Definition of Shemitah produce

What is defined as Shemitah produce?

The produce of the land passes through various stages of production, from plantation to blossom, to growth and harvest. The question is asked as to what stage is defined as the Shemitah product stage. In other words when is a produce that went through one of the above stages of production during Shemitah defined as a Shemitah produce which retains all the Shemitah produce laws. Must it go through all the above production stages to be defined as Shemitah produce? Or if even one of these stages occurred during Shemitah it is defined as a Shemitah produce. Every type of produce receives its separate list of laws regarding the criteria of stage of production that makes it considered a Shemitah product. The following is a list produce and their corresponding law:

 

A. Fruits:[1]

One follows the blossoming of the fruit regarding its Shemitah status.[2] This refers to the beginning of the growth of the fruit and not to simply the blossom of the flower.[3]

From when in the year do we follow the blossom?[4] Thus if the fruits blossomed in the 6th year they are considered 6th year produce and do not contain Kedushas Sheviis. If the fruit blossomed in the 7th year, prior to the 15th of Shevat it is disputed[5] as to whether the fruit is considered Kedushas Sheviis or still retains a 6th year status. Practically one is to be stringent like both opinions and remove from it Terumah and Maaser without a blessing, and the fruit is to be treated as Kedushas Sheviis. If the fruits blossomed after the 15th of Shevat of the 7th year then it is considered Shemitah produce according to all. If the fruit blossomed in the 8th year, prior to the 15th of Shevat, one should be stringent to treat it as Shemitah produce.[6]

Olives: One follows the first 1/3 of the growth of the olives regarding its Shemitah status. Thus if it reached 1/3 of its growth in the 6th year then the olives do not contain Kedushas Sheviis. However if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the seventh year then it has a Kedushas Sheviis status and the produce must be disowned from the field.

 

B. Vegetables:

One follows the time that the vegetable was picked.[7] Thus vegetables that grew in the 6th year but were picked in the Shemitah year are permitted to be eaten [not considered Sefichin] and are considered Kedushas Sheviis produce.[8] If the vegetable however began growing during Shemitah it is considered Sefichin and is forbidden to be eaten, as explained in the previous Halacha.

 

C. Grains and legumes:[9]

One follows the first 1/3 of the growth of the grain or legumes regarding its Shemitah status.[10] Thus if it reached 1/3 of its growth in the 6th year then the grains and legumes do not contain Kedushas Sheviis. However if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the seventh year then it has a Kedushas Sheviis status and the produce must be disowned from the field.[11] Some Poskim[12] however rule that if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the 7th year then they are considered Sefichin.

 

D. Esrog:[13]

It is disputed if we follow the blossom of the Esrog [fruits] or the picking of the Esrog [vegetables] regarding the Shemitah laws.[14] It is likewise disputed whether we follow the beginning of the 7th year or the 15th of Shevat of the 7th year. Practically one is to be stringent like both opinions and remove from Esrogim that blossomed in the 6th year but were picked in the 7th year, Terumah and Maaser without a blessing and the fruit is to be treated as Kedushas Sheviis.[15] Practically for the Sukkos of the Shemitah year one is to be stringent to purchase an Esrog that was picked prior to Shemitah, and hence satisfy all opinions. In the Sukkos of the eighth year however the Esrog is treated as Kedushas Sheviis and hence may only be purchased through Otzer Beis Din.

 

E. Lemon:[16]

Lemons have the same Halachic status as an Esrog regarding Shemitah.

 

F. Apples, oranges and other citrus fruits:[17]

Apples and citrus fruits are customarily given the same laws of all fruits in which we follow the year of blossom of their fruit.

 

G. Bananas:[18]

Bananas receive the same laws as vegetables and we hence follow the time that they are picked.

 

H. Flowers:

Some Poskim[19] rule that flowers that are grown for the sake of their scent contain Kedushas Sheviis. Others[20] rule that flowers never contain Kedushas Sheviis even if they contain a good scent. According to all, flowers that do not contain a scent are not Kedushas Sheviis.[21]

Flowers that grew during Shemitah: Some Poskim[22] rule that flowers which are grown for their scent and have grown during Shemitah contain the Issur of Sefichin. Those flowers that are not grown for their scent do not contain an Issur of Sefichin.[23] However some Poskim[24] are stringent even by flowers that are not grown for their scent. Practically one may be lenient regarding flowers that are not grown for their scent.[25] It however remains forbidden to plant any flowers during Shemitah according to all and purchasing such flowers may transgress the Issur of Nevad, Shamur and helping those that transgress.

 

May one buy flowers without Hashgacha during Shemitah year?

Yes. This is required in order to avoid any question of a) Sefichin; b) Shamur; c) Nevad; d) supporting one who transgresses Sheviis.

  

I. Tobacco:

Tobacco which was grown in the 6th year and gathered in the 7th year is considered Kedushas Sheviis.[26] If the tobacco also grew during the 7th year then it I forbidden due to Sefichin.[27]

 

J. Lulav:

Some Poskim[28] rule that a Lulav does not contain Kedushas Sheviis. Other Poskim[29] rule it contains Kedushas Sheviis and it follows the year of cutting.

 

K. Hadassim

Some Poskim[30] rule that Hadassim do not contain Kedushas Sheviis. Other Poskim[31] rule it contains Kedushas Sheviis and it follows the year of blossom.

 

L. Aravos:

Aravos do not contain Kedushas Sheviis or the prohibition of Sefichin.

 

Q&A

Do the products of those areas in Eretz Yisrael that were not conquered by the Babylonian exile, but were conquered by the Egyptian conquest, contain Kedushas Sheviis?[32]

Some Poskim[33] rule it does not contain Kedushas Sheviis. Others[34] rule it contains Kedushas Sheviis.

 

Does wood have Kedushas Sheviis?[35]

No.

 

May one cut branches of a fruit tree?[36]

One may only do so if the tree has grown its fruit at least 1/3 of their growth, or if the tree has not yet begun to produce any fruit.

 

May one cut Sechach during Shemitah to use for his Sukkah?[37]

Yes. However it is best to do so in an irregular method than that used for trimming trees.

 

Does Sechach have Kedushas Sheviis?[38]

No.

 

Do mushrooms have Kedushas Sheviis?[39]

No.

 

Does rosemary have Kedushas Sheviis?

It contains Kedushas Sheviis starting from Cheshvan of Shemitah.

 

List of produce that is never a problem in Shemitah: [From a list of the Rabbanut Hareishit]

  • Blueberries
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Hazelnut
  • Ginger
  • Lentils
  • Mushrooms
  • Oats
  • Pistachio
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Rice [imported]
  • Sesame
  • Soy beans
  • Walnut
  • Wheat [imported]


[1] Grach Naah p. 11; Minchas Yerushalayim p. 93

[2] Rambam 4/9 that one follows the Onas Hamaasros regarding fruits

[3] See Minchas Yitzchak 6/130

[4] Grach Naah p. 11; Minchas Yerushalayim p. 94; See Minchas Yitzchak 7/97 and 6/130

[5] The Rambam rules we follow Rosh Hashanah of the 7th year while the Shelah Hakadosh holds we follow the 15th of the 7th year until the 15th of the eighth year.

[6] Based on Shelah ibid

[7] Rambam 4/12

[8] Grach Naah p. 11; See previous Halacha regarding Sefichin for the opinions on this matter. The final ruling is as stated above.

[9] Grach Naah p. 11

[10] See Rambam 4/9 that we follow Onas Hamaasros

[11] Grach Naah ibid

[12] Sheves Haaretz p. 30; See Minchas Yerushalayim p. 104

[13] See R”H 14; Rambam 4/12

[14] Perhaps it is treated like a vegetable being that it grows daily from its water, similar to a vegetable and we should hence follow the day of its picking, being that on that day it also grew from the water. [Grach Naah p. 11; Rashi R”H 12b] Other Poskim however rule that we follow the blossom of the Esrog just like any fruit tree. [Raavad]

[15] Rambam ibid; Grach Naah

[16] Grach Naah p. 11

[17] Grach Naah p. 11 [See there for a lengthy analysis on the subject and how the Poskim in the early 1900’s, Rav Cook and Rav Salant debated the status of citrus fruits and that the practical custom is to treat them like fruits in which we follow the blossom.]

[18] Grach Naah p. 67; see Orach Chaim 203 regarding their blessing

[19] Rambam 7/19; Yerushalmi 7/1; Rav Mordechai Eliyahu; Minchas Yerushalayim 5/8

[20] See Shemitah Berurah-Efrati

[21] Minchas Yerushalayim 5/8

[22] Devar Shemitah; Minchas Yerushalayim 6/8

[23] Minchas Yerushalayim 6/9

[24] Brought in Minchas Yerushalayim 6/9

[25] Minchas Yerushalayim 6/9

[26] Eretz Chaim of Maharam Galanti; Grach Naah p. 14

[27] Dvar Hashemitah; Yerushalayim 5/7

[28] Rambam in Peirush Hamishnayos Sukkah 39; Minchas Shlomo 51/23; Mincha Yitzchak 6/61; 8/100

[29] Meiri Sukkah 39

[30] Tzitz Kodesh 16; Hashemitah 7/11; Mishnes Yosef 3; Minchas Yitzchak 1/130; Minchas Shlomo 1/52

[31] See Minchas Yitzchak ibid

[32] See Minchas Yerushalayim 10/2

[33] Rambam 4/26; See Toras Hashemitah p. 37

[34] Minchas Yitzchak 6/127;8/94

[35] Toras Hashemitah 59

[36] Rambam 5/17

[37] Rambam 1/15-21; 2/2-8; Shabbos Haaretz 1/18-5

[38] Rambam 5/21; 7/14

[39] Meiri Avoda Zara 14; Toras Hashemita p. 27

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?