How to Purchase Daled Minim Grown During Shemita


daled-minim-esrog-lulav-sukkosBy Rabbi Yehoshua Greenwald

This article will discuss the Daled Minim – the Four Species used on Sukkos which grew during Shemita. There are specific Shemita Halachos for each of the Daled Minim. There are a total of seven prohibitions associated with produce grown on Shemita that pertain to the Four Species. Let us clarify the status of each of the four species grown during Shemita in light of those seven prohibitions.

Let us begin by explaining the seven prohibitions:

  1. Ne’evad – There are certain Avodos – farming activities, which are prohibited during Shemita. These include: Zeriah – planting, Ketzirah – harvesting crops of the field, Zemirah – pruning vines, and Betzirah – the harvesting of crops of trees. These Avodos are prohibited from the Torah. According to most Rishonim, Charisha – plowing during Shemita is likewise prohibited from the Torah. There are many other activities which are prohibited during Shemita from the Rabbis. If one of the Daled Minim was produced during Shemita, using one of the above avodos, it would be forbidden to be consumed, according to many opinions, because it would be considered ne’evad, as it was produced through a forbidden Shemita Avodo. It would also and likewise be Posul for netila on Sukkos. Since it cannot be consumed it is not considered “Lochem”owned by the user, and, thus, one cannot fulfill his Mitzva requirement.
  1. Shomur – Produce which has Kedushas Sheviis – the sanctity of Shemita, must remain hefker – ownerless. The owner of the field may not display ownership of the product. There are opinions that if the owner protected the produce and did show ownership, the produce may not be eaten. Once again, as mentioned above concerning Ne’evad, not being able to eat the produce is a deficiency in “lochem” without which one cannot fulfill the Mitzva.

On a practical level one need not be concerned with these first two issues i.e. Ne’evad and Shomur when buying the Daled Minim with a reliableHechsher. Since the Hechser is required for other reasons, e.g. making sure it is not a murkav – grafted, the Hechsher at the same time is guaranteeing that there is no pasul in the Daled Minim of Ne’evad or Shomur as well. These first two Sheviis prohibitions would only be an issue when purchasing in the Shuk from someone who does not have a reliable Hechsher and might in fact be an unscrupulous dealer.

The remaining five prohibitions are of concern even regarding Daled Minim sold in America with a reputable Hechesher and they are the main focus of this article.

  1. Sechora – There is a prohibition learned from the word “L’ochloh” – “V’Lo Lischoroh” that there is a prohibition of doing business with the produce of Sheviis. One is allowed to gather a small amount from the Shemita produce and sell it, but one cannot collect a large measure for sale purposes.
  1. Kedushas Sheviis –If Peiros sheviis are sold even in a permitted way, the money received by the seller for the sale is invested with the holiness of Sheviis as well. The Kedusha does not leave the fruit, but rather expands to the money. As a result, Chazal forbade purchasing Shviiis from a seller who is an Am Haeretz, since being unlearned, he will not know how to properly safeguard the Kedusha of Shviis found in the money.
  1. Hefsed – From the word “L’ochlo” we also learn that Sheviis must be eaten, “V’Lo L’Hefsed” – it cannot be wasted. Leftovers from a Sheviisfruit which was eaten cannot be discarded in the garbage until it becomes unfit to be consumed. It must be placed in a designated container until it becomes inedible. Similarly, one may not use Sheviis fruitin the irregular way. These same halachos hold true regarding a Sheviis Esrogused for the Daled Minim.
  1. Biyur – If the specific crop is no longer available in the field, the owner is obligated to remove it from his house and make itpublically Hefker. Having done that he has the right to acquire it from Hefker for himself and use it under the guidelines of Kedushas Sheviis. If Biyur was not made when the proper time had arrived, he has an obligation to remove the produce from this world.
  1. Leaving Eretz Yisroel – There is a prohibition to remove Peiros Sheviis from Eretz Yisroel. This is learned from the Posuk – “B’artzecha tiyeh kol tevuascha leh’ehchol” – “In your land shall be all your grain to be eaten”. Even if Peiros Sheviis had already been removed, they cannot be transferred from one place to another in the Diaspora. Transferring from one place to another place is tantamount to removing it from Eretz Yisroel for the first time. Both are prohibited. The produce is, however, permitted to be returned to Eretz Yisroel. Even if Daled Minim were removed from Eretz Yisroel against halacha, their Kashrus is unaffected and they may be used for the Mitzva of Daled Minim.

In Part Two of this article we will learn the practical applications of the last five prohibitions on the Daled Minim used outside Eretz Yisroel.


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