Chief Rabbis: Stealing Daled Minim is Forbidden


rav-amar-rav-metzgerA number of neighborhood publications in Israel Yerushalayim and elsewhere recent republished a psak released three years ago by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, who, in a joint statement, said that it is prohibited¬† for people to steal and cut down s’chach and aravos from trees that grow by the riverside around Israel. These are generally protected, and cutting the branches off is illegal, is considered theft, and damages the trees.

The statement also says that one should refrain from buying aravos and s’chach from proprietors who one suspects are selling merchandise from less than permissible sources.

The Israeli Parks Authority inspectors, every Sukkos, announce that they will be enforcing the law that prohibits the cutting of certain trees and branches which does long-term damage.

Every year, it seems, there are some who cut down palm trees and willow bushes, violating and ignoring the warning signs and information posted nearby. Parks officials say that many of the damaged trees take years to grow new branches, and there is a danger of certain species becoming extinct in certain locales.

The Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rav Shlomo Amar and Rav Yonah Metzger, issued a statement the last few years not to cut from trees against the law for s’chach or for Daled Minim and to avoid making purchases from those who might not have acquired a permit and have illegally acquired their merchandise. The rabbonim stated that s’chach purchased from an illegal source is unfit for the mitzvah, and similarly, no bracha is recited on Daled Miinim acquired illegally.

Gal Arieli, of the ¬†Law Enforcement Division of Israel’s Parks, said that the law forbids the cutting of aravos, hadassim and lulavim in many areas, explaining that the loss of trees and infrastructure in certain areas causes reduced quantities of water in streams. Therefore, he said, the inspectors will be strict with those who wish to break the law, and certainly with those who wish to make a living by selling illegally cut aravos, hadassim or lulavim.

“Just as one would not purchase food from a restaurant without kosher certification,” said Mr. Arieli,” no one should purchase [Daled Minim] if there is concern that they were picked against the law.”

{ Israel News Bureau}