Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life.

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Shemita - Chapter 3, Shemita - Chapter 4, Shemita - Chapter 5

Video & Audio Classes
Show content in:

Shemita - Chapter 3

1

It is a halachah conveyed to Moses at Sinai1 that it is forbidden to work the land2 in the last 30 days of the sixth year, just before the Sabbatical year, because one is preparing for the Sabbatical year. This concept - i.e., the prohibition [to work the land] established by tradition - applies in the era of the Temple [alone]. Our Sages [extended that prohibition], decreeing that one should not plow an orchard in the year preceding the Sabbatical year in the era of the Temple after Shavuot, nor a field of grain after Pesach. In the era where the Temple does not stand, we are permitted to perform agricultural work until Rosh HaShanah, as [permitted by] Scriptural Law.3

א

עבודת הארץ בשנה ששית שלשים יום סמוך לשביעית אסורה הלכה למשה מסיני מפני שהוא מתקנה לשביעית ודבר זה בזמן שבית המקדש קיים הוא שנאסר מפי השמועה וגזרו חכמים שלא יהיו חורשים שדה האילן ערב שביעית בזמן המקדש אלא עד העצרת ושדה הלבן עד הפסח ובזמן שאין מקדש מותרין בעבודת הארץ עד ראש השנה כדין תורה:

2

What is meant by an orchard?4 Any place where there are three trees in an area large enough to sow a se'ah of grain.5 Whether these are fruit-bearing trees or not and even when they belong to three different people, we consider them as if they were fig trees.6 If they were fit to produce a mass of dried figs of a weight of 60 maneh,7 we may plow the entire field because of them. [This applies] provided there is sufficient distance between them that cattle can pass through together with their implements.8

ב

אי זו היא שדה האילן כל שלשה אילנות לבית סאה אחד אילן סרק ואחד אילן מאכל ואפילו הן של שלשה אנשים רואין אותן כאילו הם תאנים אם ראויין לעשות ככר דבילה של ששים מנה חורשין כל בית סאה בשבילם והוא שיהיה רחוק בין כל אחד ואחד כדי שיהיה הבקר יכול לעבור בכליו:

3

[Different laws apply] if there were less than three trees in an area fit to sow a se'ah or there were three, but [only] one was fit to produce 60 maneh or more and the other two were not fit to produce [a significant amount]9 or there were two fit to produce even 100 maneh and one is not fit to produce [a significant amount]. We may plow only the portion of the field necessary for [these trees], i.e., [an area whose radius is the space in which could stand] a person picking figs together with his basket.

ג

היו פחות משלשה לבית סאה או שהיו שלשה ואחד ראוי לעשות ששים מנה או יתר והשנים אינן ראויין לעשות או שנים ראויין לעשות אפילו מאה מנה ואחד אינו עושה אין חורשין להן אלא לצרכם והוא מלוא האורה וסלו חוצה לו:

4

If there were between three and nine trees and they were fit to produce 60 maneh, we may plow the entire field for their sake, even though there are some trees that are not fit to produce [a significant quantity of] fruit.10

ד

היו מג' ועד תשעה וראויין לעשות ששים מנה חורשין כל בית סאה בשבילן ואע"פ שיש בהם מי שאינו ראוי לעשות:

5

When there are ten or more trees in an area fit to sow a se'ah, whether they are fit to produce [the above quantity of fruit] or not, we may plow the entire area for their sake [until Shavuot].11 If there were ten plantings12spread out13 in an area fit to sow a se'ah, we may plow the entire area for their sake until Rosh HaShanah.14 This is a halachah conveyed to Moses at Sinai.

ה

היו עשרה אילנות לתוך בית סאה או יתר בין עושין בין אינם עושין חורשין כל בית סאה בשבילן עשר נטיעות מפוזרות לתוך בית סאה חורשין כל בית סאה בשבילן עד ראש השנה ודבר זה הלכה למשה מסיני:

6

If [the plantings] were planted in a row or in a semi-circle,15 we may only plow what is necessary for each of their needs.16 If there are squash plants together with the plantings, they can be counted in the sum of ten [plantings].17

ו

היו עשויות שורה אחת (או) מוקפות עטרה אין חורשין להן אלא צרכן לכל אחד ואחד והדילועין עם הנטיעות מצטרפות לעשרה:

7

What is meant by a planting? A sapling for as long as it is called a planting.18

ז

אי זו היא נטיעה זה האילן הקטן כל זמן שקוראין לו נטיעה:

8

[The following rules apply when] a tree was cut off and a new tree grew from its stump. If it was cut off a handbreadth or more above the ground, it is considered as a tree. If it was cut off lower than a handbreadth, it is considered as a planting.19

ח

אילן שנקצץ והוציא חליפין אם נקצץ מטפח ולמעלה הרי הוא כאילן מטפח ולמטה הרי הוא כנטיעה:

9

All of the above applies in the era of the Temple, as we stated.20 In the present era, by contrast, we are permitted to work the land until Rosh HaShanah. [Moreover,] even in the era of the Temple, it is permitted to remove stones from fields and fertilize them21 and to hoe22 in zucchini and squash gardens23and in parched land until Rosh HaShanah. Similarly, one may fertilize saplings,24 remove dried leaves and branches from them, apply dust to them, smoke under them, rip off stalks, trim their far-spreading branches, and apply foul-smelling matter to them. We may wrap their branches, trim them, make shelters around them,25 place water upon them, apply oil to the unripened fruit and perforate them. All of these tasks are permitted in the year preceding the Sabbatical year until Rosh HaShanah of the Sabbatical year even in the era of the Temple.

ט

וכל הדברים האלו בזמן המקדש כמו שאמרנו אבל בזמן הזה מותרין בעבודת הארץ עד ר"ה אף בזמן המקדש מותר לסקל ולזבל השדות ולעדור המקשאות והמדלעות ובית השלחין עד ר"ה ומזבלין ומפרקין ומאבקין ומעשנין ומקרסמין ומזרדין ומפסלין ומזהמין את הנטיעות וכורכין וקוטמין אותן ועושין להם בתים ומשקין אותם וסכין את הפגין ומנקבין אותן כל עבודות אלו מותרות בערב שביעית עד ר"ה של שביעית ואפילו בזמן המקדש:

10

When unripened fruit from the sixth year enter the Sabbatical year or such fruit from the Sabbatical year enter the eighth year, we may not26 apply oil to them or perforate them.27 In the era of the Temple, one may not build steps at the entrance to valleys in the sixth year after the rains cease, because he is preparing for the seventh year.28

י

פגי ערב שביעית שנכנסו לשביעית ושל שביעית שיצאו למוצאי שביעית לא סכין ולא מנקבין ובזמן המקדש אין בונין מדרגות ע"פ הגאיות ערב שביעית משיפסקו הגשמים מפני שהוא מתקנן לשביעית:

11

Even in the present age, we may not plant trees, graft trees, or extend vines29 in the sixth year unless there is time for the planting to become rooted30 and remain after taking root thirty days before Rosh HaShanah of the Sabbatical year. Usually, it takes two weeks [for a plant] to take root.

This is forbidden at all times, because of the impression that might be created, lest an observer think that they were planted in the Sabbatical year.31 Thus if a person planted, grafted, or extended [a tree of vine] in the sixth year, 44 days before Rosh HaShanah, he is allowed to maintain it. If he did so for a lesser time, he must uproot it. If he did not uproot it, however, the fruit it produces is permitted. If he dies before he uprooted it, we obligate the heir to uproot it.32

יא

אף בזמן הזה אין נוטעין אילנות ואין מרכיבין ואין מבריכין ערב שביעית אלא כדי שתקלוט הנטיעה ותשהה אחר הקליטה ל' יום קודם ר"ה של שביעית וסתם קליטה שתי שבתות ודבר זה אסור לעולם מפני מראית העין שמא יאמר הרואה בשביעית נטעו נמצאת אומר שהנוטע או המבריך או המרכיב ערב שביעית קודם ר"ה במ"ד יום יקיים פחות מכן יעקור ואם לא עקר הפירות מותרין ואם מת קודם שיעקור מחייבין את היורש לעקור:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., a tradition conveyed by the Oral Law, for which there is no explicit reference in the Written Law.

2.

The Rabbis debate whether this prohibition applies to work with the land alone or also to work with trees. See Halachah 9 and notes.

3.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 1:1), the Rambam explains that Rabban Gamliel released this prohibition after the destruction of the Temple, because he maintained that the prohibition applied only when the Temple was standing.

4.

Which is allowed to be plowed until Shavuot.

5.

I.e., 50 cubits by 50 cubits.

6.

I.e., we estimate whether a fig tree with dimensions similar to this tree would produce 60 maneh of figs.

7.

A maneh is one pound in contemporary measure (Shiurei Torah, p. 118). Rav Kehati (Sh'vi'it 1:2) considers it to be 400 grams, a slightly smaller measure.

8.

Our Sages determined this to be four cubits. The rationale is that if they are grouped closer together the cattle will uproot them when trying to pass. See Bava Batra 83a.

9.

Although the one tree produced the amount required of the entire orchard, since the other trees are not fit to produce any produce at all, they are not considered significant.

10.

The Rambam interprets this as referring to a situation where all the trees together are fit to produce 60 maneh, although some individual trees are not fit to produce a significant amount. The Ra'avad offers a different interpretation of Sh'vi'it 1:3, the Rambam's source. Rabbenu Shimshon also interprets the mishnah in that manner and the Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh agree that, at first glance, their interpretation fits the wording of the mishnah more easily than the Rambam's.

11.

For even if they are not fit to produce fruit, such a large amount of trees is significant.

12.

Saplings that were recently planted [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 1:6)]. See also Halachah 7.

13.

Since they are saplings, they do not derive nurture from as wide an area as mature trees with longer roots do. Hence unless the saplings are spread out, this leniency is not granted (Radbaz).

