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4. What is defined as Shemita produce?
The produce of the land passes through various stages of development and production, from plantation to blossom, to growth and harvest. The question is asked as to what stage is defined as the Shemita product stage. In other words, when is a produce that went through one of the above stages of development and production during Shemita defined as a Shemita produce which retains all the Shemita produce laws and regulation? Must it go through all the above stages of development and production to be defined as Shemita produce? Or if even one of these stages occurred during Shemita it is defined as a Shemita produce. Every type of produce receives its separate list of laws regarding the criteria of stage of production that makes it considered a Shemita product. The following is a list of produce and their corresponding law:
One follows the blossoming of the fruit regarding its Shemita status. This refers to the beginning of the growth of the fruit and not to simply the blossom of the flower. Practically, most fruits will only contain Kedushas Shevi’is beginning from the middle to the end of the 7th year, and into the 8th year. Prior to this time most fruits will not contain Kedushas Shevi’is. Practically, one is to look on the Shemita calendar for verification of each fruits Shemita season.
From when in the year do we follow the blossom? If the fruits blossomed in the 6th year they are considered 6th year produce and do not contain Kedushas Shevi’is. If the fruit blossomed in the 7th year, prior to the 15th of Shevat, it is disputed as to whether the fruit is considered Kedushas Shevi’is 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 Shevi’is. If the fruits blossomed after the 15th of Shevat of the 7th year, then it is considered Shemita 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 Shemita produce.
Olives: One follows the first 1/3 of the growth of the olives regarding its Shemita status. Thus, if it reached 1/3 of its growth in the 6th year then the olives do not contain Kedushas Shevi’is. However, if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the seventh year then it has a Kedushas Shevi’is, status and the produce must be disowned from the field.
One follows the time that the vegetable was picked. Thus, vegetables that grew in the 6th year but were picked in the Shemita year are permitted to be eaten [not considered Sefichin] and are considered Kedushas Shevi’is produce. If the vegetable however began growing during Shemita it is considered Sefichin, and is forbidden to be eaten, as explained in the previous Halacha.
C. Grains and legumes:
One follows the first 1/3 of the growth of the grain or legumes regarding its Shemita status. Thus, if it reached 1/3 of its growth in the 6th year then the grains and legumes do not contain Kedushas Shevi’is. However, if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the seventh year then it has a Kedushas Shevi’is status and the produce must be disowned from the field. Some Poskim however rule that if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the 7th year then they are considered Sefichin.
It is disputed if we follow the blossom of the Esrog [i.e. like fruits] or the picking of the Esrog [i.e. like vegetables] regarding the Shemita laws. 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 Shevi’is. Practically, for the Sukkos of the Shemita year one is to be stringent to purchase an Esrog that was picked prior to Shemita, and hence satisfy all opinions. In the Sukkos of the eighth year however the Esrog is treated as Kedushas Shevi’is and hence may only be purchased through Otzer Beis Din.
Q&A on Shemita Esrogim
May one sell or purchase a Shemita Esrog?
In the Sukkos of the eighth year the Esrog of Jewish owned fields in Eretz Yisrael is treated as Kedushas Shevi’is and hence may only be purchased through Otzer Beis Din, or Havla’ah as explained next.
Otzer Beis Din: A Halachically reliable Beis Din takes authority over the distribution of the fields Esrogim and collects a minimal fee for the Esrog in order to cover the expenses of the distribution.
Havlaah: One may sell before Sukkos a Shemita Esrog that is not Otzer Beis Din, if he does so in Havla’ah. This means that one includes the sale of Shemita produce within the sale of other products that are not from Shemita. Thus, for example one may sell before Sukkos a Shemita Esrog together with a bag of lemons. One may charge an over the market price for the bag of lemons, due to the included Esrog, if the Esrog is not given a specific price and is simply part of the package. The money received for this payment does not have Kedushas Shevi’is. [However, there are some Poskim that are stringent and prohibit selling even in Havla’ah, and Havla’ah in their opinion only helps in the fact that it does not give the money a status of Kedushas Shevi’is. Practically the custom is to be lenient.]
May one who is traveling to the Diaspora for Sukkos take with him an Israeli Esrog of Shemita Otzer Beis Din?
It is permitted to take one’s personal Esrog with him to the Diaspora. One must make sure after Sukkos that the Esrog is properly guarded as Kedushas Shevi’is. Some Poskim write that one is to try to take the Esrog with him when he returns to Eretz Yisrael. Others rule this is not necessary.
May one import Israeli Esrogim of Kedushas Shevi’is to the Diaspora for Sukkos?
Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so even initially, on condition that the Esrogim are sold Behavla’ah. Other Poskim rule it is initially forbidden to do so. Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so in a situation that the city will not have any Esrogim available if they are not sent. According to all, even if an Esrog was taken out of Eretz Yisrael in a forbidden manner, it remains Kosher and can be used for the Mitzvah.
What is one to do with the Kedushas Shevi’is Esrog after Sukkos?
One must guard the Esrog and may not discard it until it has spoiled and is no longer edible.
Esrog Jam: It is permitted to make Esrog jam with an Esrog of Kedushas Shevi’is.
Besamim: It is unclear if one may enter cloves into the Esrog and use it as Besamim.
Must one perform Biur to Esrogim?
Some Poskim rule one is not required to perform Biur to Esrogim of Kedushas Shevi’is. Other Poskim rule one is required to perform Biur to Esrogim. Even according to the stringent opinion one is only required to perform Biur on Esrogim if he has the amount of Esrogim to suffice for three meals, which is over 1.5 Esrogim per family member.
Lemons have the same Halachic status as an Esrog regarding Shemita. [Thus, if they are picked after Rosh Hashanah of the Shemita year, they are to be treated with Kedushas Shevi’is due to Safek, but are to also have Terumos and Maasros removed from them without a blessing until they are for certain to be considered Kedushas Shevi’is, as explained next. However, some are lenient to treat lemons as any other fruit, in which case we follow the time of the blossom regarding Kedushas Shevi’is. According to this opinion, lemons will begin their status of Kedushas Shevi’is on the 1st of Iyar, and end it the next year on the 14th of Iyar, and according to all opinions it is to be treated as definite Kedushas Shevi’is starting from this date.]
F. Apples, oranges and other citrus fruits:
Apples and citrus fruits are customarily given the same laws of all fruits in which we follow the year of blossom of their fruit.
Bananas receive the same laws as vegetables, and we hence follow the time that they are picked.
Some Poskim rule that flowers that are grown for the sake of their scent contain Kedushas Shevi’is. Others rule that flowers never contain Kedushas Shevi’is even if they contain a good scent. According to all, flowers that do not contain a scent are not Kedushas Shevi’is.
Flowers that grew during Shemita: Some Poskim rule that flowers which are grown for their scent and have grown during Shemita contain the Issur of Sefichin. Those flowers that are not grown for their scent do not contain an Issur of Sefichin. However, some Poskim 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. However, according to all it remains forbidden to plant any flowers during Shemita and purchasing such flowers may transgress the Issur of Nevad, Shamur and helping those who transgress.
May one buy flowers without Hashgacha during Shemita year?
No. This is required in order to avoid any question of a) Sefichin; b) Shamur; c) Nevad; d) supporting one who transgresses Shevi’is.
Aravos do not contain Kedushas Shevi’is or the prohibition of Sefichin.
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 Shevi’is?
Does wood have Kedushas Shevi’is?
May one cut branches of a fruit tree?
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 Shemita to use for his Sukkah?
Yes. However, it is best to do so in an irregular method than that used for trimming trees.
Does Sechach have Kedushas Shevi’is?
Do mushrooms have Kedushas Shevi’is?
Does rosemary have Kedushas Shevi’is?
It contains Kedushas Shevi’is starting from Cheshvan of Shemita.
List of produce that is never a problem in Shemita when buying from the Shuk [as opposed to when home grown] due to being imported:
[From a list of the Rabbanut Hareishit]
· Black pepper
· Pumpkin seeds
· Rice [imported]
· Wheat [imported]
 Grach Naah p. 11; Minchas Yerushalayim p. 93
 Rambam 4:9 that one follows the Onas Hamaasros regarding fruits
 See Minchas Yitzchak 6:130
 Grach Naah p. 11; Minchas Yerushalayim p. 106; See Minchas Yitzchak 7:97 and 6:130
 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.
 Based on Shelah ibid
 Rambam 4:12
 See Halacha 3 for a dispute in this matter, and that the custom is to be lenient.
 Grach Naah p. 11; See previous Halacha regarding Sefichin for the opinions on this matter. The final ruling is as stated above.
