web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
More than 40 were killed in the bombing of a Yemeni refugee camp by the Saudi-led strike force.
Attack on Yemeni Refugees Makes Israel Look Like the Girl Scouts
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

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

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Ran asks why the Gemara concludes that since we are unsure which two of the four we must recline for, that we must recline for all four.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The Aruch Laner asks: How can Rashi say that the third Beis Hamikdash will descend as fire from heaven when every Jew prays several times a day for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash?

The Ohr Hachayim rules that one may not manipulate the system; rather he must state his opinion as he see the ruling in the case; not as he would like the outcome of the verdict to become.

He suggests that the general admonition only dictates that a father may not actively enable his son to perform an aveirah.

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: