The concept of the “Sabbatical year” has been accepted by the world.
Teachers go “on Sabbatical” and even Doctors take off a year and say that they are “on Sabbatical”… but the source is the Torah, not some university.
HaShem commanded that the Land of Eretz Yisrael rest and that hard-working farmers spend the year learning Torah.
While the challenges and obstacles are great, hundreds of farmers are doing exactly what HaShem has instructed!
They have traded their farming tools for sefarim and are basking in the light of Torah.
Does this mean that the big holiday of Tu B’Shvat is not observed this year… or do we simply spend the day eating dates, figs and cracking our teeth on “buckseh”?
On the contrary!!
This is the most important Tu B’Shvat of all!
This is the Tu B’Shvat that we show those heroic farmers how much we love and support them!
On this Tu B’Shvat, we cannot plant fruit trees… that’s true… but we CAN pre-order fruit trees so that these farmers know exactly what they have to plant when Shmittah is over.
Let “Shimon the farmer” know that he has 900 olive trees waiting for him the moment he is permitted to plant!
This is how we perform MANY MITZVOT IN ONE SHOT!
We observe Tu B’Shvat by pre-ordering fruit trees with Zo Artzeinu www.IsraelTrees.org in honor of the holiday, we keep Shmittah by making sure those trees are NOT planted at this time and we support the farmers who are not working for a year and partner with them in keeping Shmitta!
Frequently asked questions…
Q. What can be done on Tu B’Shvat during Shmitta?
A. The Torah says
(ושְֵׁשׁ שָׁניִם תִּזרְַע אֶת אַרְצֶךָ, ואְָסַפְתָּ אֶת תְּבוּ אָתָהּ. והְשַּׁבְיִעתִ תִּשְׁמְטֶנּהָ וּנטְַשְׁתָּהּ… (שמות כ”ג, י
“You may plant your land for 6 years and gather its crops. But during the 7th year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it…” (Shmos 23:10)
Although the farmers can not sell their produce, prune or plant new trees during Shmitta, they can do certain things to prepare for their planting, such as; buying and installing fences, purchasing irrigation systems for watering the trees, planning mapping and marking off locations, etc.
Q: What’s the big deal of Shmitta these days?
A: The Torah says in Vayikra: “וצויתי את ברכת לכם” “I will ordain my Blessing for you” which is an AMAZING PROMISE from Hashem, that he will Command or Ordain his Blessing on those who help keep Shmitta.
PLUS Harav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, said the following on Erev Yom Kippur 5774
“בשביעית נגאלין .” “We will be redeemed in the merit of Shmitta
Q: What’s did Chazal say about Fruit Trees in Israel?
A. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai:
“If you find out that Moshiach has arrived while you are holding a fruit tree to plant in Israel, plant the tree first and only THEN can you come and greet the Moshiach.”
Q: Did more recent Gedolim have anything to say about Fruit Trees?
A. The Vilna Gaon sent some talmidim to Israel in the 1800’s and told them. “If only Hashem would grant me the Zechus to plant a FRUIT tree in Yerushalayim, I can fulfill the Mitzvah and Pasuk “When you come to the land plant FRUIT trees”וְכִי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל עֵץ מַאֲכָל (ויקרא יט)”
Q: Does any posek today say I can keep Shmitta from outside Israel ?
A. Here is an excerpt translated from a psak halacha letter written by HaRav Hagaon Yaakov Ariel shlita, leading Posek on the Mitzvos of Agriculture in the Holy Land, author of dozens Halachic Seforim (books) on this subject, former Rav of Ramat Gan and Rosh (directing head of) Machon Torah VeHa’aretz.
“…it is appropriate that everyone in the world partner with a farmer in Israel to fulfill the mitzvah of Shmittah, and through this partnership HE KEEPS THE MITZVAH AS WELL because the land belongs to us all…”
I therefore bless the efforts of Zo Artzeinu’s Sh’mittah Campaign”
Therefore… use this opportunity to do a wonderful thing and partner with a farmer
in the opportunity and mitzvah of Shmitta in a real and significant way and Share in the Mitzvah and Brocha.
Let’s keep Shmitta TOGETHER!
Partner with a Farmer in Israel during THIS Shmitta…
Share in the Mitzvah and Bracha!
To see videos of farmers, schools, and communities and to learn more about partnership opportunities
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