Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone
Friday, 1 Sivan 5773 / May 10, 2013

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Shemita - Chapter 7

E-mail
Video & Audio Classes
Show content in:

Shemita - Chapter 7

Halacha 1

We may only partake of the produce of the Sabbatical year as long as that species is found in the field. [This is derived from Leviticus 25:7]: "For the animal and the beast in your land will be all the produce to eat." [Implied1 is that] as long as a beast2 [can be] eating from this species in the field, one may eat from [what he has collected] at home. When there is no longer any [of that species] for the beast to eat in the field, one is obligated to remove that species from his home. This is the obligation of biyur which applies to the produce of the Sabbatical year.

Halacha 2

What is implied? If a person has dried figs at home, he may partake of them as long as there are figs on the trees in the field. When there are no longer figs in the field, it is forbidden for him to partake of the figs he has at home and he must instead remove them.3

Halacha 3

If he had a large amount of produce, he should distribute4 a quantity that can be eaten in three meals to every person [he desires]. It is forbidden - both for the rich and the poor5 - to partake of it after the time of biyur. If he is not able to find people to eat at the time of biyur, he should burn it with fire or cast it into Mediterranean Sea,6 or destroy it through any other means.7

Halacha 4

If one had raisins from the Sabbatical year and there were no longer any grapes left in the fields,8 the gardens, and the orchards which are ownerless,9 even though there are still grapes on the vines in the courtyards, he may not partake of the raisins because of the grapes in the courtyard, because they are not accessible to a wild beast.10 If, however, there are very firm grapes that do not mature until the end of the year [still growing in the field], one may partake of the raisins [he has stored] because of them. Similar laws apply in all analogous instances.

Halacha 5

When a tree produces fruit twice a year and one still possesses fruit from its first crop, he may partake of it as long as the second crop is still in the field. For [the requirement that] this species be [available] in the field [is met]. We do not, however, [continue to] partake [of stored fruit] because of fruit that grows in the fall,11 because it is considered as the produce of a different year.

Halacha 6

When a person pickles three types of produce in one barrel, if one of these types of produce is no longer available in the field, that type of produce should be removed from the barrel.12 If he began partaking of [the pickled produce], the entire [mixture] is considered as having been removed.13

Just as one is obligated to remove food [stored for] human consumption, so too, must he remove animal fodder from his home and he may no longer feed it to an animal if that type of produce is no longer available in the field.14

Halacha 7

Just as one must remove the produce of the Sabbatical year, so too, one must remove the money [received in exchange for it].15 What is implied? One sold pomegranates of the Sabbatical year and used the money received in return for them [to purchase] food. When there are no longer any pomegranates on the trees in the field, but he remains in possession of the money he received for selling them, he is obligated to remove it from his possession.

Halacha 8

What should he do? He should purchase food with this money and distribute it, [providing] three meals to every person [he desires].16 Alternatively, if he does not find people to partake of such food, he should cast the money into the Mediterranean Sea.

Halacha 9

[Eretz Yisrael is divided into] three lands [with regard to the obligation of] biyur:17

a) the entire land of Yehudah, its mountainous portion, its plain, and its valley, is all one region.18

b) the entire [West] Bank of the Jordan,19 [including] the plain of Lod, the mountains [around] the plain of Lod, [the area of] Beit Choron, with the sea, is all one region; and

c) the entire Galilee, the upper [Galilee], the lower [Galilee], and the area of Tiberias, is one region. In each of these three regions, one may partake [of a species of produce stored at home] until the last [traces of that produce] cease [to exist in the entire region's fields].

Halacha 10

What is implied? If one possesses produce in the land of Yehudah, one may partake of it as long as this species is found [in the fields of] the entire land of Yehudah.20Similar laws apply if he possesses produce from the Galilee or from the [West] Bank of the Jordan.

Halacha 11

These three regions are considered as one entity with regard to carobs, olives, and dates.21 One may eat dates [throughout Eretz Yisrael] until the last dates are no longer available in Tzo'ar.22 From when are they no longer available? Purim. We may eat olives until Shavuot and grapes until Pesach of the eighth year. Dried figs may be eaten until Chanukah.23

Halacha 12

When a person transports produce of the Sabbatical year from a region in which it is no longer available [in the field] to a region where it is available, or from a region where it is available to a region in which it is no longer available, he is obligated in biyur. [The rationale is that] we place upon him the stringencies of the place from which he departed and those of the place to which he journeyed.24

When the produce of Eretz Yisrael has been brought to the Diaspora, it should be destroyed in its place.25 It should not be transported from one place to another.

