Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Adar 5761 - March 7, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shemen To Ma'aser Imported Soy Oil
by Betzalel Kahn

Shemen, the largest Israeli concern for the manufacture of oils, has decided to ma'aser all soy oil produced from imported soybeans. The soybeans undergo an extraction process in company plants in Israel. Taking ma'aser from the soybeans is in accordance with the rulings of the Chazon Ish who said that if the final product is made in Israel (gemar melocho) then ma'aser must be taken even if the raw material comes from chutz la'aretz.

The procedure is discussed at length by our poskim, who deliberate on whether the fact that the extraction takes place in Israel renders the oil analogous to a product grown on Israeli soil from which terumos and ma'asros must be set aside. The greatest poskim are divided on this issue. The opinion of the Chazon Ish can be found in detail in Derech Emunoh by HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, who wrote (chapter one, letter 254): "We heard that Maran was strict to tithe soy oil made of soybeans that had been grown abroad, because [the extraction process] it undergoes in Israel is considered a gemar melocho in Israel. This oil must be tithed without a brocho, and perhaps because most of the beans will be used in the production of oil."

Practical arrangements to tithe the plant's products are being set up. In a tour of the plant by a kashrus delegation headed by HaRav Yosef Efrati, all arrangements for the tithing and new labeling of oil to be produced in line with the Chazon Ish rulings were surveyed. Upon the institution of this halachic hiddur, the company will also come under the supervision of the Center for Torah-Based Agriculture.

This very important decision on the part of Shemen was made upon consultation with the gedolei haposkim, who blessed the company for its willingness to accept the stringent hiddurim.


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