Zo Artzeinu (Hebrew for This is our Land) has planted over 60,000 fruit trees in Yitzhar, a town which overlooks the holy city of Shechem where The righteous Joseph Hatzadik who was the viceroy in Egypt 2nd to Pharaoh, is buried, across from Har Bracha (Mount Blessing). The man who runs these fields is Ariel ben Sheitreet and he told us the following story;
“7 years ago, before Shmitta the Sabbatical year began, I informed the wine experts – who were helping me harvest the grapes and produce wine – that I would not be touching my fields during Shmitta. They told me that this was a death sentence to my young vineyard. They said that since my vineyard was relatively new, it HAD to be pruned and well-cared for throughout the year and if not, the young grapevines would simply die. I answered them that I believed in Hashem who promised the vines would be safe AND that they would produce 3 times as much produce in the year prior to Shmitta.
These guys had a good laugh and said that it simply wasn’t possible. Well, here’s what happened. Normally, my vineyard produces 4 tons of grapes each year. In the year prior to Shmitta – with the exact same work on my part – my vineyard produced 14.5 tons of grapes! That is actually even MORE than 3 times the amount. I immediately called the grape experts who told me that while they were very impressed, these grapes were undoubtedly of low quality and that I would have to throw them out. Once again, I did not listen to them and, instead of throwing them out, I made them into grape juice and wine.
What was the result? This harvest won FIRST PLACE and was awarded the GOLD MEDAL in Israel’s national wine competition!!! PS: During the entire year of Shmitta I sat and learned in Kollel (Studied the Bible) in the town of Yitzhar the mountain overlooking the tomb of the Biblical and righteous Joseph across from the Mount of Blessings and only watered my vineyard – absolutely no other work was done – and it continues to thrive! I am looking forward to this coming Shemitah when I will, once again, sit and study – with no worries at all about my field.”
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