A summary of the practical laws of Kileiy Zeraim/Hybrid planting of plants-PART 1

A summary of the practical laws of Kileiy Zeraim/Hybrid planting of plants-PART 1

Yoreh Deah Chapter 296/רצו סימן

*The following laws apply to hybrid planting of grains, vegetables and plants, which are all under the category of Kileiy Zeraim, as opposed to the hybrid planting and grafting of trees, which is under the prohibition of Kileiy Ilanos, and carries its own bylaws.

  1. The Prohibition:[1]
  • Israel: It is forbidden to plant two different species of seeds together in Eretz Yisrael. Thus, one may not plant a kernel of barley with a kernel of wheat, or a lentil with a bean.
  • One who transgresses this command has transgressed a Biblical command and is liable to receive the penalty of lashes. This prohibition is called Kileiy Zeraim.
  • The Diaspora:[2] In Chutz Laaretz it is permitted to plant Kileiy Zeraim even Lechatchilah. This law is a tradition [from Sinai]. [However, Harkavas Ilanos, grafting trees and Kileiy Hakerem, are forbidden even in the Diaspora, as will be explained under the section of Kileiy Ilanos.]
  1. Forms of planting:
  • All forms of hybrid planting are forbidden to be done if the hybrid seeds are covered over by earth. Thus, whether he originally placed the seeds on the ground and then covered them with earth, or if the seeds were originally on the ground and he simply used his foot to cover them with earth, nonetheless, it is prohibited.
  • Atzitz-Plants in pots:[3] The prohibition of hybrid planting applies even towards plants that are planted within pots. However, if the pot does not have a hole on its bottom [i.e. Atzitz Sheiyno Nakuv], then the transgressor does not receive Biblical lashes [i.e. it is only Rabbinically forbidden].

Is the prohibition of hybrid planting applicable towards the growing of sprouts?

This matter is disputed amongst the Poskim.[4] Practically, one is to be stringent in this matter.


  1. Planting on behalf of a gentile:[5]
  • It is forbidden to plant kilayim even on behalf of a gentile. It is disputed amongst the Poskim as to whether it is permitted to ask a gentile to plant Kilayim of seeds on one’s behalf.[6]
  1. Destroying Kilayim:[7]
  • One may not own hybrid plants in his field, and thus it must be promptly destroyed, although if he does own it he is not liable to receive lashes.
  1. Seeds with which hybrid planting is permitted:
  • Edible produce:[8] Hybrid planting is only prohibited with two species of seeds which grow edible produce [whether it is edible to humans or animals[9]]. However, those seeds which grow bitter herbs which are only eaten for medicinal purposes and the like, are not prohibited from being planted together with another species.
  1. A vegetable/legume/grain seed with a tree seed:[10]
  • The prohibition of hybrid planting applies only to seeds of vegetables, legumes and grains. However, according to some Poskim[11], tree seeds do not contain a prohibition of hybrid planting. Thus, in their opinion, it is permitted for one to plant seeds of different species of trees together, or of a tree and a vegetable/legume [i.e. Zeraim] together. However, other Poskim[12] rule that although it is permitted to plant different species of tree seeds together, nonetheless it is forbidden in Eretz Yisrael to plant tree seeds together with seeds of vegetables, legumes and edible plants.[13] Practically, one is to be stringent not to plant hybrid seeds of trees with plants, vegetables, or grains.


[1] Michaber Y.D. 296:1

[2] Michaber Y.D. 296:2

[3] Michaber Y.D. 296:1

[4] See Nechpah Bakesef Y.D. 5; Sedei Haretz 3 Y.D. 28; Shut Maharil Diskin 27; Har Tzevi Zeraim 2:31; Or Letziyon Shevi’is 1:2

[5] Michaber Y.D. 296:2

[6] Michaber ibid rules it is permitted; Taz 296:1 explains the allowance is only to ask the gentile to plant for a gentile and not for a Jew

[7] Michaber Y.D. 296:2

[8] Michaber Y.D. 296:3

[9] Taz Y.D. 296:2

[10] Background: Regarding the planting of a tree seed with vegetable/legume seeds: The Tur rules that it is forbidden in Eretz Yisrael due to the prohibition of Kileiy Zeraim. The Beis Yosef argues on the Tur and writes that from the Mishna and Rambam it is proven that even in Eretz Yisrael there is no such prohibition. Thus, the Michaber here rules in accordance to what he wrote in the Beis Yosef.  However, the Taz explains that in truth the opinion of the Tur is based on the Raavad who argues on the Rambam and proves from Talmud Yerushalmy like his opinion. The Taz thus concludes that the Beis Yosef/Michaber did not understand the Tur properly. The Shach comes to the same conclusion, stating that the Beis Yosef did not rule properly, and the main Halachic opinion is like the Tur. And so rules the Bach and other Achronim. [Shach 295:2; Taz 295:2]

[11] Michaber Y.D. 295:3; Beis Yosef 295 in negation of Tur based on Mishneh and Rambam Kilayim

[12]  Taz/Shach/Tur/Raavad/Bach/Achronim/Drisha. See previous note.

[13] The reason: As although the hybrid planting of tree seeds with vegetables does not transgress Kilayim of trees [and is thus permitted in the diaspora], nevertheless it is prohibited due to Kilayim of seeds, which is prohibited to plant in Eretz Yisrael.

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