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The Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year -- its laws, traditions, and timeless messages.



A Year of Faith


We work six days, and the seventh day, Shabbat, is consecrated to G‑d, a day to spiritually refresh and reconnect with our Creator.

In a similar vein, every seventh year is holy; the Shemitah (Sabbatical) year is a year devoted to strengthening our bond with G‑d, and specifically to honing our faith in His omnipotence and our trust in His kindness.

This year, the year 5775 since creation (Sept. 25, 2014-Sept. 14, 2015), is a Shemitah year. The articles in the following sections will explain this year's special observances and laws, as well as expand on its spiritual message and practical relevance in the 21st century.

Wishing you an inspiring, uplifting and meaningful Shemitah year!

Shemitah 101
The Sabbatical Year
The Shemitah basics -- absolution of loans, desisting from all field work, and the spiritual objective of all the above.
Shmita Loan Amnesty: Pruzbul
Deserting the Farms
A digest of the pertinent laws of shemitat karka, the agricultural restrictions of the Sabbatical (Shemitah) year.
Essays, Insights & Stories
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Discussion (8)
May 15, 2014
Keeping Shmita in Chutz La'aretz (Outside of Israel)
Hi, Tami. You wanted to know whether or not it was possible to keep Shmita outside of Israel.
There is a new organization out there that lets Jews everywhere purchase land in Israel for the Shmita year, thereby allowing them to halachically fulfill the mitzvah of Shmita.
They have tons of rabbinic endorsements. I will be buying a small plot of land so that I'll be able to keep Shmita this coming year. You can search on the internet for more information.
Sarah C.
May 1, 2014
Is it true that Shemitah only applies to Israel and that area?
December 9, 2012
This is still God's law. It is even built into some of the justice system. When a judgement is placed on someone after small claims, the judgement will fall off after 7 years. Also, couldn't the stock market crash and the economic collapse and mortgage collapse be considered a Shemitah? Debts and credit fell away.
January 25, 2012
Read Isaiah 9:10
Bancruptcy - Bailouts - debts forgiven
October 8, 2008
Market crash
Stock market crashed in this Shemitah year and had been vulnerable in previous Shemitah years. How should we interpret this phenomenon?
June 27, 2008
RE: Shemitah
Shemitah only applies in the biblical land of Israel. Since you live outside of Israel, you are exempt from these restrictions. You do however, need to excercise caution when purchasing fruit from Israel.
Menachem Posner for
June 26, 2008
We are new to the ways of our fathers. I had heard of the shemitah but had thought that it began 5769.

In our ignorance we had begun a garden, what do we do?

Does this mean that we are not to even harvest or pick any wild fruit, fruit trees and corn when in season?

I had picked some wild blackberries recently and the consequencies have become evident. Since reading this I understand that it is the Shemitah. Oy vey!

So, no gardening or harvesting of any kind? wild or domestic?
Williamsburg, VA, USA
September 14, 2007
I really enjoyed it
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