Hadash & Yashan

Hadash & Yashan

Today we are witnessing a revival of interest in Judaism among our people. This interest is manifested in a variety of ways. More children are attending Yeshiva day schools. More adults attend Torah classes including ‘Daf Yomi.’ More young families are joining synagogues and more Jews are concerned about eating foods that are certified kosher.

One of the laws that has been neglected, outside Israel, until now, and is just starting to come into vogue is that of ‘hadash and yashan,’ literally ‘new and old.’ Today one may notice many kosher bakeries in the New York and greater metropolitan area that have signs posted marked ‘we use yashan flour.’ For many, these signs have no meaning and draw blank stares, even people who understand Hebrew may be baffled by these signs. This article will explain what ‘hadash and yashan’ flour is, and will strive to delineate the halakhic basis for this law. It will also examine the various diverse opinions that exist and guide the reader to practical observance.

Topics to be discussed:

  •  The five species of grain.
  • What are hadash and yashan?
  • Sources.
  • Does hadash apply outside the land of Israel?
  • Does hadash apply to produce that is grown by a gentile?
  • ‘Hashrashah’ - taking root.
  • Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Do the laws of annulment (bittul) apply to hadash?
  • The scenario of hadash and yashan in America today.
  • Conclusion.

The Five Species of Grain

The following are referred to in halakhah as the ‘hameshet haminim’ (five grains):

  1. Oat.[i]
  2. Wheat.
  3. Barley.
  4. Rye.
  5. Spelt.

Certain distinct Jewish laws apply to them that are not applicable to other grains, fruits or vegetables as follows:

  • Most notably, according to Torah law, only these five grains can become hametz, (leavened bread), which is forbidden for a Jew to eat, possess or have benefit from on Passover (Pesah). Conversely, only matzah made from any or all of these five grains can be used for the mitzvah of eating matzah on the Seder nights of Passover at the exclusion of matzah made from any other grain. The Talmud in Menahot 70b, asks why rice and millet are not included together with these five grains and quotes Resh Lakishas stating

    Only these [five grains are affected by the omer] but not rice or millet. From where do we deduce this? — Said Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish (also known as Resh Lakish). "It is deduced from the occurrence of the word ‘bread’ both here [in the laws of the omer offering] and in the law concerning unleavened bread. It is written here, 'It shall be when you eat of the bread of the land,’ and it is written there, 'The bread of affliction.’ And from where do we know that the bread of affliction is only made from the five grains? — Said Rash Lakish, and so it was taught in the Academy of Rabbi Yishmael and also in the Academy of Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob: The Torah states, 'You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days shall you eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction.’ With grain that can become leaven a person fulfils his or her obligation on Passover; other grains are excluded, as they cannot come to a state of leaven but only to a state of decay. (When rice and millet are mixed with water and left to rise, instead of becoming a dough they ferment and decay.)
  • These grains also have the distinction of possibly being made into a bread or cake and would then have the ‘hamotzi’ or ‘mezonot’ blessing made before eating them.[ii]
  • They also have a special after blessings of ‘birkat hamazon’ or ‘al hamihyah’ depending on whether they are made into bread or cake.
  • Products made from these grains are given precedence at any meal and should be eaten first.
  • One of the least known distinctions, which apply to them, is that of ‘hadash and yashan.’  

What are Hadash and Yashan?

Hadash

Hadash is new grain, this is defined as follows: Any one of the above-mentioned five grains that was planted less than two weeks before the sixteenth of Nissan is considered ‘hadash’ (new) grain prior to the eighteenth of Nissan (seventeenth of Nissan in Israel) in the following year.

Yashan

Yashan is old grain, this is defined as follows: Grain that grew or took root[iii]  (i.e. was planted at least two weeks) before the sixteenth of Nissan is called yashan (old) on or after the eighteenth of Nissan (seventeenth of Nissan in Israel) of the same year.

In Temple times the omer sacrifice was brought on the sixteenth of Nissan. Immediately after it was brought, all produce that had taken root and was growing or had already been harvested prior to Pesah became yashan (old). Since the destruction of the temple the rabbis instituted that in Israel the produce would only become yashan at the beginning of the seventeenth ofNissan and outside Israel at the beginning of the eighteenth of Nissan.[iv]

The prohibition of hadash - of eating from the new crop of these five grains before the omer sacrifice was brought on the sixteenth of Nissan is according to all opinions biblical in nature in the land of Israel. However, two of the questionable issues that this article will address are:

  1. Does the prohibition of eating ‘hadash’ grain that takes root after the second day of Pesah exist only in Israel or also outside Israel?
  2. Does the prohibition apply to grain grown only on Jewish owned land or also to grain grown on land owned by gentiles?

Sources

The Torah (Leviticus 23:10-14) states:

Verse 10. Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, When you come to the land which I give to you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

Verse 11. And he shall wave the sheaf before the L-rd, to be accepted for you. On the day after the Shabbat the priest shall wave it…

Verse 14. And you shall not eat bread, nor dried grain, nor fresh grain,[v] until the same day that you have brought an offering to your G-d; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

There are at least four conspicuous issues that need to be clarified in these verses:

  • Verse 10 explicitly states that this mitzvah takes effect only when the Jews enter the land of Israel. Would it then be incumbent only on Jews that dwell in Israel or even on those who dwell abroad?
  • Directly related to question a) is verse 14. The Torah states that the prohibition ofhadash applies 'in all your dwellings,’ this would appear to mean even outside Israel.

Rashi on this verse quotes a debate from the Talmud Kiddushin 37a regarding this issue:

Some rabbis learned from this verse that hadash applies outside Israel and some learned that hadash only applied in Israel after they were dwelling there i.e. after they conquered it and divided the land between the tribes.
  • The Torah states that the offering should be brought ‘of your harvest’ does this imply that the laws of ‘hadash and yashan’ only apply to the harvest of a Jewish owned field and not that of field owned by a gentile?
  • In verse 11, the Torah states that the ‘waving offering’ shall be brought on the day after Shabbat only then is the new grain permitted. Which day is it referring to as ‘the day after the Shabbat?’ Rashi; Ramban; Ibn Ezra all comment that this is one of the famous debates between the Pharisees[vi] and Saducees[vii] in the second temple period. The literal approach of the Saducees understood this ‘day after Shabbat’[viii] to be Sunday. According to the Oral Tradition, of which normative Judaism today is a part, however, Shabbat has many different meanings and does not only mean Saturday.[ix] According to the context of these verses Shabbat here is referring to the first day of Yom Tov of Pesah which is also termed Shabbat.

As we will see, these basic questions on the literal meaning (peshat) of these verses gave rise to various halakhic and other debates that have not been entirely resolved even until our present time.

The Mishnah in Menahot 70a states:

Wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye are…forbidden [to be eaten] as new produce before the omer, and they may not be reaped before Passover. If they had taken root before the omer, the omer [offering] renders them permitted; otherwise they are forbidden until the next year's omer [offering].

Does Hadash Apply Outside the Land of Israel?

The Mishnah discusses the issue of whether hadash applies outside the biblical land of Israel in three locations:

  1. In Orlah Chapter 3, Mishnah 9: ‘Hadash (new grain) is prohibited by the Torah in all places.’
  2.  In Hallah Chapter 1, Mishnah 1: ‘Five species [of grain] are subject to [the law of] hallah: Wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye. These are subject to hallah, and [small quantities of dough made of the different species] are reckoned together [as one quantity] and are also subject to the prohibition of hadash [new grain] prior to the omer.’
  3. In Kiddushin Chapter 1, Mishnah 9: Every pr ecept that is dependent on the land is practiced only in the land; and that which is not dependent on the land is practiced both within and outside the land except ‘orlah and kilayim.’ Rabbi Eliezer said, ‘hadash too.’

The Talmud in Kiddushin 37a, in its commentary on this Mishnah discusses the concept of two different categories of mitzvot.

  • Mitzvot whose obligation is derived from the land of Israel (agricultural mitzvot).
  • Mitzvot that are obligations on people.

