From the Rav’s Desk: 1) How to tie down Sechach from wind 2) From what stores in Israel may one buy fruits and vegetables now during Shemita

Q&A relating to Sukkos

  1. Question: [Sunday 13th Tishrei 5781]

What is the best way to prevent my Sechach from flying in the wind? May I place wood boards on top of it to prevent it from flying away, and may tire down using plastic zip ties?



It is initially forbidden to tie the Sechach directly using zip ties. However, it is permitted even initially, and is even advised, to place wooden boards on top of your Sechach if the boards are less than 24 cm wide, which is the standard. For best and extra protection from wind, it is advised that in addition to the wooden boards, one should sandwich the boards together and tie them together using a plastic zip tie. This can be done in the following way: place the wooden boards on top of your Sechach, directly parallel to the boards under that support the Sechach. Then take rope of any material, or plastic cable zip ties [i.e. police plastic handcuffs] and tie the two boards to each other, thus sandwiching the Sechach in between the two boards and securing it that it will not move with the wind. Do this by each end of the two boards.

Explanation: One of the major Halachic issues that we face when it comes to fortifying the Sechach against the wind is how it can be done in a Halachically valid method, as it is initially forbidden to use any material that is invalid for Sechach as a support for the Sechach, or as a tool to fasten it [as explained in length in the previous Halacha].  Hence, while in normal construction, nails would be used to fasten down the roofing, this is not allowed to be done by the Sukkah.  Likewise, one may not place such materials on top of the Sechach for the sake of weighing it down.  Likewise, one may not use typical synthetic rope, or plastic cable ties to tie down the Sechach to the wall.  These restrictions extremely limit our ability of securing the Sechach to the walls of the Sukkah. Nonetheless, the above-mentioned Halachic options are available and are to be followed.

Sources: See Admur 629:11-12; Michaber 629:7 regarding using ladder as Sechach support; Rama ibid that it may not be placed under the Sechach, or on top to weight it down, and the same applies for any material that is Mikabel Tuma; Terumas Hadeshen 90; Rashba 1:195; Ran Sukkah 10a; Maharil Sukkah p. 363; M”A 629:9; Chayeh Adam; M”B 629 “There are some Achronim which have ruled that the direct support are to initially be made of materials Kosher for Sechach”


Q&A relating to Shemita

  1. Question: [Sunday 13th Tishrei 5781]

I live in Israel and would like to know if already now I need to avoid buying fruits and vegetables from regular stores, or is this only applicable later on in the year?



You should only buy vegetables and lemons from a Shemita store, which is a store that carries produce that is clear of any issues of Sefichin, Kedushas Shevi’is, and is not under Heter Mechira. Thus, you should look out for a Mehadrin Hashgacha posted by the vegetable section, and if it is under the regular Rabbanut Hashgacha it should not be purchased. Regarding fruits, other than lemons, there is no Shemita issue yet until much later on in the year, although nonetheless it is always advised to purchase it under a Mehadrin Hashgacha due to the issues of Arla and Terum Umaaser.

Explanation: Although the issue of Sefichin with vegetables only becomes relevant after they began growing after Rosh Hashanah, which has yet to occur, nonetheless, all vegetables that are picked now from the fields contain Kedushas Shevi’is and may not be sold regularly, and need to be cared for with special holiness of Shemita. Now, although the Rabbanut relies on the Heter Mechira sale to remove any status of Shemita or Sefichin from the vegetables, nonetheless, this is rejected by majority of Chareidi Jewry and its Rabbanim, and therefore should not be relied upon. Regarding lemons, we are stringent to give them the same status as vegetables to follow the time that they are picked, and therefore one should also avoid buying lemons from a regular store even at this time due to them perhaps containing Kedushas Shevi’is.

Sources: Peas Hashulchan; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:12; Grach Naah p. 11

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