Halacha 13

A great general principle was stated with regard to [the produce of] the Sabbatical year: Whenever [produce] is [used as] food for humans, animal fodder, or as one of the dyes, if it will not be maintained in the earth, the laws of the Sabbatical year apply to it and to money received for it and the requirements of biyur apply to it26 and to money received for it, e.g., the leaves of wild onions, mint, and endives, are considered as food for humans, brambles and thorn are considered as animal fodder, and woad27 and safflower are considered as dyes. If the species is maintained in the earth, e.g., madder28 and dyer's rocket from the dyes,29 even though the laws of the Sabbatical year apply to it and to money received for it. The requirements of biyur do not apply to it or to money received for it, because it is maintained in the earth.30 Instead, one may benefit from it and use it as dye until Rosh HaShanah.31

Halacha 14

Whenever a plant is not set aside to be [used as] food for humans, animal fodder, or as one of the dyes, since it is not used as kindling fuel,32 the laws of the Sabbatical year apply to it and to money received for it,33 but the requirements of biyur do not apply to it34 or to those monies. [This applies] even if it will not be maintained in the earth. Instead, we may benefit from it and the money received for it until Rosh HaShanah.35 Examples [of this category include] the roots of wild onions and mint and the scorpion-like herb.

Halacha 15

The laws of the Sabbatical year apply to the peels and the buds of pomegranates, the shells of nuts,36 and the seeds [of other fruits] and to the money received for them,37 but the requirements of biyur do not apply to them or to those monies.

The laws of the Sabbatical year apply to the tips of the branches of grape vines38 and carob trees and to the money received for them, as do the requirements of biyur.39 The laws of the Sabbatical year apply to the tips of the branches of the evergreen oak, the pistachio tree, and the box thorn bush40 and to the money received for them, but the requirements of biyur do not apply to them.41 The requirement of biyur does apply to their leaves.42

Halacha 16

When is the time for biyur? For leaves, it is when they wither and fall from the tree.43 The leaves of olive trees, reeds, and carob trees do not have a time of biyur, because they never wither and fall away.

Halacha 17

Until when does a person have the license to gather fresh grass in the Sabbatical year? Until the bitter44 [apples] become dried out.45 He may gather dried grasses46 until the second rains of the eighth year.47

Halacha 18

Until when are the poor48 permitted to enter the orchards in the eighth year to gather the fruits of the Sabbatical year?49 Until the second rains descend.50

Halacha 19

The laws of the Sabbatical year apply to roses, cloves, and chestnuts and to the money received for them.51 The laws of the Sabbatical year do not apply to balsam sap that flows from trees, from their leaves, and their roots.52 They do apply to [sap] that flows from underdeveloped berries53 and the money received for it.

Halacha 20

When does the above apply? When the tree produces edible fruit. If, however, the tree is not fruitbearing, the sap that flows from its leaves and roots is considered as its fruit54 and the laws of the Sabbatical year apply to it and to the money received for it.

Halacha 21

When a person pickles a rose from the Sabbatical year in the oil of the sixth year, he may gather the rose55 and it is permitted [to use] the oil [in an ordinary manner].56 If he pickles [a rose] in the oil of the eighth year,57 he is obligated to perform biyur with the oil. [The rationale is] at that time, the rose is dry and the obligation of biyur has already fallen upon it.

Halacha 22

When carobs of the Sabbatical year were left to soak in the wine of the sixth year or in the wine of the eighth year, biyur must be performed with the wine, because it has absorbed the flavor of the produce of the Sabbatical year.58 This is the general principle: When the produce of the Sabbatical year becomes mixed with other produce of the same species,59 even the slightest amount [causes the entire mixture to be considered as the produce of the Sabbatical year]. When it becomes mixed with other species, [the ruling depends on whether it has] imparted its flavor [or not].60

FOOTNOTES
1.

See the Sifra to that verse.

From the fact that a verse from the Torah is brought as support, the Minchat Chinuch concludes that the obligation of biyur is of Scriptural origin. The P'nei Yehoshua (Pesachim 52b), however, maintains that the verse is merely an asmachta, a support brought by the Rabbis for their own ordinance, and in truth, the obligation is Rabbinic. He supports this thesis by the fact that, otherwise, it would have been appropriate for the Rambam to consider the obligation as one of the mitzvot.

2.

