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Do distributors need to sign on a bill of agency with the otzar beit din to be considered an agent?

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Many otzarot beit din rely on organized deliveries for their wine and grape juice distribution.

Individuals who agree to distribute the produce (now: wine and oil) locally usually receive a nominal fee for their time, effort, and at times even storage space. Sometimes people don't come to pick up their orders immediately; at times, the otzar beit din will leave an extra amount with the distributor. 

With bi'ur time approaching, should these distributors sign a bill of agency shetar shelichut to render the wine exempt from bi'ur? Should they do so regardless of bi'ur to avoid issur sechorah, the prohibition of transacting with shemitah produce?


Rabbi Moshe Bloom

First, it is commendable to become an otzar beit din agent and facilitate the distribution of shemitah produce, helping holy products reach Jewish homes and supporting shemitah observant farmers.

Lechatchilah it is preferable to sign on a bill of agency appointing distributors as official otzar beit din agents, regardless of the bi'ur issue. You can try asking the otzar beit din you are working with for such a document.

Bedi'avad, an oral agreement that you will distribute otzar beit din produce for a nominal fee is sufficient.

Posted on: Adar 5783