14.

More leniency is granted with regard to the saplings, because they need greater care (ibid.).

15.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 1:6).

16.

For they will not derive nurture from the entire field and it would appear that one is plowing the field for its own sake (Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).

17.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.:7), the Rambam quotes the Jerusalem Talmud which states that this applies only to a Greek squash plant which is large like a tree. The Radbaz states that the majority of the ten must be saplings.

18.

This is Rabbi Akiva's opinion in (Sh'vi'it 1:8). Others maintain it is given that status until three years (or seven) years have passed.

19.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam states that this view is accepted, because it is supported by a Tosefta. The commentaries have questioned which Tosefta the Rambam is referring to.

The Rambam's ruling has also attracted attention, because it appears to contradict his ruling in Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 10:13 which states: "When a tree was cut down from above the earth and [a new tree grew from its roots], the prohibition of orlah applies." The implication there is that as long as the stump of the tree is above the earth, the laws of orlah do not apply. Only when it is cut down from below the earth is it considered like a new tree. Here, by contrast, even a handbreadth above the ground is considered as an existing tree.

The rationale for the distinction can be explained as follows: In this context, we follow the figures of speech employed by people at large. As long as the stump is within a handbreadth of the ground, people will consider any new growth as a new entity. When, by contrast, the stump is more than a handbreadth, it is significant and any new growth is considered as an extension of the existing plant (Rav Yosef Korcus).

20.

Halachah 1.

21.

These and the following activities are forbidden in the Sabbitical year itself only by virtue of Rabbinic decree. Our Sages were not overly stringent and did not enforce these prohibitions in the months preceding the Sabbatical year.

22.

For hoeing is not plowing.

23.

Our translation for these and the following terms are derived from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:1-5). Many of the activities mentioned were described in Chapter 1, Halachah 5, and notes.

The Tosafot Yom Tov(Sh'vi'it 2:2) explains that this leniency was granted in gardens where these plants grow and not in fields at large, because in the instance of these plants, the hoeing benefits the plants directly and not merely the field.

24.

The first clause dealt with work with the land that is permitted in the latter months of the sixth year. This clause mentions work with trees. From this halachah it appears that the prohibition conveyed as a halachah to Moses at Sinai mentioned in Halachah 1 does not apply to work with trees.

25.

To protect them from rain or sun.

26.

Note Rav Kappach's edition of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:5) which states that the text of that source also reflects this ruling. (He maintains that there is a printing error in the standard published text of that source. According to his view, the Rambam did not reverse his opinion regarding this law as some maintain.)

27.

Even though the fruit reaches a third of its growth before the Sabbatical year begins or does not reach that point of growth until after the the Sabbatical year ends, this restriction is still applied, because of the impression the performance of these tasks will create.

28.

I.e., it might appear that the steps are being built so that a person will be able to descend and irrigate his fields in the valley in the Sabbatical year.

29.

I.e., replant the head of a vine or the trunk of a tree in the ground so that it will develop new roots and another source of nurture. Thus new growths will emerge from it [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:6)].

30.

Our translation is taken from the above source.

31.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger explains the basis for such a supposition. If the tree is not planted before 44 days preceding the new year, we count the beginning of its orlah years from Rosh HaShanah (Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 9:10). Thus it will be considered halachically as if the tree was planted in the Sabbatical year.

32.

I.e., the heir must also help prevent the misimpression from being created. For this reason, the leniency shown in Chapter 1, Halachah 13, is not shown here.

Shemita - Chapter 4

1

All produce that grows from the earth1 in the Sabbatical year:2 whether it grew from seeds that fell into the earth before the Sabbatical year, it grew from roots whose plants were harvested previously, but nevertheless grew again - in both instances [such produce] is referred to with the term safiach3 - or grasses and vegetables that grew on their own accord [in the Sabbatical year], is permitted to be eaten according to Scriptural Law,4 as [Leviticus 25:6] states: "And [the produce that grows] while the land is resting shall be yours to eat." Even when a field was plowed thoroughly5 in the Sabbatical year, and produce grew in it, that produce is permitted to be eaten. The statement [ibid.:] "Do not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest" means that one should not reap it in the same manner as one does every year.6 If one reaps it according to the ordinary manner, he is worthy of lashes. For example, he harvested the entire field, set up a grain heap, and threshed it with cattle or harvested it for the sake of tilling the land as we explained.7 Instead, he should reap it little by little, beat it,8 and partake of it.

א

כל שתוציא הארץ בשנה שביעית בין מן הזרע שנפל בה מקודם שביעית בין מן העיקרים שנקצרו מקודם וחזרו ועשו ושניהם נקראו ספיח בין מן העשבים והירקות שעלו מאיליהן ואין להן זרע הכל מותר לאכלו מן התורה שנאמר והיתה שבת הארץ לכם לאכלה ואפילו שדה שנטייבה בשביעית וצמחה פירותיה מותרין באכילה וזה שנאמר את ספיח קצירך לא תקצור שלא יקצור כדרך שקוצר בכל שנה ואם קצר כדרך הקוצרין לוקה כגון שקצר כל השדה והעמיד כרי ודש בבקר או שקצר לעבודת הארץ כמו שבארנו אלא קוצר מעט מעט וחובט ואוכל:

2

According to Rabbinic decree, all the sifichim are forbidden to be eaten. Why was a decree established concerning them? Because of the transgressors, so that they could not go and sow grain, beans, and garden vegetables in one's field discretely and when they grow, partake of them, saying that they are sifichim. Therefore the Sages prohibited all the sifichim that grow in the Sabbatical year.

ב

ומדברי סופרים שיהיו כל הספיחים אסורין באכילה ולמה גזרו עליהם מפני עוברי עבירה שלא ילך ויזרע תבואה וקטניות וזרעוני גנה בתוך שדהו בסתר וכשיצמח יאכל מהם ויאמר ספיחים הן לפיכך אסרו כל הספיחים הצומחים בשביעית:

3

Thus we have learned that the only produce of the Sabbatical year of which one may partake are fruit from trees9 and herbs that are not sown by most people,10e.g., rue, amaranth,11 and the like. With regard to vegetables that most people sow in their gardens and species of grains and beans, by contrast, anything that grows from these species is forbidden according to Rabbinic decree. One who gathers them12 is liable for stripes for rebellious conduct.

ג

הא למדת שאין אוכלין מפירות שביעית אלא פירות האילנות והעשבים שאין זורעין אותם רוב האדם כגון הפיגם והירבוזין השוטים וכל כיוצא בהן אבל הירקות שדרך רוב האדם לזורעם בגנות ומיני תבואה וקטניות כל הצומח מהן אסור מדבריהם והמלקטן מכין אותו מכת מרדות:

4

When sifichim grow in an underdeveloped field,13 a field that was plowed, a vineyard, and a field where crops had been sown,14 they are permitted to be eaten.

Why was the above decree not applied to these places? Because a person will not sow these fields. [He will not sow] an underdeveloped field, because no one pays attention to it. When a field has been plowed, [the owner] desires that it remain lying fallow. With regard to a vineyard, no person will cause his vineyard to become forbidden.15 And when a field has been sown, the aftergrowth will spoil it. Similarly, straw that grows in the Sabbatical year is permitted in all places; no decree was issued against its use.16

ד

ספיחים העולים בשדה בור ובשדה ניר ובשדה כרם ובשדה זרע מותרין באכילה ומפני מה לא גזרו עליהם לפי שאין אדם זורע מקומות אלו שדה בור אין אדם נפנה לשם ושדה ניר רוצה הוא בתיקונה ושדה כרם אינו אוסר כרמו ושדה זרע הספיחין מפסידין אותה וכן התבן של שביעית מותר בכ"מ ולא גזרו עליו:

5

When sifichin from the Sabbatical year17 enter the following year, they are forbidden to be eaten.18 We may not uproot them by hand. Instead, one should plow [the land] in its ordinary fashion or [let] an animal pasture in its ordinary fashion.19

ה

ספיחין של שביעית שיצאו למוצאי שביעית אסורין באכילה ואין תולשין אותן ביד אלא חורש כדרכו ובהמה רועה כדרכה:

6

Until when are the sifichin of the Sabbatical year forbidden in the eighth year? From Rosh HaShanah until Chanukah. From Chanukah and onward, they are permitted.20 When a person sows the sifichin of the Sabbatical year after the Sabbatical year, the produce that grows from this is permitted.21

ו

ועד מתי אסורין ספיחי שביעית במוצאי שביעית מר"ה ועד חנוכה ומחנוכה ואילך הן מותרין והזורע ספיחי שביעית אחר שביעית הגידולין מותרין:

7

When onions of the Sabbatical year enter the eighth year, they are permitted when there is enough time for produce of that size to have grown [in the eighth year].22 If not, they are forbidden.23

Similar concepts apply with regard to other produce. They should not be purchased in the eighth year24 until produce of that size could have grown in the eighth year. When, in the eighth year, the produce which grows rapidly reaches [the size of the produce which grew in the Sabbatical year], the prohibition is lifted from the produce that remains.25 It is permitted to purchase garden vegetables in the eighth year immediately.26

ז

בצלים שיצאו משביעית למוצאי שביעית אם עשו כיוצא בהן מותרין ואם לאו אסורין וכן שאר הפירות אין לוקחים אותם במוצאי שביעית אלא משיעשו כיוצא בהן מפירות מוצאי שביעית עשה הבכיר הותר האפיל ומותר ליקח ירק במוצאי שביעית מיד:

8

When is a person permitted to purchase wild onions in the eighth year? When the new produce exceeds [the old].27

ח

מאימתי מותר אדם ליקח לוף במוצאי שביעית משירבה החדש:

