The Complicated Case of Shemitta Wine on Pesach
This article sets out to discuss a remarkable Pesach issue that only comes up once every seven years. As Pesach is the holiday of questions, let’s start out with one that this author has received numerous times:
“Now that Pesach of the Eighth year is rapidly approaching, this means that Shemitta is long over and we don’t have to think about it and its complications again for at least another six years. Right?”
This common question could not be more incorrect in its logic. In Gemara terminology, ‘Aderaba,’ or in Yiddish, ‘Punkt Farkert,’ would be appropriate responses. Or, as the French may put it, ‘au contraire mon fraire.’ The point is that unless Purim’s ‘Venehafoch Hu’ is still en vogue, one must certainly still take Shemitta produce into account. You see, now is the time that food items manufactured with Kedushas Sheviis produce start flooding the marketplace. The vigilant consumer must remain on high alert to know how to properly deal with these ‘holy fruit.’
In fact, the multiple complications of this simple-sounding issue actually manifested itself greatly to this author by the seemingly innocuous and straightforward distribution of Kedushas Sheviis wine for Pesach. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Pesach, We Celebrate…
Previous articles dealt with many of the myriad concerns that must be taken into account when dealing with Kedushas Sheviis produce. This one explores uniquely Pesach issues.
Since we know that at the Pesach Seder we must drink the Arba Kosos, Four Cups of Wine, the most important question germane to our discussion is whether we may use the currently most commonly available wine at our Seder: the most recent harvest, a.k.a. Shemitta wine (at least in Eretz Yisrael).
Chazal derived several essential Shemitta halachos from several pesukim in Parshas Behar that pertain to preserving the sanctity of Kedushas Sheviis produce.
Regarding to the Shemitta year the Torah states “V’haysah Shabbos Ha’aretz Lachem L’achlah…V’livhemtachah V’lechayah Asher B’artzechah Tihiyeh Kol Tevuasah 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.”
And one important halachah that is inferred from these pesukim is:
- Lachem- for you, lechol tzarcheichem, for all of your needs. (Sukka 40a and Bava Kamma 102a)
According to the Mishnah, and duly codified as halachah, 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. Although there is an important caveat, namely that the owner’s use of it during Shemitta must be that product’s main use year round, and otherwise, it would be considered ‘ruining’ the ‘holy’ fruit and duly prohibited, as inferred from the pasuk.
- L’achlah- for you to eat, and not for hefsed, letting go to waste. In other words, one may not needlessly waste fruits containing Kedushas Sheviis. (Pesachim 52b)
Still, this maxim should not really affect our holy uses of holy Shemitta wine. This is because wine’s main use is for it to be drunk, which involves direct bodily benefit (hana’ah) for us. In the immortal words of Dovid Hamelech, “V’yayin Yisamach Lev Enosh” – “(and) wine gladdens the hearts of man.” In fact, the great codifier of Ashkenazic psak, Rav Moshe Isserlis, better known as the Rema, concludes his writings on Hilchos Purim (as well as all of Orach Chaim) with the wise words of Shlomo Hamelech, “V’Tov Lev Mishteh Tamid,” (and) one of good heart drinks often (i.e. is one who is happy with his lot).” We see that wine’s main purpose is to benefit us, so why should potential Shemitta restrictions for improper use trouble us? Shemitta wine should be perfectly fine for sacramental purposes, including making Kiddush and Havdalah, as anyway it is being drunk and giving the drinker direct hana’ah. Accordingly, Shemitta wine should be perfectly fine for Pesach use as well.
Doubling-Up Your Mitzvos
There is a fascinating minority opinion of Rav Yitzchak de Leon, the renowned Megillas Esther, in his commentary on the Ramban’s additions to the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos, who makes an interesting inference from the aforementioned pesukim in Parashas Behar. He writes that his understanding of the Ramban was that “Lachem L’achlah, for you to eat,”is teaching us that there is an actual Mitzvah incumbent upon us (Mitzvah Chiyuvis) to partake of Kedushas Sheviis produce. Although not the normative halacha, as the majority of authorities argue on this assessment, there are still Poskim who maintain that one does indeed fulfill a Mitzvah by eating fruit imbued with Shemitta sanctity (Mitzvah Kiyumis) even though one is under no obligation to eat specifically that fruit.
According to both of these opinions, if one can ensure that all Shemitta halachos are being strictly adhered to (including proper disposal of remains), and has the option to choose a Shemitta fruit or a similar non-Shemitta fruit, it seems that there would be a preference to do so.
Certainly, following this minority opinion, although not the halacha, would mean that not only is it permitted to use Shemitta wine for Kiddush and Havdalah, it would actually be the preferable option.
Indeed, this is the opinion of the Ridbaz, Rav Yosef Dovid Willovsky, perhaps best known for his renowned commentaries on the Yerushalmi. His reasoning is that instead of simply performing one Mitzvah, making Kiddush or Havdalah with regular wine, one can instead perform it with Kedushas Sheviis wine and enhance the Mitzvah with another Mitzvah. What Jew does not like a good buy-one-get-one-free bargain, especially regarding Mitzvos, with their eternal reward?
Practically speaking, as long as one sticks to the guidelines of not ‘ruining’ the ‘holy wine,’ as well as avoiding any other Shemitta-related concerns, it would be permissible to use Shemitta wine for the Mitzvos of Kiddush or Havdalah, and according to several contemporary Poskim, including Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and his son-in-law, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, actually preferential for such Mitzvah use.
The Yerushalmi’s Pesach Ruling
Moreover, and directly related to out sheilah, the Talmud Yerushalmi in three separate locations teaches regarding using Shemitta wine specifically for the Arba Kosos: “Mahu Lotzais B’Yayin shel Sheviis? Tani Rav Hoshea Yotzein B’Yayin shel Sheviis,” “What is (the halachah regarding) using Sheviis Wine to fulfill the obligation? Rav Hoshea taught that one may (indeed) fulfill his obligation (of the Arba Kosos) with Sheviis Wine.”
Although many authorities are perplexed as to the need for a question and answer format to what should be a simple statement, and conclude differently as to what additional underlying teaching we may glean from the Yerushalmi’s statement, nonetheless, we clearly see that Kedushas Sheviis wine is explicitly permitted to be used for the Arba Kosos at the PesachSeder. If so, what could possibly be the problem?
Cup Spilleth Over
Well, one main problem is the issue with spilling. The common custom is that at the Seder during Maggid, when reciting the Ten Plagues, some wine must be spilled from the cup (a total of 16 times, corresponding to Hashem’s name). Since spilling wine is not considered wine’s main use, and likely would be more accurately defined as wasting, many authorities prohibit doing so with Shemitta wine. And although theoretically speaking, it is possible to catch the spillage in a saucer and then (re)drink it, there are those who maintain that one is not supposed to drink the wine spilled for the ‘Esser Makkos.’
Therefore, although technically it would indeed be permitted to use Kedushas Sheviis wine at the Seder, it still would be preferable for it not be used for the second cup (Maggid), or any time one may not come to finish the entire cup - a caveat which might include most of us for the other cups as well, especially given wine’s propensity to spill at the Seder.
This is akin to the halachos of making Havdalah using Shemitta wine (which, as we noted previously, several authorities maintain is actually preferable), that according to the majority consensus, one 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. Not necessarily the easiest way to make Havdalah, and certainly not the Seder, when we are mandated to drink our Kosos of wine b’heseibah – while leaning. Quite a balancing act would be required not to potentially slip up.
This does not mean there is no solution; if one did end up using Shemitta wine for either the Seder or Havdalah, 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, although probably not a popular activity, any spills will be caught, allowing ‘recycling’ of any spilled wine, and no potential ‘wasting’ of Shemitta produce.
However, as noted previously, according to the majority consensus of contemporary Poskim, the preferred option here is simply not to use Shemitta wine for at least the second of the Arba Kosos.
The Biur Necessities of Wine
However, there is another important issue involved with using Shemitta wine at the Seder: that of Biur. This halacha detailing the obligation of ‘Biur’ for Shemitta produce is learned from Parashas Behar (ibid.) as well:
- V’lechayah Asher B’artzechah -the fact that the Torah stressed thatShemitta produce is also relevant to wild animals teaches us that one may partake of such produce in his own home, but only as long as it is still available to the animals in the wild. After that time, one must remove such produce from his home and relinquish all property rights to the fruit. This action is known as Biur. (Taanis 6b, Pesachim 52b, Nida 51b, and Sifra / Toras Kohanim, Parashas Behar 1: 7)
According to most authorities, ‘Biur’ is accomplished by taking Kedushas Sheviis produce out of the house to a public place and giving up all rights to the fruit, announcing it as ‘hefker’ (ownerless) in front of three people. After that, once one properly performs Biur he may actually reacquire the produce himself.
Every type of fruit has its own specific Zman Biur, time of year when this must be performed, as it depends on when each species of fruit is no longer commonly available in the fields.
The Gemara informs us of the Biur dates of four types of fruit: dried figs on Chanuka, dates on Purim, grapes on Pesach, and olives on Shavuos - all in the eighth year.
Although the Mishnah divides Eretz Yisrael into nine different ‘zones’ for Biur, nowadays since the exact locations are unclear and all types of fruit are readily available throughout Eretz Yisrael, the consumer must keep abreast of the actual Biur dates publicized in newspapers by the experts in the Agriculture industry.
But since we know that the Zman Biur for grapes, and therefore wine as well, is Pesach of the Eighth year, that means that anyone wanting to use Kedushas Sheviis wine at the Seder (or actually any time after that) must perform Biur on Erev Pesach on all of his Shemitta wine. One more exciting thing to do on what is perhaps the busiest day of the year - this mandates lugging all of your wine bottles out to the street and publicly declaring them hefker. If one did not do so, according to most Poskim, all of your Kedushas Sheviis wine would be prohibited, and you would not have wine for the Seder. Talk about Erev Pesach pressure! But don’t worry, after a successful Biur you may simply reacquire your wine.
