5. Harvest

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5. Harvest:

A. May one harvest his field during Shemita for purposes of distribution?[1]

One may not harvest his field in the normal method. He is to harvest only small areas at a time, and preferably use his hands. One is not to cut the fruits off the trees using a regular fruit cutting scissor and is rather to use a knife.

How much produce may one take at a time for his personal use?[2]

Some Poskim rule that the amount that is permitted to be taken from the field is the amount of food needed for a few days’ worth. Others[3],  however, say one may only take three meal’s worth of produce.

May 6th year produce which does not contain Kedushas Shevi’is be harvested as usual in the 7th year?[4]

  • Example: May one harvest his grapes that grew prior to the Shemita year, during the Shemita year?

Yes. All 6th year produce which does not contain Kedushas Shevi’is when harvested in the 7th year [i.e. fruits, with exception to Esrogim and lemons] may be regularly harvested in the 7th year.


B. May one cut branches off a tree for the purpose of using them?[5]

Yes. However, he must intend not to benefit the tree in the process.


May one cut Sechach during Shemita to use for his Sukkah?[6]

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


May one cut branches of a fruit tree?[7]

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.[8]

Does Sechach have Kedushas Shevi’is?[9]


May one pluck grass during Shemita?


May one remove dry and dead leaves and branches from a tree and plant during Shemita?[10]

It is forbidden to do so[11], with intent to benefit the tree[12] or its fruits.[13]

1. Question: [Wednesday, 17th Elul, 5781]

We live in Eretz Yisrael and need to uproot a tree that has roots interfering with the underground piping. I wanted to know if we must get this done before Shemita, or may do so also during Shemita.



It is permitted to uproot a non-fruit bearing tree during Shemita for non-agricultural purposes, such as for the purpose that you stated. However, if the tree is a fruit tree, then certain limitations apply which have nothing to do with Shemita, and is relevant to the general prohibition against uprooting a fruit tree. Practically, in a case such as yours, you may uproot even a fruit tree, although it should be done through a Gentile, and possibly may not be done during Shemita, depending on the stage of the growth of the fruit, as will be explained. Alternatively, it should be uprooted with its soil and replanted elsewhere, although in such a case this must be done before Shemita due to the planting prohibition. Another issue with uprooting a fruit tree during Shemita is the fact that by doing so you are destroying Shemita produce and hence 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. Even in a case of a non-fruit bearing tree, during Shemita, you may only uproot up to two trees which are next to each other, and not more.


Explanation: There is no intrinsic prohibition involved in uprooting trees during Shemita as the action of uprooting a tree and throwing it out is not of any agricultural benefit. It is however forbidden to do so with intent of agricultural benefit such as for future growth of produce in the field, and therefore the sages prohibited one to uproot three or more trees that are next to each other, being that when one removes the roots of three trees it has agricultural benefit to the land. Rather, in such a case although one may cut the wood one must leave the roots in the ground. If, however, they are not next to each other, than this is not an issue. The above is regarding a non-fruit bearing tree, however, a fruit bearing tree has the additional issues mentioned above for which reason it may be forbidden to uproot them during the year, or during Shemita.

Sources: See regarding the issue of cutting more than two trees which are next to each other: Rambam Shemita 1:18; Derech Emuna 148; Halichos Hasshevi’is 12:1; See regarding the issue of destroying Shemita produce when destroying a fruit tree during Shemita: Rambam Shemita 5:17; Derech Emuna 128; Halichos Hasshevi’is 34:2-4; See regarding destroying fruit trees: https://shulchanaruchharav.com/halacha/destroying-a-fruit-tree/


[1] Toras HaShemita 11:37

[2] See Minchas Yerushalayim 3:2

[3] Grach Naah 11; See Tosefta Sheviis 8:1; Minchas Yerushalayim ibid

[4] Chazon Ish 3:23; 12:7; 22:2; Halichos Hashevi’is 8:2

[5] Toras HaShemita 3:13; See Sanhedrin 26a in answer to Resih Lakish that one may collect vines for the sake of using them

[6] Rambam 1:15-21; 2:2-8; Shabbos Haaretz 1:18-5

[7] Rambam 5:17

[8] The reason: As it is forbidden to cause loss to a tree that is in the process of producing fruit during Shemita.

[9] Rambam 5:21; 7:14

[10] Halichos Hashevi’is 1:12

[11] Rambam 1:5

[12] Rash 2:2

[13] Tosafos Harosh and Meiri Moed Katan 3

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