9

The first of Tishrei is Rosh HaShanah with regard to the Sabbatical and Jubilee years.28 [The following rules apply with regard to] produce of the sixth year that enters the Sabbatical year. Grain, legumes, or fruit29 that reached the stage when tithes are required to be separated30 before Rosh HaShanah [of the Sabbatical year] are permitted [to be reaped]. Even though they are gathered in the Sabbatical year, they are considered like produce of the sixth year in all regards.31 If they did not reach the stage when tithes are required to be separated until after Rosh HaShanah, they are considered as produce of the Sabbatical year.32

ט

באחד בתשרי ר"ה לשמיטין וליובלות פירות ששית שנכנסו לשביעית אם היו תבואה או קטניות או פירות האילן והגיעו לעונת המעשרות קודם ר"ה הרי אלו מותרין ואע"פ שאוסף אותם בשביעית הרי הן כפירות ששית לכל דבר ואם לא באו לעונת המעשרות אלא אחר ר"ה הרי הן כפירות שביעית:

10

Grain and legumes are forbidden to be eaten33 as sifichin and the fruit of trees must be eaten with consideration for the holiness of the Sabbatical year.34

י

התבואה והקטניות אסורין באכילה משום ספיחים ופירות האילן אוכלין אותן בקדושת שביעית:

11

When rice, millet, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and Egyptian beans are sown to produce seed,35 [the ruling depends on] when the produce completes its growth.36 If its growth is completed before Rosh HaShanah, these [seeds] are permitted [to be harvested] in the Sabbatical year like the produce of the sixth year. If their growth is completed after Rosh HaShanah, even though [the plants] took root before Rosh HaShanah, they are forbidden as sifichin.

יא

האורז והדוחן והפרגים והשומשמין ופול המצרי שזרעו לזרע הולכין בהן אחר גמר פרי אם נגמר פרים קודם ר"ה הרי אלו מותרין בשביעית כפירות ששית ואם נגמרו אחר ר"ה אף על פי שהשרישו קודם ר"ה הרי אלו אסורים משום ספיחים:

12

[The ruling regarding] vegetables [depends] on the time they were harvested.37

With regard to an esrog, even if it was the size of a bean before Rosh HaShanah [of the Sabbatical year] and grow to the size of a loaf of bread in the Sabbatical year, it is obligated to be tithed like the produce of the sixth year.38 [Conversely,] even if it had reached the size of a loaf of bread in the sixth year, since it was reaped in the Sabbatical year, it is considered as the produce of the Sabbatical year.39 As a stringency, the tithes are separated like the produce of the sixth year.

יב

הירק בשעת לקיטתו והאתרוג אפילו היה כפול קודם ר"ה ונעשה כככר בשביעית חייב במעשרות כפירות ששית ואפילו היה כככר בששית הואיל ונלקט בשביעית הרי הוא כפירות שביעית ומתעשר כפירות ששית להחמיר:

13

Similarly, when the produce of the Sabbatical year is reaped in the eighth year: With regard to grain, legumes, and the fruit of the trees, [the ruling depends on when the produce reached] the stage when tithes are required to be separated.40 When rice, millet, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and Egyptian beans are sown to produce seed, [the ruling depends on] when the produce completes its growth.41 [The ruling regarding] vegetables [depends] on the time they were harvested.42

יג

וכן פירות שביעית שיצאו למוצאי שביעית בתבואה וקטניות ואילנות הולכין אחר עונת המעשרות והפרגין והשומשמין והאורז והדוחן ופול המצרי שזרעו לזרע אחר גמר הפרי והירק אחר לקיטתו:

14

When one sowed Egyptian beans for seed in the sixth year and the produce was completed before Rosh HaShanah of the Sabbatical year, both its vegetables and its seed are permitted in the Sabbatical year.43 If one sowed it to use as a vegetable44and it entered the Sabbatical year, both its vegetables and its seed are forbidden like the sifichin of the Sabbatical year. Similarly, if he sowed it both for its seed and to use as a vegetable, it is forbidden.45

יד

פול המצרי שזרעו לזרע בששית ונגמר פריו קודם ראש השנה של שביעית בין ירק שלו בין זרע שלו מותר בשביעית ואם זרע לירק ונכנסה עליו שביעית בין ירקו בין זרעו אסור כספיחי שביעית וכן אם זרעו לזרע ולירק אסור:

15

[The following rules apply if] one transgressed and sowed [such beans] in the Sabbatical year, [their growth was completed in the Sabbatical year,] but they remained [in the ground] until eighth year: If they were sown for seed,46 both the seed and the vegetables are forbidden in the eighth year like other sifichin. If one sowed it to use as a vegetable, since it was harvested in the eighth year, both its vegetables and its seed are permitted.47 If he sowed it both for its seed and to use as a vegetable, its seed is forbidden as sifichin and its vegetables are permitted.

טו

עבר וזרעו בשביעית ויצא לשמינית אם זרעו לזרע בין זרעו בין ירקו אסור במוצאי שביעית כשאר הספיחים ואם זרעו לירק הואיל ונלקט בשמינית בין ירקו בין זרעו מותר זרעו לזרע ולירק זרעו אסור משום ספיחים וירקו מותר:

16

Since white figs48 take three years before their growth is completed, if they reach the stage when tithes are required to be separated before Rosh HaShanah of the eighth year,49 they should be eaten in the second year of the seven year cycle according to the restrictions50 governing fruit of the Sabbatical year.

טז

בנות שוח הואיל והן נגמרות לאחר שלש שנים אם באו לעונת המעשרות קודם ר"ה של שמינית הרי הן נאכלות בשנה שנייה מן השבוע בתורת שביעית:

17

Onions that will not produce scallions51 and Egyptian beans from which water was withheld for 30 days before Rosh HaShanah and onions that do produce scallions52 from which water was withheld for three irrigation periods53 before Rosh HaShanah are considered as the produce of the sixth year.54 If water was withheld from them for a shorter period, they are considered as sefichin from the Sabbatical year.55

יז

הבצלים הסריסים ופול המצרי שמנע מהם מים ל' יום קודם ר"ה ושל בעל שמנע מהם ג' עונות לפני ר"ה הרי אלו מפירות ששית פחות מיכן הרי הם כספיחי שביעית:

18

[The following laws apply with regard to] gourd plants which were maintained [in the ground] to produce seed. If they became hard56 before Rosh HaShanah and thus were unfit for human consumption, it is permitted to maintain them in the Sabbatical year, for they are from the produce of the sixth year.57 If not,58 they are considered as sefichin from the Sabbatical year.59

Similar [laws apply with regard to] vegetables. Any ones that become hard before Rosh HaShanah are permitted to be maintained in the Sabbatical year.60 If they were soft,61 it is forbidden to maintain them, as [is the law regarding] sefichin.62

We do not require a person to uproot wild onions. Instead, we allow him to leave them in the ground as they are.63 If they grow in the eighth year, they are permitted. Similarly, we do not require him to uproot an artichoke plant.64 All that is necessary is to cut off its leaves.65 If it grows again in the eighth year, it is permitted.

יח

הדלועין שקיימן לזרע אם הוקשו לפני ר"ה ונפסלו מלאכול אדם מותר לקיימן בשביעית שהן מפירות ששית ואם לאו אסורין כספיחי שביעית וכן הירקות כולן שהוקשו לפני ר"ה מותר לקיימן בשביעית ואם היו רכים אסור לקיימן משום ספיחים אין מחייבין אותו לשרש את הלוף אלא מניחו בארץ כמות שהוא אם צמח למוצאי שביעית מותר ואין מחייבין אותו לשרש את הקנדס אלא גוזז בעלין ואם צמח למוצאי שביעית מותר:

19

Wild onions [grown]66 in the sixth year, summer onions,67 and madder68 which completed their growth before the Sabbatical year may be uprooted in the Sabbatical year with metal hatchets. This is not considered as tilling the land.69

יט

לוף של ערב שביעית וכן בצלים של ערב שביעית הקיצונים ופואה שנגמרו לפני שביעית מותר לעקרן בשביעית בקרדומות של מתכת ואין בזה משום עבודת הארץ:

20

When, in the Sabbatical year, rain descended upon onions70 and they sprouted leaves, the leaves are permitted as long as they are light green.71 If they have turned dark,72 it is considered as if the plants were planted in the earth and those leaves are forbidden as sefichin. In both situations, the onions themselves remain permitted.73

כ

הבצלים שירדו עליהם גשמים בשביעית וצמחו כל זמן שהעלין שלהן ירוקין הרי אלו מותרין ואם השחירו הרי הן כנטועין בארץ ואותן העלין אסורין משום ספיחין ובין כך ובין כך הבצלים עצמן בהיתרן עומדין:

21

When an onion was uprooted in the Sabbatical year and replanted in the eighth year and its growth exceeded its original size, the additional growth elevates the original mass74 and the entire [onion] is permitted. [The rationale is that] since the prohibition of the Sabbatical year comes about via the earth,75 it can be removed via the earth.76

כא

בצל שעקרו בשביעית ונטעו בשמינית ורבו גידוליו על עיקרו העלו גידוליו את עיקרו והותר הכל הואיל ושביעית אסורה ע"י קרקע כך נטילתה על ידי קרקע:

22

Fruits produced by a tree in the Sabbatical year should not be reaped in the same manner as they are reaped every year,77 as [Leviticus 25:5] states: "The grapes you had designated you shall not gather."78 One who reaps grapes to improve the vine or in the ordinary manner of reaping is liable for lashes.

כב

הפירות שיוציא האילן בשביעית לא יאספם כדרך שאוסף בכל שנה שנאמר ואת ענבי נזירך לא תבצור ואם בצר לעבודת האילן או שבצר כדרך הבוצרים לוקה:

23

How should one conduct himself?79 Figs of the Sabbatical year should not be set out to dry in the place where they are usually set out to dry. They can, however, be left to dry in a ruin.80 We may not crush grapes81 in a vat, but they may be crushed in a kneading trough. Olives should not be crushed82 in a press, but they may be squeezed and placed in a very small press. One may grind them83 in the oil press and place them in a small press. Similarly, with regard to other matters, [the fundamental rule is]: One should deviate from the norm in whatever way possible.

