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Which Mitzvahs are only observed in the Land of Israel?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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– Practically all the Mitzvahs which pertain to agriculture are only practiced in Israel. Today, the laws of tithing produce are the most germane to the American consumer. Israeli fruits and vegetables require rabbinic supervision and certification to ensure that all the tithes were properly separated. We should always try to support our Israeli brethren by purchasing their products (even if it is a little more costly...), but stick with the local crops if the Israeli produce isn’t certified.

– Every seventh year is the Sabbatical Year. In Israel this means abstaining from all agricultural activity for an entire year. (There are some who rely on a loop-hole: the sale of their land to a non-Jew for the duration of the year – much as we sell our Chametz before Passover. Others are hesitant to use this loophole for Halachic reasons, as well as a strict adherence to the spirit of the law).

– In Israel, all Jewish holidays are observed the exact number of days prescribed in the Torah: seven days of Passover, eight days of Sukkot-Shmini Atzeret, etc. In the Diaspora, an extra day is added to every Biblical holiday. There are two exceptions to this rule: 1) Rosh Hashanah is observed two days even in Israel. 2) Yom Kippur is (thankfully!) observed only one day even outside of Israel.


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chametz
Any leavened product which is produced from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. This includes bread, cake, cereals, crackers, biscuits, yeast, pasta and whisky. It is forbidden for a Jew to possess or consume Chametz throughout Passover.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Halachic
Pertaining to Jewish Law.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Shmini Atzeret
A joyous one-day autumn festival immediately following the holiday of Sukkot. Outside Israel this holiday is celebrated for two days, the second day is known as Simchat Torah.