Jewish History Soundbites

Sale or No Sale? Shemitah in Modern Times Part II

September 25, 2021
With the passing of Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor in 1896, his true opinion of the 'Heter Mechira' which he had authored became a matter of everlasting dispute. In the ensuing shmittah years, other rabbis weighed in on the issue, with some supporting the heter mechira, while others remained opposed.
With the rise of settlements during the Second Aliyah in the early 1900's, as well as the more secular nature of the colonists, the shmittah issue came to the fore again with the upcoming shmittah year of 1910. Rav Yaakov Dovid Wilovsky - the Ridbaz - was the most vocal opponent of the heter mechira, and he disputed the then rabbi of Yaffo, Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook. This sharp dispute defined the heter mechira issue during that year, though the two maintained a close personal friendship.
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