Shemita in the house
With vegetables the question of Kedusha is almost irrelevant, since most vegetables that have kedusha are also prohibited for consumption (because of Sefichin, as will be explained). The two exceptions for this are vegetables which grew during the sixth year and were picked on the seventh, and those grown in pots – these have kedusha and are also allowed for consumption.
Where are such vegetables found? In the supermarket you will mostly find vegetables that have no kedusha, or ones from the sixth year (under the “Otzar Haaretz” plan, if the store works with them). At home you may have vegetables in pots.
With fruit the question of kedusha is much more relevant. Still, the bottom line is as follows: Only fruit marked “Otzar Beit Din” (belonging to Otzar Haaretz) have kedusha. Fruit from heter mechira, non-Jewish produce, hydroponics and greenhouses, the Arava (down south) and outside of Israel does not have kedusha. Fruit that grew during the sixth year and was picked on the seventh does not have kedusha.
Later we will add a link to a website which details the dates for each and every fruit and vegetable regarding when one must worry it has kedusha.
Buying in the supermarket
With all the possibilities out there – what do we end up buying when we go to the store? Well, it really depends on the criteria you’re using to determine what is the “best” option. Some want to keep kedusha with the produce they buy, other do not. Some would rather support farmers who are keeping shemita, other feel they should support the Heter Mechira. Therefore, it’s hard to say there is one clear answer to this question. Some will prefer Heter Mechira, others Otzar Beit Din, and others still imported produce.
In my opinion, it’s best to posit the following preference:
(1) Heter Mechira, Otzar Beit din, or produce from the 6th year.
(2) Produce grown in greenhouses, or from the south (Arava).
(3) Produce grown on non-Jewish lands in Israel, or imported produce.
These Shemita posts were written by Rav Yoni Rosensweig and Benjy Singer for the My Shteiblech Project. My Shteiblech is a PORTAL of the most accurate information and details of shiurim, cultural and social programmes going on throughout Israel, with a focus on Jerusalem.
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