The Talmud concludes that since the prohibition of idolatrous practice and the obligation of destroying idols (Avodah Zarah) applies both in Israel and out of Israel so too any mitzvah, that is an obligation upon an individual, applies both in Israel and out of Israel. However mitzvot whose obligation is derived from land as all agricultural mitzvot are, apply only in Israel.[x]

The Talmud then goes on to discuss the debate between the Hakhamim and Rabbi Eliezer. In an interesting twist the Talmud first discusses whether Rabbi Eliezer's opinion is the lenient opinion or the strict one.[xi] Either way the debate between Rabbi Eliezer and the Hakhamim is about what we learn from verse 14 that says that this law applies “bekhol moshbotekhem” in all your dwelling places. This could be explained as any Jewish dwelling including Jewish owned dwellings and land in theDiaspora. According to this interpretation hadash would apply equally in the diaspora.

Alternatively “bekhol moshbotekhem” could be referring to dwellings and land in Israel only after the first fourteen years that Joshua and the Israelites took to conquer it. The verse comes to exclude the land of Israel being considered our dwelling place during this fourteen year period of conquering. According to this latter explanation hadash would not apply in the Diaspora.

The Talmud concludes that Rabbi Eliezar's position follows the first interpretation that hadash applies equally in the Diaspora.

The Tur[xii] states that the prohibition of eating hadash applies both in Israel and in the Diaspora, both during the time of the Temple's existence and after the Temple's destruction.

Rabbi Yoseph Karo in his Bet Yoseph concludes that the Rif, Rosh and Rambam[xiii] all follow Rabbi Eliezer's opinion that hadash is forbidden even outside Israel because a ‘stam’ or unnamed and undisputed Mishnah in Orlah 3:9 is of the same opinion.

The Or Zarua states that the prohibition of hadash outside Israel is only a rabbinical prohibition. Therefore in situations outside Israel where a person is in doubt as to whether the grain is hadash or not and it is impossible to clarify the situation a person may be lenient and partake of the grain. But, if the grain is definitely hadash it would be forbidden by rabbinical decree.

Bah notes that all the legal decisors (poskim) hold that the halakhah is like Rabbi Eliezer that the prohibition of hadash applies outside Israel from the Torah even though it is an obligation that is derived from land and not from the individual. There is one dissenting opinion however, among the decisors, that of Rabbi Barukh who is lenient in places that are far from the land of Israel.[xiv] 

Does Hadash Apply to Produce grown by Non-Jewish Farmers?

Tosafot at the top of Kiddushin 37a quotes the Jerusalem Talmud as stating that the prohibition of hadash applies to produce grown by gentiles as well.[xv]

The Tur,[xvi] and Shulhan Arukh explicitly state that the prohibition of eating hadash applies both to produce grown by a Jew and that grown by a gentile.

Rambam does not mention this aspect of the law at all. Radbaz in his commentary on Rambam (Chapter 10:2 Hilkhot Maakhalot Assurot) questions why Rambam doesn't mention this. He notes that the Rosh in a responsa and all the other authors clearly state that there is no distinction in the prohibition between produce grown by a Jew and that grown by a Gentile. Radbaz answers that Rambam did not feel the necessity to make any mention of this law as it is so obvious, because the Torah doesn't make any distinction as it does in the case of Tevel where it states ‘your grain’ thus it is obvious that there is no distinction.[xvii]

Bah disagrees with this explanation of the words of Rambam, and states that Rambam in the Laws of Hadash doesn't mention the status of hadash grain of a gentile whereas in the Laws of Orlah[xviii] and Kelay Kerem he explicitly states that orlah produced by a gentile is also prohibited. It therefore appears that his omission by the Laws of Hadash was deliberate and shows that in Rambam's view hadash produced by a gentile is allowed. Similarly Bah points out that the Rif also does not explicitly prohibit hadash produced by a gentile.

Bah[xix] brings proofs from the Torah that hadash does not apply to produce grown by gentiles even in the land of Israel. The Torah states that the omer offering must be brought ‘from your harvest’ - from produce grown by Jews.[xx] Just as the omer can only be brought from produce grown by Jews so too, the prohibition of hadash only applies to produce grown by Jews. He quotes the Likutei Maharil as stating that even though there were rabbinic decisors (poskim) who allowed it without reservation, hadash grown by gentiles is prohibited from the rabbis.