כג

וכיצד עושה תאנים של שביעית אין קוצין אותן במוקצה אבל מייבשן בחרבה ולא ידרוך ענבים בגת אבל דורך הוא בעריבה ולא יעשה זיתים בבית הבד אבל כותש הוא ומכניס לתוך בד קטן ביותר וטוחן בבית הבד ובקוטב ומכניס לבד קטנה וכן בשאר הדברים כל שיכול לשנות משנה:

24

It is a positive commandment84 to divest oneself from everything that the land produces in the Sabbatical year, as [Exodus 23:11] states: "In the seventh [year], you shall leave it untended and unharvested."

Anyone who locks his vineyard or fences off his field in the Sabbatical year has nullified a positive commandment.85 This also holds true if he gathered all his produce into his home. Instead, he should leave everything ownerless. Thus everyone86has equal rights in every place, as [ibid.] states: "And the poor of your people shall partake of it." One may bring a small amount into one's home, just as one brings from ownerless property,87e.g., five jugs of oil, fifteen jugs of wine.88 If he takes more than that, it is permitted.89

כד

מצות עשה להשמיט כל מה שתוציא הארץ בשביעית שנאמר והשביעית תשמטנה ונטשתה וכל הנועל כרמו או סג שדהו בשביעית ביטל מצות עשה וכן אם אסף כל פירותיו לתוך ביתו אלא יפקיר הכל ויד הכל שוין בכל מקום שנאמר ואכלו אביוני עמך ויש לו להביא לתוך ביתו מעט כדרך שמביאין מן ההפקר חמש כדי שמן חמשה עשר כדי יין ואם הביא יתר מזה מותר:

25

[The laws of] the Sabbatical year are observed only in Eretz Yisrael alone, as [Leviticus 25:2] states: "When you will come to the land...."90 It is observed while the Temple is standing and when the Temple is not standing.91

כה

אין שביעית נוהגת אלא בארץ ישראל בלבד שנאמר כי תבואו אל הארץ וגו' ונוהגת בין בפני הבית בין שלא בפני הבית:

26

In the entire area taken possession of by the Jews who ascended from Babylonia until Kziv,92 it is forbidden to work the land and the sifichin that grow there are forbidden to be eaten. In the entire area that was taken possession of only by the Jews that ascended from Egypt, i.e., from Kziv to the River [of Egypt]93 and to the Umanum Mountains,94 even though it is forbidden to till [the land] in the Sabbatical year, the sifichin that grow there are permitted to be eaten. From the River [of Egypt] and from the Umanum Mountains [onward], one may till [the land] in the Sabbatical year.95

כו

כל שהחזיקו בו עולי בבל עד כזיב אסור בעבודה וכל הספיחין שצומחין בו אסורין באכילה וכל שלא החזיקו בו אלא עולי מצרים בלבד שהוא מכזיב ועד הנהר ועד אמנה אע"פ שהוא אסור בעבודה בשביעית הספיחין שצומחין בו מותרים באכילה ומהנהר ומאמנה והלאה מותר בעבודה בשביעית:

27

Although the Sabbatical year is not observed in Syria96 according to Scriptural Law, [our Sages] decreed that it would be forbidden to till it in the Sabbatical year like Eretz Yisrael, so that [the Jewish people] would not abandon Eretz Yisrael and go and settle permanently there. In Ammon, Moab,97 Egypt, and Babylonia, by contrast, though the tithes must be separated according to Rabbinic Law,98 the Sabbatical year is not observed.

כז

סוריא אף על פי שאין שביעית נוהגת בה מן התורה גזרו עליה שתהיה אסורה בעבודה בשביעית כארץ ישראל כדי שלא יניחו ארץ ישראל וילכו וישתקעו שם אבל עמון ומואב ומצרים ושנער אע"פ שהם חייבות במעשרות מדבריהם אין שביעית נוהגת בהן:

28

The Sabbatical year is observed in Transjordan by Rabbinic decree.99 The sifichin of Syria and Transjordan are permitted to be eaten.100 [The restrictions in] these lands need not be more stringent than those in [the portions of] Eretz Yisrael that were inhabited by the people ascending from Egypt.

כח

עבר הירדן שביעית נוהגת בה מדבריהם וספיחי סוריא ועבר הירדן מותרין באכילה לא יהיו ארצות אלו חמורין מארץ ישראל שהחזיקו בה עולי מצרים:

29

When a gentile purchases land in Eretz Yisrael and sows it in the Sabbatical year, the produce is permitted.101 For our Sages decreed that sifichin should be forbidden only as a safeguard against transgressors and the gentiles are not commanded to observe the Sabbatical year. Thus there is no need to institute a safeguard for them.

כטכ

עכו"ם שקנה קרקע בארץ ישראל וזרעה בשביעית פירותיה מותרין שלא גזרו על הספיחין אלא מפני עוברי עבירה והעכו"ם אינן מצווין על השביעית כדי שנגזור עליהם:

30

In the cities of Eretz Yisrael that are close to the border, we appoint a trustworthy watchman so that the gentiles will not spread [through the land] and take the produce of the Sabbatical year.102

ל

עיירות ארץ ישראל הסמוכות לספר מושיבים עליהם נאמן כדי שלא יפוצו עכו"ם ויבוזו פירות שביעית:

Footnotes
1.

As opposed to fruit; see Halachah 3.

2.

As indicated by Halachah 9, this refers to produce that reached the stage of growth that obligates the separation of tithes - i.e., one third of its growth - after Rosh HaShanah of the Sabbatical year. If the produce reached this stage of growth beforehand, it is permitted to be harvested in the Sabbatical year.

3.

This term is generally translated as "aftergrowth."

4.

There is an opinion that such produce is forbidden according to Scriptural Law, but the Rambam's view follows the opinion of Menachot 5b.

5.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 4:2, based on the Jerusalem Talmud).

6.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 222) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 328) includes this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

7.

I.e., harvesting produce will enable the land to generate better produce in the future. This apparently is the intent of Chapter 1, Halachah 1.

8.

To separate the grain from the chaff.

9.

For fruit will grow from trees without any effort on man's part.

10.

Since they are not sown by most people, there is no reason to forbid them from being reaped in the Sabbatical year, for it is unlikely that anyone would plant them.

11.

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).

12.

The Radbaz questions the Rambam's statement, for seemingly, the Rabbinic decree was against eating, not gathering. He, however, states that from the Jerusalem Talmud (Sh'vi'it 9:1), it would appear that the decree also included gathering the aftergrowth.

13.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 2:1), the Rambam defines this term as a field left desolate and untilled.

14.

Apparently, this refers to a field where crops had been sown in the sixth year and they reached more than a third of their growth in that year. Hence, it is permitted to harvest them in the Sabbatical year.

15.

For that would bring about the violation of the prohibition of kilayim, mixed species in a vineyard, and cause the vineyard to become forbidden. See Hilchot Kilayim 6:1.

16.

Although it is not forbidden, it must be treated with the holiness of the Sabbatical year (Ra'avad; see Chapter 5, Halachah 19-20, 23).

17.

I.e., that attained one third of their growth in the Sabbatical year.

18.

If the aftergrowth of the Sabbatical year was allowed, it is possible that transgressors would sow their fields at the end of the Sabbatical year and then say that the crops that are growing are merely an aftergrowth.

19.

And in that way, destroy the crops. We are not concerned with the fact that they will fertilize the field or serve as food for his animals, for there is no prohibition against benefiting from the aftergrowth.

20.

For by that time, the majority of the produce will have grown in the eighth year. The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's source. The commentaries maintain that it follows the wording of the version of the Jerusalem Talmud, Demai 2:1, possessed by the Rambam.

21.

The rationale is that this produce is brought about by a combination of two factors: one (the earth) which is permitted and one (the aftergrowth) which is forbidden. In such situations, the produce is permitted. See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 10:21.

22.

For it is possible that these are onions of the eighth year. And if they are from the Sabbatical year, it is possible that they increased their size to the extent that the majority of their growth took place in the eighth year (Radbaz).

23.

Lest one be partaking of an onion that grew in the Sabbatical year.

24.

From a person who is suspect of violating the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year.

25.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 6:4).

26.

See Halachot 12-13.

27.

The Radbaz quotes the Jerusalem Talmud (Sh'vi'it 5:5) as explaining that this refers to after the Pesach festival.

28.

The year is considered to begin from that date. See also Chapter 10, Halachah 4.

29.

The mention of fruit is somewhat problematic, because, as stated in Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 1:2, the fifteenth of Shvat is "the New Year of the Trees." The Radbaz, however, explains that there is no contradiction. Each "new year" is considered in its own context. With regard to the calculation of the cycle of the tithes and the laws of orlah, the fifteenth of Shvat is "the New Year of the Trees." With regard to the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year, by contrast, the new year begins on Rosh HaShanah.

The Shelah, however, states that even with regard to the Sabbatical year, the fifteenth of Shvat is the Rosh HaShanah of the Trees and wit regard to them, the laws of the Sabbatical year begin from that date. This is the present practice in Eretz Yisrael.

30.

I.e., one third of its growth.

31.

It is permitted to harvest them and partake of them without any restrictions. Nor are they endowed with the holiness of the crops of the Sabbatical year. Similar laws apply with regard to the separation of tithes (ibid.).

32.

As explained in the following halachah.

33.

And harvested.

34.

See Chapters 5-6.

35.

From Rav Kappach's translation of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:8), it appears that the intent is that his purpose is to use the kernels as seed and not to partake of them. Others, however, interpret the Rambam's as meaning that he desires to eat the seeds and not the pods. Were the person concerned with eating the pods - or even the kernels according to the first interpretation - the plants would be considered like vegetables; see Halachah 14.

