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Tammuz 5779, Issue no.9


New Children's Book in English!

With Hashem's help, the English Department at Torah VeHa'aretz Institute published our first book in English: The Grapevine. This book was translated especially for recent and veteran olim who want to read a book in English to their children (and grandchildren) that will strengthen the children's bond to the special mitzvot of the Land of Israel.

The book is only NIS 40 (including shipping), meant for preschool through third grade.

The book can be purchased on our Hebrew website, here.

Lecture in the Community Garden in Arnona

In recent years more and more community gardens are opening up all over various cities, tended to together by neighbors. Torah VeHa'aretz Institute is happy to provide guidance to those running community gardens who would like to observe the land-dependent mitzvot on an individual and communal level. Rabbi Moshe Bloom visited the community garden in Arnona, Jerusalem, and gave a lecture in the garden (in English) on the practical mitzvot that relate to community gardening.

Note that applying the laws of kilayim, interplanting (especially kilei zera'im) are especially complex in such gardens. For this reason, we highly recommend receiving individual guidance to ensure that your community garden runs according to halacha.

For general halachic guidelines for community gardens, written in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, see here.  


Divrei Torah on Parashat HaShavua –
Place and Parasha

With G-d's help we finished translating into English all of the divrei Torah from Place and Parasha, written by Yoel Yakoby. Every week, Yoel weaves together verses from the parasha, philosophical concepts, themes on the sanctity of the Land of Israel, and geo-historical topics related to the Land of Israel in past and present, from a myriad of traditional sources throughout the generations. See here.

Planting Trees Until 15 Av

Summer vacation, especially in August, is the time that people tend to their gardens and plant trees. If you are planning on planting a tree, we strongly recommend planting it before 15 Av, since in this way you gain a whole orlah year. In contrast, putting off planting the tree—even by one day—can cost you an entire orlah year. For more information on the laws of orlah, see here

During the Nine Days, one should not plant non-fruit-bearing trees, bushes, or flowers. Some poskim are lenient and permit planting fruit trees. See Shulchan Aruch, who prohibits planting plants that bring one joy, and Nitei Gavriel who is lenient for fruit trees.     


The Orlah Year Calculation

Two months ago we bought a dwarf lemon tree that says on it “from 2016.” We planted the tree together with the clod of earth that it came with, which only fell off a little bit. Do we have to start the orlah year count again? If so, can we uproot it and replant it, and in which way can we use its fruit without waiting?

Dr. Mordechai Shomron, agronomist

The orlah year calculation begins from the time the tree was placed in soil and attached to it, or planted in the ground. The fact that a certain date is written on the bag, or that the sales person (who is generally not the manufacturer) claims that the tree is a certain botanical age, holds no bearing from a halachic perspective. There are different situations in which the tree might be a certain botanic age, but halachically speaking its age is zero, such as if it was sitting for a specific amount of time on a concrete or plastic surface. Since orlah is a severe, biblical prohibition, which is nullified only in a ratio of 1:200, you must carefully research the tree’s history from the moment it was planted. If you can’t practically do so, you need to count the orlah years from the time the tree is planted in your garden. If your tree was planted this year (5779), it will be its first year of orlah (which can cause much heartache).