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  1/19/2014, Shevat 18, 5774

Rabbi Ariel on Shemita: Don't Buy Produce from Non-Jews


Rabbi Ya'akov Ariel of Ramat Gan made it clear, last week, that Jews are prohibited from buying from non-Jews during the Shemita agricultural sabbatical year, starting with Rosh Hashana in September. Speaking at Machon Torah Vehaaretz (Torah and Land Institute) conference at the Machon Lev Jerusalem College of Technology, he noted that buying from non-Jews is an option discussed every Shemita year, along with Heter Mechira (selling land to non-Jews) and Otzar Beit Din, where the land is under the ownership of a court and a farmer may only collect production costs.

Rabbi Ariel said Otzar Beit Din is the path to take, which supports the farmers who go that route. He noted that buying from non-Jews results in violations of Jewish law. He added that Heter Mechira and buying foreign produce goes against the intent of the Torah.