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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Shemita - Chapter 6, Shemita - Chapter 7, Shemita - Chapter 8

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Shemita - Chapter 6

1

We may not use the produce of the Sabbatical year for commercial activity.1 If one desires to sell a small amount2 of the produce of the Sabbatical year, he may.3 The money he receives [in return] has the same status as the produce of the Sabbatical year. He should use it to purchase food4 and eat that food according to the restrictions of the holiness of the Sabbatical year.5 The produce that was sold retains the holiness it possessed previously.6

א

אין עושין סחורה בפירות שביעית ואם רצה למכור מעט מפירות שביעית מוכר ואותן הדמים הרי הן כפירות שביעית וילקח בהן מאכל ויאכל בקדושת שביעית ואותו הפרי הנמכר הרי הוא בקדושתו כשהיה:

2

[In the Sabbatical year,] one should not reap vegetables from a field7 and sell them, nor should one charge a fee for dyeing with shells [from produce] of the Sabbatical year, because this is using the produce of the Sabbatical year for commercial activity.8 If one reaped vegetables to partake of them and some were left over, he may sell the remainder.9 The proceeds are considered as the produce of the Sabbatical year. Similarly, if a person reaped vegetables for himself and his son or grandson took some of them and sold them, [the sale] is permitted10 and the proceeds are considered as the produce of the Sabbatical year.

ב

לא יהיה לוקח ירקות שדה ומוכר ולא יצבע מקליפי שביעית בשכר מפני שזה עושה סחורה בפירות שביעית לקח ירקות לאכול והותיר מותר למכור המותר והדמים שביעית וכן אם לקט ירקות לעצמו ולקח מהן בנו או בן בתו ומכר ה"ז מותר והדמים דמי שביעית:

3

When the produce of the Sabbatical year is sold, it should not be sold by measure, nor by weight, nor by number, so that it will not appear that one is selling produce in the Sabbatical year. Instead, one should sell a small amount by estimation to make it known that [the produce] is ownerless.11 And the proceeds of the sale should be used to purchase other food.

ג

כשמוכרין פירות שביעית אין מוכרין אותן לא במדה ולא במשקל ולא במנין כדי שלא יהיה כסוחר פירות בשביעית אלא מוכר המעט שמוכר אכסרה להודיע שהוא הפקר ולוקח הדמים לקנות בהן אוכל אחר:

4

One may package those entities that are usually packaged to bring home to sell in the market by estimation in the manner that one packages produce to bring home,12 not like one packages it for the market13 so that one will not sell in constrained manner. Produce that is packaged only for the market place should not be packaged.

ד

ואוגד דברים שדרכן להאגד לבית למכור בשוק אכסרה כדרך שאוגדין להביא לבית לא כדרך שאוגדין לשוק כדי שלא יהיה כמוכר בצמצום ודברים שאין דרכן להאגד אלא לשוק לא יאגוד אותן:

5

Produce from the Diaspora which were brought into Eretz Yisrael should not be sold by measure, nor by weight, nor by number. Instead, they should be sold by estimation like the produce of Eretz Yisrael.14 If it was obvious that it was produce from the Diaspora, it is permitted [to sell it in the ordinary manner].

ה

פירות חו"ל שנכנסו לארץ לא יהיו נמכרים במדה או במשקל או במנין אלא כפירות הארץ אכסרה ואם היו ניכרין שהם מח"ל מותר:

6

There is a stringency that applies to the produce of the Sabbatical year and not to articles consecrated [to the Temple]. When one redeems consecrated articles, the consecrated article loses its sacred status and that status is conveyed to the money.15 This is not so with regard to the produce of the Sabbatical year. When one sells the produce of the Sabbatical year, the status of the produce is conveyed to the money.16 The produce itself, however, does not lose its status and it is not considered as produce of the other years. [This is derived from] the use of the word tihiyeh17 [in the command regarding the produce of the Sabbatical year. That term implies that the produce] will be in its state at all times. And since the produce of the Sabbatical year is described18 as "holy," its status is conveyed to the money paid for it.19 Thus the final [object purchased]20receives the status of the Sabbatical year and [the status of] the produce itself remains as before.

ו

חומר בשביעית מבהקדש שהפודה את ההקדש יצא הקדש לחולין ויתפשו הדמים תחתיו והשביעית אינה כן אלא המוכר פירות שביעית יתפשו הדמים ויעשו כפירות שביעית והפירות עצמן לא נתחללו ונעשו כפירות שאר שנים שנאמר בה תהיה בהוייתה תהא לעולם ולפי שנקראת קדש תופשת דמיה נמצאת אומר האחרון נתפש בשביעית והפרי עצמו הוא כמו שהיה:

7

What is implied? A person purchased meat with the produce of the Sabbatical year or the proceeds from its sale. The meat is given the status of that produce and must be eaten [as befits the holiness of] the produce of the Sabbatical year. And one must rid oneself of it when one one must rid oneself of that produce.21 If one used that meat or the proceeds from its sale to purchase fish, the meat is considered as ordinary food and [the holiness of the Sabbatical year] is conveyed upon the fish. If one used that fish or the proceeds from its sale to purchase oil, the fish is considered as ordinary food and [the holiness of the Sabbatical year] is conveyed upon the oil. If one used that oil or the proceeds from its sale to purchase honey, the oil is considered as ordinary food and [the holiness of the Sabbatical year] is conveyed to the honey. One must rid oneself of the original fruit and the honey as one must rid oneself of the produce of the Sabbatical year. Neither of them may be used to make a compress, nor may they be ruined, as is the rule with regard to the produce of the Sabbatical year.

ז

כיצד לקח בפירות שביעית או בדמיהן בשר נעשה הבשר כאותן הפירות ואוכלו כפירות שביעית וצריך לבער אותן בשעת ביעור השביעית לקח באותו בשר או בדמיו דגים יצא הבשר ונתפשו הדגים לקח בדגים או בדמיהן שמן יצאו דגים ונתפש שמן לקח בשמן או בדמיו דבש יצא שמן ונתפש דבש וצריך לבער הפירות הראשונות עם הדבש האחרון כדרך שמבערין פירות שביעית ואין עושין משניהם מלוגמא ולא מפסידין אותן כשאר פירות שביעית:

8

The holiness of the produce of the Sababtical year may be transferred only through a sale. When does this apply? With regard to the original produce. With regard to the produce received [in exchange for that produce], its holiness can be transferred through a sale or through a process of transfer.22

ח

אין שביעית מתחללת אלא על דרך מקח בד"א בפרי ראשון אבל בפרי שני מתחלל בין דרך מקח בין דרך חילול:

9

When one is transferring the holiness of produce that was exchanged [for produce of the Sabbatical year], one may not transfer it to a domesticated animal, fowl, or beast, that is alive,23 lest they be left alive and one raise herds [of animals imbued with the holiness of the Sabbatical year]. Needless to say, this24 applies with the produce of the Sabbatical year itself. One may, however, transfer the holiness of this produce to animals that have been slaughtered.25

ט

וכשמחללין פרי הנלקח שנית אין מחללין אותו על בהמה חיה ועוף חיים שמא יניחם ויגדל מהם עדרים ואצ"ל שביעית עצמה אבל מחללין אותן הפירות על השחוטים:

10

Money received for produce of the Sabbatical year may not be used to pay a debt.26 Nor may one use it to repay shushbinut27 or return a favor.28 One should not use it to pay a pledge of charity for the poor in the synagogue.29 One may, however, send it for purposes associated with the acts of kindness,30 but one must notify the recipients.31

Similarly, it may not be used to purchase servants, landed property, or a non-kosher animal.32 If it was used for those purposes, one should purchase ordinary food with a commensurate sum and partake of it [as befits the holiness of the Sabbatical year],33 as was explained with regard to the second tithes.34 One may not purchase pairs of doves for [the sacrifices of] zavim, zavot, or women after childbirth,35 or sin-offerings or guilt offerings.36 If he purchased [these offerings with these funds], he should purchase food with a commensurate sum and partake of it [as befits the holiness of the Sabbatical year]. One should not apply oil from the Sabbatical year to utensils or hides.37 If one did so, one should purchase food with a commensurate sum and partake of it38 [as befits the holiness of the Sabbatical year].

י

דמי שביעית אין פורעין מהם את החוב ואין עושין בהן שושבינות ואין משלמין מהן תגמולין ואין פוסקין מהן צדקה לעניים בבית הכנסת אבל משלחין מהן דברים של גמילות חסדים וצריך להודיע וכן אין לוקחין מהם עבדים וקרקעות ובהמה טמאה ואם לקח יאכל כנגדן כדרך שעושה במעשר שני ואין מביאין מהן קיני זבים וזבות ויולדות וחטאות ואשמות ואם הביא יאכל כנגדן ואין סכים כלים ועורות בשמן של שביעית ואם סך יאכל כנגדן:

11

[This money] should not be given to a bathhouse attendant, a blood-letter,39 a person who sails a boat, or another craftsman.40 He may, however, give them to a person who draws water from a well to provide him with drinking water.41 It is permitted to given the produce of the Sabbatical year or money received in return for it to a craftsman as a present.42

יא

אין נותנין מהן לא לבלן ולא לספר ולא לספן ולא לשאר האומנין אבל נותן הוא למי שדולה מים מן הבור להשקותו מים ומותר ליתן מפירות שביעית או מדמיהן לאומנין מתנת חנם:

12

When a person tells a worker: "Here is an isar.43 Gather vegetables44 for me today," his wage is permitted. It is not considered as money received in return for produce of the Sabbatical year. Instead, he may use it for whatever he desires.45The worker was not penalized46 in that his wage would be considered as money received for the produce of the Sabbatical year. If he told him: "Gather a vegetable for me today for it," [his wage] is considered as money received in return for produce of the Sabbatical year.47He may use it only for eating and drinking like the produce of the Sabbatical year.

יב

האומר לפועל הא לך איסר זה ולקט לי ירק היום שכרו מותר ואינו כדמי שביעית אלא מוציאו בכל מה שירצה ולא קנסו הפועל להיות שכרו כדמי שביעית ואם אמר לו לקט לי בו היום ירק ה"ז כדמי שביעית ואינו מוציאו אלא באכילה ושתייה כפירות שביעית:

13

When donkey-drivers perform work with the produce of the Sabbatical year that is forbidden - e.g., they bring more than the [minimal amount] of produce48 - their wages are considered as money received in return for produce of the Sabbatical year.49 This is a penalty imposed upon them.

Why was a penalty imposed on the wages of a donkey-driver and not on the wages of a hired worker? Because the latter receives a minimal wage. Hence, he was not penalized so that [he could earn] his livelihood.

יג

החמרים העושים בפירות שביעית מלאכת שביעית האסורה כגון שהביאו יותר מדאי הרי שכרן כדמי שביעית ודבר זה קנס להם ומפני מה קנסו בשכר החמרים ולא קנסו בשכר הפועל מפני ששכרו מעט לא קנסו בו משום כדי חייו:

14

When a person purchases a loaf of bread from a baker for a pundiyon,50 and tells him: "When I harvest vegetables [grown in the Saabatical year] from the field, I will bring them to you for it."51 this is permitted.52 The loaf of bread is considered as the produce of the Sabbatical year.53 If he purchases the loaf without making any qualifications,54 he should not pay him with money received for the produce of the Sabbatical year, because one should not use that money to pay debts.55

יד

הלוקח מן הנחתום ככר בפונדיון ואמר לו בשעת לקיחה כשאלקט ירקות שדה אביא לך בו ה"ז מותר ואותו הככר הרי הוא כפירות שביעית ואם לקח ממנו סתם לא ישלם לו מדמי שביעית שאין פורעין חוב מהן:

15

One may partake of the produce of the Sabbatical year [in expectation56 that the recipient will return] the favor and when there are no such expectations.57 What is implied [by the idea of eating in expectation of the return of the favor]? One may give a colleague the produce of the Sabbatical year as if he had already performed a favor for him58 or invite him into his garden to eat as one who performed a favor for him.