However, it is important to note that this allowance for Shemitta wine at the Seder only truly applies in Eretz Yisrael. Using Kedushas Sheviis wine in Chutz La’aretz hosts an additional set of problems, including that of taking Shemitta produce out of Eretz Yisroel: B’artzechah - in your land, and not in Chutz La’aretz, meaning that Kedushas Sheviis produce may not be exported from Eretz Yisrael, as well as L’achlah- for you to eat, and not for sechora, merchandise or commercial use. Hence, one may exclusively obtain Kedushas Sheviis produce in a non-standard manner. Although perhaps not prohibiting the Shemitta wine b’dieved, nonetheless one should be aware that if he obtained Kedushas Sheviis wine in Chutz La’aretz, both of these injunctions were likely transgressed.
It is due to the severity and complexities of the combination of the aforementioned issues that although the Yerushalmi technically permits it, nevertheless, many contemporary authorities exhort extreme caution when thinking of practically using Shemitta wine for the Seder. Certainly while attempting to fulfill a Mitzvah, one would not want to Chas Veshalom be transgressing others.
Postscript 1:Biur Chometz?
Another interesting related Pesach-Shemitta question involves Chometz. What if one made a peach cobbler or good ol’ American apple pie with Kedushas Sheviis fruits, and now it’s Erev Pesach. How would it be possible to perform Biur Chometz, the burning of Chometz, without ‘ruining’ the Shemitta produce inside? What it one to do?
The answer is that if at all possible it would be preferable to perform this Biur Chometz the gastronomical way, by trying to make sure it is consumed before Pesach. But if not, one may still do Biur the old-fashioned and usual manner of tossing it into a fire on Erev Pesach. This is because once the Chometz items become forbidden to be eaten (at Sof Zman Achilas Chometz) on Erev Pesach, they are no longer considered edible items that are salvageable, and the issue of wasting such Kedushas Sheviis-infused Chometz delicacies, is no longer applicable. Accordingly, if referring to a grape or wine Chometz item (perhaps a leftover Hamantash with Shemitta grape filling) one can perform two different types of Mitzvos of Biur with one well-placed drop into the Sereifas Chometz fire. Truly a case of ‘killing two Biurs with onestone.’
Postscript 2:Otzar All the Way
Anecdotally, and as mentioned briefly, in the eighth year of the last Shemitta cycle, in this author’s neighborhood, a pre-Pesach chalukah (distribution) of Kosher Lemehadrin Kedushas Sheviis wine from a reliable Otzar Beis Din, was held. Although, as detailed in previous articles, many are wary of Otzar Beis Din produce as the system tends to lend itself to potential abuse, conversely, this wine was given out in the halachically optimal manner - for free, and in the antechamber of a shul, and thereby not involving any possible issues of the prohibition of Sechorah, buying and selling in the normal manner, of Shemitta produce.
Importantly, and extremely helpful, the Otzar Beis Din printed several significant provisos as to the proper use of this Shemitta wine right on the labels of the wine bottles. It stated that this wine which is not sold, but rather given out by the Otzar Beis Din, has Kedushas Sheviis status and cannot be spilled or wasted. If the wine was acquired before Pesach, the consumer must be aware that its Zman Biur is on Erev Pesach and should act accordingly. In this author’s opinion, this Otzar Beis Din is to be commended for taking such initiative with its consumers in ensuring that they truly had a “Pesach Kosher V’Samayach.”
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. One should ascertain from his own halachic authority what he should personally do, and how to be noheg, with his Arba Kosos and Shemitta wine.
Properly labeled Otzar Beis Din Shemitta Wine –
Note how it clearly states “Not For Sale.”
The Otzar Beis Din’s list of rules that comes along with every container –
to ensure that the Shemitta Wine is properly treated as befits its Kedushas Sheviis status.
For any questions, comments or for the full Mareh Mekomos / sources, please email the author: [email protected].
Rabbi Yehuda Spitz serves as the Shoel U’Meishiv and Rosh Chabura of the Ohr Lagolah Halacha Kollel at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim.
His recent English halacha sefer, “Insights Into Halacha - Food: A Halachic Analysis” (Mosaica/Feldheim)contains more than 500 pages and features over 30 comprehensive chapters, discussing a myriad of halachic issues relating to food. It is now available online and in bookstores everywhere.
Mishnah and Gemara Pesachim (116a).
Parashas Behar (Vayikra Ch. 25: 6-7).
See Mishnayos Sheviis (Ch. 8: Mishnah 2), Yerushalmi Sheviis (Ch. 7: Halacha 1), Tosefta Sheviis (Ch. 6: 1-3), Rambam (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5: 1-5), Ra”sh (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’), Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7: 4), Chazon Ish (Sheviis 10: 4), and Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak (vol. 8: 102). This topic was delineated at length in a previous article titled ‘Kedushas SheviisProduce.’
Tehillim (Ch. 104: 15).
Rema (Orach Chaim 697: 1), citing Mishlei (Ch. 15: 15; see Rashi ad loc.).
Rav Yitzchak de Leon, the renowned Megillas Esther, in his commentary on the Ramban’s additions to the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos (Mitzvas Asei 3; see also the Mishneh L’Melech’s Derech Mitzvosecha appended to his Prashas Drachim), writes that he understood the Ramban to mean that he held eating Kedushas Sheviis produce is a Mitzvah Chiyuvis. Others who share this assessment of the Ramban’s shittah include the Tashbetz (Zohar Rakiya al Ha’azharos, Mitzvas Asei 66:36) and the Maharit Algazi (in his commentary on the Ramban’s Hilchos Challah, 2:14). See also Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7:2, and footnote 2). However, most other authorities disagree with his assessment, including the Megillas Esther himself, maintaining that there is no Mitzvah to specifically consume Shemitta produce. In fact, several other Poskim, most notably the Chazon Ish (Sheviis 14: 10, s.v. v’lamdanu; based on the Tosefta, Sheviis Ch. 6: 1), understand that the Ramban would even agree with this as well. In a similar vein, the Kamarna Rebbe (Otzar Chaim Hakatzer, Mitzvos Asei Shelo Nimnu, Mitzvah 3) explains that even according to the Ramban, due to the double language of the pesukim, ‘achillah’ in this context actually refers to being ‘mafkir’ Shemitta produce, and not doing any ‘Sechorah’ with it. See also Aruch Hashulchan Ha’Asid (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 24: 6), Shu”t Seridei Aish (new edition; Yoreh Deah 90: 1), Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5: 2 and Biur Hahalacha ad loc.), Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion (Sheviis Ch. 2: 1), Mishmeres HaSheviis (Ch. 15, footnote 37), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16: 1) whom all rule similarly. However, see Toras Ha’Aretz (vol. 1: 8, 26), Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7, footnote 2), and Shu”t Shevet Halevi (vol. 4: 232, 4; printed at the end of the sefer), who nevertheless maintain that one still fulfills a Mitzvah Kiyumis upon consuming Peiros Sheviis. See also Kovetz M’Beis Levi (vol. 16, pg. 34, footnote 3) who posits that based on this and with all other factors being equal, it is preferable to eat a fruit containing Kedushas Sheviis than eating one that does not, especially if by choosing the other one, the ‘holy’ fruit might not get eaten and possibly go to ‘waste.’ In a similar vein, see Chut Shani (Shemitta, pg. 344) and Minchas Asher (Sheviis, Tinyana 10), who conclude that the Chazon Ish’s shittah is indeed correct in the Ramban’s opinion and there is no inherent Mitzvah incumbent upon us to eat Kedushas Sheviis produce. Yet, they posit from the fact that the Torah stressed ‘L’achlah,’ nevertheless shows that Hashem wants these fruits to be eaten and not to go to waste.
Beis Ridbaz glosses to Pe’as Hashulchan (Sheviis, Ch. 5: 18, haghah; cited in Dinei Sheviis Hashalem, Ch. 32, 1: 4).
Aside from refraining from the traditional spilling of the Havdalah wine, or extinguishing the candle in it, one may also not even put the customary several drops in the eyes and pockets. This is because all of these are not the ordinary way to drink wine, and are not considered its main use. Hence, all of these Havdalah extras are forbidden with Shemitta wine. See Sefer HaShemitta (pg. 31: 4), Shabbos Ha’aretz (Kuntress Acharon to seif 22), Shemitta Kehilchasah (Ch. 3: 11), Derech Emunah (vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5, Tziyun Hahalacha 19), Moadei HaGra”ch (vol. 2, pg. 386: 795), Bris Olam (Sheviis, Ch. 5: 3), Chut Shani (Shemitta, pg. 218, Ch. 5: 4, 10), Mishpetei Aretz (Sheviis, Ch. 21: 5 and 6), Mishnas HaGri”sh (pg. 83, Ch. 7: 26 and 27), Shu”t Mishnah Halachos (vol. 19: 247), Yalkut Yosef on Sheviis (Ch. 15: 56, pg. 400), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Shimushei Mitzvah 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 Havdalah (careful not to let the cup run over), and was not worried about the few drops that would naturally spill. Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Shemitta Kehilchasah 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, as this is the normal way one drinks. A notable dissenting opinion is that of Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion, Sheviis Ch. 2: 6), who allows one to place the remaining drops of wine in his eyes and pockets, and even to put out the Havdalah candle in said wine. He explains that as Shemitta produce is permitted to be eaten ‘k’darko,’ one may eat it the same way he does during the rest of the years. As one drinks his Havdalah wine normally this way, i.e. dripping, spilling, and putting drops in his eyes and pockets, this is also considered ‘k’darko’ to allow the same to be performed with Shemitta wine, and is not considered ‘wasting.’
As delineated at length in a previous article ‘Making Havdalah with Shemitta Wine.’ Rav Elyashiv and Rav Chaim’s shittos were originally published in Kovetz Halichos Sadeh (Issue # 196; Av 5576, pg. 5-7).
