How do we handle produce which has kedusha?
There are several guidelines regarding use of fruit and vegetables with kedusha:
(1) Destroying the produce in any way is prohibited. Therefore, stepping on it, or using it in a way that ruins it, is not allowed. Wine which has kedusha should not be
used during havdala to put out the candle, and one should not drip it out during Seder on Pesach when reading the ten plagues.
(2) Picking the fruit before it is edible is also prohibited. However, there is no mitzvah to eat fruit in order for it not to go bad.
(3) Throwing shemita produce into the regular garbage is also problematic, because it causes the produce to become inedible or quickens its rotting process.
(4) You cannot use vinegar which has kedusha to clean other foods, or oil with kedusha in order to coat a pan so that food doesn’t stick to it, though some are lenient regarding the vinegar.
(5) Indirect causing of fruit to go bad is allowed, and so putting the fruit in a place where the sun will eventually reach and ruin it is fine.
(6) One is allowed to give a small child food which he might ruin, as long as in principle he is capable of eating the food properly.
(7) You may cut a fruit in half with the intention of eating only one half, even if the other half will go bad as a result.
(8) So long as the food is edible – even by animals – the above rules apply.
(9) One may not use produce which has kedusha in ways which are not customary.
One should not “experiment” in the kitchen on shemita.
(10) Leftovers in very small quantities, or that have been handled in a way that they disgust those who would eat them, may be thrown out. Still, it is best to avoid throwing away actual food into the regular garbage.
(11) Squeezing fruit for its juice is allowed with whatever fruits it is customary to do so.
(12) One may mash up or make into a jam any fruit that it is customary to do so with.
(13) Fruit that is usually peeled may be peeled.
(14) Peels that are not edible, or are not usually eaten, by people or by animals, may be thrown into the regular garbage.
(15) Pits and seeds: Only pits which are either edible themselves, or have a significant part of the fruit attached to them, may not be thrown into the regular garbage. This applies to melon and watermelon seeds, and to the pits of dates, olives, peaches, plums and avocado pits so long as most of the food has not been detached from them.
(16) Washing off plates and pots is allowed.
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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