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How is Shmittah observed?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein


Library » Israel » Holy Land | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Laws:

The Biblical concept of Shmittah only applies to the Biblical land of Israel1. During the Shmittah year all farming is ceased. Following is a brief overview of some the laws:

Positive Mitzvah #135: Allow the land to rest farming-free during the Shmittah year...2

Negative Mitzvah #220: …not cultivating its soil…3

Negative Mitzvah #221: …or its trees.4

Positive Mitzvah #134: Renounce as ownerless all produce of the Shmittah year...5


Israel exports huge amounts of produce every year. Generally, buying Israeli produce is recommended and commended as it supports our brothers and sisters in our Holy Land.

During, and for a few months after, the Shmittah year however, one should only buy produce from Israel if it is certified that it was produced without breaking any of the Shmittah laws. The same applies when buying produce in Israel.6

There are many Israeli farmers who observe Shmittah to the full letter of the law without looking for Halachic loopholes. These farms remain completely idle, and bring in no revenue during the Shmittah year. Special funds are set up by kind donors to help the farmers observe this Mitzvah. Click here to visit the website of one such fund. 7

See also What is Shmittah? and When is Shmittah?


  • 1. Maimonidies Laws of Shmittah 4:25, based on the Talmud tractate Kiddushin 36b, and on Leviticus 25:2
  • 2. Leviticus 25:4-5 (The numbers ascribed to each law is based on Maimonidies count of the Mitzvot in his book Sefer HaMitzvot).
  • 3. ibid
  • 4. ibid.
  • 5. Exodus 23:11
  • 6. The packaging of Israeli products that comply with the laws of Shmittah - such as fresh produce wrap, canned olives, and wine bottles etc. - are clearly labeled as such.
  • 7. does not vouch for or endorse outside websites. This link is merely offered as a public service.


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Mitzvot » Agriculture Related

(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Pertaining to Jewish Law.