Olive Oil Ointment

Motty from Talpiot asks:

I suffer from chapped hands during the winter. I have heard
that olive oil keeps hands smooth. May I use sh’mittah olive oil for this

Strictly speaking, anointing one’s body is a permitted
use for sh’mittah olive oil. Rashi in Tractate Succah (40a)
explains that anointing is like drinking in that the produce is enjoyed while
being consumed (hano’osoh u’biuro bo’im k’echod). Indeed, even though it
is generally forbidden to use sh’mittah produce for medicinal purposes,
the Tosefta (6) writes that one may anoint with olive oil to alleviate
medical problems. However, nowadays the situation has changed. It is not
customary for people to anoint their bodies with oil for pleasure. As a result,
Rav Elyashiv has ruled that one may not anoint for medical reasons either (Rav
Chaim No’eh, o.b.m. held a similar view). The basis of allowing anointing for
healing was that anointing was a commonly enjoyed way of consuming the oil.
Since this is no longer the case, it is forbidden to use olive oil for medicinal
purposes just as other sh’mittah produce may not be used in this

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