Chief Rabbis: Stealing Daled Minim is Forbidden

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rav-amar-rav-metzgerThe Chief Rabbis of Israel have released a joint statement saying 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, announced 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, have issued a statement 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.”

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}

4 COMMENTS

  1. First of all the headline is a bit misleading. It seems that the rabbonim are forbidding Lulav Hagazul, which anyone who can read a mishna knows that that is the very first p’sul mentioned.

    And in the text of the article, it seems that they are assering to buy from people who cut illegaly. But if you’ll look in the gemara, (I’m at the office, don’t have one with me, but I think it is 30A) there is the sugya of “Avankeri”. The gemara says there that if the avankeri do the cutting, and the tzibur buys it from them, then it is OK. There is then yiush (after the cutting) and shinui reshus (when we buy from the Avankeri). We only have to be careful not to do the cutting ourselves, because then the shinui reshus comes before the yiush, which could be a problem.

    Unless the Law Enforcement Division of Israel’s Parks is saying in this article that they are not being meya’esh. If so, that may be the reason to asser.

  2. 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.

    PLEASE DO NOT DESTROY MY HOME (ERETZ YISROEL)

  3. i dont get it stealing is forbidden! period . why are we singling out the daled minim if stealing is prohibited.
    Thats like saying *murdering your neighbor* is assur?

  4. #3 –

    Why? Because people don’t pay attention. Because the yetzer hara always has its little push to do things the cheaper/”easier” way.

    Also, people who don’t see the secular media (like many chareidim) may not realize that trees out in a field somewhere are not hefker. The Rabbonim are doing a service for the State and for those who either don’t know or otherwise wouldn’t care.

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