Halacha for Monday 24 Iyar 5780 May 18 2020

“Chadash” As It Applies Nowadays-The Opinion of the Sha’agat Aryeh

In the previous Halacha we have explained that any byproduct of the five grains produced before the Pesach holiday are forbidden for consumption until the Seventeenth of Nissan (the Eighteenth of Nissan outside of Israel). This grain is referred to as “Chadash”. Grain which the Pesach holiday has “passed over” is called “Yashan”. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, Chapter 489, Section 10 and Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 293) rules as follows: “One may not consume ‘Chadash’ even nowadays until the beginning of the night of the Seventeenth of Nissan.” (Add one extra day outside of Israel.)

We have explained that in Israel, most wheat and barley products pose no “Chadash” concern. Nevertheless, the situation outside of Israel is totally different because it is common in such places to harvest wheat in the month of Cheshvan which is then immediately marketed to consumers and these grains are prohibited for consumption until Pesach arrives.

The Sephardic vs. Ashkenazi Customs
In all Middle Eastern countries, Jews were always careful regarding the prohibition of “Chadash”. In any case, in these countries, wheat was generally planted in the beginning of the winter and harvested in the beginning of the summer such that grain sold in these places had no concern of “Chadash” since Pesach had already passed over them. Nevertheless, in Ashkenazi countries, especially Poland, most people were not meticulous regarding this prohibition since it was very difficult to do so in these places where wheat was planted in the summer and harvested in the beginning of the winter, usually during Cheshvan. The wheat would then have to be stored in silos until after Pesach so that it could then be consumed and this was very difficult to do.

For this reason, the Poskim discuss whether or not Ashkenazim have on whom to rely in not being careful regarding “Chadash”. Indeed, the Poskim, including the great Rama, discuss several leniencies regarding this matter. Many Acharonim relied upon the opinion of the Bayit Chadash who rules that the prohibition of “Chadash” only applies to grain owned by a Jew and not that of non-Jews. Since all grain outside of Israel is grown and produced by non-Jews, the prohibition of “Chadash” does not apply.

Hagaon Harav Yechezkel Katzenelenbogen (the uncle of the Sha’agat Aryeh) rules leniently on this matter based on the aforementioned reason. On the other hand, his nephew, the great Sha’agat Aryeh writes very harshly against those who rule leniently on this matter, so much so that he writes that the Torah dresses itself in sackcloth about this opinion which is contrary to Torah law and which causes people to transgress a Torah prohibition based on weak arguments. The Sha’agat Aryeh relies heavily upon the Talmud Yerushalmi (quoted in the previous Halacha) which clearly implies that the prohibition of “Chadash” applies to non-Jewish produce as well. The Sha’agat Aryeh was so stringent about this matter that he ruled that one may not use the vessels of those who acted leniently on the prohibition of “Chadash” similar to one who cooked non-kosher meat in one’s vessels; he ruled that the vessels must be koshered before using them again. Indeed, the great Gaon, Rabbeinu Eliyahu of Vilna, also ruled stringently on the issue of “Chadash” nowadays.

Nevertheless, most of Ashkenazi Jewry did not heed the ruling of the Sha’agat Aryeh because of the great difficulty it involved. Because he was so stringent about this issue, no community in Europe wished to hire the great Sha’agat Aryeh as their rabbi and he lived in poverty for most of his life, wandering from place to place disseminating Torah in dire straits (until he was hired to serve as the rabbi of the French city of Metz in his old age).

Halachically Speaking
Many Poskim, among them Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, rule that one must avoid the prohibition of “Chadash” even nowadays, even with regards to non-Jewish produce and this is indeed a Torah prohibition. This is especially true regarding Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jews who are bound by the rulings of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch. Thus, in the United States and Europe where “Chadash” crops are common, one must make certain to only purchase products free of “Chadash” concerns. Regarding prepared products containing these crops that are produced in these countries and then imported into Israel, one must be sure not to purchase products after Pesach that were produced using “Chadash” produce. (We must point out that the “Orthodox Union” or “OU” Kashrut agency based in the United States is not careful regarding the “Chadash” status of the grain products they certify since they rely on the more lenient opinions we have discussed above. Thus, as opposed to several other Kashrut agencies in Israel and abroad, just because a product bears an “OU” symbol does not automatically render it “Yashan”. Many of their products may very well be “Yashan” and one should consult local “Chadash” guides to determine the given products status using codes, best-by dates, and the like.)

Maran zt”l would speak about this issue constantly and proclaimed that if people would know the severity of the matter and how easy it is to act stringently today, people would certainly do so; in our day and age it is much easier to take the necessary steps to avoid “Chadash” as opposed to previous generation when this was a great obstacle and which caused the Poskim to search for reasons for leniency as a result of the pressing circumstances. Indeed, many bakeries and other establishments in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere have begun to include the words “Without Concern for Chadash” or “Kemach Yashan” in their Kashrut certificates and advertising venues in order to show that they have begun taking care of this issue. This is indeed the proper custom and behavior that everyone should undertake.

We should also point out that grain products manufactured in the United States being sold on the market now do not pose “Chadash” concerns since we have recently just concluded the Pesach holiday. Only towards the beginning of the fall/winter will “Chadash” products return to the market.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Making Toast on a Hotplate on Shabbat

Question: May one place a pita or a slice of bread on a hotplate on Shabbat in order to turn it into hard and crunchy toast? Answer: There are two prohibitions we must discuss with regards to our question of making toast on Shabbat out of bread that was already baked before Shabbat. The first ......

Read Halacha

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on t......

Read Halacha

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat? Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just......

Read Halacha

Washing Dishes on Shabbat Night and Pouring Water on Dirty Dishes

Question: Upon the conclusion of the Shabbat night meal, may one immediately wash the dishes for the Shabbat day meal or should this only be done during the day closer to the start of the meal? Also, is it permissible to pour water onto soiled dishes (which one no longer needs for Shabbat) so that i......

Read Halacha


The Law Regarding a Woman Who Forgets to Recite the Blessings of the Torah

We have explained in the previous Halacha that if one forgets to recites the Blessings of the Torah and only realizes this after one has concluded Shacharit prayers, one may no longer recite these blessings, for one has already fulfilled his obligation with the “Ahavat Olam” blessing rec......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

Question: May one recite the Amida prayer in front of a curtain (covering the Aron Kodesh) which is adorned with various designs?

Answer: The Rambam writes in one of his responses (Freiman edition, Chapter 20): “It is incorrect to pray in front of garments with designs on them, even if the designs are not protruding. We usually close our eyes when it happens that we must pray in front of a wall or garment adorned with de......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding One Who Forgets to Recite the Morning Blessings

The Morning Blessings (“Birkot Ha’Shachar”) are the blessings recited every morning beginning from the “Elohai Neshama” blessing until the end of the Blessings of the Torah. Both men and women must recite these blessings, as we have discussed in the laws of the Morning ......

Read Halacha