Shmitta 5761

For over nineteen hundred years the Jewish people have longed to return to Eretz Yisroel, the land of Israel. It is only in land of Israel that we can realize our full potential as a nation; it is only in the land of Israel that the Torah’s blueprint for life can be completely fulfilled. Over the millennia the most important dimension of this longing was the yearning to once again be able to fulfill the mitzvos hatluyos ba’aretz (agricultural laws), the commandments that can only be observed in the land of Israel. With Hashem’s help many of us in this past generation have realized part of this two thousand year old dream. Yet, this realization has presented us with new challenges.

OTZER BAIS DIN: Proper Distribution of Shmitta Produce

Rav Aharon Tendler, Ner Israel Mechina High School

Our rabbis have taught that if the Jewish nation would observe two Shabbosos, they would be immediately redeemed1.  Generally, this is understood to mean that the redemption will come if we observe two consecutive Shabbosos. The question arises as to the significance of two Shabbosos, and many responses have been provided.  There is a beautiful answer offered by the former Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi Fishman, in his introduction to a commentary on the Yerushalmi Mesechta Shevi’is.  Rabbi Fishman maintains that the two Shabbosos actually refer to the seventh day of the week when we refrain from all melacha, constructive work, and the seventh year of shmitta, when we withdraw our ownership from  the land of Israel and declare all produce ownerless and available for all to take.

Can it be Kosher

How often have we heard the query, “What’s the problem with plain canned vegetables? It’s only vegetables, water and salt in a can!” True. It’s also true that today you can buy vegetables with a hechsher, salt with a hechsher, water with a hechsher even cans with a hechsher! But does 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4? Can a kosher consumer buy canned corn off the shelf or should the kosher consumer beware?