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Soaking seeds in water during shemitah

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

I know that we're not allowed to soak seeds in water on Shabbat. But I read that we're allowed to soak seeds during the shemitah year. Why is the former forbidden and the latter permissible?

Shemitah Guides

Rabbi David Eigner

I searched the website and I couldn't find a comprehensive guide on the laws of shemitah for the private garden. Does such a guide exist? I'd appreciate the link.

Sefichin in the home vegetable garden

Rabbi David Eigner

My question is about sefichin in my vegetable garden. B"H, I have a thriving vegetable patch in my yard. This upcoming shemitah I'm not planning on growing anything; I will let it lie fallow. My question is about the crops that are now flowering and growing. I have crops that I planted at three different times:

  1. An eggplant bush, planted a year and a half ago, which has been producing beautiful eggplants for several months already.
  2. A kale bush, planted more than 10 months ago, now big and beautiful.
  3. Various vegetables, planted six months ago: tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin butternut squash, and eggplant. Some of the vegetables are already past the point of the pinnacle of their growth, but the pumpkin patch, for instance, is now at the height of its growth.

From what I understood, it is possible that these crops would be considered sefichin and will be forbidden to eat during the shemitah year (unless I uproot them before shemitah begins). I thought, though, that maybe because the plants are veteran—planted between six to eighteen months ago—they might not be included in the prohibition.

I would like to receive your answer on the matter. Do I need to uproot all of my vegetables before shemitah due to the sefichin prohibition?

Kedushat Shevi'it Wine after the bi'ur time

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

Two-and-a-half years ago I received a gift of a bottle of wine from someone who is not scrupulously observant. The wine is Hermon wine from the Golan Heights and is marked otzar beit din 5775. I received the bottle several months after the bi'ur time. I know that this person is not a wine lover, and often passes on to others the wine he receives as a gift. I am concerned that he received the bottle as mishlo'ach manot on Purim and passed it onto me without performing the actions necessary at bi'ur time. I kept the wine until today since I was not sure what to do with it. I'm asking: is it permissible for me to drink the wine even though it might have passed bi'ur? If not, what should I do with the bottle? Thank you.

Otzar beit din wine sold after bi'ur time

Rabbis of Torah VeHa'aretz Institute

Jerusalem Vineyard Winery is selling otzar beit din wine grown in Shiloh – Eish Kodesh. Since the bi'ur time for wine has already passed, what is the wine's status vis-à-vis bi'ur laws? are we supposed to do bi'ur on the wine when we buy it? It is exempt from bi'ur?

Growing wheatgrass during shemitah for juice

Rabbi Ehud Ahituv

Is it possible to grow wheatgrass during the shemitah year to juice it? The way it is grown is as follows: Wheat grains are sprouted by placing them on a piece of material in a barrel, and they are watered. The grass sprouts and also takes root.

Uprooting a tree and replanting it during the shemitah year

Rabbi Avraham Socholovsky

During the shemitah year, if a need arises to transfer a tree from place to place to save it (for instance, due to soil contamination in the area the tree was planted, or because of construction work that can damage the tree, etc.)? Would it be possible to uproot the tree from its place and replant it elsewhere – would this be considered permissible tree maintenance, ukmei liana

Synthetic grass and planters on raised beds during the shemitah year

Rabbi David Eigner
  1. Can I take out grass and replace it with synthetic grass during the shemitah year?
  2. I have a vegetable garden next to my house with raised beds. Can I fix them throughout the shemitah year?

Letting the land lie fallow in olei Mitzrayim territory

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

Dear Rabbi,

I live in Naveh, a development in the Eshkol Regional Council. I am a private farmer and raise an orchard of tangerines. The Ministry of Agriculture published a policy to support shemitah-observant farmers. I wanted to know if I am supposed to observe shemitah in my area due to the doubt regarding the status of my area, or if I would be needlessly stringent. In any case, what is the proper way to observe shemitah laws where I live?

Setting up a trellis during shemitah

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay
  1. Is it permissible to hang up a trellis net on a wall to support climbing plants? These plants were planted in Tammuz. Initially they began to climb and take hold of the wall itself. Now, though, they started to fall.
  2. Is it permissible to transfer cacti, planted before shemitah, which are currently outside (the planter is on the railing, under the open sky) into a planter indoors?