Thursday, October 11, 2007

R. Yaakov Lipshitz and Heter Mechirah

R. Yaakov Lipshitz and Heter Mechirah
by R. Eliezer Brodt

As per Sheuy R's request a short post on shemitah:

It is virtually impossible to write up a review of the literature out there on shemitah seforim as the seforim keep on coming out. For some odd reason people out there feel this is their place to contribute to our vast torah literature. As of last shemitah in the middle of the year I inquired at a local seforim store how many books did he get on the topic of shemitah. He said over seventy five! By now that number has certainly doubled. My personal recommendation is if someone is working on a sefer on shemitah, unless it is incredible, do not waste your time printing it.

I will list just one recent very important reprint, the sefer Torat Yonasan (originally printed in Vilna, 1888) written by R. Yonasan Abelmann (1854-1903). This sefer was not without critics. R. Abelmann , however, responded in his teshuvot, Zikhron Yonason, Vilna, 1904, Kuntres Devar HaShmita (see pages 158b-187b). He discusses, among others, the opinion of the Bet HaLevi.

Interestingly enough with all the reprints and new stuff coming, out the Madanei Eretz of R. Shlomo Zalman on Mesechtat Shmitta has yet to be reprinted. The sefer, as everything this godal Hador (not that he needs my recommendation) wrote is excellent and very important to many issues of Shemitah but being that it deals with R. Kook so chas vesholom they could not reprint it.

The main point of this post is to share with you an incredible story relating to shemitah that I read a while back. This story is found in one of the best and most honest books (at least in my humble opinion) written about many gedolim from Yakov Mark. Dan has posted on this book a while back. There is much to add to what he wrote, perhaps I will return to it another time. For now just the story. Yakov Mark records a story (Gedolim fun Unzer Tzeit, New York, 1927, pp. 117-18 and translated into Hebrew, B'Mechtizah shel Gedolim, Jerusalem, 1958, p. 104) of a meeting he had with R Yakov Lipshitz, the famous secretary of R Yitchack Elchonon Spector (and for purposes of the story below, it is important to note that R. Lipshitz was an anti-Zionist):

פעם אחת היתה לי שיחה מענינת עמו בענין שאלת השמיטה. הדבר היה בשנת השמיטה של שנת תרמט, והוא גילה לי סוד, שלו חלק גדול בהיתר שהוציא ר' יצחק אלחן מפני שהוא הפציר בו שיתן היתר ואם תאמר: איך זה מתיישב שיענקל ליפשיץ ישתדל עבור הציונים? מפזם לו ליפשיץ בניגון של גמרא, הענין הוא:שהציונים עשו נזק לעצמם בזה שחיפשו היתר יותר משהיה יכול להזיקם כל מתנגד שהוא. שער בנפשך, אלו היה הסטודנטים מכרכוב חוזרים ומקיימים את מצות השביעית אחרי אלף ושמונה מאות שנה, והרי מסורת היא שבעון שמיטה חרב הבית דומה שהיו מטילים על יענקל ליפשיץ כל האבנים הנמצאות ברחוב קובנה, כיצד הוא העיז לדבר על צדיקים כאלו? ומלבד זאת איזו פרסומת טובה היתה יוצאת מזה: כל העולם החרדי היה נושאם על הידים והיו ממש טובעים בזהבר, אבל יצרם הרע דחפם לבוץ ואני סייעתי בו


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