Halacha for Monday 4 Adar II 5782 March 7 2022

Mishloach Manot Containing Shevi’it Produce

Question: May one send Mishloach Manot containing fruits or vegetables which retain the sanctity of Shevi’it?

Answer: This year (5782) is the Shemitta year. As we have explained previously, produce grown this year on a Jew’s land in Israel retains the sanctity of Shevi’it. All fruits and vegetables in stores under reliable Kashrut supervision in Israel are labeled so that the customer will know the exact origin of the produce and whether it retains the sanctity of Shevi’it. (During this time of year, most fruits are still from the sixth year, besides for bananas of which many are Shevi’it produce.)

Shevi’it produce is perfectly permissible for consumption, and one may consume as much as he wishes. Similarly, one may give Shevi’it produce to one’s friends or relatives as a gift without any concern.

Business With Shevi’it Produce
Regarding Shevi’it produce, the Torah states, “And the Shabbat of the land shall be for you to eat.” Our Sages (Bechorot 12b) expound that this means “to eat and not to perform business with.” This means that although consuming Shevi’it produce is permissible, it is nevertheless forbidden to perform business with such fruits (besides for buying a small number of fruits and the like, which is customary in fruit stores under reliable Kashrut supervision regarding Shevi’it issues).

Since the Torah forbids performing business with Shevi’it produce, our Sages deduced that one may not use such produce to repay a debt. For instance, if one borrowed one hundred apples from a friend, one may not return one hundred apples with Shevi’it sanctity to the friend, for this constitutes performing business with Shevi’it produce.

Mishloach Manot Containing Shevi’it Produce
Based on the above, several Acharonim discuss whether one may send Mishloach Manot comprised of Shevi’it produce, for every individual is obligated to send Mishloach Manot to a friend. If so, by giving the friend Mishloach Manot, one is, in essence, “repaying a debt.” Thus, Hagaon Harav Gershon Lieberman writes (in his Mishnat Yosef, Volume 1, Chapter 27) that it is prohibited to send Mishloach Manot containing Shevi’it produce. Hagaon Harav Shmuel Ha’Levi Wosner Shlit”a (in his Responsa Shevet Ha’Levi, Volume 7, Chapter 183) rules stringently on this matter. Nevertheless, they do not provide a concrete proof that this is indeed forbidden and merely write that it makes sense that Mishloach Manot is tantamount to repaying a debt.

On the other hand, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim zt”l (the saintly Ben Ish Hai) rules in his Responsa Torah Lishmah (Chapter 193) that it is permissible to send Mishloach Manot containing Shevi’it produce. (His only discussion there is whether it is permissible to return such Mishloach Manot containing Shevi’it produce; however, the initial sending did not raise any concerns for him whatsoever.)

Similarly, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss zt”l writes (in his Responsa Minchat Yitzchak, Volume 10, Chapter 57) that it seems that sending Mishloach Manot is not included in the prohibition of doing business with Shevi’it produce and just as it is permissible to fulfill any Mitzvah with Shevi’it produce, such as, purchasing Matzah for Pesach or purchasing an Etrog for Sukkot, and this is not considered performing business with Shevi’it produce or repaying a debt, it is likewise permissible to send such produce as Mishloach Manot, for these fruits belong completely to their owner and he decides whom to give them to. There is no halachic, monetary lien on these fruits that would consider using them for Mishloach Manot repaying a debt.

Since Shevi’it nowadays is not a Torah commandment, it seems that we should rule leniently on this matter. This is especially true since Rabbeinu Yosef Haim rules leniently on this matter and those who rule stringently do not provide a clear halachic proof to support their stringent view. Nevertheless, it seems from the ruling of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l (in his Chazon Ovadia-Purim, page 154) that he likewise feels that there is room for stringency regarding this matter. However, this only applies to the first Mishloach Manot one gives which is the one is using to fulfill the Mitzvah; any subsequent Mishloach Manot one gives out may certainly contain Shevi’it produce.

Thus, those who order fruit platters or arrangements for their friends and loved ones to be given as Mishloach Manot should be cognizant of the above discussion.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach

Question: When the Chazzan recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation responds “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must one rise and bow or is this unnecessary? Answer: Regarding the obligation to rise while answering &ldquo......

Read Halacha

Which Vessels Require Immersion in a Mikveh-Continued

In previous Halachot, we have explained that vessels purchased from a non-Jew, such as those produced outside of Israel, require immersion in a Mikveh before using them. We have also discussed which types of vessels require immersion and which do not. We shall now continue discussing this topic. ......

Read Halacha