Bah declares that the minhag in Ashkenaz even among the great sages of his time and their students was to allow hadash grain and he gives witness that they would drink beer made from the new grain.[xxi] In order to support this minhag Bah states that the only authority to prohibit hadash grown by gentiles was Rabbi Yitzhak in Tosfot who based himself on the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud). Bah asks “Who says that Rabbi Yitzhak in Tosfot was stating a halachah? He may just have been stating that it appeared from the Yerushalmi that hadash grown by gentiles was prohibited. It could be that he himself did not agree with that position since the Babylonian Talmud does not prohibit this?” However, unlike Bah, almost all other halakhic authorities took their cue from this Tosfot to prohibit Hadash grown by gentiles.

Bah tries to defend the lenient Ashkenazi minhag by explaining the Yerushalmi in a different way from that understood by Tosfot. Bah also states that Rosh who in a responsa was strict about Hadash grown by gentiles reversed his ruling in his commentary on the Talmud which he later authored, and like Rambam and Rif leaves out the law of gentile grown hadash grain, implying that it is allowed. However, like Rambam, Rosh explicitly prohibits orlah and kelay kerem produce grown by a gentile. The Bah ends by questioning the Tur's decision to rule strictly in this matter even though his father the Rosh had later changed his views to be lenient. Bah concludes:

After researching this issue it appears from Jewish law that hadash grown by gentiles is allowed. Therefore no sage is to prohibit it and contradict the prevailing lenient custom which was adopted under the great authorities of Israel. If a person wants to be strict on himself, it is a trait of piety. However he should not instruct others to be strict so that arguments will be prevented. Only a person who is already involved in other acts of piety and has a reputation for being pious is allowed to adopt a strict custom.

 Taz[xxii] states:

We see close to a majority of rabbis who are not careful about the laws of hadash any time…

Taz does not accept Bah's explanation of the Yerushalmi because it goes against the opinions of the vast majority of latter authorities. Nevertheless he does try and resolve the widespread Ashkenazi custom (minhag), even among the learned, to be lenient. He states that the law of hadash outside Israel is an argument in the Mishnah in the first chapter of Kiddushin.

Every commandment which is dependent on the land is practiced only in the land [Israel]; and that which is not dependent on the land is practiced both within and without the land [in the diaspora], except ‘orlah and kilayim.’ Rabbi Eliezer said: ‘hadash too.’

Taz notes the Talmud on this Mishnah does not declare the final halakhah. In a situation such as this we would normally say that the halakhah follows the majority opinion of the Hakhamim which is the first opinion mentioned versus the minority opinion of Rabbi Eliezer. Nevertheless Rif and Rosh decided the law like Rabbi Eliezer since we find in Tractate Orlah[xxiii] an uncontested Mishnah like his opinion:

Hadash (new produce) is prohibited by the Torah in all places.

However, it is possible that the tractate of Orlah was learnt before the tractate of Kiddushin and therefore it is an undisputed Mishnah followed by a debate[xxiv] in which case the halakhah should be like the resolution of the debate. The halakhah should then be like the majority opinion of the Hakhamim in Kiddushin. Since in Europe at that time it was considered impossible to exist without partaking of the new produce, and since the Talmud does not finalize the issue, they were able to rely on the Hakhamim’s opinion ‘bshaat hadechak’ as an emergency measure.

Taz concludes that the halakhic authorities who were stringent in this law lived in warm countries. Because of the warm climate the grain was always planted in the early spring and therefore took root well before Pesach. In their countries there were practically no instances of hadash grain and the authorities never had to rely on this leniency. 

Be'er Hagolah agrees with Bah and Taz that the great Rabbis past and present were lenient on hadash. He states that they relied on the Talmud Yerushalmi at the beginning of tractate Hallah that Benei Yisrael fulfilled the mitzvah of matzah on the first night of Pesah when they first arrived in Israel with wheat bought from gentile merchants. Even though we normally follow the Babylonian Talmud against the Jerusalem Talmud, 'sha'at hadahak sha'ani' (extreme situations are different).

Rema[xxv] seems to hold like Shulhan Arukh that there is no difference in the law prohibiting hadash whether in Israel or outside, whether produce of Jew or Gentile. He quotes the Rosh that a person who is unaware of the source of the grain may rely on two doubts:[xxvi]

  1. Maybe the grain was produced in the previous year.
  2. Even if it is the produce of the present year maybe it took root prior to the 18th of Nissan.