Yerushalmi Shabbos (Ch. 8: Halacha 1), Pesachim (Ch. 10: Halacha 1), and Shekalim (Ch. 3: Halacha 2; 13a) - cited by the Chazon Ish (Sheviis Ch. 15: 7).
For example, see the main commentaries on the Yerushalmi, the Pnei Moshe, and Korban Ha’eidah (ad loc.), as well as the Taklin Chadtin (ad loc.), Shu”t Dovev Meisharim (vol. 3, 1: 3), Kuntress Mishmeres Labayis at the end of the Beis Ridbaz version of the Pe’as Hashulchan, quoting the Machazeh Avraham (pg. 19b, 2nd column) and Chazon Nochum (pg. 24b, 1st column s.v. u’lichorah), Ohr Somayach (Shabbos Ch. 29: 14), the Aderes’s Tov Yerushalayim glosses on the Yerushalmi (ad loc.), Shu”t Har Tzvi (Orach Chaim vol. 2: 68; see also Mikraei Kodesh, Pesach vol. 2, pg. 108), Shu”t Cheishev Ha’Eifod (vol. 2: 37), Shu”t Divrei Yehoshua (vol. 2: 59), Shu”t Lehoros Nosson (vol. 10: 46), Even Yisroel (vol. 2, Hilchos Ma’achalos Asuros Ch. 13: 25; see also Halichos Even Yisroel, Moadim vol. 1, pg. 157-158), Halichos Shlomo (Moadim vol. 2, Pesach Ch. 9, footnote 69; also citing Rav Ezra Alteschuler’s explanation), Biur Rav Chaim Kanievsky on the Yerushalmi (ad loc. citing the Chazon Ish), and Minchas Asher (Sheviis, Tinyana 38). See also Rav Mattis Deutsch’s extensive teshuvah on topic, printed at the back of Rav Yaakov Aharon Skoczylas’ Ohel Yaakov - Hilchos U’Minhagei Leil HaSeder (Kovetz Teshuvos Nesivos Adam; starting on pg. 161). Rav Sholom Pollack (Mishnas HaShemitta, 15) collects and briefly cites 26 (!) peirushim from Gedolei Ha’Acharonim to explain this puzzling lashon in the Yerushalmi. Thanks are due to R’ Shmuel Neufeld for pointing out these important sources.
See Rema (Orach Chaim end 473), citing the Maharil (Seder Hahagadda 27), Maharash (Minhagei Maharash 398: 7), and the Sefer Haminhagim (Leil Haseder 7-8), and later commentaries, including the Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 75) who state that the 16 spills correspond to the letters Yud and Vav of Hashem’s name, as he smote Pharaoh. The Vilna Gaon (Biur HaGr”a, O.C. 473: 45) adds that this spilling out is based on the Yerushalmi in Pesachim (beg. Perek Arvei Pesachim) that we are alluding to the Makkos that Hashem will mete out against the Umos Ha’Olam in the future (“Arba Kosos shel Puraniyos SheHaKadosh Boruch Hu asid lehashkos es Umos Ha’Olam”). Interestingly, there is some debate as to which finger to use for this spilling, with some preferring directly spilling it out from the cup. See Darchei Moshe (ad loc. 18), Elyah Rabbah (ad loc. 35), Chok Yaakov (ad loc. 37), Magen Avrohom (ad loc. 28), Shulchan Aruch HaRav (ad loc. 51), Maaseh Rav (191), Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 74), Shaar Hatziyun (ad loc. 81), Aruch Hashulchan (ad loc. 24), and Kaf Hachaim (ad loc. 163).
See Sefer HaShemitta (Ch. 7: 3 and footnote 4), Shabbos Ha’aretz (Kuntress Acharon to Ch. 5: 3: 22), 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, pg. 218 and Pesach, pg. 190, s.v. b’leil), Shu”t Mishnas Yosef (vol. 2: 40), Shu”t Rivevos Efraim (vol. 2: 137), Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer (vol. 6: 36), the Steipler Gaon’s Haggada shel Pesach Kehillas Yaakov (pg. 559), Shemitta Kehilchasah (Ch. 3: 11, pg. 59), Chazon Ovadiah (vol. 2, Hilchos Seder Leil Pesach pg.125), Yalkut Yosef (Sheviis Ch. 15: 55, pg. 400), 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). Most Poskim maintain that it is better to fulfill the Minhag and not use Shemitta wine for the second Kos, yet several Poskim, including the Steipler Gaon (Haggada ibid.) and Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Shemitta Kehilchasah ibid.), state that if one is careful not to spill it at all (meaning not to perform the common Minhag of spilling out etc.) then one may use Shemitta wine.
See for example, Chok Yaakov (Orach Chaim 473: 37) and Kaf Hachaim (ad loc. 163 and 165), citing the Pesach Me’uvin (261). See also Shaar Hatziyun (ad loc. 81), Shemitta Kehilchasah (Ch. 3: 11), and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (119: 12).
See Tur, Shulchan Aruch, and Rema (Orach Chaim 472: 7), and main commentaries.
