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Friday, May 8, 2015

Parashat Emor, 5775

This week’s Parashah introduces the restriction of chadash [literally new grain]. Any crops of Israel’s five species of grain which take root after Pesach may not be eaten until the first omer of barley is brought to the Temple on the second day of Pesach.  Whether this law applies outside of the land of Israel becomes a debate embroiled in extreme leniency and extreme anger at that leniency. Below is a summary of the basic law from the Shulchan Arukh.
שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות חדש סימן רצג
Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah, Laws of Chadash, Siman 293
Yosef Karo, 16th Century Spain and Israel
Article 1
It is forbidden to eat chadash [new grain] from the new grain of the five species [of Israel] until the omer is offered, which is the sixteenth of Nissan. As it says, “And bread, parched grain, and raw grain you shall not eat until the midst of this day,” (Leviticus 23:14). And these days, when there is no omer, it is forbidden for all of the sixteenth. And outside the land [of Israel], where we make two days [of the holiday], it is forbidden all of the seventeenth until the night of the eighteenth.
סעיף א
אסור לאכול חדש מתבואת חמשת המינים עד שיקרב העומר שהוא בט"ז בניסן, שנאמר: ולחם וקלי וכרמל לא תאכלו עד עצם היום הזה (ויקרא כג, יד) והאידנא, דליכא עומר, אסור כל יום ט"ז. ובח"ל, שעושין ב' ימים, אסור כל יום י"ז עד תחלת ליל י"ח.
Article 2
The prohibition on chadash applies in the land and outside of the land, [for produce] of  a Jew and of a non-Jew.
סעיף ב
איסור החדש נוהג בין בארץ בין בח"ל, בין בשל ישראל בין בשל עובד כוכבים.
Article 3
Grain which has not given root before the sixteenth of Nissan, it is forbidden until the next [year’s] omer is brought.
סעיף ג
תבואה שלא השרישה קודם לט"ז בניסן, אסורה עד שיבא העומר הבא

The Shulchan Arukh teaches us that new grains may not be eaten until the first omer is brought to the cohen in the Temple, which happens on the 16th of Nissan. At that point, all grain which took root after the 16th of Nissan from the previous year is permitted to eat; up until that point, it is forbidden. These laws even apply outside of the land where the restriction applies through the 17th of Nissan since outside of Israel we treat that day as if it might also be the 16th (which is why we have two days of holidays).

Here is the Torah basis of the issue.
ויקרא פרשת אמור פרק כג
Leviticus, Chapter 23
(9) Then Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:
(ט) וַיְדַבֵּר יְקֹוָק אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר:
(10) Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, “When you arrive at the land that I give to you, and your reap its harvest, then you shall bring the first omer of your reaping to the cohen.
(י) דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי־תָבֹאוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וּקְצַרְתֶּם אֶת־קְצִירָהּ וַהֲבֵאתֶם אֶת־עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית קְצִירְכֶם אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן:
(11) “Then he shall wave the omer before Hashem for your acceptability; from the day after the Shabbat the cohen will wave it.
(יא) וְהֵנִיף אֶת־הָעֹמֶר לִפְנֵי יְקֹוָק לִרְצֹנְכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת יְנִיפֶנּוּ הַכֹּהֵן:
(12) “And you shall prepare - on the day of your waving of the omer - an unblemished lamb of a year old as a complete sacrifice to Hashem.
(יב) וַעֲשִׂיתֶם בְּיוֹם הֲנִיפְכֶם אֶת־הָעֹמֶר כֶּבֶשׂ תָּמִים בֶּן־שְׁנָתוֹ לְעֹלָה לַיקֹוָק:
(13) And its grain offering is two tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with oil; a fire offering for Hashem, a pleasing scent; and its libation will be a quarter hin of wine.
(יג) וּמִנְחָתוֹ שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן אִשֶּׁה לַיקֹוָק רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ וְנִסְכֹּה יַיִן רְבִיעִת הַהִין:
(14) And bread, parched grain, and raw grain you shall not eat until the midst of this day; until you bring the sacrifice to your God; this is a statute for your generations in all of your dwellings.
(יד) וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ עַד־עֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה עַד הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת־קָרְבַּן אֱלֹהֵיכֶם חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם: ס

Despite what we saw in the Shulchan Arukh, the Mishnah presents some ambiguity as to whether or not the laws of chadash apply outside of the land of Israel.

