havdallah with regular wine, one can instead perform it with Kedushas Sheviis wine and enhance the Mitzvah with another.

[7]Additionally, one may not even put the customary several drops in the eyes and pockets; all of the above are not the ordinary way to drink wine. Hence, all of these Havdallah extras are forbidden with Shemitta wine. See Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7, 3), Shemitta Kehilchasa (Ch. 3, 11), Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, Tziyun Hahalacha 19), Bris Olam (Sheviis, Ch.5, 3), Chut Shani (Shemitta, pg. 218), Mishpetei Aretz (Ch. 21, 5 & 6), Mishnas HaGri”sh (pg. 83), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Shimushei Mitzva 3). However, it is known (see Halichos Shlomo, Moadim vol. 2, Pesach Ch. 9, footnote 242) that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would use Sheviis wine for Havdallah (careful not to let the cup ‘runneth over’), and was not worried about the few drops that would naturally spill. Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Shemitta Kehilchasa Ch.3, footnote 11) as well as Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner (cited in Dinei Sheviis Hashalem, Ch. 32, 1, 12) conclude similarly, that one does not have to worry about a spill of several drops that one would not ordinarily concern himself with.

[8] Although the Yerushalmi (Pesachim Ch. 10, Halacha 1; cited by the Chazon Ish, Sheviis Ch. 15, 7) explicitly permits Kedushas Sheviis wine for the Arba Kosos, nevertheless, many contemporary authorities maintain that it is preferable not to use it for the second cup, due to the customary spilling at the ‘Esser Makkos. See Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7, 3 and footnote 4), Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, Tziyun Hahalacha 19), Halichos Shlomo, Moadim vol. 2, Pesach Ch. 9, 35), Chut Shani (Shemitta, Ch. 5, pg. 218), Mishpetei Aretz (Ch. 21, 5),Mishmeres HaSheviis (Ch. 16, 30), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Shimushei Mitzva 4 and Ch. 32, Pesach 15 - 17).

[9] See the main commentaries on Mishnayos Sheviis (Ch. 8, Mishna 2), as well as the Rambam (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, 3) and the commentary of the Kiryas Sefer (ad loc.), Aruch Hashulchan (HaAsid; Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 24, 8 & 9), and Chazon Ish (Sheviis, Ch. 25, 32 s.v. v’yeish).

[10] See Gemara Brachos (38a) and Rambam (Hilchos Terumos Ch. 11, Halacha 2) about dates of the more stringent Terumah, that one may mash in order to eat. However, it must be noted that even regarding Shemitta, this halacha is only referring to produce whose normal way of being served is mashed or pureed, such as bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, carrots, and avocados. On the other hand, even produce that is not normally mashed may be mashed for a baby, as that is the normal way of his eating. See Chazon Ish (Sheviis, 25, 32), Orchos Rabbeinu (vol. 2, pg. 347, 91), Shemitta Kehilchasah (Ch. 3, 8), Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, 10 & Tziyun Hahalacha ad loc. 24), Kovetz M’Bais Levi (vol. 5, pg. 60 & vol. 16, pg. 37, 19), Chut Shani (Shemitta, pg. 224 and 265), Sefer Peiros Sheviis (Ch. 16, 3), the Badatz Eida HaChareidis’ Devar HaShemitta (pg. 54, 2, 6), Mishpetei Aretz (Ch. 22, 14 & 15), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Risuk, 1).

[11] See Rambam (Hilchos Terumos Ch. 11, 2), Rashi (Chullin 120b s.v. HaSheviis), Aruch Hashulchan (HaAsid; Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 24, 8 & 9), and Chazon Ish (Sheviis, 25, 32).

[12] Cited in Shemitta Kehilchasah (Ch. 3, footnote 8), quoting the Brisker Rav; and anonymously by Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in his ma’amar in Kovetz Halichos Sadeh (5761; vol. 122, pg. 9; however, he argues on this shittah). Others who rule this way include Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky (Sefer HaShemitta pg. 32, Ch. 7, 4) and Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Ohr L’Tzion on Sheviis, Ch. 2, 2). Rav Binyomin Zilber (Bris Olam on Sheviis, 5, 31) wrote that it is preferable to be stringent and not juice any other produce.

[13] See Rambam (Hilchos Terumos, Ch. 11, 3), and the Bartenura’s commentary on the above cited Mishna.

[14] Chazon Ish (Sheviis, 25, 32), Shu”t Minchas Shlomo (vol. 1, 46), Shemitta Kehilchasah (ibid; although he writes ‘hamachmir tavo alav bracha’), Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel, Ch. 5, 5), Chut Shani (Shemitta, pg. 227), Shu”t Yabea Omer (vol. 8, O.C. 37, pg. 163a), Mishpetei Aretz (Ch. 22, 11 - 13), the Badatz Eida HaChareidis’ Devar HaShemitta (pg. 54, 2, 7), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Sechittah 3). Interestingly, when the Chazon Ish, as opposed to the other authorities mentioned, first addressed the topic, he only mentioned that lemons and oranges were permitted to be juiced. However, it was later reported that he allowed grapefruits as well [see Seder HaSheviis (9), Orchos Rabbenu (vol. 2, pg. 348, 97) and Derech Emunah (ibid.).] However, Rav Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani ibid.) adds that this ‘juice hetter’ for citrus fruits does not include clementines, which are rarely juiced.

[15] Orchos Rabbeinu (vol. 2, pg. 346, 88) and Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel, Ch. 5, Tziyun Hahalacha 14).

[16] Rav Elyashiv’s ma’mar is printed in Kovetz Halichos Sadeh (5761; vol. 122, ppg. 8 - 11, s.v. sechittas mitz m’peiros); Rav Wosner’s shittah is cited in Sefer Peiros Sheviis (pg. 333) and Dinei Sheviis HaShalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Sechittah 14, pg. 178); and Yalkut Yosef (Sheviis, Ch. 17, footnote 5). This is also implied by the Aruch Hashulchan (HaAsid; Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 24, 9), who maintains that any use that is ‘derech ha’olam la’asos kein’ is permitted with Shemitta fruit. He cites proof to this from the Tosefta (Sheviis Ch. 6, 20) that one may make types of honey-cakes from pressed Kedushas Sheviis dates. [However, it seems that the Gr”a had a different version of this Tosefta; see Haghos HaGr”a and Minchas Bukkurim ad loc.] Interestingly, both Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shu”t Minchas Shlomo vol. 1, 46) and Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Derech Emunah vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel, Ch. 5, 5) distinguish between Hilchos Terumos and Hilchos Shemitta in this regard, and cite this severa, that the halacha should depend on the common usage of the produce, yet actually conclude that therefore oranges, lemons, and grapefruits should be permitted to juice, but do not practically extend this hetter to include all commonly juiced produce. In fact, Rav Chaim explicitly mentions that this hetter does not extend to carrots, as it is not ‘omed l’sechitah’.

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive guide, rather a brief summary to raise awareness of the issues. In any real case one should ask a competent Halachic authority.

L'iluy Nishmas the Rosh HaYeshiva - Rav Chonoh Menachem Mendel ben R' Yechezkel Shraga, Rav Yaakov Yeshaya ben R' Boruch Yehuda.

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