Halacha for Tuesday 3 Tevet 5782 December 7 2021

Some Details Regarding the Laws of Elimination of Shevi’it Produce

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the law that one must eliminate Shevi’it produce from the time that specific fruit is no longer available in the field.

How to Eliminate Shevi’it Produce: Burning or Hefker?
The Rishonim disagree regarding how one must eliminate Shevi’it produce when the time comes. According to the Rambam (Chapter 7 of Hilchot Shemitta), one must actually destroy these fruits by burning them or throwing them into the Dead Sea and the like, similar to the laws of burning Chametz. The Ra’avad concurs. On the other hand, Rabbeinu Shimshon, the Tosafot, Samag, and Ramban maintain that one need not actually burn Shevi’it produce; rather, elimination of Shevi’it produce refers to removing them from one’s possession and rendering them Hefker (ownerless). One must therefore take these fruits out of one’s house (if this is not possible, the Hefker process may be performed in one’s house as well), stand before three people, and proclaim, “My Jewish brothers! Anyone who wishes to partake of these fruits may do so.” These people may then partake of these fruits.

The modern-day Poskim likewise disagree how this elimination should be carried out. Hagaon Harav Ben-Zion Abba Shaul zt”l writes that since the Rambam’s opinion is that the fruits must actually be destroyed, his ruling must be followed, for the Rambam was the leading authority of the Land of Israel. On the other hand, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l disproves this stance with many sources and proofs and quotes the words of Maharam ben Haviv in his Sefer Tosefet Yom Ha’Kippurim, who writes: “Halachically speaking regarding the elimination of Shevi’it produce, the custom in Jerusalem is to render them ownerless and to then reacquire them. Many great and pious scholars have followed this custom. Indeed, Maran writes that this was the custom of Mahari Korkus.” Maran Ha’Chida rules in his Birkei Yosef (Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 334, Subsection 10) rules likewise and quotes the words of Rabbeinu Yosef of Tarani (Chapter 42) that “we have never heard of any person in any city in Israel who has actually destroyed Shevi’it produce.” Indeed, Hagaon Harav Avraham Yitzchak Ha’Kohen Kook rules likewise in his Responsa Mishpat Kohen (Chapter 83) and adds that one who acts stringently is quite possibly transgressing the prohibitions of causing loss to Shevi’it produce as well as needless destruction of good fruits. Hagaon Chazon Ish rules likewise. (See Ma’or Yisrael, Pesachim 52b and Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 9, OC, Chapter 108)

Thus, halachically speaking, the Mitzvah to eliminate Shevi’it produce is that when the date arrives when a given fruit is no longer available in the field, such as the time when grapes are no longer found in vineyards and one has grapes remaining in one’s home, one must take them out of one’s possession, render them ownerless, and it will then be permissible for the owner to once again reacquire these grapes.

How is this Hefker Carried Out?
When performing this Hefker, this may be carried out even in the presence of three of one’s friends. Even if one is certain that these friends will not take any of one’s fruits, this is still permissible since according to the letter of the law, they may partake of these fruits and only because of their close friendship with the one rendering the fruits ownerless are they acting beyond the letter of the law.

After rendering the fruits Hefker, one may reacquire them and partake of them as much as one wishes. The Poskim disagree whether or not Shevi’it produce retains the sanctity of Shevi’it after having been “eliminated”. Halachically speaking, the great Rishon Le’Zion, Moreinu Harav Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a rules leniently and there is no need to treat such fruits with the sanctity of Shevi’it, especially when this is difficult. (Yalkut Yosef-Shevi’it, page 589)

In the next Halacha we shall, G-d-willing, discuss this topic further and summarize the laws of elimination of Shevi’it produce. We will also discuss the laws of eliminating Israeli wine which is can also be found in many places outside of Israel.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Taking Haircuts and Shaving During the Omer Period

Abstaining from Taking Haircuts During the Omer It has become customary among the Jewish nation to refrain from taking haircuts during the Omer counting period: According to the Ashkenazi custom, until the 33rd day of the Omer and according to the Sephardic custom, until the morning of the 34th day......

Read Halacha

Producing Sound and Whistling on Shabbat

The Gemara in Masechet Eruvin (104a) tells us that our Sages banned producing sound on Shabbat and Yom Tov, for instance, by playing a musical instrument, for they were concerned that while the tune is being played, the player will come to fix the instrument. This decree would certainly apply eve......

Read Halacha

Clapping and Drumming on a Table on Shabbat and Yom Tov

The Gemara in Masechet Beitzah (30a) states that one may not drum, clap, or dance on Shabbat lest one come to fix a musical instrument (ibid. 36b). This means that just as we have discussed in the previous Halachot that our Sages have decreed that one may not play musical instruments on Shabbat ......

Read Halacha

Toys Which Produce Sound and those Which Operate Using a Spring or Coil

Question: Is it permissible for one to allow one’s young children to play with toys which produce sound, such as a doll which makes noise when shaken, on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed the prohibition of producing sound on Shabbat, such as by banging on a board, ......

Read Halacha


Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: Approximately one week ago, we have discussed that, before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, I......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b) ......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Kissing One’s Parents’ Hands on Shabbat Night- The Students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Question: Should one kiss the hands of one’s parents and receive a blessing from them on Shabbat night and does the same apply equally to one’s father and mother? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Avodah Zarah (17a) tells us that when Ulah (a sage who lived during the Talmudic era) would......

Read Halacha