משנה מסכת ערלה פרק ג, משנה ט
Mishnah, Tractate Orlah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 9
The chadash is forbidden from the Torah in any place.
החדש אסור מן התורה בכל מקום
Here an anonymous Mishnah, without debate, states that chadash applies everywhere.

משנה מסכת קידושין פרק א, משנה ט
Mishnah, Tractate Kiddushin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 9
Any commandment which is dependent on the land [of Israel] only apples in the land; and that which is not dependent on the land applies in the land or outside the land. With the exception of orlah [fruit from young trees] and mixing crops.
כל מצוה שהיא תלויה בארץ אינה נוהגת אלא בארץ ושאינה תלויה בארץ נוהגת בין בארץ בין בחוצה לארץ חוץ מן הערלה וכלאים
Rebbi Eliezer says, “Even from chadash.”
רבי אליעזר אומר אף מן החדש:
Here, in a second Mishnah, we see that Rebbi Eliezer is the lone opinion that chadash applies outside the land. It seems the majority opinion, responsible for the first opinion in the Mishnah, thinks chadash does not apply outside of the land. This Mishnah alone seems to imply the law would be chadash only applies in Israel, since we usually follow the majority.

The Palestinian Talmud, presented below, clarifies Rebbi Eliezer’s view along with the reasoning behind it and his opponents. The Babylonian Talmud has a similar discussion, though with more back and forth.

תלמוד ירושלמי (וילנא) מסכת ערלה פרק ג, הלכה ז
Palestinian Talmud (Vilna Printing), Tractate Orlah, Chapter 3, Halcha 7
What is Rebbi Eliezer’s reasoning? “In all of your dwellings,” (Leviticus 23:14). [Meaning] in any place, whether in the land or outside the land.
מה טעמא דרבי ליעזר בכל מושבותיכם [ויקרא כג יד] בכל מקום בין בארץ בין בחוצה לארץ.
Rebbi Eliezer (called just Rebbi Liezer in the Yerushalmi) uses the verse saying “in all of your dwellings” to mean that chadash applies anywhere you live and farm.

What do our Rabbis uphold [through the verse backing the] reasoning of Rebbi Eliezer? “In all of your dwellings.” For chadash which went [from the land of Israel] to outside the land.
מה מקיימין רבנין טעמא דרבי ליעזר בכל מושבותיכם בחדש שכן יצא בחוץ.
The Rabbis, who dispute with Rebbi Eliezer and say that chadash only applies in the land of Israel, explain how they interpret “in all of your dwellings.” They say that the verse means that chadash applies anywhere to produce brought from Israel, but not that which is grown outside of the land. It is subject to trade regulations, in other words.

Rebbi Yonah asked in front of Rebbi Yose, “Why did we not also teach about challah with them?” He said to him, “The Mishnah only taught us matter applying to Jews and non-Jews. And challah only applies to Jews, as it is written, ‘The first of your dough,’ (Numbers 15:20) and not of non-Jews.
רבי יונה בעי קומי רבי יוסי ולמה לא תנינן אף החלה עמהן. אמר ליה לא אתינן מתני' אלא דבר שהוא נוהג בישראל ובגוים. וחלה אינה נוהגת אלא בישראל דכתיב ראשית עריסותיכם [במדבר טו כ] ולא של גוים
Challah is the dough removed and given to the cohen. The important piece for our topic is that chadash would seems to also apply to produce grown by non-Jews. Therefore, according to Rebbi Eliezer, wheat grown in America by Christian farmers would be subject to the laws of chadash.



The piece below from the Babylonian Talmud shows that seemingly everyone was keeping the laws of chadash in Babylonia. There was some dispute as to whether they were doing so based on a Torah restriction or only a Rabbinic decree. This difference is great in terms of being lenient: a Rabbinic decree leaves much more room for leniency.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת מנחות דף סח עמוד ב
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate M’nachot, 68b
Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai established a law that the entire day of waving [chadash] is prohibited.
התקין רבן יוחנן בן זכאי שיהא יום הנף כולו אסור,
Said Rebbi Yehuda, “But it is [already] forbidden from the Torah, as it is written, ‘Until the midst of this day.’”
א"ר יהודה: והלא מן התורה הוא אסור, דכתיב: עד עצם היום הזה!
Rebbi Yehuda is mistaken, for he thinks that Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai is making a Rabbinic statement, but he is talking about the Torah.
רבי יהודה הוא דקא טעי, הוא סבר: רבן יוחנן בן זכאי מדרבנן קאמר, ולא היא, מדאורייתא קאמר.
But it taught that he established a law! What does it mean “he established a law?” He expounded on the verse and established.
והא התקין קתני! מאי התקין? דרש והתקין.
One explanation is that Rabban Yochanan’s decree was not of Rabbinic origin, but explain the Torah origin of the law.

Rav Pappa and Rav Huna the son of Rav Yehoshua ate chadash on the sunset of the of the sixteenth which was the night of the seventeenth, since they think  that chadash outside of the land is [only prohibited] Rabbinically and at a time of doubt we are not concerned.
רב פפא ורב הונא בריה דרב יהושע אכלי חדש באורתא דשיתסר נגהי שבסר, קסברי: חדש בחוצה לארץ דרבנן, ולספיקא לא חיישינן.
Living in Babylonia, they have two factors at work: whether or not chadash is forbidden on the sixteenth and whether or not the sixteenth might actually be the fifteenth since the start of the month is not clear outside of the land of Israel (hence two days of holidays). So even though the seventeenth might be the sixteenth, since not eating chadash was only Rabbinic, they were not worried about the unsurity as to the date.

And our Rabbis of the house of Rav Ashi ate [chadash] on the morning of the seventeenth, for they think that chadash outside of the land is a Torah law, but Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai was making a Rabbinic level statement, and when he established law about the day of waving, he did not establish it about the unsurity of the date.
ורבנן דבי רב אשי אכלו בצפרא דשבסר, קסברי: חדש בחוצה לארץ דאורייתא, ורבן יוחנן בן זכאי מדרבנן קאמר, וכי תקין ליום הנף, לספיקא לא תקין.
Said Ravina, “My mother said to me, ‘Your father only ate chadash on the sunset of the seventeenth which is the night of the eighteenth, for he thought like Rebbi Yehuda and was worried about the unsurity of the date.’”
אמר רבינא, אמרה לי אם: אבוך לא הוה אכיל חדש אלא באורתא דשבסר נגהי תמניסר, דסבר לה כר' יהודה, וחייש לספיקא.

The main takeaway is that no one seems to eat chadash in Babylonia until after some time during Pesach, but there is a dispute as to whether that restriction is Rabbinic or from the Torah. This still leaves the questions as to how many of us are not careful to not eat chadash as Jews in exile. Before figuring that out, let us look at the dispute around another agricultural prohibition and its application outside of the land of Israel.

תלמוד בבלי מסכת קידושין דף לט עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin, 39a
אמר ליה לוי לשמואל: אריוך, ספק לי ואנא איכול.
Said Levi to Shmuel, “Ariokh [a nickname], provide me with doubtful [orlah] and I will eat.”
רב אויא ורבה בר רב חנן מספקו ספוקי להדדי. אמרי חריפי דפומבדיתא: אין ערלה בחוצה לארץ.
Rav Aviya and Rabbah bar Rav Chanan provided one another with doubtful [orlah]. The sharp ones of Pumbendita said, “There is no [law] of orlah outside of the land.
שלחה רב יהודה לקמיה דרבי יוחנן; שלח ליה: סתום ספיקא ואבד ודאה, והכרז על פירותיהן שטעונים גניזה, וכל האומר אין ערלה בח"ל - לא יהא לו נין ונכד...
Rav Yehuda sent a message to Rebbi Yochanan [about this]. He sent back to him, “Hide the doubtful [orlah], destroy that which is surely [orlah], and announce that their fruit requires hiding. And anyone who says there is no orlah outside of the land, he will have neither child nor grandchild…”

We see here that orlah - fruit from trees less than three years old - is also under debate as to its status outside of the land. It invokes some very powerful, invective language from Rebbi Yochanan about those who eat it, even though many Rabbis seem to eat fruit which may or may not be orlah without a worry. The Tosafot below seem to live in a world where many are similarly acting regarding chadash.

תוספות מסכת קידושין דף לו עמוד ב - לז עמוד א
Tosafot, Tractate Kiddushin, 36b-37a
And it seems that chadash applies these days. And therefore one should be careful that if a person knows for sure that the barley grains were planted after the time of bringing the omer - that is after the sixteenth of Nissan, that one should not eat from them.
ונראה דחדש נוהג בזמן הזה ולכך יש ליזהר שאם אדם יודע בודאי שהשעורים נזרעו אחר זמן הקרבת העומר דהיינו אחר י"ו בניסן שלא יאכל מהם
But due to unsurity, one should not forbid all of the barley grains since the majority of barley grains were planted before the sixteenth of Nissan.
ומספק אין לאסור כל השעורים כיון דרוב השעורים נזרעו קודם ט"ז בניסן
The Tosafot bring a pretty large leniency to chadash in Europe. Only if one actually knows that grain took root after the last 16th of Nissan does one need to worry about chadash. The Terumat HaDeshen follows a similar thought process.