Magen Avraham[xxvii] states that the leniency with which the law of hadash is treated is based on the Baal Halakhot Gedolot's opinion that hadash outside Israel is only prohibited by rabbinical decree. This decree applied only in countries that were in the vicinity of Israel. Similarly the Terumat Hadeshen states the opinion of the Or Zarua was that the prohibition of hadash outside Israel is by rabbinical decree. Magen Avraham concludes that he just wants to explain the lenient minhag but that a ‘baal nefesh’ a spiritually sensitive individual should be as strict as possible.

Vilna Gaon[xxviii] states that all the Rishonim with the exception of the Sefer Terumah are of the opinion that the prohibition of hadash applies equally outside Israel as in Israel, the words of the Baal Halachot Gedolot are wrong and so are those of Bah who is of the opinion that hadash does not apply to grain grown in gentile property outside of Israel. The Gra forcefully disagrees with Bah’s position. He also disagrees with Taz’s position that in times of need (shaat hadahak) a person may rely on the lenient opinion. He states that if the halakhah was already decided by the great authorities we are unable to be lenient in times of need.[xxix]

Aruch Hashulkhan has an interesting approach in the name of the Or Zarua. He maintains that confusion over this matter is deliberate. Both the rabbis of the Mishnah (Tannaim) and those of the Talmud (Amoraim) did not clearly state the final halakhah to teach us that in difficult circumstances we have the right to rely on the lenient opinion that outside Israel the prohibition of hadash is rabbinical.

The Hafetz Haim in his Mishnah Berurah[xxx] states that in the area in Poland, that he lived there was no problem of hadash with wheat and rye as the vast majority were planted in Heshvan and would only be harvested after Passover. However, there was a problem of hadash with barley, oats and spelt as the vast majority of these grains were sown after Passover, what's more, these grains were never imported and therefore the Rema's double doubt[xxxi] did not apply to them and therefore there was no room to be lenient by barley, oats and spelt.

He gives testimony that the majority of the Jewish world in his time and area were not at all careful with the prohibition of hadash. He states that some latter authorities explained this leniency as emanating from their reliance on the minority opinion among the Rishonim that hadash outside Israel is only a rabbinical prohibition and the rabbis only made this decree in countries that were physically close to Israel like Egypt and Babylon (Iraq). Other latter authorities explained the prevailing leniency as dependent on the opinion that hadash outside Israel is not prohibited when produced in a gentile owned field.

The Hafetz Haim concludes that even though we are unable to rebuke those who are lenient, a pious individual will not rely on these leniencies and will be strict on himself wherever possible because according to many of the great early authorities in all cases this is a Torah prohibition. In Biyur Halakhah he states that even many pious people who normally followed strict halakhic opinions in the other areas of their lives were lenient when it came to hadash, because they knew that they were unable to be strict on themselves on all its by-products: like yeast, beer, the vessels which had already absorbed hadash through cooking and baking and other ramifications. Since they felt that it was impossible to be strict in all these areas they were lenient on everything. He states that a person should try to the best of their ability to be strict at least on grain that is definitely hadash because it was possible even according to those who prohibit hadash grain to be lenient on beer and on the vessels that had absorbed hadash.

Hashrashah

When are the five grains considered to be yashan? After the grains take root in the soil (hashrashah) and this is followed by the first two days of Passover (three days outside Israel).

Shakh[xxxii] quotes Terumat Hadeshen that hashrashah is three days after planting the seeds like the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah. However, in his commentary Nekudat Hakasef he states that Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Shimon disagree with the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah[xxxiii] and state that hashrashah takes place two weeks after planting the seeds. He decides that this is the halakhah as stated in Yebamot 83a and codified by Rambam Laws of Shemittah and Yobel 3:11.[xxxiv]

Hashrashah therefore takes place a period of two weeks after planting the seed.

Do the Laws of Annulment (bittul) Apply to Hadash?