36.

I.e., they are not considered like vegetables in which the time when they are gathered determines the ruling (Halachah 12), because they are not gathered immediately after their growth is completed, but rather left growing in the earth so that they dry. Nor are they considered like grain or beans in which instance, the time when they reach one third of their growth determines the ruling (Halachah 9), because they complete their growth at different times. See also Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 1:8 which sets these species aside from others.

37.

It is bound by the agricultural laws governing the year in which it was reaped (ibid.:4).

38.

The produce of the Sabbatical year need not be tithed. Nevertheless, as a stringency, the ruling governing an esrog is dependent on when the fruit first budded (Rosh HaShanah 15b). Hence, it is necessary to tithe such an esrog. Compare to ibid. 1:6.

39.

And must be eaten with consideration shown for the special holiness of that year (Radbaz).

40.

As in Halachah 9. Thus if they complete one third of their growth before the advent of the eighth year, they are considered as produce of the Sabbatical year.

41.

As in Halachah 11. I.e., whether in the Sabbatical year or in the eighth year.

42.

As in Halachah 12. The Rambam does not mention the laws pertaining to an esrog, because since it is reaped in the eighth year, it is considered entirely as the produce of the eighth year. None of the restrictions of the Sabbatical year apply and tithes must be separated.

43.

Since it was sowed for seed, that intent determines the ruling, and the laws stated in Halachah 11 apply. Since as a whole, the plant is considered as the produce of the sixth year, even if part of the plant is harvested as a vegetable, we are not concerned about when it was harvested and it is still considered as produce of the sixth year.

44.

The ruling is governed by that intent and the laws mentioned in Halachah 12 apply, even to the seeds.

45.

Because of the impression that might be created. With regard to this question, the standard published text of the Jerusalem Talmud (Sh'vi'it 5:5) states that the seed is permitted and the vegetable is forbidden. The Radbaz maintains that the Rambam's ruling should be interpreted in the same manner (as might be understood from the conclusion of the following halachah). The Kessef Mishneh suggests that perhaps the Rambam had a different version of the Jerusalem Talmud.

46.

The ruling is determined by when the growth of the produce was completed, in this instance, the Sabbatical year. Hence, it is forbidden as are the other sifichin of that year (Halachah 5).

47.

For the ruling concerning vegetables depends on when they were harvested.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that there is no room for leniency with regard to produce that was sown in the Sabbatical year. The Radbaz justifies the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that it is based on a passage from the Jerusalem Talmud. Rav Yosef Corcus explains that even though sowing the land involves a transgression and in the Sabbatical year, the crops should be uprooted, if that did not happen, the vegetables are not forbidden.

48.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:1).

49.

As stated in Halachah 9, this is the determining factor with regard to fruit from trees. Hence they are considered as fruit of the Sabbatical year.

50.

I.e., in a manner which acknowledges their holiness.

51.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:9). The term seris means "eunuch." It is used in this instance because generally, onions produce scallions if they are left in a moist place after being uprooted from the earth. Just as a eunuch cannot produce seed, this species does not produce scallions.

52.

Here too our translation is based on the above source.

53.

In that age, when water pumps and piping did not exist, irrigation was a much more complicated matter and plants would be irrigated at specific periods. When a farmer would like to harvest his produce, he begins withholding water from it beforehand, so that it will begin to dry.

54.

Even if they are harvested in the Sabbatical year, for it is considered as if their growth was completed in the sixth year.

55.

For it is considered as if they were still growing at the end of the sixth year.

56.

They dried out [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:10)].

57.

For they did not grow in the Sabbatical year.

58.

And thus they grew in the Sabbatical year.

59.

And they must be destroyed, for it is forbidden to take produce of the Sabbatical year and set it aside to be used for seed in future years (ibid.).

60.

For they did not grow in the Sabbatical year.

61.

And thus they grew in the Sabbatical year.

62.

The Tosefta, Sh'vi'it 2:11 explains that the prohibition stems from the impression that might be created. An onlooker might think that they were planted in the Sabbatical year (Kessef Mishneh).

63.

Wild onions grow in the ground for up to three years. Hence, there is no question about what an onlooker might say, for the majority of the produce will have grown at a time when it is permitted.

64.

Our translation is taken from Rav Kappach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Uktzin 1:6). Our text follows the version of the Mishneh Torah published by Rav Shabse Frankel. The standard printed text offers a slightly different version. Since the artichoke plant grows primarily in the ground and that portion is not visible, it need not be uprooted.

65.

This is necessary. Because the leaves are soft and edible, we are concerned with the impression an observer might receive.

66.

The Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:4) states that we are speaking about onions that have reached the stage that all that is necessary is to dig them out and uproot them.

67.

Which become dried out (ibid.).

68.

A plant which produces a powerful red dye.

69.

Although using the metal hatchets would overturn the earth, this is not considered as tilling the land, because one's intent is obviously to harvest the produce (Radbaz).

70.

We are speaking about onions that had completed their growth before the Sabbatical year, but had been left in the ground.

71.

As long as the leaves are green, they are considered as if they come from the onion itself [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 6:2)].

72.

As the leaves grew, the onion produces roots. As the roots grow, the leaves turn dark green.

73.

For their growth was completed before the advent of the Sabbatical year.

74.

The onion becomes permitted when the majority of its mass is permitted. The new growth nullifies the forbidden matter.

75.

I.e., growing in the earth in the Sabbatical year.

76.

Increasing its size in the eighth year.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, noting that the Jerusalem Talmud (Sh'vi'it 6:3) appears to imply that the leniency is granted only when the leaves of the onions were bent over. Otherwise, the onions remain forbidden. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh justify the Rambam's ruling, stating that it reflects the treatment of the subject in the Babylonian Talmud (Nedarim 59b). Moreover, even the Jerusalem Talmud can be interpreted in this manner.

77.

The prohibition does not prevent us from reaping the fruits of the trees during the Sabbatical year. On the contrary, the fruits are ownerless and are meant to be eaten by people at large, as Leviticus 11:39 states, "[The fruit produced as] the land rests shall be yours to eat." The point of the mitzvah is that one may not reap in the same manner that he usually does [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 8:6)].

78.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 223) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 329) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

79.

I.e., what changes should be made to the usual manner of reaping.

80.

Our translation of this halachah is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 8:6).

81.

To produce wine.

82.

To extract their oil.

83.

After olives were pressed once and the higher quality of oil extracted, the olives would be ground and pressed again to produce more oil. Compare to Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 7:8.

84.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 134) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 84) includes this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

The Rambam's wording implies that the commandment is incumbent on the person; he must consider his property ownerless. Other commentaries note that Bava Metzia 39a speaks of "the land being declared ownerless by the King," i.e., that automatically, the person's right to his produce is removed from him by Divine order. See Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XVII, p. 287ff., which clarifies the difference between these perspectives.

85.

The Kessef Mishneh quotes the Mechilta which explains that according to Scriptural Law, it would appear that one should rip down the fences around his fields. Our Sages did not require that. They did, however, forbid erecting new fences.

86.

The rich as well as the poor.

87.

I.e., although the owner of the land does not have greater privileges than others, he does not have lesser privileges either and may take some of the produce.

88.

For this is an ordinary amount which a person would store for immediate use. To set aside produce for long term storage is forbidden in the Sabbatical year.

89.

For ultimately, he has not treated the field as his own, but has left it ownerless.

90.

Implying that these mitzvot are observed only in that land.

91.

For this reason, the laws of the Sabbatical year were observed even before the Temple was constructed (Radbaz).

Although the laws of the Sabbatical year are not dependent on whether or not the Temple is standing, they are dependent on the presence of the majority of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael, as stated in Chapter 10, Halachah 9. As stated in Halachah 8 of that chapter, after the exile of the tribe of Reuven and Gad, slightly more than a hundred years before the destruction of the First Temple, this criterion was not met and the Sabbatical year and many other mitzvot are observed only because of Rabbinic decree.

(As will be explained in the notes to that source, there is some difference of the opinion concerning both the actual ruling and the Rambam's stance on that issue.)

92.

As the Rambam explains in Hilchot Terumah, ch. 1, and Hilchot Beis HaBechirah, ch. 6, when the Jews conquered Eretz Yisrael after the exodus from Egypt, the land became holy and all the agricultural laws incumbent on it took effect. After the exile of the tribes of Reuven and Gad, these laws no longer applied according to Scriptural Law. When Ezra led the people back from the Babylonian exile, he sanctified the land a second time according to Rabbinic decree. At this time, however, the people settled in a much smaller area than they had originally lived. Kziv was the northern boundary of that area and is considered outside the area. See the maps accompanying Hilchot Terumah, loc. cit. See also the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 6:1).

93.

According to the Radbaz (Hilchot Terumah 1:9), this refers to Wadi el Arish and not the Nile. There are, however, other sources which identify "the River of Egypt" as the Nile.

94.

A mountain range in Northern Lebanon. This represents the boundaries of the land conquered by the Jews after the Exodus from Egypt. As the Rambam explains, our Sages imposed certain restrictions on this land as well.

95.

This area is considered as part of the Diaspora and none of the agricultural laws relating to Eretz Yisrael apply there. The Umanum Mountains themselves are part of the Diaspora.

96.

"The lands which [King] David conquered outside of the Land of Canaan, e.g., Aram Naharaim, Aram Tzovah, Achlab [which are located slightly north of Eretz Yisrael]... before he conquered Eretz Yisrael entirely." See Hilchot Terumah 1:3 and the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 6:11).

97.

Countries to the southeast of Eretz Yisrael.

98.

See Hilchot Terumah 1:6.

99.