Halichos Shlomo (Moadim vol. 2, Pesach Ch. 9: 35), Chut Shani (Shemitta, pg. 218), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 16, s.v. Shimushei Mitzva 4 and Ch. 32, Pesach 15-17). Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Moadei HaGra”ch vol. 1, pg. 57-58) is also quoted as stating that if one did spill his Shemitta wine at the Seder (he himself wrote in Derech Emunah ibid. that the preferred option is not to use Shemitta wine for the Seder) he should drink it afterwards. When it was pointed out to him that his father, the Steipler Gaon was makpid about not spilling it, he replied “mashkim oso l’Goy.”
See Ramban (Parshas Behar Ch. 25: 7), Rosh (Sheviis Ch. 9, Mishnah 8: 5), Rash (ad loc.), Minchas Chinuch (Parshas Behar, Mitzvah 329: 7), Shu”t Maharit (vol. 1: 43), Shaarei Tzedek (19: 4 and 5), Pe’as Hashulchan (27: 3), Pnei Yehoshua (Pesachim 52b), Aruch Hashulchan Ha’asid (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel 27: 8), Beis Ridbaz (Sheviis, Ch. 12: 7), Chazon Ish (Shemitta 11: 6 and 7; 14: 13; and 26, Seder HaSheviis 1 end s.v. pri), Shemitta Kehilchasah (Ch. 3: 20), the Badatz Eidah Hachareidis’ Dvar HaShemitta, Pesakim V’Hora’os 4, pg. 55-56), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 21). When the Zman Biur for a specific fruit arrives, the Mishnah (Sheviis, Ch. 9: Mishnah 8) teaches us that one may still keep enough of that particular fruit for three meals worth for every member of the household. However, there is another opinion, that of the Rambam (Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 7: 1-3) that Biur refers to actually destroying said produce when it is no longer available in the field. As mentioned, this is not the normative halacha and Ashkenazim certainly follow the shittah of the Rosh, Rash, and Ramban, of removing it from the house and making it hefker, as cited by the aforementioned Poskim. [Interestingly, the Chochmas Adam (Shaarei Tzedek Ch. 19: 4 and 6) expresses preference to fulfilling Mitzvas Biur al yedei Sereifah, like the shittah of the Rambam.] However, whether Sefardim need be machmir for the Rambam’s shittah is a matter of dispute between contemporary Sefardic authorities, with Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion, Sheviis Ch. 3: 4) ruling to be machmir (except in shaas hadchak or b’makom hefsed meruba) and Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Ma’or Yisrael vol. 2, pg. 105; also cited in Yalkut Yosef, Sheviis, Ch. 21: 1, pg. 468) maintaining that making the produce hefker is sufficient. Rav Abba Shaul (ibid., footnote s.v. v’hinei) adds that if one is relying on opinions that biur refers to declaring it hefker in front of three people, practically, only one of the three people can be a direct relative.
This is due to the fact that the halacha follows Rabbi Yosi’s opinion - see Mishnayos Sheviis (ibid.), Tosefta (Sheviis Ch. 8: 4); Yerushalmi (Sheviis Ch. 9, Halacha 4), Chazon Ish (Hilchos Sheviis 11: 6 and 26, Seder HaSheviis 1 s.v. pri), and Shu”t Minchas Shlomo (Tinyana 123: 10 and vol. 3: 132, 13).
Mishnayos Sheviis (Ch. 9: 2 and 3).
There are several Acharonim, including the Pnei Moshe (on the Yerushalmi ibid.) and Taklin Chadtin (ad loc.) who opine that the chiddush of the Yerushalmi is that Shemitta wine for Arba Kosos may be used even if Biur was not performed on it; yet, this theory is resoundedly rejected by the vast majority of Poskim, who maintain that if Biur was not performed, the Shemitta wine becomes prohibited. See Shu”t Dovev Meisharim (vol. 3, 1: 3), Shu”t Har Tzvi (Orach Chaim vol. 2: 68), Chazon Ish (Sheviis Ch. 15: 7), Even Yisroel (vol. 2, Hilchos Ma’achalos Asuros Ch. 13: 25), Halichos Even Yisroel (pg. 157-158), Halichos Shlomo (Moadim vol. 2, Pesach Ch. 9, footnote 69), Orchos Rabbeinu (new version 5775; vol. 3, pg. 330), Minchas Asher (Sheviis, Tinyana 38), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 21). However, if one did not perform Biur on his Shemitta wine on Erev Pesach, according to several Poskim he still has what to rely upon to use said wine for the Seder. This is due to the Mishnah’s ambiguous lashon when it states that the Zman Biur for grapes is ‘on Pesach.’ Although most understand it to mean Erev Pesach, others, including the Chazon Ish (ibid.) and Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Derech Emunah vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 7: 58), understand the Mishnah to mean the first day of Pesach. Another understanding is the last day of Pesach. [Based on this machlokes, some maintain that when performing Biur on Erev Pesach and reacquiring it, one should have in mind not to actually completely acquire it for himself until the last day of Pesach, and up until that point everyone can use it]. Following either of the last two shittos would mean one is still OK to use the Shemitta wine at the Seder, as it was not yet its Zman Biur. An additional rationale for leniency is that technically speaking, after a fruit’s Zman Biur, one may still possess enough of that food for three meal’s worth for him and his family. However, it is known that the Steipler Gaon (Orchos Rabbeinu ibid.) was of the opinion that this refers to three regular meals - which would only add up to the amount of three Revi’os of wine [based on the Rambam (Hilchos Matnas Aniyim, Ch. 6: 7-8)] - decidedly not sufficient for all of the Arba Kosos, but rather only three – each exactly a Reviis. On the other hand, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is cited (Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 32: Pesach 27) as maintaining that this would include all of the Seder itself – including all four cups for every member of the family. Similarly, Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Biur on the Yerushalmi ibid.) cites his uncle, the Chazon Ish as maintaining that this was the intent of the sheilah of the Yerushalmi - as Biur for Shemitta wine is on Erev Pesach and one may only leave over three Revi’os of wine after Biur, how can one fulfill the Mitzvah of ArbaKosos? To which the Yerushalmi’s response is that since it is the Mitzvah of the night (“Chovas HaYom”) one may nonetheless do so, even though it more than the allotment of “Mazon Gimmel Seudos” generally allowed after Biur. [As an aside, the Steipler Gaon also would personally perform Biur on wine twice - first on Erev Pesach, reacquire what he needed for the Seder and first day of Pesach, and then do Biur again on the first day to fulfill his brother-in-law, the Chazon Ish’s, opinion as well]. Indeed, akin to the Steipler Gaon’s understanding, Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion, Sheviis Ch. 3: 5) practically proposes to only allow three cups of Shemitta wine for the Seder, as he holds that a Sefardi must perform Biur according to the Rambam’s shittah – meaning actually destroying said Shemitta produce. Accordingly, after the Sheviis wine’s proper Biur on Erev Pesach, one would be permitted to leave over only three Revi’os of wine for each member of the household. [If so, lechoirah, the Yerushalmi’s permitting Sheviis wine for the Seder would have been referring to this – three cups of wine, a Reviis each.] If following this approach, it would seem prudent not to use Shemitta wine for the second cup (Maggid) due to all of its additional spillage concerns [although truth to be told, leshittaso, as cited in a previous footnote, Rav Abba Shaul himself may not have been concerned with this, as he considered common secondary Mitzvah and Minhag use of Kedushas Sheviis produce as permissible]. Rav Asher Weiss (Minchas Asher on Sheviis; Tinyana 42) offers an alternate solution and novel approach for those who did not do Biur on Erev Pesach, utilizing a tziruf to be meikel b’shaas hadchak and hefsed merubah, as there are those, including the Chochmas Adam (Shaarei Tzedek Ch. 19: 5; citing the Chareidim) and Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky (Sefer HaShemitta Ch. 9: 10), who hold that B’makom Oness, not performing Biur will not prohibit the produce. See also Yalkut Yosef (Sheviis Ch. 22: 2-5, 7 and 9; pg. 479-483) who holds similarly, that b’dieved there is what to rely upon that the wine did not become prohibited. Either way, l’divrei hakol, it would certainly be preferable to lechatchilla not come into such a sheilah. To sum it up, as Rav Mattis Deutsch’s concludes his extensive teshuvah on the subject (printed at the back of Rav Yaakov Aharon Skoczylas’ Ohel Yaakov - Hilchos U’Minhagei Leil HaSeder, Kovetz Teshuvos Nesivos Adam; pg. 172-173: 44), although the Yerushami concludes that one may indeed fulfill his Seder obligations with Kedushas Sheviis wine and that is the actual halacha, nonetheless, taking everything into account, if one wishes to follow all opinions (“lotzeis yedei kol hashittos”), practically speaking, “yeish lomar d’ee efshar lotzeis yedei chovas dalet kosos b’yayin shel Sheviis,” it turns out that one would not be able to fulfill his Arba Kosos obligation with Shemitta wine.
B’artzechah - in your land, and not in Chutz La’aretz (Mishnayos Sheviis Ch. 6, Mishnah 5; see commentaries ad loc.); L’achlah- for you to eat, and not for sechora, merchandise or commercial use (Avodah Zarah 62a and Bechoros 12b; see also Mishnayos Sheviis Ch. 8, Mishnah 3 and 4). Although most Poskim maintain that if one b’dieved if one already obtained Kedushas Sheviis produce in Chutz La’aretz, he may indeed partake of them (although one should be aware that the exporters and importers most likely relied upon Hetter Mechirah; which is not a simple proposition, as delineated in previous articles), this allowance, however b’dieved, is strictly prior to the fruit’s Zman Biur. Otherwise they are assur, but still must be treated with proper Kedushas Sheviis status (as explained above). These are important issues to be aware of, and if possessing Shemitta wine in Chutz La’aretz on Erev Pesach, one must ascertain what to do from a knowledgeable halachic authority. Taking all of the above into account, it would certainly seem that with all of the inherent issues with Kedushas Sheviis wine in Chutz La’aretz, using a non-problematic wine for theSeder would undoubtedly be a preferred option. For detailed treatments on these subjects, see previous articles titled ‘Shemitta Sheilos: The Perplexing Puzzle of the Possibly Purloined Peppers’ and ‘Using Arbah Minimof Sheviis.’