The Taz[xxxv] points out that although usually the laws of annulment (bittul) apply to prohibited foods that fall and mix into permitted foods, the hadash content in a mixture is not annulled because:

  • A food which is prohibited because of time i.e. it is normally allowed but because of the time factor is forbidden, like hametz on Passover, cannot be annulled while it is prohibited. We tell the person, “Why eat it in it's prohibited state through annulment, wait for it to be allowed.”  Hadash falls in this category. It is not intrinsically prohibited but is prohibited because of the time factor involved, and therefore cannot be annulled since it is allowed after a certain time.[xxxvi]
  • If the grain was added to give flavor to the mixture it is not annulled, as something that gives flavor is never annulled. The whole idea of annulment is to remove or hide any forbidden flavor that may pre-exist.[xxxvii]

This idea that hadash falls into the category of ‘davar sheyesh lo matirin eino batel afilu ba’elef’ is discussed by the S’dei Hemed in two places:

In Volume 2[xxxviii] he quotes the following debate: Mordekhai[xxxix] on the first chapter of Talmud Beitza states that hadash is not considered ‘davar sheyesh lo matirin’ since it is returns to being prohibited the following year. The Peri Hadash[xl] questions this opinion since once hadash is allowed it is never again forbidden. Furthermore the Talmud in Nedarim[xli] explicitly states that hadash is considered ‘davar sheyesh lo matirin’. The Hatam Sofer answers this question in his commentary on the Torah.[xlii]

In Volume 8[xliii] the S’dei Hemed quotes many sources who discuss this issueHowever, after all the debate the Taz’s conclusion seems to stand.

Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages.

The Pnei Yehoshua,[xliv] Mishkenot Yaakov and others are lenient regarding beer and other alcoholic beverages that are made from hadash produce. Their rationale is that the Talmud defines all fruit juices as ‘zeya bealma’ sweat of the fruit but not its main fruit and because of this definition the Talmud states that the blessing over all fruit juices is ‘shehakol.’ The exceptions to this rule are the grape and olive which are frown specifically for their juices which are the main part of the fruit. The liquids obtained from grains that are then processed into beer fall into the category of ‘zeya bealma’ they are therefore permitted according to Torah law even when the grain is forbidden as they are not considered a part of the grain. Outside Israel since there is a debate as to the law regarding hadash one may be lenient regarding beer. Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph[xlv] quotes this Pnei Yehoshua in an analysis of the halakhic status of steam.  

The Scenario in North America

Generally in North America there are two kinds of crops: winter crops and spring crops.

Spring crops are generally planted around Pesah however since they only take root (hashrashah) after the fifteenth of Nissan they are halakhically considered hadash. They only become yashan on the following sixteenth of Nissan or later.

Winter crops are planted in the fall, lie dormant in the winter and finish growing in the spring and summer when they are harvested. Since they take root before the sixteenth of Nissan they are always yashan.

In the United States spelt and rye[xlvi] are always winter crops and are therefore always yashan whereas barley and oats are almost all spring crops and are therefore hadash. Wheat however, is available in either spring or winter varieties.

All grain that took root before Pesach (sixteenth of Nissan) are yashan and therefore all grains that are available from the sixteenth of Nissan until the harvest of the spring crop which is in August are yashan.

There are different varieties of wheat each with different gluten content. Wheat flour can be divided into four groups.

  1. High gluten flour, which is used for chewy products like: bread, hallah, and pizza. These are usually made from spring wheat.
  2. Medium gluten flour is made from both winter and spring wheat it is used for: pizza, hallah and bread.
  3. Low gluten flour made from winter wheat is used for crumbly products such as: cookies, matzah, and pretzels.
  4. Durum wheat very high gluten content is usually a spring crop in the United States except Arizona and is used in pasta products.

The only way to make the spring flour yashan is by storing it until after the following Pesach.

In the USA high gluten spring wheat is only grown in four states, all of them are clustered in the upper Midwest: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota. The harvest starts in South Dakota around the beginning of August and works its way north. This wheat belt continues northward into Canada where it is harvested even later.

The New York State mills obtain their high gluten wheat from Duluth, Minnesota. It's harvest starts about the second week in August. The Hadash flour starts arriving in the New York mills a couple of weeks later in the beginning of September.[xlvii]

Conclusion

Israel

There is no question that the laws of Hadash should be strictly adhered to in Israel as according to all our legal decisors Hadash in Israel is a Torah requirement.

