Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

22 Av 5759 - August 4, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Utensils Manufactured by the Phoenicia Glass Company of Yeruchom Require Tevillo

by B. Rabinowitz

HaRav Nissim Karelitz recently issued a psak halocho, to the effect that all of the utensils manufactured by the Phoenicia company in the southern city of Yeruchom require tevillo. The reason for this psak is that Phoenicia, the only glass bottle manufacturer in Israel, has recently signed a deal with an active non-Jewish partner of Iranian descent in order to enable the firm to emerge from its long-term financial difficulties. Upon verification of this fact, a group of askonim asked HaRav Nissim Karelitz, the av beis din of Ramat Aharon, to provide halachic guidelines regarding the utensils produced by this firm.

HaRav Karelitz's psak halocho, issued on the 13h Av, states: "Since it has become clear that the Phoenicia company has a non-Jewish partner, all of the utensils it manufactures require tevillo, including the bottles." According to this ruling the bottles of the company should at least be immersed where reuse of the containers after taking out its contents is involved.

However, this is not the only problem with the Phoenicia company, where massive Shabbos desecration takes place every week, and where many uninformed Jews work on Shabbos. For a number of years, many prominent askonim have, under the guidance of maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel made intensive efforts to curb this Shabbos desecration. This problem could have been solved if all of the wine companies had refused to use Phoenicia's bottles. Although the kashrus supervision groups did warn that if Phoenicia did not stop desecrating the Shabbos, they would demand that the companies they supervise import bottles from abroad, their warnings did not yield positive results.

Seeing that the directors of Phoenicia saw no need to comply with the repeated directives and appeals of the rabbonim, the kashrus networks refrained from implementing this decision.

But in the wake of the psak halocho issued by HaRav Karelitz, which means that the glass products produced by the Phoenicia company are exactly the same as products produced by non-Jewish companies all over the world, the kashrus networks feel that it is now preferable to use glass products from abroad and not Phoenicia's, so as not to lend support to the massive Shabbos desecration taking place every week in the Phoenicia plant.

"It is preposterous for Jews, who cherish the Shabbos to make kiddush on wine bottled in containers produced through Shabbos desecration by misled Jews. It is inconceivable for the vineyards in the country, which are certified kosher by outstanding kashrus networks, to continue abetting Shabbos desecration, rendering the chareidi community which purchases these wines active abetters to the violation of the halocho.," said one of the prominent askonim involved in the affair.

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