Another related interesting issue discussed by contemporary Poskim [see Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 32: 22-24)], is whether one can use Shemitta wine to make Charoses for the Seder. It stands to reason that it can be considered a main use of wine, as it is a main ingredient in its recipe. Yet, as wine flavors the Charoses, it now would all need to be treated as Kedushas Sheviis. Moreover, if one would have made it before performing Biur on his Shemitta wine, the Charoses would need Biur as well. If one did not do Biur, the Charoses may technically still be permitted for Seder use, as usually Charoses is only used at the Seder, and in small quantities. However, it likely would become forbidden for consumption afterwards. To sum it up, in this author’s estimation, deciding to use Shemitta wine in Charoses would likely cause complications that no one truly needs on busy Erev Pesach. On the other hand, for those procuring horseradish for Maror that is Kedushas Sheviis (presuming that there are no Sefichin issues; hence, we must be discussing Yevul Nochri horseradish for those makpid to treat it as Kedushas Sheviis – a.k.a. Shittas HaMabit/ Chazon Ish/ Minhag Bnei Brak), although it is quite uncommon to eat it by itself during the year, contemporary Poskim conclude that as this is the way to eat it for Mitzvas Maror, and it is at times used as a garnish when grated, it is not considered Mafsid Peiros Sheviis, and may be used at the Seder. See Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak (vol. 10: 118; also citing Rav Chaim Kanievsky), Shu”t Mishnas Yosef (vol. 3: 28), Halichos Shlomo (Moadim vol. 2, Pesach, Ch. 9, footnote 320 s.v. vinish’al), and Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 32: 21). Thanks are due to R’ Shmuel Neufeld for pointing out this inyan.
See Rashash (Pesachim 21a, end s.v. Riva”v Omer) – that even according to the opinions that Biur Chometz must be performed via ‘Sereifa,’ burning, nonetheless, human consumption of Chometz is still considered ‘Biur,’ as “b’derech rachok ketzas yeish lomar d’adam nikra eitz,kidichtiv “ki ha’adam eitz hasadeh” (Parashas Ki Seitzei, Devarim Ch. 20: 19). The halachic preference to consume Chometz imbued with Kedushas Sheviis rather than burning it at Sereifas Chometz is cited in Chut Shani (Shemitta, Ch. 5: 4, pg. 221), Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 32: 9) citing Rav Nissim Karelitz and Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, and Moadei HaGra”ch (vol. 1, pg. 34: 72) citing Rav Chaim Kanievsky.
Shu”t Mishnas Yosef (vol. 1: 15), Dinei Sheviis Hashalem (Ch. 32, Pesach 9 and 12) - citing the psakim of Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner and Rav Nissim Karelitz, andYalkut Yosef (Sheviis, pg. 412, Ch. 15: 65). Rav Chaim Kanievsky is quoted as ultimately agreeing to this psak as well (Moadei HaGra”ch vol. 1, pg. 34: 72 – albeit concluding “tzarich iyun”; see also Derech Emunah vol. 4, Hilchos Shemitta V’Yovel Ch. 5: 22, where Rav Chaim writes that it is permitted to make Chometz Sheviis dough even shortly before Pesach, and chances are that it might end up getting burned at Sereifas Chometz, due to the fact that the dough turning into Chometz would happen by itself anyway). This ruling is based on Tosafos’ explanation (Pesachim 13a s.v. v’sorfin) of the Gemara’s statement (ad loc.) that on Erev Pesach that falls on Shabbos, on Erev Shabbos they would burn all of theChometz “Terumos Tame’os v’Teluyos Tehoros.”There is however, a minority opinion that holds it is preferable to have this Biur done by a non-Jew.
The institution of Otzar Beis Din and all related issued were discussed at length in a previous article titled ‘Using Arba Minim of Sheviis.’ Basically, it is based on the Tosefta that explains that during Shemitta, Beis Din has the right to gather (hefker) Kedushas Sheviis produce to store and distribute it as they see fit in small quantities. Although one may not actually pay for Kedushas Sheviis produce, as it is halachically hefker, and as explained in previous articles, there is an ‘Issur Sechorah’ on business transactions with Shemitta produce, nonetheless, the Otzar Beis Din workers may get paid for their time and effort as well as distribution costs. However, this means that the price one pays for Otzar Beis Din Kedushas Sheviis produce must be significantly and substantially less than one would generally pay for such produce in an ordinary year. Additionally, such produce may not be bought in the regular manner, but rather acquired (as one is not actually purchasing, but rather receiving a distribution, with payment exclusively reserved for necessary operating costs) on credit or in advance, with no regard to the actual weight or amount of each individual item. Of course, since Otzar Beis Din produce contains Kedushas Sheviis it must be treated as such, with all of the nuances that entails.
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.