The United States

The overwhelming majority of kashrut certifying agencies in the United States certify as kosher Hadash grain derivatives relying on the lenient Ashkenazi custom and legal decisors mentioned above.

The prevailing custom of the American Sephardic communities is to rely on the popular kashrut authorities’ lenient ruling. However certainly in places where Yashan is readily available with no incurred inconvenience it would be advisable for Sepharadim to be strict in this regard.


[i] A Tanna taught: Kusmin[spelt] is a species of wheat; shibboleth shu'al [oats] and shipon [rye] are species of barley.(Menahot 70a).

[ii] For Sepharadim the blessing before eating rice is also mezonot but the after-blessing on rice is still 'bore nefashot.’ See Brachot 35b, Rab and Samuel, say that the blessing “who creates various kinds of food - bore minei mezonot” is said only over the five species [of cereals].

[iii] Taking root – ‘hashrashah’ is the point in the development of the planted seed at which Jewish law (halakhah) considers that the plant has taken root. The grain is considered ‘yashan’ if hashrashah occurred before the seventeenth of Nissan (eighteenth of Nissan outside Israel) and it is now past this date.

[iv] Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 293:1.

[v] The Rambam Hilkhot Maakhalot Assurot Chapter 10:1 based on the Talmud in Keritut 5 lists these as three separate prohibitions.

[vi] Perushim in Hebrew. This means those that separated or distanced themselves from the evils that were taking place at that time. They were the bearers of the oral laws, their students authored the Mishnah and Talmud.

[vii] Tzadokim in Hebrew. They were mainly Kohanim (of the priestly descendants of Aaron) followers of Tzadok who took the Torah literally and did not accept the authenticity of the Oral Law.

[viii] They understood it to be the Sunday of Passover. According to the Sadducees Shavuot would always fall fifty days later on a Sunday. How do they learn that the verse is discussing the Shabbat of Passover it could be referring to any Shabbat throughout the year? (Gemara and Rashi on Leviticus 23:11).

[ix] Yom Kippur is also referred to as Shabbat, so is Rosh Hashana, the first day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. Shemittah is referred to as the Sabbatical year ‘Shenat Shabbaton.’ We see that the term ‘Shabbat’ is used in other contexts and not only in reference to Saturday, (Ramban).

[x] Gemara. What is the meaning of ‘dependent’ and ‘not dependent’? Shall we say: ‘dependent’ refers to those [precepts] where ‘coming’ is written, and ‘not dependent’ to those where ‘coming’ is not stated? But tefillin and the [redemption of] the first born of an ass are practiced both within and without the land, though ‘coming’ is written in connection with them? — Said Rab Judah: This is its meaning: every precept that is a personal obligation is practiced both within and without the Land; but what is an obligation of the soil has force only within the Land. How do we know these things? Our Rabbis taught: These are the statutes (Deuteronomy 12:1), this refers to the [Rabbinic] interpretations; and the judgments - to civil law; which you shall observe — to [the study of the] Mishnah; to do — to actual practice; in the land: I might think that all precepts are binding in the Land only — therefore it is stated, all the days that you live upon the earth. If ‘all the days’, I might think that [all precepts] must be practiced both in and out the Land. Therefore it is taught: ‘in the land’. Now, since the Torah extends and limits [the duration of the precepts], go and learn from what is stated in that passage: You shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations served their god. Just as [the destruction of] idolatry is singled out as being a personal duty, and is obligatory both within and without the land, so everything which is a personal duty is incumbent both within and without the land.

[xi] Excepting orlah and kilayim etc. The scholars asked: ‘Does Rabbi Eliezer disagree in the direction of leniency or [greater] stringency? In the direction of stringency,’ the first Tanna stating thus: ‘excepting orlah and kilayim, concerning which there is a traditional law, though one might argue that it is a duty connected with the soil, but hadash is practiced only in the Land, but not in the Diaspora. What is the reason? ‘Dwelling’ implies after taking possession and settling down.’ Whereon Rabbi Eliezer comes to say that hadash too applies both within and outside the Land: What is the reason? ‘Dwelling’ implies wherever you may be living. Or perhaps, he differs in the direction of leniency, the first Tanna stating thus: ‘excepting orlah and kilayim, concerning which there is a traditional law and all the more so hadash, for ‘dwelling’ implies wherever you are living.’ Whereon Rabbi Eliezer comes to say that hadash is practiced only in the land, for ‘dwelling’ implies after taking possession and settling down. While to what does 'too' refer? To the first [clause].

