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Kashruth Question of the Week

Please explain what yoshan is. If someone takes upon him or herself to eat yashan, can they eat in someone’s house that does not keep yashan?

The Torah tells us that on the second day of Pescah they brought the Korban Haomer. The Korban Haomer was a Korban that from that day on they could use all the new grain that was planted from after Pesach last year until Pesach this year. That means that grain that did not take root before Pesach can’t be eaten until the next Pesach comes by.

In the real world of flour and grain, there is winter wheat and spring wheat. So anything that’s planted in the spring, you have to wait till next Pesach to be able to use, hence the word “Yashan.”

The definition of the word “Yashan” is old; you need to wait till it passes that time. In Eretz Yisroel, there is no question that you have to follow the Halacha of Chadash and Yoshan. In Chutz Le’Aretz, there is more room for leniency. Certain communities were lenient in areas of Yoshon, particularly in the Hassidic communities. In some of the Yeshivish communities, they were stricter about Yoshon and they took the position that even in Chutz Le’Aretz, all the flour and grain that they use needs to be Yoshon. This time of year, the winter time, is the hardest time for these people. After Pesach is the easiest time.

When the spring wheat has already been cut and in the market, the product that you’re getting is very possibly from the new season so you need to wait for Pesach. That’s the basis for the question, and the basis of the minhagim. In terms of the last question, if you’re so strict and you come to someone’s home who’s not strict, it depends on how serious you consider this an issue. If you really consider this an issue, like if you came to somebody’s house that was serving meat that you don’t feel comfortable with, then you wouldn’t eat it. Everyone has to know how serious it is to him/her. The only point I’d like to make, and I say this very often, is that these are important Halachos in regards to Kashruth. However, shalom bayis and getting along with other people are also very important and all those things should be taken into consideration before someone says or does something.