web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Must Women Observe Shemitah?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

There are several mitzvos assei (e.g., to be mafkir one’s produce) and lo sa’asseh (e.g., not to plant the land) associated with shemitas karka, which parenthetically begins this Rosh Hashanah. The Chinuch, in mitzvah 84, says that both men and women are obligated to observe these mitzvos.

In mitzvah 112, the Minchas Chinuch asks why women are not exempt from the mitzvos assei of shemitah since they are generally exempt from mitzvos assei she’hazeman gramma (time-sensitive mitzvos). While some Rishonim opine that when a mitzvas lo sa’asseh is associated with a mitzvas assei, women are obligated, Tosafos (in Kiddushin 34a) maintains that women are still exempt. It is thus imperative to explain why, according to Tosafos, women are obligated to observe the mitzvos assei of shemitah.

The Minchas Chinuch first suggests that the obligation to be mafkir one’s produce may not be a time-sensitive mitzvah. Since the fruits, once grown, will be forbidden forever, perhaps the mitzvah is not technically time-sensitive. He argues that this reasoning is dependent on a machlokes Rishonim regarding the mitzvah of tzitzis. According to the Rambam (Hilchos Tzitzis 3:7), a man is only obligated to keep the mitzvah of tzitzis during the day. At night one is exempt from this mitzvah, even with a garment generally worn during the day. This is why women are exempt from the mitzvah of tzitzis.

The Rosh disagrees, suggesting that a garment generally worn during the day must have tzitzis on them – even when worn at night. Only garments generally worn at night need not have tzitzis affixed to them. According to the Rosh, the reason why tzitzis is a time-sensitive mitzvah is because time dictates which garment is included in the mitzvah.

According to the Rambam, since fruit grown in a shemitah year will remain forbidden forever, we can suggest that that mitzvah to be mafkir one’s produce is not time-sensitive. But according to the Rosh, who only exempts women from the mitzvah of tzitzis because time decides which garments must have tzitzis, women should be exempt from observing the mitzvah of being mafkir one’s produce. This is because the time during which the produce is grown dictates which produce will be included in the obligation.

Why, then, according to the Rosh, are women are obligated in all the mitzvos assei of shemitah?

In Kiddushin 29a, the Rishonim ask why there is a pasuk in the Torah exempting women from the obligation to perform bris milah on their sons. After all, women should obviously be exempt since it is a mitzvas assei she’hazeman gramma. The Ritva answers that women are only exempt from mitzvos assei she’hazeman gramma for mitzvos that pertain to themselves. But when the mitzvah requires them to do something for someone else, they are not exempt. That’s why the pasuk is necessary. Without it, women would be obligated to perform (or arrange) the bris milah of their sons.

The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 112:3) understands the Ritva’s answer to mean the following: Mitzvos can be placed into two categories: those that an individual is obligated to perform, and those requiring that a certain situation take place. The Minchas Chinuch explains that the mitzvah for parents to perform a bris milah on their son is not a mitzvah requiring them to perform a certain act; rather, the mitzvah requires that they ensure that a certain act is accomplished – namely that their son has a bris milah. Regarding these types of mitzvos, women are not exempt – even if the mitzvah is a mitzvas assei she’hazeman gramma.

That’s why, explains the Minchas Chinuch, women are not exempt from the mitzvah of shemitah. The essence of this mitzvah is ensuring that the land is granted a sheveisa. It is not a mitzvah devolving on a person; rather, the mitzvah requires that a certain situation be arranged – namely that the land receive a rest.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Must Women Observe Shemitah?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Does this look like a pro-Israel group?
Minnesota Univ. Student Official Compares Group Backing Israel with KKK
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Sacks

Simply too many cases of prayers being answered to deny it makes a difference to our fate. It does.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

Vayeitzei_lecture

There’s a perfect mirror between Jacob running away from Esav to when he reunites with his brother.

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

Rabbi-Twersky-112114

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

The implication of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 233:2) is that one may not daven Minchah before six and one half hours into the day.

Some Rishonim are bothered by the opinion of the Rambam that bnei Noach are commanded not to eat basar min hachai.

According to the Raavad if one who is uncircumcised breaks something he will be exempt from paying for it since he was chayav kares at the same time as he was obligated to repay for the item he broke.

Others suggest that one cannot separate Shabbos from Yom Kippur by accepting Shabbos early.

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/must-women-observe-shemitah/2014/05/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: