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Friday, September 19, 2014

ISRAEL: The Land That Rests Every Seventh Year

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 

The year in Israel begins a little differently from other lands.  The Jewish New Year begins at sundown on Wednesday evening on September 24th and is called Rosh Hashana.  This new year coming up is the once every 7th year that is a holy Sabbatical as mandated by the Bible called "Shmita /Shemittah."  "...the 7th year shall be a complete rest for the Land."  Remember that this was from Moses (1391 BCE -1271 BCE) from G-d.  How long has it taken farmers of today to realize that land cannot be continually used to grow the same crops year after year but must rest?  This was told to the Israelites 3,320 years ago and they've been following it ever since.
This means that during the Shemittah, fields may not be worked.  Fruit which grows of itself during these years is free to all.

This dictum is part of many agrarian laws handed to the children of Israel who were living in Canaan before it even came to be named Israel.  Last month, on August 11th which is the 15th day of Av on the Jewish lunar calendar, most forms of tree planting became forbidden.

So, while Hamas was shooting thousands of missiles into southern Israel last month up to August 11th, Israeli farmers planted thousands of fruit trees in advance of the upcoming Sabbatical year when they would not be able to.  Hanan from Moshav Yavul which is on the Gaza-Egypt border, planted peach trees until the very last moment.  His neighbors planted other fruit varieties.
Fruit trees can be dedicated in honor or memory of loved ones. This is because in the Bible, G-d promises to bless everyone who helps in the observance of Shmita.  Many farmers will suffer financially from not planting or working the land for a whole year.  "I will ordain My blessing for you..."Leviticus 25:20.   Many have already been made in memory of the 3 boys who were kidnapped and murdered in Jukne; eyal, Naftali and Gilad.

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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