Transjordan refers to the area extending outward from the eastern bank of the Jordan. The tribes of Reuven, Gad, and half the tribe of Menasheh settled there. Rav Yosef Corcus maintains that according to Scriptural Law, the Sabbatical year never had to be observed there (see Sifra, the beginning of Behar), because it is not part of Eretz Yisrael in certain contexts. Others maintain that according to Scriptural Law, in the era of the First Temple, the Sabbatical year was to be observed there. All agree that our Sages required its partial observance.

100.

The Radbaz explains that this applies even if the Jews returning from Babylon had settled in a portion of this territory, the sificihin are not forbidden.

101.

I.e., we are allowed to purchase this produce and partake of it. This applies even in the portion of the land where the Sabbatical year is observed according to Rabbinic decree.

The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh refer to the Kaftor VePerach who states that seemingly, although produce grown by a gentile in Eretz Yisrael in the Sabbatical year is permitted, it would have to eaten with respect to its holiness, as described in the following chapter. For as the Rambam states in Hilchot Terumah 1:10: "When a gentile purchases land in Eretz Yisrael, he does not cause it to be absolved from [the observance of] the mitzvot. Instead, its holiness is still intact." Thus although there is no reason to forbid one from partaking of the produce grown by a gentile, seemingly, it should be considered "holy."

They note that in their time this was not the common practice, (nor is it the practice in Eretz Yisrael today). They justify this conduct on the grounds that, according to certain views (see Chapter 10, Halachah 9, where this subject is discussed) that in the present era, the observance of the Sabbatical year is a Rabbinic ordinance (and not of Scriptural authority). And our Sages did not impose any restrictions on produce grown by gentiles.

102.

In addition to the material motive involved, there is a ritual dimension to this restriction. We are forbidden to allow a gentile to partake of the produce of the Sabbatical year (Chapter 5, Halachah 13). The Radbaz questions if watchmen should be appointed to guard the fields of Jews in Eretz Yisrael that are not located on the border, but are near areas where gentiles are located and there is a possibility that they will take the produce that is left ownerless.

Shemita - Chapter 5

1

The produce of the Sabbatical year is designated for the sake of eating, drinking,1smearing oneself [with oil],2 kindling lamps, and dyeing. According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that the word tihiyeh3 implies that it may be used even for kindling lamps, and dyeing.4

א

פירות שביעית ניתנו לאכילה ולשתייה ולסיכה ולהדלקת הנר ולצביעה מפי השמועה למדו תהיה אף להדלקת נר ולצבוע בה צבע:

2

What is meant by [the license to use the produce of the Sabbatical year] for eating and drinking? One should eat those foods that are normally eaten and drink the beverages that are normally drunken, as is the law with regard to terumah and the second tithe.5

ב

לאכילה ולשתייה כיצד לאכול דבר שדרכו לאכול ולשתות דבר שדרכו לשתות כדין תרומה ומעשר שני:

3

He should not change the natural function of produce as he does not with regard to terumah and the second tithe, i.e., something that is normally eaten raw should not be eaten cooked. Something that is normally eaten cooked should not be eaten raw. For this reason, animal fodder6 should not be cooked, nor should one press himself to eat a cooked dish that has spoiled or bread that has become moldy, as he does not eat such foods that are terumah or the second tithe.7

ג

ולא ישנה פירות מברייתן כדרך שאינו משנה בתרומה ומע"ש דבר שדרכו ליאכל חי לא יאכלנו מבושל ודבר שדרכו להאכל מבושל אין אוכלין אותו חי לפיכך אין שולקין אוכלי בהמה ואינו מטפל לאכול תבשיל שנפסד והפת שעפשה כדרך שאינו אוכל בתרומה ומעשר:

4

We do not cook vegetables from the Sabbatical year in oil that is terumah lest it disqualify it.8 If one cooked a little and ate it immediately, it is permitted,9 because he did not leave it aside so that it become disqualified.

ד

ואין מבשלין ירק של שביעית בשמן תרומה שלא יביאנו לידי פסול ואם בישל מעט ואכלו מיד מותר שהרי לא הניחן כדי לבוא לידי פסול:

5

Produce that is set aside for human consumption should not be fed to domesticated animals, beasts, and fowl. If an animal went under a fig tree under its own initiative and began eaten the fruit, we do not require [the owner] to bring it back, for [Leviticus 25:7] states: "And for the animal and the beast in your land shall be all the produce to eat."10

ה

פירות המיוחדין למאכל אדם אין מאכילין אותן לבהמה לחיה ולעופות הלכה הבהמה מאליה לתחת התאנה ואכלה אין מחייבין אותו להחזירה שנאמר ולבהמתך ולחיה אשר בארצך תהיה כל תבואתה לאכול:

6

What is meant by [the license to] smear oneself [with produce from the Sabbatical year]? One may smear oneself with produce with which it is common to smear oneself. He should not smear wine or vinegar, but he may smear oil.11 We do not place fragrant herbs in oil,12 nor should one apply oil in a bathhouse.13 He may, however, apply oil outside and then enter.14

ו

לסיכה כיצד לסוך דבר שדרכו לסוך לא יסוך יין וחומץ אבל סך הוא את השמן ולא יפטם את השמן ולא יסוך במרחץ אבל סך הוא מבחוץ ונכנס:

7

Oil from the Sabbatical year should not be used to seal an oven or a range,15nor should it be applied to a shoe or a sandal.16 One should not apply [such oil] with impure hands.17 If the oil fell on his flesh, he may rub it in with impure hands.18 One should not apply [such] oil to his foot while it is in a shoe,19 He may, however, smear [such oil] on his foot and put on a shoe or smear his entire body and then roll on a new [leather] mat.20

ז

שמן של שביעית אין חוסמין בו תנור וכירים ואין סכין בו מנעל וסנדל ואין סכין אותו בידים טמאות נפל על בשרו משפשפו בידים טמאות ולא יסוך רגלו בתוך המנעל אבל סך הוא רגלו ולובש המנעל וסך גופו ומתעגל על גבי קטבליא:

8

What is meant by [the license to] kindle a lamp [with produce from the Sabbatical year]? One may kindle a lamp with oil from the Sabbatical year itself. If one sold [oil from the Sabbatical year] and used the proceeds21 to purchase other oil or exchanged [oil from the Sabbatical year] for other oil,22 they are both forbidden to be used for kindling, for we may not use money received in return for the produce of the Sabbatical year for kindling.23

One should not place oil directly into a fire.24 Instead, one should light it in a lamp.25

ח

להדלקת הנר כיצד שמדליק את הנר בשמן שביעית עצמו מכרו ולקח בו שמן אחר או שהחליף שמן בשמן שניהם אסורים בהדלקה שאין מדליקין בדמי שביעית ולא יתן השמן לתוך המדורה אלא מדליקו בנר:

9

What is meant by [the license to use produce from the Sabbatical year] for dyeing? Produce which is ordinarily used as dye even though it is also used as food for people may be used as dye for man's sake.26 We may not, however, use the produce of the Sabbatical year - even animal fodder - as dye for the sake of an animal. For the holiness of the Sabbatical year does not rest on dye for animals.

ט

לצביעה כיצד דברים שדרכן לצבוע בהן אף ע"פ שהן מאכלי אדם צובעין בהן לאדם אבל אין צובעין לבהמה מפירות שביעית אפילו מאכלי בהמה שאין קדושת שביעית חלה על צבעי בהמה:

10

The holiness of the Sabbatical year falls on [natural] detergents - e.g., borit and ehel,27 - and we may launder with them,28 as [Leviticus 25:6] states: "And [the produce that grows] while the land is resting shall be yours," i.e., for all your needs. Nevertheless, the fruit of the Sabbatical year should not be used as a detergent,29 nor should it be used to produce a compress,30 for [the above verse] states: "...shall be yours to eat,"31 i.e., and not for a compress, nor to sprinkle,32 induce regurgitation, soak flax, or use as a detergent.

י

מיני כבוסים כגון בורית ואהל קדושת שביעית חלה עליהן ומכבסין בהן שנאמר והיתה שבת הארץ לכם לכל צרכיכם אבל אין מכבסין בפירות שביעית ואין עושין מהם מלוגמא שנאמר והיתה שבת הארץ לכם לאכלה ולא למלוגמא ולא לזילוף ולא להקיא ולא למשרה ולא לכביסה:

11

A great principle was stated with regard to the produce of the Sabbatical year: Whatever is distinguished as being for human consumption, e.g., wheat, figs, grapes, and the like, should not be used as a compress or a bandage, even for a person, as implied by the phrase: "yours to eat," i.e., whatever is distinguished as being for you, should be used as food33 and not for medicinal purposes. Anything that is not distinguished as being for human consumption, e.g., soft thorns and brambles, may be used as a compress for a person, but not for an animal.34

If it is not distinguished as being for either of the above purposes - e.g., za'ater, oregano,35 and thyme,36 [the ruling depends] on the person's intent. If he thought to use it as kindling wood, it is considered as kindling wood.37 If he intended that it be used as food [for humans], it is considered as produce.38

If it is distinguished as being for both of the above purposes, we treat it with both the stringencies incumbent on food for humans - and compresses are not made with it - and those incumbent on animal fodder - that they may not be cooked.39

יא

כלל גדול אמרו בפירות שביעית כל שהוא מיוחד למאכל אדם כגון חיטים תאנים וענבים וכיוצא בהן אין עושין ממנו מלוגמא או רטייה וכיוצא בו אפילו לאדם שנאמר לכם לאכלה כל שהוא מיוחד לכם יהיה לאכלה ולא לרפואה וכל שאינו מיוחד למאכל אדם כגון קוצין ודרדרין הרכים עושין מהן מלוגמא לאדם אבל לא לבהמה וכל שאינו מיוחד לא לזה ולא לזה כגון הסיאה והאזוב והקורנס הרי הוא תלוי במחשבתו חשב עליו לעצים הרי הוא כעצים לאכילה הרי הוא כפירות למאכל אדם ולמאכל בהמה נותנין עליו חומרי מאכל אדם שאין עושין מהן מלוגמא וחומרי מאכל בהמה שאין שולקין אותו:

12

It is permitted to sell food for humans and animal fodder and use the proceeds to purchase food for humans. We may not, however, sell animal fodder to purchase other animal fodder.40 Needless to say, we may not sell food for humans to purchase animal fodder. If [animal fodder] was purchased with [such produce] or food for humans was exchanged for animal fodder, [the animal fodder] is considered like food for humans and it may not be used to make a compress for a person.