 Grach Naah p. 11
 See Rambam 4:9 that we follow Onas Hamaasros
 Grach Naah ibid
 Sheves Haaretz p. 30; See Minchas Yerushalayim p. 104
 See Rosh Hashana 14b; Rambam 4:12
 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; See Rashi R”H 12b] Other Poskim however rule that we follow the blossom of the Esrog just like any fruit tree. [Raavad Maaser Sheiyni 1:5; Rashi Rosh Hashanah 15b; Tosafus R”H 15a; Gr”a Y.D. 331:191]
 Rambam ibid; Grach Naah
 Minchas Yerushalayim 7:36; Shemita Kehilchasa 4:4
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 649:7; Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 2:121; Beis Ridbaz 5:18
 Mishnas Yosef 2:24-28; Tzitz Hakodesh 1:15; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; See Beis Ridbaz ibid
 See Beis Ribaz ibid as Esrogim don’t require Biur.
 See Mishnas Yosef 2:24-28
 Beis Ridbaz 5:18; Igros Moshe 1:186
 Chelkas Yaakov Y.D. 185; Chazon Ish Sheviis 10:6; 13:4; See Beis Yitchak ibid
 Chazon Ish
 Chazon Ish ibid; Igros Moshe ibid
 The reason: As this is considered Derech Achilaso.
 Ridbaz in 5:18, brought in Gra”ch Naah Yagdil Torah 25:63; See Minchas Yitzchak 3:92
 The reason: As the Esrog remains on the tree for 2-3 years, and hence does not have a time of Biur. [ibid]
 Rosh Hashanah 15; Minchas Yitzchak 3:92; Chazon Ish 13:10; Hilchos Sheivis [Tukichinsky] 7 footnote 5
 The reason: As a) Even a fruit that remains the entire year is obligated in Biur. [Chazon Ish ibid] b) Today, the Esrogim in truth do not remain on the trees past Teves:Nissan. [questioner in Minchas Yitzchak ibid]
 Gr”ach Naah ibid rules explicitly that ; Derech Emuna 7:58; Tziyon Halacha 7:104 that so ruled Chazon Ish and Rav Elyashiv; Ziv Hayam Shevis; Mishpitei Erech; Chut Hashani 318
Other opinions: Some question whether the three meals worth of Shemita food must be eaten by the end of the day of Biur, before sunset. [Chazon Ish 15:7; See Derech Emuna 7:15 and 7:58]
 Hilchos Shevi’is ibid in name of Rav Shmuel Salant
 Luach of Rabbanut of Israel
 Rav Shlomo Sirila [i.e. Rasha”s] Shevi’is 9:4 [p. 136]; Grach Naah p. 11 “The lemon has the same law as the Esrog”; Chazon Ish 9:17; Directive of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu; See Derech Emuna p. 240; Kerem Tziyon p.80; Menachem Yerushalayim 104; Sheves Ha’aretz Kuntrus Achron 18; Shemita Kehilchasa p. 27; Yalkut Yosef Shemita p. 555
 Chazon Ish 21:16; Rav SZ”A in Minchas Shlomo 1:51-22; See Kedushas Hashevi’is 17:14; 38:6
 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.]
 Grach Naah p. 67; see Orach Chaim 203 regarding their blessing
 Rambam 7:19; Yerushalmi 7:1; Rav Mordechai Eliyahu; Minchas Yerushalayim 5:8
 See Shemita Berurah-Efrati
 Minchas Yerushalayim 5:8
 Devar Shemita; Minchas Yerushalayim 6:8
 Minchas Yerushalayim 6:9
 Brought in Minchas Yerushalayim 6:9
 Minchas Yerushalayim 6:9
 Eretz Chaim of Maharam Galanti; Grach Naah p. 14
 Dvar HaShemita; Yerushalayim 5:7
 Rambam in Peirush Hamishnayos Sukkah 39; Minchas Shlomo 51:23; Mincha Yitzchak 6:61; 8:100
 Meiri Sukkah 39
 Tzitz Kodesh 16; HaShemita 7:11; Mishnes Yosef 3; Minchas Yitzchak 1:130; Minchas Shlomo 1:52
 See Minchas Yitzchak ibid
 See Minchas Yerushalayim 10:2
 Rambam 4:26; See Toras HaShemita p. 37
 Minchas Yitzchak 6:127;8:94
 Toras HaShemita 59
 Rambam 5:17
 Rambam 1:15-21; 2:2-8; Shabbos Haaretz 1:18-5
 Rambam 5:21; 7:14
 Meiri Avoda Zara 14; Toras Hashemita p. 27