            Come and hear: For Abaye said: which Tanna disagrees with Rabbi Eliezer [in our Mishnah]? Rabbi Yishmael. For it was taught: This is to teach you that wherever ‘dwelling’ is stated, it means only after taking possession and settling down: this is Rabbi Yishmael's opinion. Said Rabbi Akiba to him: But the Sabbath, in connection with which ‘dwellings’ is stated, is yet binding both within and without the land? The Sabbath, replied he to him, is inferred: if light precepts must be practiced both within and outside the land, surely the Sabbath, which is more stringent! Since Abaye said: ‘which Tanna disagrees with Rabbi Eliezer? Rabbi Yishmael,’ it follows that Rabbi Eliezer differs and is more stringent. This proves it.

[xii] Yoreh Deah 293.

[xiii] Hilkhot Maakhalot Assurot Chapter 10.

[xiv] The Bah does not clarify Rabbi Barukh's opinion which is quoted by the Rosh in a responsa.

[xv] So states Mordekhai end of the first chapter of Kiddushin, Semag and Rosh.

[xvi] Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 293.

[xvii] This is not quite the case. The Torah does make a distinction it states that the omer offering should be brought from 'your harvest.’ Does this mean that hadash only applies to the produce of a Jew? Then we are back to Radbaz's question. - Why doesn't Rambam explain?

[xviii] Chapter 10 of the Laws of Maaser Sheni.

[xix]  Tur Yoreh Deah 293.

[xx] Rabbi Kahana was asked by members of the college, 'From where did the Israelites bring the omer which they offered on their entry into the Land [of Israel]? If you say, it grew while still in the possession of the heathen, [this cannot be, since] the All Merciful prescribed 'your harvest' (You shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest. Leviticus 23:10) and not the harvest of the stranger.

[xxi] Bah assumes that there is no difference in prohibition between hadash grain and beer made from of it unlike the Pnei Yehoshuasee point 7 regarding beer.

[xxii] Son-in-law of Bah, Shulhan Arukh Yoreh Deah 293:4.

[xxiii] Chapter 3:9.

[xxiv] Stam ve'achar kakh mahloket eyn halakhah kestam.

[xxv] Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 293.

[xxvi] ‘Safek sefeka.’

[xxvii] Shulhan Arukh, Orach Haim 490:17.

[xxviii] Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 293.

[xxix] His source is Masechet Menachot 41.

[xxx] Orah Haim, 489:45.

[xxxi] A) Maybe the grain was produced in the previous year. B) Even if it is the produce of the present year maybe it took root prior to the 18th of Nissan.

[xxxii] Yoreh Deah 293:2.

[xxxiii] Rabbi Akibah Eiger, the Gra and others all asks the same question on the Terumat Hadeshen.

[xxxiv] The Shulhan Arukh Yoreh Deah 294:4 also follows this opinion.

[xxxv] Yoreh Deah 293:1.

[xxxvi] In talmudic terminology this law is called: 'Davar sheyesh lo matirin eino batel afilu baelef.’

[xxxvii] Shulhan Arukh Yoreh Deah, 123:15.

[xxxviii] Maarekhet Dalet page 111 paragraph beginning ‘Vehadash’.

[xxxix] The Mordekhai quotes the opinion of Rach Hakohen.

[xl] Yoreh Deah 102.

[xli] 58a.

[xlii] Torat Mosheh Parashat Vayeshev 35a.

[xliii] Maarekhet hadash 12-15, Page 179-180.

[xliv] In his last kuntres on Kiddushin where he discusses the laws of hadash.

[xlv] Yabia Omer Volume 5, Yoreh Deah 7:6.

[xlvi] Rye grain, not rye bread which contains wheat.

[xlvii] See the Orthodox Union's Daf Hakashrus' two articles on this topic.

By Rabbi Bassous - Congregation Etz Ahaim, Highland Park NJ