יב

מותר למכור אוכלי אדם ואוכלי בהמה וליקח בהם אוכלי אדם אבל אין מוכרין אוכלי בהמה ליקח בהם אוכלי בהמה אחרת ואין צריך לומר שאין מוכרין אוכלי אדם ליקח בהם אוכלי בהמה ואם לקח בהן או החליף בהן אוכלי אדם באוכלי בהמה הרי הן כאוכלי אדם שאין עושין מהן מלוגמא לאדם:

13

The produce of the Sabbatical year may not be transported from Eretz Yisrael to the Diaspora, not even to Syria.41 It cannot be fed to a gentile,42 nor to a hired worker.43 If he was hired for an entire week, an entire year, or an entire month or an agreement regarding his food was established, he is considered as a member of one's household and he may be fed [the produce of the Sabbatical year]. We may feed a guest44 the produce of the Sabbatical year.45

יג

פירות שביעית אין מוציאין אותן מהארץ לחוצה לארץ ואפילו לסוריא ואין מאכילין אותן לא לעכו"ם ולא לשכיר ואם היה שכיר שבת או שכיר שנה או שכיר חדש או שקצץ מזונותיו עליו הרי הוא כאנשי ביתו ומאכילין אותו ומאכילין את האכסניא פירות שביעית:

14

The court does not allot produce of the Sabbatical year to a woman,46 because this is considered as paying a debt with the produce of the Sabbatical year.47 She may, however, take her livelihood from [produce of the Sabbatical year] in her husband's possession.48

יד

אין ב"ד פוסקין לאשה פירות שביעית מפני שזה כמשלם חוב מפירות שביעית אבל ניזונת היא משל בעלה:

15

We do not harvest the produce of the Sabbatical year when it is not yet ripe.49 [This is derived from Leviticus 25:12 which states:] "And you shall partake of its produce," [implying that the fruits] may not be eaten until they are considered as produce.50 One may, however, partake of a small amount of them in the field while they are underdeveloped, as one partakes [of such produce] in other years.51 One should not bring the produce into one's home until it reaches the stage when the obligation to separate tithes takes effect.52

טו

אין אוספין פירות שביעית כשהן בוסר שנא' תאכלו את תבואתה אינה נאכלת עד שתעשה תבואה אבל אוכל מהן מעט בשדה כשהם פגין כדרך שאוכל בשאר שני שבוע ולא יכניס לאכול בתוך ביתו עד שיגיעו לעונת המעשרות:

16

From when is it permitted to partake of the fruit of trees in the field in the Sabbatical year? With regard to underdeveloped figs, when their surface will become shiny,53 he may eat his bread with them in the field. The same applies in all analogous situations With regard to underdeveloped grapes,54 when sap flows in them, they may be eaten in the fields. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

With regard to olives, when a se'ah of olives would produce a revi'it of a log55 of oil, one may break them open56 and eat them in the fields.57 [If such an amount of olives] would produce half a log [of oil], one may crush them and smear oneself in the field. [If they reach the stage where they] produce one third [of the amount they ordinarily produce], it is permitted to bring them to his home, because they have reached a third of their growth.

טז

ומאימתי יהיה מותר לאכול פירות האילן בשדה בשביעית הפגין של תאנים משיזריחו אוכל בהן פתו בשדה וכן כל כיוצא בהן הבוסר משיוציא מים ואוכלו בשדה וכן כל כיוצא בו הזיתים משיכנסו סאה של זיתים רביעית שמן פוצע ואוכל בשדה הכניסו חצי לוג כותש וסך בשדה הכניס שליש מותר להכניס לביתו שהרי הגיעו לעונת המעשרות:

17

It is permitted to cut down trees for their wood in the Sabbatical year, before they produce fruit. Once they have begun to produce fruit, however, they should not be cut down, for doing so spoils [the fruit], and [the fruit of the Sabbatical year is granted] "to eat,"58 and not to spoil.59 If it produced fruit and they reached the stage at which an obligation to separate tithes exists, it is permitted to cut them down, for it has already produced its fruit and the laws of the Sabbatical year no longer apply to it.60

יז

מותר לקוץ אילנות לעצים בשביעית קודם שיהיה בהן פרי אבל משיתחיל לעשות פרי לא יקוץ אותו שהרי מפסיד האוכל ונאמר לכם לאכלה ולא להפסיד ואם הוציא פירות והגיעו לעונת המעשרות מותר לקוץ אותו שהרי הוציא פירותיו ובטל דין שביעית ממנו:

18

From when is it forbidden to cut down a tree in the Sabbatical year?61 For carobs, when a chain of carobs will be formed.62 For grapes, when the fruit produces seeds. For olives, when they bud. For all other fruit trees, when they produce underdeveloped fruit.

It is forbidden to cut off underdeveloped clusters of dates63 in the Sabbatical year, because one is spoiling the fruit. If these clusters will not produce dates, merely buds, it is permitted to cut off those clusters.64

יח

ומאימתי אין קוצצין האילן בשביעית החרובין משישלשלו והגפנים משיגרעו והזיתים משינצו ושאר כל האילנות משיוציאו בוסר ואין קוצצין את הכפניות בשביעית מפני שהוא הפסד פרי ואם אין דרכן להעשות תמרים אלא שיציץ מותר לקוץ אותן כפניות:

19

We may not use hay and straw of the Sabbatical year for kindling,65 because it is fit for animal fodder.66 We may, however, use the wastes of olives and grapes of the Sabbatical year for fuel.67

יט

אין שורפין תבן וקש של שביעית מפני שהוא ראוי למאכל בהמה אבל מסיקין בגפת ובזגין של שביעית:

20

When a bathhouse has been heated with hay and straw of the Sabbatical year, it is permitted to bathe there68 [even] when payment is required.69 An important person, however, is forbidden to do so, lest they also mix other [herbs]70 into the kindling for him, so that it will produce a fragrant scent.71 Thus they will destroy the produce of the Sabbatical year.72

כ

מרחץ שהוסקה בתבן ובקש של שביעית מותר לרחוץ בה בשכר ואם אדם חשוב הוא אסור שמא יסיקו בה דברים אחרים בשבילו כדי שיהיה ריחה נודף ונמצאו מפסידין פירות שביעית:

21

The holiness of the produce of the Sabbatical year does not fall on the types of shells and seeds that are permitted to non-priests with regard to terumah.73 Instead, they are considered like wood, unless they are fit for dyeing.74 The holiness of the Sabbatical year falls on the hearts of palms.75

כא

הקליפין והגרעינין שמותרין בתרומה לזרים אין קדושת שביעית חלה עליהם והרי הן כעצים אלא אם כן ראויין לצביעה והקור קדושת שביעי' חלה עליו:

22

[The following rules apply when a person] places spices from the Sabbatical year in a wrapping and inserts them into cooked food. If their flavor is nullified,76 they are permitted.77 If they retain their flavor, the holiness of the Sabbatical year is still invested in them.

כב

הצורר תבלין של שביעית ונותן לתוך התבשיל אם בטל טעמן הרי אלו מותרין לכל דבר ואם נשאר בהן טעם עדיין הם בקדושת שביעית:

23

Straw and hay from the Sabbatical year should not be placed in a pillow or in mud.78 If one did place them there, they are considered as if they have been destroyed.79 When an oven has been heated with straw and hay from the Sabbatical year, it should be allowed to cool.80

Once the second wave of rains81 descend in the eighth year, we are allowed to benefit from straw and hay of the Sabbatical year and use it for kindling.82

כג

אין נותנין תבן וקש של שביעית לא לתוך הכר ולא לתוך הטיט ואם נתן ה"ז כמבוער תנור שהסיקוהו בתבן ובקש של שביעית יוצן ומשתרד רביעה שנייה במוצאי שביעית נהנין ושורפין בתבן ובקש של שביעית:

Footnotes
1.

Drinking is considered as eating (Yoma 76b).

2.

See Hilchot Sh'vitat Esor 1:4-5; Hilchot Terumot 11:1, Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 3:10 which equate smearing oneself with oil and drinking.

3.

Leviticus 25:7 states: "And for the animal and the beast in your land shall (tihiyeh) be all the produce to eat." The Sifra derives the above concept from this verse.

4.

For these activities also bring direct benefit to man.

5.

See Hilchot Terumah, ch. 11, and Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni, ch. 3, for more particulars concerning these laws.

6.

Which is usually eaten raw.

7.

See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 3:11 which states: "We do not require a person to eat bread that has become moldy or oil that has become rancid. Instead, as soon as it has become spoiled to the point that it is not fit for human consumption, its holiness has departed from it."

8.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 8:7), the Rambam describes this concept as follows: When terumah becomes ritually impure, it is disqualified and forbidden to be eaten. Now if the oil becomes ritually impure, it will disqualify the vegetable that was cooked in it and require that it be destroyed. Thus one will have caused the produce of the Sabbatical year to be destroyed unnecessarily.

9.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam's wording should not be interpreted as implying that only after the fact, once one has cooked the vegetable in the oil, one may partake of it. Instead, this is permitted at the outset.

10.

Implying that the produce of the Sabbatical year may be eaten by animals.

11.

Even though oil is primarily used as food, it is also common to smear it on one's flesh (Radbaz). Wine or vinegar, by contrast, are generally not applied as ointments. See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni, loc. cit.

12.

Because doing so removes it from the category of food and makes it oil for smearing (Hilchot Terumah 11:3).