I.e., a wild animal which you are not obligated to feed. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 9:2).

3.

As the Rambam states in the following halachah.

4.

On the day of the biyur.

5.

There is a difference of opinion concerning this matter in the mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:3, 9:8).

6.

This is how the Rambam [in the conclusion of his Commentary to the Mishnah, et al], interprets the phrase yam hamelech. See also Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 2:2. Others interpret it as referring to the Dead Sea. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:2), he mentions only casting the produce into the sea.

7.

Thus the Rambam interprets the word biyur as meaning "destruction." After the time of biyur, the produce must be destroyed. The Ramban (in his commentary to the Torah) and other Rishonim, however, interpret it as "removal" and maintain that after the biyur, all that is necessary is to renounce one's ownership over the produce and thus remove it from one's domain. Rav Yosef Corcus states that this view can be relied upon in the present era and, indeed, this is the practice in Eretz Yisrael today.

8.

In a later addition to his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:4; see Rav Kappach's notes), the Rambam states that fields within a city are considered like gardens. Here he is speaking of those in the outlying areas.

9.

I.e., regarded as ownerless in the Sabbatical year.

10.

I.e., a homeowner will not leave his courtyard open so that a wild beast can enter it at will. (He must, however, regard even the produce growing in his courtyard as ownerless and allow another person to enter and pick it.)

11.

Since this fruit grows in the rainy season, which begins well after Rosh HaShanah, it is considered as the produce of the eighth year and not of the Sabbatical year.

12.

And eaten or destroyed, as stated in Halachah 3. He is not, however, obligated to remove the other two types of produce. Although the one type of produce that is now forbidden has imparted its flavor to the other two types, that does not cause them to be forbidden.

13.

Our translation is based on the interpretation of Mareh HaPonim (a gloss to the Jerusalem Talmud, Sh'vi'it 9:5). He explains that once a jar of pickled vegetables were opened (in pre-refrigeration eras), the vegetables would spoil rapidly. Hence, it is considered as if the entire batch was already removed from his possession.

14.

In this context, there is no difference between the laws applying to food for humans and animal fodder.

15.

For as stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 6, the holiness of the produce is transferred to the money received for it.

16.

As above, these activities should be performed on the day the obligation of biyur takes place. The Radbaz explains that the person is required to purchase food with the money. It is not sufficient for him to distribute the money itself and tell the recipients to purchase food, for perhaps they will fail to do so.

17.

I.e., as the Rambam proceeds to explain, Eretz Yisrael is not considered a single entity with regard to this obligation, for different conditions apply in each of the three regions. Each of those regions individually, however, is considered as a single integral entity although different conditions apply in each of its districts.

18.

I.e., this region - as well as the other two - is subdivided into three districts.

19.

The term Ever HaYarden, literally Trans-Jordan, is most commonly used to refer to the areas on the Eastern bank of the Jordan, as mentioned at the conclusion of the Book of Numbers, throughout the Book of Deuteronomy, and in many places throughout the Mishnah. There are many authorities (among them, Rabbenu Shimshon and Rabbenu Tam) who therefore consider that as the proper interpretation in this instance as well. In this instance, however, the Rambam understands the term differently. His view is accepted by Rabbenu Asher, Rav Ovadiah of Bartenura, and explained by Kaftor UPerach. See also the gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger.

20.

Even if it is no longer available in the particular district in which one is located. See Sh'vi'it 9:2-3.

21.

And one may eat these species in one region even though they are no longer available in that entire region, as long as they are available in other portions of Eretz Yisrael. Among the reasons given for the distinction between these species and other fruits is that there is little difference between the times these fruits grow in one region of Eretz Yisrael and another. Also, these species remain on the tree after they have ripened for longer than most fruits. Hence, there is added reason for seeking a common date.

22.

A village near Jericho, a region renown for its dates. They grow there later than in other places in Eretz Yisrael.

23.

The commentaries have questioned the Rambam's statements with regard to figs and grapes, for they imply that there is a universal time for the biyur of these species and yet they are not mentioned together with the three species at the beginning of the halachah. The Radbaz resolves this question by saying that the dates mentioned by the Rambam are the latest applicable in all of the three regions.

24.

This is a general principle applied in several different contexts in Torah law to maintain unity within the Jewish community; see Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 8:20. With regard to the matter at hand, since the obligation of biyur has already taken effect in one of these regions, he is obligated to observe it.

25.

