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Detached platforms with detached partitions

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Tammuz 5782

I'm just finished building a pergola with wooden slats (see pic) covering most of my second-story porch.

  1. The slats allow rain to come through but shade the area.
  2. As you can see, the partitions (walls) on either side of the porch are not directly under the roof. Are the plants sitting under the pergola considered detached?

Buying bulbs, seeds, seedlings, and other plants from nurseries in 5783

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Av 5782

Rosh Hashanah is almost here and we gardeners want to know how we can buy plants from nurseries. After the New Year, may we buy bulbs from a bulb nursery, or must we wait a whole another year because they were promulgated during shemitah?

What about roses (bare rooted)? Vegetable seeds? Trees? Bushes? Seedlings?

Buying soil, seeds, and fertilizer to plant in the 8th year

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Av 5782

Is it permissible to buy before Rosh Hashanah potting/garden soil mix, slow release fertilizer pellets, and containers of dichondra seeds to be ready to plant and work the soil on the 3rd of Tishrei, while avoiding the crush of people going to nurseries and any possible shortages after Yom Tov?

Bi'ur - When will bi'ur be applicable for most of us?

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Sivan 5782

What happens, say, if in another week (bi'ur time for loquats), you have loquat preserves that you cooked together with lemons (whose bi'ur time is in more than a year!)? What about if there are other non-sacred foods cooked with the kedushat shevi'it loquats?

Shemitat Kesafim: Status of money given to a parent for safekeeping

Rabbi Yehuda Amichay

My father is holding onto my little brother's money (he's 14). That is, money he received as a gift: Chanukah gelt, bar mitzvah money, etc. He gave the money to my father so when he asks for money, our father gives him money from this sum and deduct it from the money he gave him. My father is not returning the same bills, but others that amount to the same sum. My father uses my brother's cash for his own purposes.

  1. Is it considered that my father is a borrower? My father doesn't really benefit from the fact that he "borrowed" this money, my brother is the one benefiting from the arrangement.
  2. If so, is it possible for him to give presents to my bother? I know it's forbidden for borrowers to give lenders presents since it's like interest. Here, though, he's giving my brother presents just because he's his son, not because of the loan, which he doesn't really benefit from anyway.
  3. My brother did not write a prozbul. Is the debt canceled and so he won't be able to ask our father for money ("do not press your fellow").
  4. If the loan is canceled and my father wants to return the debt as a gift ("one who returns a loan from the shemitah year, the Sages are pleased with him"), is there a way to do so without physically taking the bills and giving them to him (it's a large sum).

Can he perhaps give him a few bills as a present and then my brother will return them as a loan, and then do it again? Or is this considered that he returned the loan?

Status of undeveloped fruit dropping from fruit trees

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Sivan 5782

We have two citrus trees in our yard. Due to the weather, lots of undeveloped fruits are dropping on their own. They are by no means edible.
What are we supposed to do with them? Do they have kedushat shevi'it?

Types of debts remitted at end of shemitah

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

I bought a present together with someone else at the end of the shemitah year, after I wrote up a prozbul. I paid for the gift, and my friend said he'd pay me back for his portion later on. Now that Rosh Hashanah (5783) has passed, does he still owe me the money, or was this debt canceled?

Tending to plants growing on a semi-covered porch

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Tammuz 5782

I'm a shomer-shemitah gardener. My client has a partially-covered porch on the seventh floor. In the uncovered portion there are plants that need to be pruned and fertilized. The plants are in perforated planters, but sit on the tiles and then cement of the sixth floor beneath it.

I want to know if it is possible to care for these plants during shemitah: prune, fertilize, and move from place to place in the uncovered area. Would it be possible to move them from the uncovered to the covered area?

Present of a mint in a flower pot during shemitah

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Tammuz 5782

I received as a present a flowerpot with mint inside. I don't know if the mint was planted during shemitah or if any shemitah solutions were used. What am I supposed to do with the plant? Am I allowed to smell it or use it for havdalah? May I use it to make mint tea?

covering fruit

Rabbi Netanel Oyerbach, Sivan 5782

I have a loquat tree in my yard, which I generally cover in paper bags regular years to prevent birds from picking at them.