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Shemitah

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?

Sefichin during the shemitah year

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

I wanted to know about sefichin laws during shemitah: is it permissible or forbidden to eat vegetables harvested during the shemitah year?

Planting to conquer territory

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

Dear Rabbi,

I want to clarify an issue relating to shemitah, which has practical and immediate ramifications for me, so I need an answer right away (among other reasons, to commit to a tender for the Eitam lands on behalf of the Eftat Local Council. I redeem lands and preserve them from the Arab invaders, especially through planting trees. Part of this planting is on State lands (some of which are on JNF-KKL land), and some are on "survey" lands. All are in my area of residence: Efrat. I want to know if I am allowed to plant trees in these areas during the shemitah year. I would have never imagined that this might be permitted, until I read in the responsa Eretz Hemda that Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli permits it (additions to Gate 2:1: "Shemitah on ownerless and public land," p. 101), based on the ruling of the Netziv and Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank. All of my actions in this respect are for the sake of Heaven only, and I do not receive any financial or personal benefit. I am not looking for a heter, rather, I want to know what the true Torah way is for this issue.

Planting a small garden in Elul before the shemitah year

Rabbi Avraham Sochovolsky

Dear Rabbi,

I am going back to yeshiva to study on the 1st of Elul, G-d willing. I would like to set up a small garden next to my room. I'm not sure what is permitted for me to plant/sow in Elul ahead of shemitah (I looked up material online and in your shemitah guide, but I didn't really understand what I'm supposed to do). In general, I would like to plant: (1) Louisa verbena, (2) mint, (3) several flowers (I understand that it is makes a difference whether the flower is an annual or perennial—to tell the truth, I don’t really understand what that means), and (4) a fruit tree. I wanted to sow the first three and plant the tree.

Philosophical aspects of heter mechirah

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel

Dear Rabbi,

As part of my master's thesis in law, I wanted to ask you if you could address several points:

  1. In your article on heter mechirah (which I thoroughly enjoyed reading), you wrote that the situation as Rabbi Kook saw it upon his arrival in the Land of Israel was that it would be impossible for the Jewish colonies and agriculture to exist unless heter mechirah was employed—for either objective or subjective reasons. What did you mean by "objective and subjective reasons"?
  2. Do you not see an ideological contradiction in selling the land to non-Jews in order to maintain the Jewish ownership of the land (including both Jewish ownership and agriculture by Jews)?
  3. Isn't it possible to present the halachic solutions of the Ridbaz on the one hand, and Rabbi Kook on the other, as serving the ideologies of each? If so, would this not be the flip side of the coin – law in the service of ideology, as we refer to the legal view of the issue of shemitah (as the land belongs to JNF-KKL and the Development Authority) where it is prohibited to sell land except in specific cases, including for shemitah (Basic Law – Israel Lands)?