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Biur Apricots why it is so late

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On the calendars you wrote that the bi'ur time for apricots is early September (mid-Elul), but the apricot season was over several months ago. It began around Pesach time (April) and was over around Sivan-Tammuz (July). Why is bi'ur only in early September?


Rabbi Moshe Bloom and Dr. Motty Shomron

While the Mishnah states that there are three regions for bi'ur, today we view the entire Land of Israel as one bi'ur region since fruit from all over Israel are sold and transported throughout the country. According to halachah, bi'ur occurs only when the produce is "gone for the beasts of the field." That is, there are no more edible fruits available in the field. This is the time that the fruit falls to the ground and rots or is eaten by animals: either those on fours, on twos, or birds.

We need to take the latest time for every type of produce, see the location where the latest-blooming variety grows. For instance, today 15 varieties of apricots are grown commercially in Israel. The last time of harvest for each variety varies by many weeks.

That said, even if there are no more apricots available in stores, it is still possible that there are some privately-owned gardens there are still apricots on trees. Furthermore, it is also possible that in certain farmers' orchards there are still apricots on the trees, but they were not harvested for commercial considerations. For instance, if a farmer decides to harvest 95-98% of the ripe crop, when he finishes the harvest it is not financially worthwhile to hire workers, trucks, etc., for the small amount left on the trees.

For cherries, for instance, we found that the situation has changed from that in the past. In the northern Golan Heights only now (Beginning of September) the cherry harvest has finished, while in past years the last harvest was earlier. We wrote originally that bi'ur for cherries is mid-Av, but we should have actually pushed it off for several weeks.

There are other varieties of fruits that can be on the ground for several weeks, like pecans. For these the bi'ur time is May of the eighth year (Shavuot 5783), since pecans are still edible until then and not finished off by animals in the field.