We are currently nearing the beginning of the shemitah year, which will take effect, b’ezras Hashem, on Rosh Hashanah 5782/2021.
Worry. Some people start feeling pressure and worry as shemitah nears. For farmers, the mitzvah and issurim of shemitah involve real sacrifice. Dovid Hamelech refers to farmers who keep shemitah as mighty warriors (‘א א”פ רבה ויקרא ,(as their dedication in abandoning their fields for a whole year takes lots of strength. Regular people also feel restricted because of the kedushas shevi’is of produce.
Joy. In truth though, we should be extra joyful that we have the zechus of this holy, precious, and dear mitzvah. Just as there are six mundane weekdays and the seventh is Shabbos, we also have six years without kedushah followed by a seventh year of kedushah, in which we eat produce sanctified with kedushas shevi’is. We should yearn to be zocheh to the year of kedushah already, just like a person waits on Erev Shabbos in anticipation of the arrival of Shabbos.
Desire to keep the mitzvos hateluyos ba’aretz. Moshe Rabbeinu davened 515 tefillos – the gematria of “ ואתחנן – “to be zocheh to enter Eretz Yisroel. Chazal say, “Why did Moshe Rabbeinu desire to enter Eretz Yisroel? Did he need to eat its produce or be satiated from its goodness? Rather, he said, ‘There are many mitzvos Klal Yisroel were commanded about that can only be fulfilled in Eretz Yisroel. I want to enter so I can fulfill them’” ( א”ע ד”י דף סוטה’ גמ.(
Applies to everyone. People think the halachos of not working the land only apply to farmers. In truth though, many halachos apply to activities in a city setting, e.g., tending gardens, transporting dirt to a construction site upon the completion of a building (see below, 38), growing vegetables or seedlings on a windowsill, various plants in a house, spilling water from a balcony onto the ground, and so forth. Learning the Halachos
One of the reasons people feel pressure is because they do not know the halachos and consequently do not know what they can and cannot do. We therefore determined that it is necessary and beneficial to begin organizing the halachos in a clear manner that everyone will gain from and to preface with some principles on the topic. Throughout the year, b’ezras Hashem, we will focus on different shemitah topics that will be relevant at that time. “The one who toils on erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos.”
Chutz La’aretz.Although our fellow Yidden who live in Chutz La’aretz are not zocheh to have the experience of keeping shemitah or the kedushah of Eretz Yisroel, they too must know the halachos. First of all, they need to know to be careful about shemitah produce imported from Eretz Yisroel and the halachos about shemitah of money, which also applies in Chutz La’aretz.
But the main point is that the halachos also apply to them. Soon Hashem will break the yoke of the goyim that is on our necks and He will bring us speedily to our land. It is especially important to learn these halachos since it was due to a disregard for the halachos of shemitah that we were sent far away from our land, as Chazal say, “For the aveirah of shemitah and yovel, galus comes to the world” ( א”ע ג”ל דף שבת’ גמ .(Thus, by learning and working on the halachos of shemitah, we should be zocheh to keep them again. Preparing Properly
There are also several topics it is worthwhile to know in advance so that one can prepare properly, e.g., when the deadline for planting trees is (below, 29) and what type of work is forbidden during shemitah so that one can do these things before shemitah.
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