Religion Magazine

Interesting Psak: Non-religious Waiters During Shmitta

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Hamechadesh is reporting on an interesting psak of Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of Ramat Elchonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq, regarding waiters during the shmitta year.
Rav Zilbershtein said there is an issue that many event halls, restaurants, hotels, and catering services, in the Haredi community as well, employ non-religious waiters. These non-religious waiters will dispose of food, including vegetables, remaining on plates after being eaten, by clearing the plates or leftover pans into the garbage, as they have done until now. During shmitta this is a problem, as these foods must be disposed of properly to prevent actively causing them to rot or become disgusting. they should be disposed of in a special bag with nothing else and then can later be mixed with the regular garbage, after they rotted on their own. Employing these non-religious waiters is going to be a problem, as it will lead to violations of shmitta.
Rav Zilbershtein added that employing non-Jews will not solve the problem either, as the fruits and vegetables have kedusha so we cannot allow a non-Jew to dispose of them either.
Rav Zilbershtein said there is only one solutiont ot he problem and that is to install cameras in the restaurants or hall and tell the waiters about them. the waiters should be warned that if they dispose of any vegetable sin the garbage this year, and they are being watched, they will be fired with no severance. This would be the only way it would be allowed to employ "amei haaretz" - ignoramuses, non-religious people.
I suppose this is only a problem in Bnei Braq. Generally catering services, wedding halls, restaurants, and the like are not using "otzar beis din" produce, but would be using mostly non-Jewish produce, and maybe some imported. Obviously non-mehadrin places might also use hetter mechira produce, but Rav Zilbershtein is not talking about that. Bnei Braq has the minhag of the Chazon Ish that even non-Jewish produce retains its holiness and must be treated properly, while in most other places the minhag is that non-Jewish produce is not treated with kedusha and can be disposed of regularly. It sounds to me like Rav Zilbershtein must be talking about in Bnei Braq only, as in Jerusalem and elsewhere this should not be a problem at all. 
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