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September 10, 1993 - Image 148

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I:Shana
"'ova

May you be inscribed
in the Book of Life

5754

The Jewish National Fund expresses
deepest appreciation to all who
supported its Operation Promised
Land Campaign over the past year. In
5754, we will continue developing the terrain
for housing, building reservoirs, blazing roads,
and transforming the land of Israel to improve
the quality of life for all its citizens. JNF is the
land — and through your support, we will fulfill
the promise!

Milton Shapiro, Esq.
Treasurer

Ruth W. Popkin
President

Dr. Samuel I. Cohen
Executive Vice-President

JNF • 17100 W. Ten Mile Road • Southfield, MI 48075 • 313-557-6644

Our Board of Directors wishes you and yours a happy, healthy new year.
*

Eli A. Scherr
President
JNF Council of Michigan

JEWISH
IIATICCAL
FUnD

(KER. KAYEMETH LEISRAEL) INC.

Edward Rosenthal
Regional Director
.INF Council of Michigan

EVERY BOOK
DISCOUNTED!

Warmest Wishes

for a

Healthy & Happy
New Year

Designs Unlimited

(313) 624-7300 • 3160 Haggerty Rd. • West Bloomfield

A

DAVID ROSENMAN'S

AUTO
PIIIKIIIIMIERS

NEW & USED CAR BROKER

Sales • Leming • Buying

148

(313) .851-CARS (313) 851-2277

PAGES &
PAGES, LTD,

14 111LE AND
11.‘GGERTV RDS.
(NEWBERRY CENTER)

669-3388

114)1:1tti: 110N-SAT: 10-9
1
SUN: 12-3

A VERY HAPPY
NEW YEAR
FROM
GORDON TRAVEL

Al, Cail,
Ray & Lillian

Shmitta:
The Seventh Year

DVORA WAYSMAN SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

W

hen Rosh Hashana
is ushered in, it
will mark the be-
ginning of a
"shmitta" (sabbatical year,
the seventh year a year of
rest for the soil: "And six
years you shall sow your land,
and you shall gather in its
produce but the seventh year
you shall let it rest and lie
fallow." (Exodus 23:10-11)
The shmitta year is also one
in which we are commanded
to release certain debts: "At
the end of every seven years,
thou shalt make a release.
And this is the manner of the
release: every creditor shall
release that which he lent
unto his neighbor." (Deuter-
onomy 15:1-2)
Although the laws of the
sabbatical remittance of debts
apply to Jews everywhere, the
obligation to let the land lie
fallow is limited to the bound-
aries of Israel, as they apply
only "when ye come into the
land which I give you . . ."
(Leviticux 25:2)
For many generations (un-
til crop rotation was im-
plemented in the early part of
the century), both Jews and
gentiles saw the advantages
of letting land rest in order to
regain its vitality. The law of
shmitta was theoretically dis-
cussed by Talmudic scholars
in the Diaspora, after the
destruction of the First Tem-
ple, but on the return of the
Jewish people to their land
and the rebuilding of the
Temple, they rigidly adhered
to it.
In later years, when Julius
Caesar took control of the
Land of Israel, he exempted
the Jews from taxation every
seven years since "they
neither take fruit from the
trees, nor do they sow." After
the abortive Bar Kochba
revolt (135 CE), however, the
Jews were again compelled to
pay taxes during a shmitta
year, causing grave hardships.
This, in turn, convinced the
rabbis to relax many prohibi-
tions for that period.
In modern Israel, shmitta's
heavy economic load was too
much for the young state, so
in the early part of the cen-
tury, learned rabbis (among
them the late Rabbi Abraham
Yitzhak Kook), agreed to the
use of a "heter" (dispensa-
tion) during the Sabbatical
year, to sell land to non-Jews
(much like we sell "hametz"
at Pesach). This permitted the
land to be worked.

In recent years, other
methods if using "heter"
have also been perfected, such
as the early sowing of
vegetables before Rosh
Hashana (relying on the view
of Rabbi Shimeon of Sens)
and the growing of crops by
hydroponics or other soil-less
systems.
Israeli botanist Meir
Schwartz was the founder of
the first fully automatic
hydroponic farm at the
Agudat Israel Kibbutz Hafetz
Chaim, near Ashkelon. There
are now other hydroponic
farms at Ein Gedi and Eilat
which use gravel and water
culture.
How does the shmitta year
affect Orthodox Israelis?
Throughout the year, lists of
shops selling permitted fruits
and vegetables that were
either grown on non-Jewish
soil or came from abroad, ap-

For many
generations both
Jews and gentiles
saw the
advantages of
letting land rest
in order to regain
its vitality.

pear in the Orthodox press.
Before the intifada, many
Jews bought produce in east
Jerusalem, but that is no
longer the case.
Jews who approve of the
sale of the land for the year,
continue to enjoy the produce
of the kibbutzim and
moshavim. But many obser-
vant Jews do not. Although
dispensations have been per-
mitted in recent years, they
are really emergency
measures as implied by Rab-
bi Kook in the introduction to
his work on the shmitta:
"Shabbat Ha'aretz" (Sabbath
of the Land): "We today are
charged with preserving the
memory of the commandment
until the time is ripe for it to
be carried out with all of its
minutiae!"
Just as observant Jews
work six days and rest on the
seventh, dedicating the Sab-
bath of their connection with
God, so shmitta, the seventh
year, explains the Torah, af-
firms God's absolute owner-
ship of the land.



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