תרומת הדשן סימן קצא
Terumat HaDeshen, Siman 191
Yisrael ben Petachyah Isserlein, 15th Century Germany
Question: There are those years which we find in our days, where the snow and frost remains on the ground near the days of Pesach, and it is impossible, even to the few who work the land, the sow barley and oats before the day of waving the omer. Should one be or not be concerned in this year to not eat those grains and not drink the beer which they make from them because of prohibition on chadash.
שאלה: יש שנים נמצאו בזמנינו שהשלג והקרח שוהה על פני הארץ סמוך לימי פסח, ואי אפשר אפי' למיעוטיה דעובדי אדמה לזרוע השעורים ושבולת שועל קודם יום הנף העומר, יש לחוש באותו /באותה/ שנה שלא לאכול אותם זרעים ושלא לשתות השכר שעושין מהן משום איסור חדש או לאו?
Answer: It seems that in such a case, one who fears heaven will be worried for himself. But to prevent the multitudes of the nation is not a good thing.
תשובה: יראה דבכה"ג כל ירא שמים יחוש לעצמו, אבל למחות בהמון העם לאו שפיר דמי,
And so I found that on of the great ones copied from the responsa of the R”OSH , “Those who drink beer rely that most [of the grains] were sowed before the omer. And further, there was barely of last year. And this year, I realized that even a few could not sow before the omer, but I did not prohibit. For it is better that they sin accidentally than be intentional sinners. And I also saw, similarly, many acting prohibitively but not teach the practical law as such.”
וכן מצאתי שהעתיק אחד מהגדולים מתשובת הרא"ש וז"ל: מה ששותין שכר סמכינן ארובה שנזרעו קודם לעומר, ועוד דאיכא שעורים של אשתקד, ושנה זו נתתי על לבי כי מיעוטא דמעוטא לא יכלו לזרוע קודם לעומר ולא אסרתי דמוטב שיהו שוגגים ואל יהו מזידים, וכן ראיתי בכה"ג רבים נוהגים איסור אבל לא הורו הלכה למעשה ע"כ.


This leads to the following gloss of the Rema on the Shulchan Arukh, as the dominant Ashkenazi practice:
מפה על שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות חדש סימן רצג, סעיף ג
Mappah on the Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah, Siman 293, Article 3
Moshe Isserles, 16th Century Poland
However, any regular grain is permitted after Pesach from the power of two axes of doubt.
מ"מ כל סתם תבואה שרי לאחר הפסח, מכח ספק ספיקא,
One axis of doubt is it might be from the past year. And if you want to say that it is from this year, nonetheless perhaps it took root before the omer.
ספק היא משנה שעברה. ואם תמצא לומר משנה זו, מ"מ דלמא נשרשה קודם העומר (טור בשם הרא"ש).
And for the types of grain which are surely planted after Pesach, like the few lands which plant oats and barley after Pesach, then one should be stringent after the harvest, unless the doors of the state are not locked and the majority of grain comes from another place where they plant before Pesach.
ובמיני תבואה שזורעים ודאי לאחר פסח, כגון במקצת מדינות שזורעין שבולת שועל ושעורים לאחר פסח, אז יש לו להחמיר ה אחר הקציר, אם לא שאין דלתות המדינות נעולות, ורוב התבואה באה ממקום אחר שזורעין קודם הפסח (הגהות מיימוני פי"א מהמ"א ותוס' ספ"ק דקידושין).
And so too, at times when the winter continues until after Pesach, and in all of the Galilee that it is known that they plant after Pesach, one should be stringent and be concerned about the general case.
וכן בזמן שימות החורף נמשכים לאחר פסח, ובכל הגליל ההוא זורעים לאחר פסח דברים הנזכרים, יש להחמיר ולחוש מן הסתם.
But one should not teach this to others in a place where the majority eat and drink from these species [of grain], for it is better they should be mistaken than wanton violators.
אבל אין להורות לאחרים במקום שרוב שתייתן ואכילתן ממינים אלו, כי מוטב שיהיו שוגגין ואל יהיו מזידין

The Rema acknowledges that there are reasons to be stringent about chadash. However, he seems to be living in a world, like the R”OSH, where most people are either lenient or ignore issue, so he does not even want to inform them of their mistake, figuring they will violate whether or not they know.

