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Daily Mitzvah

Negative Commandment 223; Positive Commandment 134, 141; Negative Commandment 230, 231

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Negative Commandment 223 (Digest)
Harvesting Fields during the Sabbatical Year

"Nor shall you gather the grapes of the un-pruned vine"Leviticus 25:5.

It is forbidden to harvest – in normal fashion – the fruit of the Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year. One may only harvest it as if it was ownerless, i.e. without extensive preparation or arrangement, and not in bulk.

Positive Commandment 134 (Digest)
Rendering Fields Ownerless during the Sabbatical Year

"But [during] the seventh year you shall let it rest and abandon it"Exodus 23:11.

We are commanded to render ownerless all that the land produces during the Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year, making all the fields' output free for all to take.

This mitzvah, according to biblical law, applies only to the produce of the Land of Israel.

Positive Commandment 141 (Digest)
Forgoing Loans on the Sabbatical Year

"But if you have any claim against your brother, you must relinquish it"Deuteronomy 15:3.

During the Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year, we are commanded to cancel any debts owed to us [by fellow Jews].

Biblically, this mitzvah only applies when the Jubilee laws regulating agricultural are in effect (see The Jubilee Year).

Negative Commandment 230 (Digest)
Collecting Debts following the Sabbatical Year

"Every creditor that lends anything to his neighbor shall release it"Deuteronomy 15:2.

We are forbidden from demanding payment of a debt once the Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year has passed. Rather, all debts must be cancelled.

This biblical prohibition applies only in the Land of Israel, and only when the Jubilee laws regulating agricultural are in effect (see The Jubilee Year). The Sages, however, extended this prohibition to apply to all locations and all times.

Negative Commandment 231 (Digest)
Refusing to Lend Money in Anticipation of the Sabbatical Year

"Beware lest there be an [unworthy thought in your heart...]"Deuteronomy 15:9.

It is forbidden to refuse to lend money to another before the advent of the Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year, for fear that the debt will be cancelled.


Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
At the Splitting of the Sea, a servant girl saw what Isaiah, Ezekiel and all other prophets did not behold.
  –Midrash Mechilta
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