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Shemitah

Separating terumot and ma'aserot from heter mechirah produce

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

We went on a trip to Kadesh Barnea (in the Aravah, near the Egyptian border) and bought cherry tomatoes. I know the area is considered olei Mitzrayim. The tomatoes were certified by the rabbinate and heter mechirah was performed. The tour guide said that terumot and ma'aserot were taken from the produce. Is it necessary to separate terumot and ma'aserot from produce that grew during the shemitah year under heter mechirah?

Joining Agudas Shemita

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I read an advertisement on observing the mitzvah of shemitah through Agudas Shmita. You sign up on the website, and appoint the organization as your agent to purchase land on your behalf. That is, you buy land in Israel (starting from 1X1 amah to 4X4 amot) for the duration of the shemitah year. The land is officially registered under your name and you relinquish ownership of the crops during the shemitah year. In this way, you observe two mitzvot: "During the seventh year you will remit it and abandon it" and "The land will rest a sabbatical unto G-d." Each person receives a precise map noting the piece of land they purchased. This parcel is privately-owned land (it does not belong to the Israel Land Administration) between Yavniel and Tiberius. It says that Agudas Shmita has the support of many rabbis from the Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chareidi community, and also has legal guidance.

This land is worked during the sixth year; in this way, donors will merit the blessing "and I command my blessing to you during the sixth year." At the beginning of the shemitah year, a sign will be put up that the produce is ownerless. They also write that women are obligated in the mitzvah of shemitah. The rabbi heading the organization is Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Stern, rabbi of western Benei Berak and the av beit din of Sha'arei Hora'ah.

How does Torah VeHa'aretz Institute view this project?

Growing sprouts at home during Shemitah

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

Can I grow sprouts during Shemithah?

Olive harvest and oil preparation this year and next year

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

It's olive harvest time (Cheshvan 5782), and I generally harvest them. I pickle some and press some for oil. Do I have to do something different this year? Will the olives have kedushat shevi'it?

Southern Aravah

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

What does the label Southern Aravah (ערבה דרומית) mean? What is the difference between that and olei Mitzrayim?

Explanation of olei Mitzrayim

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

What does olei Mitzrayim on labels mean? Does it have kedushat shevi'it? Why is it possible to grow crops there during shemitah? Why do the rabbis of Torah VeHa'aretz Institute consider this produce mehadrin?

Terumot and ma'aserot during shemitah from vegetables and herbs growing indoors

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I have several plants growing on my covered porch. I even have some inside on my kitchen counter. Some are herbs and some are vegetables. Do they have kedushat shevi'it? What about terumot and ma'aserot?

Hefker in my garden

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

How am I supposed to perform the mitzvah of hefker in my garden?

Cutting shoots from the base of trees

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

There are suckers that often sprout at the base of tree trunks, especially common with olive and pomegranate trees. They ruin the trees' aesthetics. Can I remove them during shemitah? What about citrus trees? Does it make a difference if the growths are from below the graft line?

Kedushat shevi'it in produce

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

Since Rosh Hashanah I have been handling the cucumbers that I bought as having kedushat shevi'it. Was this the right thing to do?