The Gemarrah has discussed Orlah and bittul. I do nto remember exactly how, but the following question arose in my shiur:
If one was given a fruit to eat and he does not know the status of it (no hechsher), can he eat it? Terumos and maasros is not a problem because he can be mafrish. The question is because of Orlah. Does he have to assume it might be Orlah and not eat it, or can he eat it assuming it is not Orlah?
If the answer is that he can eat it, is it because Orlah is a miut that we are not choshesh for? a miu she'aino matzui? Do we say it is battul b'rov of all similar fruit in Israel (meaning this apple is battul to rov of the apples in Israel which are obviously not Orlah - is there such a bittul to the fruit of the whole country)? Is it because of kol d'parush merubo porush?
Is there a difference between the concepts of bittul b'rov and not being choshesh for a miyut (in this sort of case)?
Rafi Goldmeier, RBS, Israel
(a) The Mishnah says in Orlah (3:9) that Safek Orlah is forbidden in Eretz Yisrael and is permitted in Chutz la'Aretz. This is brought in Shulchan Aruch (YD 294:9) where it is clear that in Chutz la'Aretz we can be lenient even when most fruits are Orlah. However in Eretz Yisrael where Safek Orlah is forbidden we need to ascertain that the fruit is not Orlah in order to be allowed to eat it. We may use Rov to do this.
(b) As you point out there are two ways that Rov can Paskan; Bitul and Kol de'Parish. In your case we cannot use Bitul since the fruit that make up the Rov will not ever get mixed together (Shulchan Aruch YD 111:7). (Bitul be'Rov is where there is a mixture of Heter and Isur and we give the whole mixture the Din of the majority.) We must therefore rely on Kol de'Parush.
(c) Obviously to permit the fruit in this way requires our knowledge that most of the fruit that this fruit could have come from are not Orlah. If a majority are not Orlah we would further have to verify that there is no Miut ha'Matzuy of Orlah. Most Poskim say that an incidence of less than one in five is called a Miut sh'Eino Matzuy. If we discovered that the majority of fruits were not Orlah, but a Miut ha'Matzuy was Orlah, we would have to verify whether or not this fruit was from the Miut. This is because we do not rely on Rov where there is a Miut ha'Matzuy against the Rov (Shulchan Aruch YD 39:1). Nevertheless, if we were unable to discover the origins of this fruit, we could eat it (in the aforementioned example where we had a Rov to be Matir but a Miut ha'Matzuy of Orlah) because be'di'Eved we can rely on Rov, even when there is a Miut ha'Matzuy against the Rov (ibid. 39:2).
One would be forgiven for believing that Orlah is a Miut sh'Eino Matzuy, because trees generally give few fruit in the first years of their growth. However the Badatz of Yerushalayim presently advises that all fruit have at least a Miut ha'Matzuy of Orlah and care must be taken when buying fruit to ensure that they are under an authority capable of ensuring that produce supplied does not contain Orlah. This situation has arisen due to modern farming methods, where the trees are only planted in farmer's fields when they are ready to produce near to maximum yields.
(d) Chosheshin le'Miut means that we do not rely on a Rov. This is the opinion of Rebbi Meir (Chulin 11b). The Chachamim who disagree with Rebi Meir hold Ein Chosheshin le'Miut, which means we do rely on a Rov.