When a person was given the produce of the Sabbatical year as a present or he inherited it, he should partake of it in the same manner as if he gathered this produce from the field himself.59

טו

אוכלין פירות שביעית בטובה ושלא בטובה בטובה כיצד שיתן לו פירות שביעית כמו שעשה עמו טובה שנתן לו או שיכניסו לגינתו לאכול כמי שעשה לו טובה ומי שנתנו לו פירות שביעית במתנה או שנפלו לו בירושה הרי זה אוכלם כדרך שאוכל פירות שאוסף אותן הוא בעצמו מן השדה:

Footnotes
1.

Avodah Zarah 62a derives this insight from the exegesis of Leviticus 25:7. The fact that the Rambam does not mention that prooftext here has raised a question among the commentaries: Does he consider the prohibition against using the produce of the Sabbatical year as merchandise as Scriptural or Rabbinic in origin?

2.

Enough for three meals (Kessef Mishneh).

3.

For selling a small amount is not considered as using the produce as merchandise.

4.

For humans (see Chapter 5, Halachah 12).

5.

Sukkah 40b derives this from the exegesis of Leviticus 25:12: "It shall be holy for you." Just as the sanctity of articles that are "holy," consecrated to the Temple, is transferred to the money received for them, so too, the holiness of the produce of the Sabbatical year is transferred to the money received for it.

6.

See Halachot 6-7.

7.

These refer to vegetables that grow under the circumstances described in Chapter 4, Halachah 4, or the like. Otherwise, the vegetables would be forbidden as sifichin. See the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh to Halachah 12.

8.

This is forbidden even if one intends to use the proceeds to purchase food which he will eat according to the requirements of the holiness of the Sabbatical year [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 7:3)].

9.

For it is obvious that he gathered the vegetables for his own personal use.

10.

Since the person who reaped the produce was not the one who sold it, there is no prohibition involved (Radbaz).

11.

The Radbaz states that one should also sell the produce at a lower price than usual.

12.

When a person packages produce to take home from his field, he is not precise with regard to the amount he takes.

13.

When a person packages produce to sell in the marketplace, he is careful to package an exact amount, so that the sale will be honest.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that as long as the type of produce is packaged to bring home, it can be packaged for sale. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's interpretation, explaining that when produce is packaged for sale, it is possible for an onlooker to appreciate that this is the intent from the way that it is packaged.

14.

For an onlooker will not understand that the produce is from the Diaspora and will think that the produce of the Sabbatical year is being sold in an ordinary manner.

15.

See Hilchot Arachin 6:4.

16.

And it must be used to purchase food which will be eaten with the stringencies befitting the holiness of the produce of the Sabbatical year.

17.

Leviticus 25:12. See the Sifra to this verse.

18.

Leviticus 25:12. See the Sifra to this verse.

19.

As is true with regard to the money used to redeem consecrated objects.

20.

I.e., the food to be eaten; see the following halachah, for an explanation.

21.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 1, which speaks about this subject.

22.

I.e., one says: "The holiness of this produce is transferred to this other produce."

23.

Note the parallel to Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 4:6. There it is stated that if one makes such a transfer, it is not effective. The commentaries state that the same law applies in the present instance.

24.

That the holiness may not be transferred to a living animal.

25.

For the abovementioned difficulty does not apply.

26.

This is considered similar to using it to purchase merchandise.

27.

Shushbinut refers to a custom where a person sends money to a friend as a present at the time of the friend's wedding. Afterwards, when the person himself marries, his friend is expected to send a similar sum to him as a present. The money is considered as a debt and if he fails to so, he can be sued in court. See Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah, ch. 7.

28.

I.e., the person once lent him money. He may not use money received in return for the produce of the Sabbatical year to offer that person a loan (Radbaz, Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 6:17).

29.

Since the person pledged money, satisfying his obligation with the produce of the Sabbatical year is comparable to using it to pay a debt.

30.

I.e., providing that person with the meal of comfort at the time of bereavement (ibid.).

31.

So that they treat it with the appropriate holiness and rid themselves of it when required. Also, the recipient will realize that he need not be overly grateful, for he was not given produce of full value.

32.

For as mentioned above, such money may only be used for the purchase of food.

33.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 8:8).

34.

See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 7:17.

35.

As explained in Hilchot Mechusrei Kapparah, ch. 1, these individuals are required to bring pairs of doves as part of their sacrifices to emerge from impurity.

36.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 1:7), the Rambam explains that money from the second tithes - and thus by extension, money from the Sabbatical year - may not be used for these sacrifices, for they are not eaten by their owners.

37.

For then, he is not receiving direct physical benefit from the oil. See Chapter 5, Halachah 7.

38.

But not use it for smearing. See Chapter 5, Halachah 12, and notes.

39.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:3).

40.

For, as stated, above, they may not be used for a purpose other than food.

41.

For that is like using the money to purchase drinking water [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 8:5)]. He may not, however, give it to him to draw water for other purposes (Radbaz).

42.

Even though the craftsman will be receiving a present and will return the favor to the person in some way, that is permitted. See Halachah 15 and notes.

43.

A coin of small value used in the Talmudic period. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 8:4), the Rambam states that this was the cost of inexpensive vegetables in the Talmudic era.

44.

This refers to vegetables that grow in the manner described in Chapter 6, Halachah 4 (Kessef Mishneh).

45.

I.e., it is not restricted to being used for eating or drinking as is money received in return for produce of the Sabbatical year.

46.

See the rationale given in the following halachah.

47.

The wording used by the employer clearly establishes such a connection. As the Radbaz explains, in the first instance, it appears that he is hiring him to work that day. In the second instance, it appears that he is hiring him to reap vegetables.

48.

While it is permitted to bring a small amount of produce in the Sabbatical year from the fields as stated in Chapter 4, Halachah 24, these donkey-drivers brought oversized loads as they would do in other years.

49.

And may only be used for food and drink. This stringency applies even if their employer hired them using wording that would be permitted when hiring a worker.

50.

A coin of the Talmudic period that was twice the worth of an isar.

