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Matanot Aniyim, Chapter 5: Laws of Olelet

Matanot Aniyim, Chapter 5: Laws of Olelet

A brief overview of the laws of olelet.

Hilchot Ha'aretz, p. 219
  1. The Torah states: "Do not pick the incompletely formed grape clusters in your vineyard… you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger." (Vayikra 19:10). This verse teaches us that it is forbidden to harvest thin clusters. Such clusters are to be left on the grapevine.[1]
  2. What is considered a thin cluster? A cluster that lacks both katef and netef. Katef (lit. shoulder) is the group of grapes on the top horizontal section of the cluster, resembling a shoulder, while netef is the bottom part of the central stem (pendent).[2] If the grape cluster is not dense and lacks both these sections, it is supposed to be left on the vine for the poor.
  3. Similar to the mitzvah of pe'ah, given the situation today, the poor will not gather these grape clusters and it is not economically worthwhile for them to do so. For this reason, the mitzvah of olelet does not apply (see Laws of Matanot Aniyim, Chapter 1,7).

 

[1] Rambam, Hilchot Matanot Aniyim, 1:5. The term olelet is from the term olal, a baby; referring to a small cluster.

[2] Ibid., 4:17 – 18. There are different interpretations of netef and katef; see Rash and Rosh, Mishnah Pe'ah 7:4.