Rabbi Asher Sabag
Former Shaliach in Chicago
What is the prohibition of Chadash?
The prohibition of Chadash is a prohibition to eat any of the five types of grain that did not root before the 16th of Nissan, the time of sacrificing the Omer which allows eating the new grains; it is prohibited to eat all of these grains until the sacrifice of the Omer. After the destruction of the Temple Chachamim ruled that the entire day of the 16th of Nissan will be prohibited to eat the new grain, and abroad where we celebrate two days of holiday it is prohibited to eat the new grains until the night of the 18th of Nissan .
According to the above I would like to raise two questions:
1. Does the prohibition of Chadash apply only in Israel or also abroad?
2. Does the prohibition of Chadash apply also on grains that belong to non-Jews?
The basis for this prohibition appears in Leviticus 23:14
“You shall not eat bread or roasted kernels or plump kernels until this very day, until you bring the offering of your God; it is an eternal decree for your generations in all your dwelling places.”
The Amoraim in the Gemara argued about the understanding of Tana Kama and Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, however, the controversy remains the same; does the prohibition of Chadash from the Torah apply in Israel and abroad or only in Israel. The essence of the disagreement is in explaining the words “dwelling places” mentioned in the passuk above; do these words mean ‘inheritance and living’ and then we learn that the prohibition of Chadash only applies after we inherit and live in the land of Israel, or do they mean ‘seat’ and then we can learn that it applies wherever one is seated (lives) even abroad. Later on, the Gemara mentions other Tanaim who disagree on this issue. The Mishna in Orlah 3:9 says that Chadash is prohibited from the Torah in all places.
The Gemara in Menachot 68:2 brings a disagreement between the Amoraim if there is a prohibition of Chadash from Chachamim abroad. Rav Papah and Rav Huna the son of Rabbi Yehoshua say that Chadash applies from Chachamim outside of Israel, however, the wise men from Rav Ashi’s Beit Midrash believe that Chadash is from the Torah also outside of Israel.
The Reshonim also disagree about this issue, the Rif, the Rambam, and the Rosh agree with the Mishna in Orlah and with the Tanaim who believe that Chadash applies in Israel and abroad from the Torah. On the other hand, it says in the name of Rabbi Baruch who wrote the book ‘Sefer Torah’ mentioned in the Rosh’s answer (Kelal 2, Siman 1), that grain that grew outside of Israel, in a place that is not close to Israel is allowed to be eaten, the Rosh is surprised by this answer.
The Bach (271:1) brings in the name of the Maharil that Chachamim prohibited Chadash abroad. The Shulchan Aruch and the Gaon MiVilna agree with most of the Rishonim that the prohibition of Chadash applies in Israel and abroad from the Torah.
The Ashkenazi Achronim debate a lot about this issue because they wrote that they saw many Chachamim who did not follow this prohibition during any year and therefore, they tried to find a way to allow Chadash abroad. The Taz writes that because the situation abroad is not the ultimate situation and we are depended on the wines made of oats and barley, therefore, the Tanaim should rely on this when the situation is not an ultimate one due to the fact that no Halacha was decided on in the Gemara as the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer. The Poskim did not worry about this issue in worm countries because the grains grow there in the winter and rooted before Pessach, and the grains in cold countries grow in the summer and are used from Sukkoth time until Pessach time, because mans’ life is depended on this there is a place to alleviate.
The Bach took a different approach, and here we get to the second question we raised above regarding grains that belong to non-Jews. Most of the Rishonim  understood that if the Halacha is like Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion that Chadash applies abroad, then it is logical that it applies on the grain that belong to non-Jews because most of the grain abroad belongs to them. However, the Bach explains that the Rambam, the Bahag, and the Maharim believe that Chadash abroad does not apply for non-Jews. The Bach also testifies that the Rabbis before his time, except for a few Chasidim, did not prohibit the grain and drank wine that was made of new grain. He wrote that it is prohibited to tell others not to eat Chadash but individuals can prohibit this for themselves if they want to.
In practice, today people are not so careful about this prohibition abroad, therefore, it is hard to find old wheat there even if one would like to do so. The Jews who live outside of Israel have who to rely on. However, whoever goes on Shelichut and leaves Israel, where he did follow the prohibition of Chadash must follow the opinion of his Rabbis. The Sefardi Jews have to keep this prohibition also abroad and if they cannot find old wheat they should eat matzah, the Ashkenazi Jews, on the other hand, have who to rely on if they do not observe this prohibition but it is better if they do.
There is a lot more to write about regarding this issue and I must note that there are some foods that are easier than others like beer, etc. and every one should find out about the different products individually.
1. Shulchan Aruch 273:1
2. Tosfort, Mordechai in the name of the Yerushalmi, Smag, Rosh