Pruning on the 8th year branches with fruit on them:
Subscribe to our Newsletter
We are now in the asseret yemei teshuvah 5783. I walked down the street and saw many pruned branches with tangerines, most of them ripe and some partially ripe.
Do these tangerines have kedushat shevi'it?
Is it permissible for gardeners to prune them? Am I allowed to take them and juice them? If so, what do I do with the peels? I don't have enough room in my shemitah bin.
The tangerines have kedushat shevi'it. It is permissible to prune branches with ripe or nearly ripe fruit. Since the fruits have kedushah, they should be allowed to rot on the branches on their own or gathered, double bagged, and then disposed. They should not be thrown away directly.
It is a very good thing to gather up these tangerines and juice them; you are actively performing the mitzvah of "And the produce of the land's seventh year will be for you to eat," while preventing hefsed of shemitah fruit.
The tangerine peels do not have kedushah and can be discarded (as opposed to lemon and orange peels, for which we are stringent). The other parts of the fruit not used for juice do have kedushah and should be either double bagged and disposed or kept in your shemitah bin to rot, and then dispose.
Note that even if these fruits were shamur vane'evad, that is, grown by someone who does not observe the laws of shemitah, did not render them ownerless, and performed forbidden actions on their behalf, most posekim hold that the fruit is nevertheless permitted to eat. This is the mainstream ruling today.