Rav Eliyahu Will Limit Heter Mechira


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elyTzfas Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu announced that if elected as the next Rishon L’Tzion, he will not sell Israeli fields to goyim for shmitah year as has been done in the past, Maariv reports. Eliyahu is sending a clear message to the chareidim that he will not support the heter mechira.

Maariv reports the Yahadut Hatorah officials appear willing to support Rav Eliyahu, particularly because of position regarding shmitah, but “all options remain open at this time” they reportedly add. It will also depend on Shas, which is more likely to support Rav Avraham Yosef or Rav Yitzchak Yosef in the race.

When asked, Rav Eliyahu explained that he follows the piskei Halacha of his late father, HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu ZT”L and other former Sephardi Chief Rabbis. As such, heter mechira will exist but he will do his best to limit its use and not to rely upon it l’chatchila as a solution for all.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. So someone else will handle the sale. It’s not like the government rabbinate really owned the land, nor like they really sold it, nor like it was a legitimate sale under any theory of law.

  2. Good idea, because things like Hetter Mechira, Pruzbel, Heter Isskah, Selling Chometz to a Goy, all take away the spirit of the Mitzvohs with ceative technicalities.

    There are Shitohs that did not agree with the technicality of Asserring of Bommos B’izman Hazeh, which caused that the Eibishter should not have any Korbonos for 2000 years.

  3. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l, halachic posak did allow the Heter Mechira except he did not avail himself of it on a personal level. (How could anyone sell Eretz Hakodesh to a goy? for any reason..)

  4. “… he will do his best to limit its use …” I wish he would be more specific. To many politicians make campaign promises worded in such a way that no matter what happens, they can claim not to have broken the promise. For example: “I did my best, I really did!”

  5. Hopefully the Rav will also prohibit Chalav Akum, Chalav Shenichlav on Shabbos and non-Glatt Meat in Israel — so that in Artzeinu Hakdosha we can all eat kosher food.

  6. When an Israeli court holds that a secular kibbutz lacks sanding to prosecute someone who walks into their orchard and starts nibbling since they don’t own the land during shmittah (and when the Israeli tax authorities follow the pattern of Roman tax authorities, and hold that agricultural land is taxable during shmittah) – believe that the “heter mechirah” is something serious.

  7. Nu, shoin. So ‘Maariv’ came out with a bombastic headline. In the article itself, all harav Eliyahu is actually quoted as saying is that he will do as his father did and try to minimize the reliance on ‘heter mechirah’ where there are better solutions. He is clearly referring to ‘otzar beit din’ which some D”L rabbis consider a superior solution to h”m, at least for some situations. This is not news and it certainly doesn’t mean that harav Eliyahu ‘will not support the heter mechira’ as YWN has chosen to report. Unsurprisingly, the D”L websites didn’t even bother to report it.

  8. The first and last paragraph in this article contradict each other.

    In any event, I suppose what he is saying is that he will try to limit reliance on the hetter mechira amongst Shomrei Torah u’Mitzvos, not that he will do away with it.

    For the country as a whole, it is essential and is a better halachic solution than not having it at all.