The Shakh here really gets to the heart of the issue.
ש"ך יורה דעה סימן רצג
Siftei Cohen, Yoreh Deah, Siman 293
Shabbatai ben Meir HaKohen, 17th Century Lithuania
However, if the majority of drinks of that nation are wine, and therefore they do not need barley or oats except from time to time to eat, and it is not troublesome at all on the public to separate from the prohibition on chadash, where there is only one axis of doubt of whether it is from last year or from this year, it is a mitzvah to prevent the multitudes of the nation by teaching them about the prohibition since there are not two axes of doubt here.
אבל אם רוב שתיית המדינה יין וא"צ לשעורים ושבולת שועל רק לפעמים למאכל וליתא דוחקא דציבורא במידי להפריש מאיסור חדש היכא דליכא אלא חד ספיקא שמא של אשתקד שמא של שנה זו מצוה למחות בהמון עם להורות להם לאיסור דס"ס אין כאן
As we saw previously, the problem is that most people are drinking beer or other drinks made of grains subject to chadash. You can imagine the restriction on chadash, or things which might be chadash, could actually remove safe liquid from an entire community.

Of course, not everyone is so lenient about the matter. While there is some complicated mathematics on how the halacha emerges from an anonymous Mishnah and a second Mishnah under debate, the innovation of not worrying about chadash at all cannot go so silently, especially when everyone in the Gemara seems to obey it. The Vilna Gaon (GR”A) from 18th Century Vilna, is especially harsh about the matter. Here the Torah Temimah tries to explain the GR”A’s burning passion on this issue.

תורה תמימה הערות ויקרא פרק כג
Torah Temimah, Notes, Leviticus 23
Baruch HaLevi Epstein, 19th and 20th Centuries Lithuania
Until the generation before us, the sun came out over the earth, with the greatest of the later Rabbis [post Shulchan Arukh], the GR”A of Vilna, through a whirlwind and storm in his path [see Nachum 1:3] against the lenient ones. And he was so angry at the weightiness of this ruling until he destroyed the reputations of the lenient ones with churlish words.
עד דור שלפנינו, בו יצא השמש על הארץ, גדול האחרונים, הגר"א מווילנא, בסופה וסערה דרכו [ראה נחום א:ג] נגד דעת המקילים, וכל כך רתח ביה חומר דין זה עד שפגע בכבוד המקילים בדברים בוטים [ע' באורי הגר"א ליו"ד סי' רצ"ג ס"ק ב'],
And many were shocked at him, for it is known that this is against the way of holiness and the traits of the virtuous. For the way and traits of the sages of clean thinking is to express their words pleasantly.
ורבים תמהו על זה בעת שידוע שזה נגד דרכו הקדושה ומדותיו התרומיות, דרך ומדות חכמים נקיי הדעת להשמיע בנחת דבריהם.
And it seems that his reasoning in this was that he was teaching this in the holy manner in the way of our Sages, of blessed memory. For we find that in a similar topic anger came from them, as it is written in Kiddushin 39a, “Anyone who says that orlah does not apply outside of the land will have no children or grandchildren.”
ונראה טעמו בזה שלמד בזה אל דרך הקודש דרך חז"ל שמצינו להם שבענין כיוצא בזה גם הם חמה יצאו, כמ"ש בקדושין ל"ט א', כל האומר אין ערלה בחו"ל לא יהא לו נין ונכד וכו',
And for sure our Rabbis, of blessed memory, had a known reason to raise their voices like a shofar and to blow blasts about the prohibition so that the nation would know to be careful.
ובודאי היה לחז"ל טעם ידוע להרים קול כשופר ולהתריע על האיסור למען ידע העם להזהר,
And perhaps because this is a common matter, and its prohibition touches all of Israel, and all the more so the prohibition on chadash which really trips up all of Israel all of the time.
ואולי מפני שהוא דבר המצוי ואיסורו נוגע לכל ישראל, וא"כ כש"כ איסור חדש שנכשלין באיסורו כל ישראל ובכל שעה ממש:

In summary, this topic is a nice paradigm of the tension between trying to maintain fidelity to the laws of agriculture given by our Torah at a time when we have limited control over our land - that is in the exile - but at the same time struggling with the issues around having limited control over the agricultural products from the land in which we live having a great need for those products.

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