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Pruning trees with shemitah fruit

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I'm a gardener and I have a client whose apricot tree is a mess. It is terribly overgrown and the fruit is also infested. The fruit is starting to yellow, but it's not really ripe yet. Is there something I can do?

Putting flowers and herbs in a vase with water

During regular years, I like to pick flowers and fragrant herbs (star jasmine, roses, and rosemary) from my garden to decorate my  house and perfume the air in honor of  Shavuot. Can I put them in vases with water, or is that like planting them?

Picking all the kedushat shevi'it fruit on the tree

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

Iyar 5782, May 2022

I have a very tall nectarine tree (we didn't prune it this year). We picked the nectarines that we could reach, but there are dozens more that are very high up and difficult to reach. Do I have to pick them?

Playing gogoi'm with kedushat shevi'it apricot pits

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

My son wants us to save our apricot pits for him to play gogo'im at recess. We buy otzar beit din apricots. Now I know that barely any fruit gets stuck to the pit, but technically if you open up the pit, the inside is edible.

Is it permissible to play with the pits or is this considered degrading or hefsed? And, in general, are we supposed to keep these pits in the shemitah bin or can we throw them away regularly?

Paper napkins that absorbed drops of fruit kedushat shevi'it

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I purchased a peach that is otzar beit din, shemitah produce. It is very juicy, if I wipe the drops with a paper napkin/towel, how do I treat the paper napkin that absorbed the juice drops?

Could Israeli alovera and green tea body lotion pose a shemitah issue?

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I live in the United States. I bought an Israeli brand body lotion Nakeh7. I noticed that some of the ingredients are herbs: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract. Could any of these ingredients pose a halachic problem in terms of shemitah laws or other land-dependent mitzvot? Note that there is a kashrut symbol on the product, but I'm not familiar with its rulings regarding shemitah and land-related mitzvot for soap production.

Kedushat shevi'it banana muffins on the plane

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I am about to fly abroad and want to know if I can pack some banana muffins baked with kedushat shevi'it bananas.

Gathering purslane seeds to sow next (8th) year

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

Purslane grew underneath the stairs of the synagogue, right in the seam between the sidewalk and the bottom stair (see picture).

I want to pick the seeds, keep them, and plant them after shemitah outside of my house. Is this permissible?

If so, do I have to just take the seeds and not touch the plant, or am I allowed to cut the plant above ground level? May I uproot it?

Harvest by a Jew in a heter mechirah field for agricultural experimentation

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I am a scientist at an agricultural research institute which performed heter mechirah. I would like to harvest samples of wheat planted during the shemitah year in the field sold through heter mechirah. Is it permissible for a Jew to harvest in this way, since it is not the regular method of harvest and in addition I do not intend to eat the wheat kernels?

Carrots and Dorot Products during Shemitah

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

 The brand Dorot Farm is sold in the United States. What is the status of the carrots in terms of shemitah?