51.

I.e., rather than pay him now, he promises that he will pay him in the future by bringing him vegetables.

52.

The purchaser is not considered to be paying a debt with the produce from the Sabbatical year. Instead, since at the time he took the loaf of bread, he already stipulated that the exchange would be made, this is considered as an exchange for the produce of the Sabbatical year, which is permitted [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 8:4)].

The commentaries explain that this concept is alluded to by the Rambam's addition of the word bo, meaning "for it." This implies that the purchaser is clearly stipulating that he is making an exchange.

53.

For it was received in exchange for produce of the Sabbatical year.

54.

And does not pay him immediately.

55.

As stated in Halachah 10. This applies even to debts incurred from purchasing food.

56.

Or even in return for having perfomed a favor.

57.

The Rambam is adding this point, to emphasize that we do not follow the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah who maintains that the School of Hillel permitted a person to partake of the produce of the Sabbatical year that belongs to a colleague only in expectation of favors (see Ediyot 5:1). Rabbi Yehudah's rationale is that it is not desirable for any person to have free access to a colleague's field and enter it at all times.

58.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 4:1), the Rambam explains that the person tells a colleague: "Reap in my field and then I will reap in your field."

59.

There is a difference of opinion regarding this issue in Shivi'it 9:9 and the Rambam's ruling does not follow either of the views mentioned there. Nevertheless, it can be explained that the mishnah is speaking according to Rabbi Eliezer's perspective and Rabbi Eliezer follows the opinion of the School of Shammai. The Rambam's ruling reflects the position that would be given by the School of Hillel, whose opinion is accepted as halachah.

Shemita - Chapter 7

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.

א

פירות שביעית אין אוכלין מהן אלא כ"ז שאותו המין מצוי בשדה שנאמר ולבהמתך ולחיה אשר בארצך תהיה כל תבואתה לאכול כ"ז שחיה אוכלת ממין זה מן השדה אתה אוכל ממה שבבית כלה לחיה מן השדה חייב לבער אותו המין מן הבית וזהו ביעור של פירות שביעית:

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

ב

כיצד הרי שהיו לו גרוגרות שביעית בתוך ביתו אוכל מהן כל זמן שהתאנים באילנות בשדה כלו התאנים מן השדה אסור לאכול מאותן שבבית אלא מבער אותן:

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

ג

היו לו פירות מרובין מחלקן מזון שלש סעודות לכל אחד ואחד ואסור לאכול אחר הביעור בין לעניים בין לעשירים ואם לא מצא אוכלין בשעת הביעור שורף באש או משליך לים המלח ומאבדן לכל דבר שמאבד:

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.

ד

היו לו צמוקין של שביעית וכלו הענבים מן השדה מן הגגות והפרדסים שהן הפקר אף על פי שעדיין יש ענבים בגפנים שבתוך החצרות אינו אוכל מן הצמוקין מפני ענבים אלו שבחצר לפי שאינן מצויין לחיה אבל אם יש ענבים קשים ביותר שאינן נגמרין אלא בסוף השנה הרי זה אוכל מן הצמוקין בשבילן וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

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.

ה

אילן שעושה פירות שתי פעמים בשנה והיו לו מפירותיו הראשונות ה"ז אוכל מהן כל זמן שפירות שניות מצויות בשדה שהרי מאותו המין בשדה אבל פירות הסתיו אין אוכלים בשבילן מפני שדומין לפירות של שנה אחרת:

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

ו

הכובש שלשה כבשים בחבית אחת כל שכלה מינו מן השדה יבער מינו מן החבית ואם התחיל בה הרי הכל כמבוער וכשם שמבער אוכלי אדם כך מבער אוכלי בהמה מן הבית ואינו מאכילן לבהמה אם כלה אותו המין מן השדה:

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.

ז

וכשם שמבערין את הפירות כך מבערין את הדמים:

כיצד הרי שמכר רמונים של שביעית והרי הוא אוכל בדמיהן וכלו הרמונים מן האילנות שבשדה ונשאר אצלו מן הדמים שמכר בהן חייב לבערן:

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.

ח

כיצד עושה קונה בהן מאכלות ומחלקן מזון שלש סעודות לכל אחד ואחד או ישליכם לים המלח אם לא מצא אוכלין:

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].

ט

שלש ארצות לביעור ארץ יהודה כולה ההר והשפלה והעמק ארץ אחת עבר הירדן כולו שפלת לוד והר שפלת לוד ומבית חורון עם הים ארץ אחת והגליל כולו העליון והתחתון ותחום טבריא ארץ אחת ואוכלין בכל אחת ואחת משלשתן עד שיכלה האחרון שבה:

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.

י

כיצד היו לו פירות בארץ יהודה אוכל מהן כל זמן שיש מאותו המין בכל ארץ יהודה כולה וכן אם היו לו פירות גליל וכן בעבר הירדן:

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

יא

ושלש ארצות אלו כולן חשובות כארץ אחת לחרובין ולזיתים ולתמרים ואוכלין בתמרים עד שיכלה האחרון שבצוער ואימתי הוא כלה עד הפורים ואוכלין בזיתים עד העצרת ובענבים עד הפסח של מוצאי שביעית ובגרוגרות עד החנוכה:

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.

יב

המוליך פירות שביעית ממקום שכלו למקום שלא כלו או ממקום שלא כלו למקום שכלו חייב לבער לפי שנותנין עליו חומרי מקום שיצא משם וחומרי מקום שהלך לשם ופירות הארץ שיצאו לחוצה לארץ מתבערים במקומן ולא יעבירם ממקום למקום:

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

יג

כלל גדול אמרו בשביעית כל שהוא מאכל אדם או מאכל בהמה או ממין הצובעין אם אינו מתקיים בארץ יש לו ולדמיו שביעית וחייב בביעור הוא ודמיו כגון עלי הלוף השוטה ועלי הדנדנה והעולשין מאוכל אדם וכגון החוחים והדרדרין מאוכל הבהמה וכגון אסטס וקוצה ממין הצובעין ואם היה מתקיים בארץ כגון הפואה והרכפה ממין הצובעין אע"פ שיש לו שביעית ולדמיו שביעית אין להם ביעור ולא לדמיהם שהרי מתקיים בארץ אלא נהנין וצובעין בו עד ר"ה:

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.