I.e., it need not be brought back to Eretz Yisrael to be destroyed there as required by one opinion in Sh'vi'it 6:5. As stated in Chapter 5, Halachah 13, as an initial preference, the produce of the Sabbatical year should not be brought to the Diaspora.

26.

For it is maintained in the earth only for a specific time.

27.

Which produces a bluish dye.

28.

Which produces a red dye.

29.

The Rambam does not mention food for human's or animal fodder, for all species of these types of produce reach a point where they are no longer available in the field and the obligation of biyur takes effect at that time.

30.

And thus is continually available to an animal.

31.

I.e., until the end of the Sabbatical year. Some commentaries maintain that the text should read "after Rosh HaShanah," for the plants that grew in the Sabbatical year will continue growing into the eighth year. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 7:2), the Rambam states: "We continue to use them and benefit from them until they cease [growing in the field]." The Radbaz follows this understanding, but maintains that after Rosh HaShanah, these plants should be declared ownerless. That fulfills the requirement of biyur with regard to them.

32.

The laws of the Sabbatical year do not apply to kindling fuel, as stated in Chapter 5, Halachah 21.

33.

Since a person has chosen to benefit from it, he must treat it as the produce of the Sabbatical year.

34.

Since it is not considered as food or animal fodder, there is no limit until when it would normally be used.

35.

The Rambam does not mention food for human's or animal fodder, for all species of these types of produce reach a point where they are no longer available in the field and the obligation of biyur takes effect at that time.

36.

The Radbaz maintains that this refers to the inner shell which is useful as a dye. The hard outer shell, by contrast, is useful only for kindling and the laws of the Sabbatical year do not apply to it.

37.

For they are useful as dyes (Radbaz).

38.

When these branches are soft, they are occasionally cut off, pickled, and served as food [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 7:5)].

39.

The requirements of biyur apply, because the tips of these branches will ultimately fall from the tree (Radbaz).

40.

Apparently, these branches are also pickled on occasion.

41.

From the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.), it would appear that the rationale is that these branches continue growing on the tree.

42.

Because they fall from the branches and thus are not maintained in the earth (ibid.).

43.

For at this point, they are no longer accessible to an animal in the field.

44.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 3:1)]. There he explains that although matok, the name the Mishnah uses, means "sweet," this fruit has a bitter taste and that term is used as a euphemism. Some have identified this species with the colocynth, a wild gourd with a very bitter flavor. The Radbaz identifies it with a bitter species of grass.

45.

When these gourds have dried, fresh grass will no longer be available in the field for animals.

46.

For animal fodder.

47.

For the rains will spoil the grasses and they will no longer be available in the fields (Radbaz). In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:6), the Rambam explains that these rains usually come between the seventeenth of MarCheshvan and the first of Kislev.

48.

Or for that matter the rich, for everyone is allowed to gather the fruit of the Sabbatical year (Radbaz).

49.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:7), the Rambam explains that this concept also applies to the poor gathering the presents of leket, shichachah, and pe'ah in other years.

50.

From this point on, there are no longer fruits available in the fields.

51.

For these are all considered as fruit.

52.

Because this sap does not come from the fruit of the tree, but from the tree itself.

53.

For these are fruit.

54.

For this is its sole product.

55.

And treat it with the holiness of the Sabbatical year.

56.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 7:7), the Rambam explains that since the oil is aged and the rose is fresh, the oil will not absorb the flavor of the rose unless it is left within it for a long time. Accordingly, the oil is considered as the produce of the sixth year.

57.

Since the rose is aged, its flavor will be absorbed by the oil immediately (ibid.).

58.

The wine absorbs the carobs' flavor immediately (ibid.).

59.

E.g., the wine of the Sabbatical year with the wine of other years (ibid.).

60.

If it has imparted its flavor to the mixture, the mixture must be treated as produce of the Sabbatical year. If it has not, those stringencies do not apply. The concept stated here is a general principle applying in other contexts. See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:8.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
E-mail
About the book
Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.
About the Publisher
Moznaim is the publisher of the Nehardaa Shas, a new, state-of-the-art edition of the Talmud and all major commentaries in 20 volumes. Click here to purchase or email the publisher at sales@moznaim.com
Moznaim
Daily Quote
Do not intermarry with them: do not give your daughter in marriage to his son, nor shall you take his daughter to your son; for they will turn away your son from following Me... For you are a holy people to the L-rd your G-d, and L-rd your G-d has chosen you to be a special people to Himself...
  –Deuteronomy 7:3-6
This page in other languages
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG