Halacha for Wednesday 4 Tevet 5782 December 8 2021              

Halacha Date: 4 Tevet 5782 December 8 2021

Category: Shemitta year

Shevi’it Wine Which Has Not Been Eliminated

In the previous Halachot we have established that when any species of Shevi’it produce is no longer available in the field, one must eliminate it from one’s home (by means of Hefker).

Fruits Whose Time for Elimination Has Already Arrived But Have Not Yet Been Eliminated
The Baraita (Yoma 83a) states that once the time to eliminate Shevi’it produce arrives, one may not partake of these fruits. Hagaon Chazon Ish (Shevi’it, Chapter 11, Subsection 6) explains that this prohibition is self-understood, for since the Torah has commanded that these fruits be eliminated, if the time has come and one has not yet eliminated them, it becomes forbidden to consume them.

Nevertheless, the Sefer Charedim (Chapter 55) understands from the words of the Ramban that the prohibition to consume Shevi’it fruits whose time for elimination has already passed and have not been eliminated applies only when one purposely transgresses the Torah’s commandment. However, if this was done inadvertently, for instance, if one has forgotten to eliminate the fruits, the fruits are not forbidden for consumption and one need only eliminate them immediately upon becoming aware by rendering them ownerless in front of three people (as we have explained) after which one may reacquire them and partake of them once again.

Although some Poskim rule leniently in this regard, nevertheless, since this prohibition is merely rabbinic nowadays, the great Rishon Le’Zion, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a (in his Yalkut Yosef-Shevi’it, page 591) that there is room for leniency and as long as one has already rendered the fruits Hefker and reacquired them, these fruits are permissible for consumption and need not be treated with the sanctity of Shevi’it.

Shevi’it Wine
The time for elimination of Shevi’it grapes is before the summer of the eighth year (i.e. before the summer of 5783), for this is the time when grapes are no longer available in vineyards. Thus, wines produced in Israel by Jewish wineries in the year 2016 (and some wines produced in 2015 as well) retain the sanctity of Shevi’it and required elimination already. Thus, anyone who has such wines in his possession and the words “Retains Sanctity of Shevi’it” are printed on the label next to the Kashrut symbol must already have eliminated at the appropriate time. If one did not do so by this time inadvertently, one should render the wine ownerless in front of three people and then reacquire them, as we have established.

If the Date for Elimination is Doubtful
If there is a doubt regarding the time to eliminate a given fruit, the Poskim disagree how one should behave (see Yalkut Yosef-Shevi’it, page 582). In general, the laws of elimination of Shevi’it produce are vast and we have merely grazed the surface. In any doubtful situation, one should consult a prominent halachic authority for guidance.

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