יד

וכל שאינו מיוחד לא למאכל אדם ולא למאכל בהמה ואינו ממין הצובעים הואיל ואינו לעצים יש לו ולדמיו שביעית אבל אין להם ביעור אע"פ שאינו מתקיים בארץ אלא נהנין בו או בדמיו עד ראש השנה כגון עיקרי הלוף השוטה ועיקר הדנדנה והערקבנין:

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

טו

קליפי רמון והנץ שלו קליפי אגוזים והגרעינין יש להם שביעית ולדמיהם שביעית אבל אין להם ביעור ולא לדמיהם לולבי זרדים והחרובים יש להם ולדמיהם שביעית וביעור לולבי האלה והבוטנה והאטדין יש להן ולדמיהן שביעית אבל אין להם ביעור אבל לעלים שלהן יש ביעור:

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.

טז

איזו היא שעת ביעור העלין בעת שיבולו ונושרין מאילנותיהן עלי זיתים ועלי קנים ועלי חרובין אין להם ביעור לפי שאינן נובלות וכלות:

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

יז

ועד מתי יהיה אדם רשאי ללקט עשבים לחין בשביעית עד שייבש המתוק ויגבב עשבים יבשים עד שתרד רביעה שנייה במוצאי שביעית:

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

יח

ועד מתי יהיו העניים מותרין להכנס בפרדסות במוצאי שביעית לאסוף פירות שביעית עד שתרד רביעה שנייה:

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.

יט

הוורד והכופר והלוטם יש להן ולדמיהן שביעית הקטף והוא שרף היוצא מהאילנות מן העלים ומהעיקרים אין לו שביעית והיוצא מן הפגים יש לו ולדמיו שביעית:

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.

כ

במה דברים אמורים באילן מאכל אבל באילן סרק אף היוצא מן העלין ומן העיקרים כפרי שלהן ויש לו ולדמיו שביעית:

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.

כא

הכובש ורד שביעית בשמן של ששית ילקט את הוורד והשמן מותר כבשו בשמן של מוצאי שביעית חייב לבער השמן שהרי הוורד יבש הוא וכבר נתחייב בביעור:

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

כב

חרובין של שביעית שכבשן ביין ששית או ביין מוצאי שביעית חייב לבער היין שהרי טעם פירות שביעית בו זה הכלל פירות שביעית שנתערבו בפירות אחרות מין במינו בכל שהוא ושלא במינו בנותן טעם:

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.

Shemita - Chapter 8

1

Just as it is forbidden to work the land in the Sabbatical year,1 so too, it is forbidden to reinforce the hands of the Jews who do till it2 or to sell them farming tools, for it is forbidden to strengthen the hands of transgressors.3

א

כדרך שאסור לעבוד הארץ בשביעית כך אסור לחזק ידי ישראל שעובדין אותה או למכור להן כלי עבודה לפי שאסור לחזק ידי עוברי עבירה:

2

These are the utensils which a craftsman is not permitted to sell in the Sabbatical year to someone who is suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year:4 a plow and all of its accessories, a yoke [for a team of oxen], a winnowing fork, and a mattock.5 This is the general principle: Any [utensil] that is exclusively used for a type of work that is forbidden in the Sabbatical year is forbidden to be sold to a person suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year. [If it is used for] a type of work that may be forbidden or which might be permitted, it is permitted to be sold to a person suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year.6

ב

ואלו כלים שאין האומן רשאי למוכרן בשביעית למי שחשוד על השביעית מחרישה וכל כליה העול והמזרה והדקר זה הכלל כל שמלאכתו מיוחדת למלאכה שאסורה בשביעית אסור למכרו לחשוד ולמלאכה שאפשר שתהיה אסורה ותהיה מותרת מותר למוכרו לחשוד:

3

What is implied? He may sell him a sickle and a wagon and all of its accessories. For if he uses it to harvest a small amount of produce and he brings a small amount of produce on the wagon, it is permitted.7 If, however, he harvests in the ordinary manner of reapers or brings all the produce of his field, it is forbidden.8

ג

כיצד מוכר הוא לו המגל והעגלה וכל כליה שאם יקצור בו מעט ויביא על העגלה מעט ה"ז מותר ואם יקצור כדרך הקוצרין או יביא כל פירות שדהו אסור:

4

It is permissible to sell [a utensil] - even one which is exclusively used for tasks forbidden in the Sabbatical year - to someone who is not suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year9 without any stipulations, because it is possible that he purchased the article in the Sabbatical year to perform work [with it] after the Sabbatical year.

ד

ומותר למכור סתם למי שאינו חשוד אפילו דבר שמלאכתו מיוחדת למלאכה האסורה בשביעית שהרי אפשר שקנה בשביעית לעשות לו מלאכה לאחר שביעית:

5

A potter may sell a person five jugs for oil and fifteen jugs for wine.10 It is permitted to sell a larger amount to a gentile.11 One need not suspect that perhaps he will sell them to a Jew. One may sell many jugs to a Jew in the Diaspora. One need not suspect that perhaps he will bring them to Eretz [Yisrael].12

ה

היוצר מוכר חמש כדי שמן וחמשה עשר כדי יין ומותר למכור לעכו"ם יתר מזה ואינו חושש שמא ימכור לישראל ומוכר כדים רבים לישראל בחו"ל ואינו חושש שמא יביאם לארץ:

6

One may sell a cow that plows to a person suspect [to violate the laws of the Sabbatical year] in the Sabbatical year, because it is possible to slaughter it. One may sell such a person a field, for it is possible that he will leave it fallow.13 He may not, however, sell him an orchard unless he stipulates that [the purchaser] does not have a share in the trees' [produce].14 He may lend him [a measure of] a se'ah even though he knows that he has a granary,15 because he might use it to measure in his house. And he may exchange money for him even though he knows that he has workers [employed in violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year]. In all these instances, [if the purchaser states] explicitly [that he is intending to use the article in violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year, it] is forbidden.16

ו

ומוכר לחשוד פרה חורשת בשביעית שהרי אפשר לשוחטה ומוכר לו שדהו שהרי אפשר שיובירה אבל לא ימכור לו שדה האילן אא"כ פסק עמו על מנת שאין לו באילן ומשאילו סאה למדוד בה אעפ"י שהוא יודע שיש לו גורן שהרי אפשר שימדוד בה בתוך ביתו ופורט לו מעות אף ע"פ שהוא יודע שיש לו פועלים וכולן בפירוש אסורים:

7

Similarly, a woman may lend a sifter, a sieve, a mill, and an oven to a friend who is suspect [to violate the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year],17 but she may not sift or grind with her.18

ז

וכן משאלת אשה לחברתה החשודה על השביעית נפה וכברה רחים ותנור אבל לא תבור ולא תטחון עמה:

8

We may encourage the gentiles [working] in the Sabbatical year, but only verbally. For example, if one sees one plowing or sowing, he should tell him: "Be strong," "Be successful," or the like, because they are not commanded to let the land rest. One may not physically assist them.19 It is permitted to remove honey from a beehive with them and one may enter a sharecropping agreement with them for land whose ground was broken [in the Sabbatical year],20 for they are not obligated to observe [these restrictions]. [Hence,] they are not penalized [for their violation].21

ח

מחזיקין ידי עכו"ם בשביעית בדברים בלבד כגון שראהו חורש או זורע אומר לו תתחזק או תצליח וכיוצא בדברים אלו מפני שאינם מצווין על שביתת הארץ אבל לא יסעדנו ביד ומותר לרדות עמהן הכוורת וחוכרין מהן נירין לפי שאינן בני חיוב כדי לקנוס אותן:

9

In Syria,22 it is permitted to perform labor with produce that has been harvested,23 but not with produce that is still connected to the earth. What is implied? One may thresh produce, winnow it, squeeze grapes, and make sheaves out of grain,24but one may not harvest grain, grapes, olives, or perform any similar activities.

ט

מותר לעשות בסוריא בתלוש אבל לא במחובר כיצד דשין וזורין ודורכין ומעמרין אבל לא קוצרין ולא בוצרין ולא מוסקין וכן כל כיוצא באלו:

10

Just as it is forbidden to engage in business transactions with the produce of the Sabbatical year25 or to store them [until after the obligation of biyur has been incurred],26 so too, it is forbidden to purchase them from a common person. [The rationale is that] we do not give even the slightest amount of money exchanged for the produce of the Sabbatical year27 to a common person, lest he not partake of [food purchased with it] in a manner that befits the holiness of the Sabbatical year.28

י

כשם שאסור לעשות סחורה בפירות שביעית או לשמרן כך אסור ליקח מעם הארץ לפי שאין מוסרין דמי שביעית לעם הארץ ואפילו כל שהוא שמא לא יאכל אותן בקדושת שביעית:

11

When a person purchases a lulav from a common person in the Sabbatical year,29 he should give him an esrog30 as a present. If he does not give it to him,31 he should have the price of the esrog included in the price of the lulav.32

יא

הלוקח לולב מעם הארץ בשביעית נותן לו אתרוג מתנה ואם לא נתן לו מבליע לו דמי אתרוג בדמי לולב:

12

When does the above33 apply? When a person sells types of fruit that are usually protected, e.g., figs, pomegranates, or the like. If, however, he sells fruit which we could assume is ownerless, e.g., rue, amaranth, moss rose, coriander34 and the like, it is permitted to purchase from them a small amount, merely the worth of three meals. [This leniency was granted to allow] the seller to earn his livelihood.35

יב

במה דברים אמורים בזמן שהיה מוכר פירות שכמותן בשמור כגון תאנים ורמונים וכיוצא בהן אבל היה מוכר פירות שחזקתן מן ההפקר כגון הפיגם והירבוזין והשוטים והחלגלוגות והכסבר של הרים וכיוצא בהן ה"ז מותר ליקח ממנו מעט כדמי שלש סעודות בלבד משום כדי חייו של מוכר:

13

Similarly, any species from which the tithes are not obligated to be separated, e.g., exceedingly powerful garlic, the onions of Rikpah,36 a pearled Cilcilian bean, Egyptian lentils,37 and the like, and also the seeds of plants when [the seeds] are not eaten, e.g., those of turnips, radishes, and the like, may be purchased from any person in the Sabbatical year.38

יג

וכל דבר שאינו חייב במעשרות כגון שום בעל בכי ובצל של רכפה וגריסין הקלקיות ועדשים המצריות וכן זרעוני גינה שאינן נאכלות כגון זרע לפת וצנון וכיוצא בהן הרי אלו נלקחין מכל אדם בשביעית:

14

When does the above apply? To an ordinary common person.39 When, however, one is suspect to carry out transactions with the produce of the Sabbatical year or to guard his produce and sell it, we may not purchase anything from him that has any connection to the Sabbatical year. [Similarly,] we may not purchase flax - even combed out flax40 - from him. One may, however, purchase [flax] that has been spun and twisted [into threads].41

יד

בד"א בעם הארץ סתם אבל מי שהוא חשוד לעשות סחורה בפירות שביעית או לשמור פירותיו ולמכור מהן אין לוקחין ממנו דבר שיש עליו זיקת שביעית כלל ואין לוקחין ממנו פשתן אפי' סרוק אבל לוקחין ממנו טווי ושזור:

15

A person who is suspect [to sell produce of] the Sabbatical year is not necessarily considered as suspect to [sell produce of the second] tithe. [Similarly,] one who is suspect [to sell produce of the second] tithe is not necessarily considered as suspect to [to sell produce of]s of] the Sabbatical year even though they are both Scriptural commandments.42[The rationale is that each possesses a stringency which the other lacks.] The [second] tithe must be brought to [Jerusalem]43 and this does not apply with regard to [the produce of] the Sabbatical year. [Conversely, the produce of] the Sabbatical year cannot be redeemed44 and this does not apply with regard to [the produce of] the second tithe.

טו

החשוד על השביעית אינו חשוד על המעשרות והחשוד על המעשרות אינו חשוד על השביעית שאף על פי שזה וזה מה"ת מעשר טעון הבאת מקום מה שאין כן בשביעית ושביעית אין לה פדיון משא"כ במעשר:

16

A person who is suspect [of selling impure food as if it were] ritually pure is not suspect [to sell produce of the second] tithe or [that of] the Sabbatical year. For the impure food that was sold as being ritually pure imparts impurity to others only according to Rabbinic Law45 and one who is suspect [of causing the transgression] of Rabbinic Law is not suspect [of causing the violation] of Scriptural Law.46

טז

החשוד על הטהרות אינו חשוד לא על המעשר ולא על השביעית שהאוכל הטמא הזה שמכרו בחזקת טהור אינו מטמא אחרים אלא מדברי סופרים והחשוד לדברי סופרים אינו חשוד לדברי תורה:

17

Whenever a person is suspect [of selling entities in violation of a prohibition], even though his word is not accepted with regard to his own property, his word is accepted with regard to [the property of] others. We operate under the assumption that a person will not violate a prohibition for the sake of others. Therefore even though a person is suspect with regard to a given [prohibition], he may judge and offer testimony regarding this matter.47

יז

כל החשוד על דבר אע"פ שאינו נאמן על של עצמו נאמן הוא על של אחרים חזקה אין אדם חוטא לאחרים לפיכך החשוד על הדבר דנו ומעידו:

18

Priests are considered suspect with regard to [the prohibitions of] the Sabbatical year.48 [The reason is that] they rationalize their conduct saying: Since the terumot are permitted to us even though they are forbidden to non-priests [and this violation is punishable] by death,49 certainly, the produce of the Sabbatical year is permitted to us.

Therefore when a se'ah of terumah falls into 100 se'ah of the produce of the Sabbatical year, a se'ah should be separated.50 If it fell into less than 100 se'ah, they entire mixture should be left to rot instead of being sold to priests as other produce which is miduma,51 because they are suspect to violate the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year.

יח

הכהנים חשודין על השביעית לפי שהם אומרים הואיל והתרומות מותרות לנו אף על פי שהן אסורין על הזרים במיתה ק"ו פירות שביעית לפיכך סאה תרומה שנפלה למאה סאה של פירות שביעית תעלה נפלה לפחות ממאה ירקבו הכל ולא ימכרו לכהנים ככל מדומע לפי שהם חשודין על השביעית:

19

Painters and cattle-raisers52 may purchase bran53 from any source. They need not suspect it is sefichin of the Sabbatical year.54

יט

הצבענין והפטמין לוקחין מורסן מכל מקום ואינן חוששין שמא מספיחי שביעית הוא:

20

In the Sabbatical year, the collectors of the kupah55 were not careful [to refrain from entering] the courtyards of those who partake [of the sefichin] of the Sabbatical year. If they gave a loaf of bread, it is permitted [for the poor to partake of it].56 We do not suspect that perhaps it is from the sefichin of the Sabbatical year.57For the Jews were not suspect to give [the produce of the Sabbatical year to charity], only money received for the produce of the Sabbatical year or eggs which were purchased with money received for the produce of the Sabbatical year.58

It is permitted to borrow the produce59 of the Sabbatical year from the poor.60 They should be repaid with produce in the eighth year.61

כ

גבאי קופה בשביעית לא יהיו מדקדקין בחצרות של אוכלין שביעית ואם נתנו להן פת מותרת ואין חוששין לה שמא מספיחי שביעית הוא שלא נחשדו ישראל להיות נותנין אלא או מעות שביעית או ביצים הנלקחות בדמי שביעית ומותר ללות מן העניים פירות שביעית ומחזירין להן פירות בשנה שמינית:

Footnotes
1.

As stated in Chapter 1.

2.

They should not be given verbal encouragement. Needless to say, they should not be given assistance. Compare to Halachah 8.

3.

In this context, the Rambam writes in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:6):

God declared (Leviticus 19:14): "Do not place a stumbling block before the blind." The intent is that when someone has been blinded by desire and his bad character traits should not be assisted in his blindness to add to his warped conduct.

4.

One may, however, sell these utensils to someone who is not suspect of violating the laws of the Sabbatical year, as stated in Halachah 4.

5.

A long pronged tool.

6.

As long as there is a possibility that the person will use it for a permitted purpose, we assume that this is his intent (Avodah Zarah 15b).

7.

See Chapter 4, Halachot 1, 24.

8.

See Chapter 4, Halachot 1, 24.

9.

The person does not have to establish a reputation as an observer of the Sabbatical year. As long as he is not known to violate its laws, one may sell to him.

10.

For these are the amounts each person is permitted to store (Chapter 4, Halachah 24).

11.

Even in Eretz Yisrael (Sh'vi'it 5:7).

12.

To sell there. In both these instances, since it is possible that the Sabbatical laws will not be broken, we do not suspect that they will [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:7)].

13.

As an agricultural measure, without considering the holiness of the Sabbatical year.

14.

For otherwise, the person will certainly violate the laws of the Sabbatical year, by harvesting all the fruit of the orchard.

15.

Where he could measure the produce of the Sabbatical year. As mentioned in Chapter 6, Halachah 3, one should not measure the produce of the Sabbatical year. Even when selling it, one should sell it by estimation.

16.

For then his actions would obviously be considering as rendering assistance to the violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year.

17.

The Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:9) states that these leniencies are granted only "because of darchei shalom ('the paths of peace')," i.e., to establish unity and brotherhood among the Jewish people.

18.

For it is logical to assume that the other woman would be using the produce of the Sabbatical year and working with her would be considered as encouragement.

19.

Even in a matter that does not involve the violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year.

20.

And thus the Jew will receive some benefit from the work performed by the gentile in the Sabbatical year.

21.

If, by contrast, a Jew breaks the ground of his field in the Sabbatical year, it is forbidden to hire his field from him, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 13.

22.

Which is not part of Eretz Yisrael and hence, is not covered by the Scriptural prohibitions against work in the Sabbatical year, but where working the land in that year was forbidden by the Rabbis, as stated in Chapter 4, Halachah 27.

23.

Even though the produce was grown in the Sabbatical year.

24.

For all of these activities are permitted even in Eretz Yisrael according to Scriptural Law, it is only Rabbinic Law that prohibits them.

25.

Chapter 6, Halachah 1.

26.

The bracketed addition is based on the gloss of the Radbaz. Alternatively, to guard the produce in his field so that it will not be taken during the Sabbatical year (Kin'at Eliyahu).

27.

For when one pays for the produce, the holiness of the produce is transferred to the money, as explained in Chapter 6, Halachot 6-7.

28.

Thus by purchasing the produce and giving him money, one would be - at least indirectly - causing him to violate the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year. Although in many of the instances mentioned in the previous halachot, we followed the principle that as long as there was a possibility that he would not transgress, we do not restrict transactions with people who might violate the laws of the Sabbatical year, in this instances, it is very likely that a transgression will occur. Hence, we are more stringent.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:1), the Rambam mentions a different reason for the prohibition against purchasing fruit from a common person, because he is likely to have harvested them and stored them in violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year.

29.

I.e., a lulav to use for the fulfillment of the mitzvah on Sukkot. This sale is permissible, because the laws of the Sabbatical year do not apply to a lulav, for it is part of the tree and not a fruit [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:9)].

30.

Which is a fruit and hence, may not be sold.

31.

But instead, desires payment.

32.

And thus, he will be paying for the lulav and not for the esrog.

33.

Prohibition against purchasing even the slightest amount of produce from a common person.

34.

Both of these are fragrant herbs. Our translation is taken from Rav Kappach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:1).

35.

These fruits and herbs grew naturally and are not cultivated. Hence, we do not assume that the person stored them away and therefore there is room for limited leniency (Radbaz).

36.

Which are also very pungent tasting. Our definition of terms is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 5:9).

37.

These types of beans and lentils are of abnormal shape and grow wild (ibid.).

38.

Since these species are not usually eaten as food, they are not bound by the Scriptural prohibitions of terumah and the tithes (Hilchot Terumah 2:3). Hence there is also room for leniency with regard to the Sabbatical year.

39.

Whose reputation vis-à-vis the observance of the Sabbatical year has not been established.

40.

The reason that it is forbidden to purchase flax from such a person is that flax seeds are sometimes considered as food. Even though the flax has been combed to some degree, there is still the possibility that it contains some seeds that are useful as food.

41.

At this stage of processing, the flax will never be used as food.

42.

As the Rambam states in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 4:10), generally when two prohibitions are of the same degree of severity, if one is considered suspect to violate one, he is considered as suspect to violate the other. Nevertheless, this instance is an exception for the reasons stated by the Rambam.

43.

Literally, the Rambam's words mean "the place," recalling Deuteronomy 12:11: "the place which God... will choose to cause His name to dwell." See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 2:1. This stringency does not apply with regard to the produce of the Sabbatical year which can be eaten in any place.

44.

I.e., even after its redemption, it remains holy (Chapter 6, Halachah 6). In contrast, once the produce of the second tithe is redeemed, it is considered as ordinary produce (Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 4:1).

45.

As stated in Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 8:10.

46.

Since the Scriptural prohibitions are more severe, we assume that the person will respect them.

47.

As stated in the notes to Hilchot Ma'aser 12:17, the Ra'avad does not accept this principle and maintains that if someone is considered as suspect regarding a particular issue, he is not accepted as a judge or witness concerning such matters. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's view.

48.

I.e., we fear that they will not remove the produce of the Sabbatical year from their possession at the time of biyur, but instead will store it and sell it afterwards.

49.

At the hand of heaven (Hilchot Terumah 6:5-6.

50.

And given to the priests. They must partake of it as if it were terumah, as stated in ibid. 13:1. As explained there, this act is necessary in order to enable non-priests to partake of the entire mixture. And since we permit the entire mixture to non-priests, we do not suspect that the priests will keep the produce beyond the biyur.

51.

As stated in ibid. 13:2, when terumah falls into less than 100 se'ah of ordinary produce, the presence of the terumah is not nullified. Instead, the entire mixture is considered as miduma and is sold to the priests as if it were terumah (which is sold at significantly lower price than ordinary produce). In this instance, we do not follow that ruling, because of the suspicion stated by the Rambam.

52.

People who fatten animals.

53.

Bran is used to provide body for paint and also to fatten cattle.

54.

The rationale is that the prohibition against benefiting from sefichin is only Rabbinic in origin. Hence, we do not employ a safeguard because of a doubtful situation.

55.

The city-wide charitable fund to which donations are made for the sustenance of the poor (see Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 9:1).

56.

The Radbaz maintains that this is speaking of individuals whom we merely suspect that they violate the laws of the Sabbatical year. If we know with certainty that they violate those laws, we may not take any produce from them.

57.

We do not suspect that a person will do a mitzvah - giving charity - in a manner that will cause a transgression - causing another Jew to violate the laws governing produce of the Sabbatical year [Jerusalem Talmud (Sh'vi'it 8:2)].

58.

In these instances as well, we do not suspect that the person intentionally gave the money received for the produce for the Sabbatical year (or eggs received for that produce). Instead, we suspect that because he was a common person, he was not aware of the relevant laws (Radbaz).

59.

The borrower must have such produce in his possession. Otherwise, it is forbidden to borrow the produce as a safeguard to the prohibition against taking interest (ibid.).

60.

This leniency is granted only as consideration for the needs of the poor (ibid.). He may not purchase it from him, for in that instance, the money would become money received for produce of the Sabbatical year. We are afraid that the common person will not purchase food with that money and eat it before the obligation of biyur takes effect.

61.

They should not be repaid with the produce of the Sabbatical year, because the produce of the Sabbatical year should not be given to a common person. We do not say the produce with which he repays him is produce received for produce of the Sabbatical year, because the exchange was not made in that year.

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