13.

For applying oil that is holy in a place where people are unclothed is an act of disrespect.

14.

Since the oil is already absorbed in one's skin.

15.

For this will be using it for a purpose other than a person's direct physical benefit.

16.

This strengthens the sandal, but does not provide a person with direct physical benefit.

17.

The intent is not necessarily impure hands, but any hands that one has not watched carefully to make sure that they are pure. For if one touches oil with such hands, it becomes impure by Rabbinic decree (Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTuma'ah 8:8-10). Making the oil impure would reduce the number of people who could partake of it. Hence, it is improper to do so.

18.

For once the oil has been applied to one's flesh, there is no difficulty in it becoming impure, because its sacred quality is divested. See parallels in Hilchot Terumah 11:7.

19.

Because the oil will be applied to the shoe directly.

20.

Even though the oil will be applied indirectly to the shoe or the mat, that does not present a difficulty, because as above, once it has been applied to his flesh, its sacred quality is divested.

21.

As stated in Halachah 12, it is permitted to sell produce of the Sabbatical year that is fit for human consumption and use the proceeds to purchase other food. One may not, however, use such proceeds for other purposes even though they benefit man.

22.

In which instance, the oil for which the oil from the Sabbatical year was exchanged receives the status of produce of the Sabbatical year (see Chapter 6, Halachot 6-7).

23.

One may use oil from the Sabbatical year for kindling, because this is a function for which that produce is ordinarily used. Nevertheless, oil is considered primarily as food fit for human consumption. Hence, the proceeds from its sale or exchange may be used for that purpose alone.

24.

It is not common practice to pour oil into a fire. Hence, although license is given to kindle with oil, one may do so only in the ordinary manner.

25.

For this is the ordinary practice.

26.

As the continuation of the Rambam's words imply, the dye is then considered as imbued with the holiness of the Sabbatical year.

27.

Two plants with natural alcalic properties that make them fit for use as detergents.

28.

For this is their primary use.

29.

Since fruit is primarily used as food, it is improper to use it for any other purpose.

30.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 8:1), the Rambam explains the derivation of the word milugma. It is a composite of the words molei lugma, meaning "cheekful." It was common to chew kernels of wheat, figs, or other produce, and then place them on wounds. Since the primary use of such produce is food, it cannot be used for these purposes.

31.

The explanation is dependent on the principle stated in the following halachah.

32.

Liquids were occasionally sprinkled over wounds to induce clotting.

33.

And for no other purpose, even if it is beneficial to man.

34.

I.e., it may be used for a purpose that brings man benefit.

35.

Our translation is based on Rav Kappach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.). Others render it as "hyssop."

36.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam explains that these are herbs that are used both as spices and for medicinal purposes.

37.

And the holiness of the Sabbatical year does not rest upon it.

38.

And is infused with that holiness.

39.

This represents a change in the Rambam's thinking from his initial version of his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.) in which he states that the stringency involved with animal fodder is that it can only be eaten during the time the produce is available in the field. In the final version of the Commentary to the Mishnah, he adopts the position stated here that is based on the Jerusalem Talmud.

40.

As stated in the notes to Halachah 8, when the produce from the Sabbatical year is sold, the proceeds from the sale may be used only for the purchase of food for humans.

41.

This is a decree imposed so that there will not be a dearth of produce in Eretz Yisrael. See Chapter 7, Halachah 12, which states what should be done if such produce is brought to the Diaspora.

42.

This is derived from Leviticus 25:6 which states that the produce of the Sabbatical year "shall be yours to eat." Implied is that it is for "you" and not for gentiles.

43.

This is referring to a worker hired only for a day(s). Since he is hired for only a short time, it appears as if the person is paying his debt with the produce of the Sabbatical year which is forbidden, see Chapter 6, Halachah 11.

44.

Rav Yosef Corcus states that this and the above clause even refer to a gentile guest or worker.

45.

This is not considered as paying a debt.

46.

This halachah is referring to a woman whose husband traveled to a distant place without leaving his wife adequate support. If she approaches the court, the court expropriates property belonging to her husband and sells it to provide for her support. See Hilchot Ishut 12:16.

47.

For the husband is liable for her support.

48.

Since she has access to the household provisions, it is not considered as if someone is paying the debt to her (Rav Yosef Corcus).

49.

I.e., before it reaches one third of its growth. Until that point, they are unfit to be eaten [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 4:7)].

50.

I.e., until they have ripened.

51.

For it is also common practice to taste a small amount of fruit in the field even in its very early stages of ripening (ibid.).

52.

I.e., until the produce reaches one third of its development (Hilchot Ma'aserot 2:3). That would reflect a further stage of development.

53.

At that time, their surface becomes smooth and there is a certain amount of sap inside them [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 4:7)]. At this stage of development, it is ordinary practice for a person in the field to taste a small amount of the fruit.

54.

Our translation of the terms in this clause is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 4:8).

55.

A revi'it of a log is 86 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 150 cc according to Chazon Ish.

56.

This is the ordinary way in which olives are eaten [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 4:9)], for there is a bitter liquid beneath this covering.

57.

At this stage of development, the amount of oil produced is not significant enough for one to smear himself with it.

58.

Leviticus 25:6. As stated in Halachah 10, this phrase is also an exclusion, preventing the use of the produce for other purposes.

59.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 4:10), the Rambam writes that cutting the trees down at this stage of the fruits' development is forbidden, because it is tantamount to theft. For the fruit was granted to people at large and by cutting down the tree, other people are prevented from harvesting it.

60.

It was permitted to harvest the fruit from this stage of development. Since people already had the opportunity of harvesting it and failed to do so, it is not forbidden to destroy the tree.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam clarifies that we are speaking about a situation where the tree does not produce a large amount of produce and hence, it is permitted to cut it down and use it for wood. Otherwise, it is forbidden to cut down a fruit tree. See Hilchot Melachim 6:8-9.

61.

I.e., when does the initial stage of development mentioned in the previous halachah begin for various tapes of fruit.

62.

The interpretation of this clause offered by standard published text of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.) is somewhat confusing. See Rav Kappach's translation. It is the source for our translation of the following clauses.

63.

Our translation is dependent on the gloss of the Radbaz and Rav Kappach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Orlah 1:9).

64.

The Radbaz explains that this is referring to a species of dates that never produces edible fruit, but the clusters themselves are eaten like hearts of palms.

65.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this license is derived through a process of deduction. Shivi'it 9:7 states that the hay and straw of the Sabbatical year may not be used for kindling until the second rain of the eighth year descends. Thus one can obviously conclude that it was forbidden to use them previously.

66.

Hence it should be used for that purpose; see Halachah 3.

67.

For they are not useful for any other purposes.

68.

Seemingly, this halachah contradicts the preceding one. Since it is forbidden to use hay and straw from the Sabbatical year for kindling, one would think that it is forbidden to bathe in water heated through such a fire. Why then is bathing in such a bathhouse permitted?

The Kessef Mishneh first states that license to use the bathhouse is only granted after the fact. At the outset, one should not use such hay and straw for this purpose. Alternatively, he explains - as does the Radbaz - that there is no difficulty in using such hay and straw for this purpose, for just as animal fodder of the Sabbatical year can be used to make a compress for a person (Halachah 11), it can be used to heat a bath for him.

69.

The Kessef Mishneh offers this interpretation, resolving the question posed by the Ra'avad who had objected to granting license to use such hay and straw when payment is taken, for that resembles selling the produce of the Sabbatical year as merchandise which is forbidden (Chapter 6, Halachah 1). The Kessef Mishneh explains that the prohibition against selling the produce of the Sabbatical year involves only selling food.

70.

That are fit to be eaten [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shivi'it 8:11)].

71.

The Rambam is explaining the rationale for the restriction stated in the above mishnah. Others maintain that the rationale is that an important person should not rely on the leniency and, instead, should be stringent not to derive even such benefit from the produce of the Sabbatical year.

72.

Instead of using them as food.

73.

See Hilchot Terumah 11:10-11. The Radbaz explains that this can be derived from a logical inference. If leniency was granted with regard to terumah which is punishable by death, surely, it should be granted with regard to the Sabbatical year, for its prohibitions are not punishable as severely.

74.

In which instance the holiness of the Sabbatical year falls upon them, as stated in Halachah 9.

75.

For there are many who eat this type of produce as food, while it is soft. See Hilchot Berachot 8:6. Needless to say, if it hardens to the point it is no longer edible, it is considered as mere wood (Radbaz).

76.

Since the spices were placed in a wrapping, they could be removed from the food after it was cooked. Their status depends on whether their flavor is retained or not.

77.

The holiness of the Sabbatical year does not rest upon them, for they no longer are considered as food.

78.

I.e., to use the mud for building. Since the straw and hay are fit for use as animal fodder, it is improper to use them for purposes that do not bring direct benefit to man or animals.

79.

Because they are no longer suitable for use as animal fodder. The Ra'avad [based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Shivi'it 9:7)] states that one must actually sleep on the pillow, for the status of the straw to change. The commentaries note, however, that the Tosefta (Shivi'it 5:11) does not make such a qualification.

80.

I.e., one should not cook in it while it is hot, so as not to benefit from the kindling of the produce of the Sabbatical year. The license granted in Halachah 20 is not appropriate here, because in this instance, the person is not receiving direct benefit from the burning of the straw (Radbaz).

81.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 8:1), the Rambam explains that, in Eretz Yisrael, there is one wave of rain at the end of the summer. Afterwards at the beginning of the winter - i.e., depending on the year, between the seventeenth of Cheshvan and the first of Kislev, there is a second wave of rains which are very important for the success of the crops of that land.

82.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Shivi'it 9:7) explains that from the time the rain descends, the straw in the field is no longer fit for an animal to eat. Therefore, there is no longer any restriction on using the straw in one's home.

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.
The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah