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Q&A

Heter mechirah at agricultural schools

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

Is it possible, and is it proper, to sell part of the area of the school's fields to a non-Jew, or, alternatively, to assign the responsibility to a non-Jew so the students can work the field at school during the upcoming shemitah year? We have non-Jewish teachers at our school.

Educational and community gardens during shemitah

Rabbi David Eigner

Over the past few years, I have had the privilege to be involved in gardening as part of a community project and as part of a school project as a teacher of agriculture. What do I do next year during the shemitah year?!?! I planned on planting on a detached platform, but I saw on your website that it is only permissible for a major need and for educational purposes. I will explain about two of the projects I'm involved in and I would appreciate knowing if they are permissible, or which elements of them are:

  1. The community garden in a neighborhood in crisis. We have tried to set up a community garden for several years, with many ups and downs. Finally, this year, the project took off. It is an educational community project, which gives hope to the neighbors and solves many neighborhood problems.
  2. I am a teacher of agriculture. I teach various grades in a mixed religious and secular elementary school. We mostly plant seasonal vegetables, hoe, and cultivate many areas on the school grounds. We also have a hothouse. Is it permissible to do anything in this situation?

This is not a financial issue for me. The first case is a project that would otherwise be buried and will be very difficult to resuscitate if temporarily discontinued. The second gives to and educates children. I would like to hear the rationale involved in the answer.

Sprouting seeds indoors on a bed of wet cotton without soil as part of a biology lab class

Rabbi David Eigner

Does the stringency to avoid planting during shemitah even in an unperforated planter apply to sprouting seeds indoors on a bed of wet cotton, without soil, as part of biology lab classes? The sprouted seeds are discarded after they sprout and do not continue to grow.

Detached platforms during shemitah

Dr. Mordechai Shomron, Agron

I am planting a small vegetable and herbs garden. In preparation for shemitah, I will prepare the patches on detached platforms. Is spreading a net against insects considered a roof? The plan is to spread nets above the patches, constructed like a hothouse. Thank you. I would also appreciate tips to prepare for shemitah so I can easily maintain my garden in a mehudar fashion.

Plants on a windowsill during shemitah

Rabbis of Torah VeHa'aretz Institute

It is permissible to grow a plant on the windowsill during shemitah?

Kashering a Pot Used to Cook Teruma

Rabbi Shai Levi | Emunat Itecha 122, Shevat 5779 January 2019

I separated terumot and ma'aserot from my potatoes, and accidentally cooked the potatoes that I set aside. How do I kasher the pot?

Viduy and Bi’ur Ma’aserot

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Torah VeHa’aretz Institute

How do we fulfill in our days the Mitzva of Viduy and Bi'ur Ma'aserot?

 

Determining the ma’aser year for fruit that blooms early

Rabbi Yoel Friedemann

Loquat and almond trees bloom early, some before Tu BiShevat, and some afterwards. How do I take teruma and ma’aser from these fruit?

 

Homemade wine: teruma and ma’aser

Rabbi Ehud Ahituv

This year I prepared wine from grapes harvested after Sukkot. Ma’aser was not taken from these grapes, and I was told that I should set aside the ma’aser only after I finish making the wine. When is it considered the end of the wine-making process? Can I put off taking ma’aser until the wine is completely ready, after I transfer it into little bottles? Or can I only take the ma’aser when the wine is all together in the big bottle? Is there a different text for taking ma’aser on wine? I obviously can’t say “at the north” or “south” of the fruit.

Giving ma’aser ani today: here’s a half-an-orange to help you out?!

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

How can I actually give my ma’aser ani? It’s not really practical to find poor people each time I pick a few oranges from my tree to give them a slice.