Shemita

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Shemita is the 7th year in a cycle on which the land of Israel rests from work and all debts are cancelled. This page will discuss the prohibition to work the land during Shemita. Regarding the concept of cancelling debts during Shemita see the Shemitat Kesafim page.

Basics

  1. There is a Bibical prohibition to plant[1], work a field of trees[2], harvest[3] or collect fruit[4] during Shemita based on the pasuk Vayikra 25:4-5.

Prior to Shemita

  1. There is a halacha l'moshe m'sinai to extend Shemita even during the sixth year. When the Bet Hamikdash stood there was a Biblical prohibition to work the field 30 days prior to Shemita and there was a rabbinic prohibition to for grain fields from Pesach and for tree fields from Pesach. After the Bet Hamikdash was destroyed it was permitted to work the field prior to Shemita.[5]

Links

Sources

  1. Rambam Lavin no. 220
  2. Rambam Lavin no. 221
  3. Rambam Lavin no. 222
  4. Rambam Lavin no. 223
  5. In Gemara Moed Katan 4a Rav Ashi explains that Rabban Gamliel held that there was a halacha l'moshe m'sinai to forbid working the field already in the sixth year while the Bet Hamikdash stood. Rabbi Yitzchak (Moed Katan 3b) clarifies that the halacha l'moshe m'sinai was only for 30 days and the rabbis in Mishna Sheviyit 1:1 and 2:1 forbade from Pesach for a grain field and from Shavuot for a tree field. The Rambam (Shemita 3:1) codified the opinion of Rav Ashi and Rabban Gamliel.