Friday, May 20, 2022

Moed Koton 19: Short-Term Rental

On this daf, we find a couple of leniencies regarding writing mezuzos.

Rav Moshe Sternbuch writes: “It is quite normal for a person to take an apartment or bungalow for several weeks of the summer. If one’s stay is for thirty days he must be careful to place mezuzos on the doorposts. Obviously, if his landlord is a non-Jew, there will be no mezuzos and one must put mezuzos up. And even if his landlord is a Jew, unless he is careful with mitzvos, one must check the mezuzos, since they are likely invalid. Sadly, most mezuzos procured by your average Jew today are not kosher. Due to our many sins, unscrupulous merchants from Eretz Yisroel are selling invalid mezuzos around the world.

“If a person rents a bungalow or apartment in Eretz Yisroel, he must immediately place mezuzos on the doorposts even if he is staying for less than thirty days. I was very confused regarding this halacha, since I used to rent an apartment in Eretz Yisroel from a Jewish landlord who was not careful in mitzvos. I didn’t want to put up my own mehadrin mezuzos, since it would be forbidden to take them off when I leave. How could I replace mezuzos that are almost certainly invalid?

“I resolved the problem by taking three people to the apartment with me—two who were kosher witnesses and one to be zocheh, and then I waived my rental rights to the apartment and declared it ownerless. In this manner, I avoided being obligated in the rabbinic obligation to put a mezuzah on an apartment in Eretz Yisroel even if one is not staying in the apartment for thirty days. This act discharges one from his obligation in mezuzah for less than thirty days in Eretz Yisroel” (Teshuvos Vehanhagos, Part 1, Siman 641 and 645).

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