3. Sefichin

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3. Sefichin:[1]

All vegetation and plants that grew during Shemita are Rabbinically forbidden to be eaten. This prohibition is called Sefichin. The prohibition includes any vegetation or grains that grew, even from seeds that fell the previous year, and certainly towards vegetation that was planted intentionally.[2]

Fruits of a tree: Fruits of the tree are not forbidden due to Sefichin. Hence the only products that are permitted to be eaten if they grew during Shemita are fruits of trees, as well as the exceptions to be mentioned below.

Not planted by majority of people:[3] All plants that are not sowed in the ground by majority of people are not included in the prohibition of Sefichin and are hence permitted to be eaten.

Perennials-Vegetables that grow yearly from the same root:[4] Those vegetables that grow every single year from their same root, such as strawberries, artichoke and pineapple, are not considered Sefichin if they began growing their first crop prior to the 7th year. If, however, they began to first grow [for the first time] in the Shemita year, they are forbidden due to Sefichin.

Vegetables that were picked during Shemita:[5] Some Poskim[6] rule that vegetables that grew in the 6th year but were picked in the Shemita year are forbidden due to Sefichin. Other Poskim[7], however, rule it is not considered Sefichin and is hence permitted to be eaten as Kedushas Shevi’is produce. Practically the custom follows the latter opinion.[8] Thus, vegetables that began sprouting above the earth prior to the Shemita year, are not considered Sefichin.[9] Nonetheless, they are considered Kedushas Shevi’is as explained in Halacha 4B. [Thus, it is possible to have Otzer Beis Din vegetables, if the vegetables grew before Shemita and were picked after Shemita, and so is accustomed under the Otzer H”aretz Hashgacha.[10]]

Grains that started to grow before Shemita and reached 1/3 during Shemita:[11] If the grain grew during Shemita they are considered Sefichin as stated above. One follows the first 1/3 of the growth of the grain or legumes regarding its Shemita status.[12] Thus, if it reached 1/3 of its growth in the 6th year then the grains and legumes do not contain Kedushas Shevi’is. However, if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the seventh year then it has a Kedushas Shevi’is status and the produce must be disowned from the field.[13] Some Poskim[14] however rule that if they reached 1/3 of their growth in the 7th year then they are considered Sefichin.

In the 8th year:[15] All Sefichin that grew in the Shemita year are forbidden to be eaten even in the 8th year. Unless known otherwise, all vegetation and plantation of the 8th year is to be considered Sefichin until Chanukah. If one knows the product grew during Shemita, then it is forbidden even after Chanukah, unless that species has already been planted and grown in the 8th year.[16]

Areas in Eretz Yisrael that were not conquered by the Babylonian exile:[17] Do not contain the prohibition of Sefichin. [Accordingly, some Poskim[18] rule that produce of the Golan does not contain the Sefichin prohibition, even though its produce is Kedushas Shevi’is.]

Land of a gentile:[19] Vegetables that were planted and grew in the field of a gentile do not contain a prohibition of Sefichin.[20] [Thus those that hold of Heter Mechirah allow eating vegetables grown in the field during Shemita under this basis.[21] However, this only applies if the produce was planted by a gentile, if however it was planted by a Jew, then it is possible it has the status of Sefichin even though it was grown in the land of a gentile.[22]]

Produce of ownerless property?[23] The produce of ownerless land which is not cultivated is not included within the prohibition of Sefichin. Thus, all land produce that grows in the wild is not considered Sefichin.[24] [However, if the land is cultivated, then it contains the Sefichin prohibition even if it is ownerless land.[25]]



May one feed Sefichin to animals, if it is fit for animal feed?[26]

Some Poskim[27] rule that one may not feed Sefichin produce to animals even if the produce is considered animal feed which is not eaten by humans. Other Poskim[28], however, rule that it is permitted to feed Sefichin to animals. Even according to the former opinion, one is not obligated to prevent an animal from eating the Sefichin produce, and is simply not to place it in front of him to eat.[29]

Is Sefichin permitted in benefit [i.e. smell, oil, sale]?[30]

Yes. However, they are not allowed to be used for their normal use, and hence Sefichin produce which is fit for human food may not be eaten by humans, and Sefichin animal feed may not be eaten by animals [according to the stringent opinion in the previous Q&A], and Sefichin which is fit for producing oil or fragrance, amy not be used for this purpose.

What is one to do with Sefichin produce? Must it be treated with Kedusha?[31]

Produce that is defined as Sefichin is to be cut and let to rot, and then discarded.[32] It may not be destroyed or belittled [i.e. thrown directly in the garbage] being that it Biblically contains Kedushas Shevi’is.[33] Alternatively, one can bury it if he is worried that people may eat from it.[34]


Are flowers that grew during Shemita considered Sefichin?

Some Poskim[35] rule that flowers which are grown for their scent, and have grown during Shemita, contain the Issur of Sefichin. Those flowers that are not grown for their scent do not contain an Issur of Sefichin.[36] However, some Poskim[37] are stringent even by flowers that are not grown for their scent. Practically one may be lenient regarding flowers that are not grown for their scent.[38] According to all, however, it remains forbidden to plant any flowers during Shemita, and purchasing such flowers may transgress the Issur of Nevad, Shamur and helping those that transgress.


Are bananas defined as Sefichin?

No.[39] However some are accustomed to be stringent regarding bananas that grew during Shemita.[40]


Are bush fruits and spices defined as Sefichin?

No, as they grow from their roots each year.


Is rosemary that grew during Shemita forbidden due to Sefichin?

No.[41] However, it contains Kedushas Shevi’is starting from Cheshvan of Shemita.


What is the status of Passion fruit/Passiflora?

It remains unclear as to whether it has a status of a fruit or vegetable. Practically, however, one may be lenient in this regard being that it in any event it grows from the same root each year, and hence is not applicable to Sefichin.

Do vegetables and herbs that grow in pots have the status of Sefichin?[42]

Products that grow in a pot inside of a house do not have Sefichin status, even if it grew during Shemita.[43] Furthermore, even if it grows outside the home, if it grows in a pot that does not nurture from the ground [i.e. No hole, and not made of earthenware or wood] then it does not contain Sefichin status.[44] However, if it grows outside in a pot that nurtures from the earth [i.e. with a hole, or made of wood or earthenware] then it is disputed if it contains Sefichin status.[45]

Product Sefichin status
Parsley Sefichin if grew after RH
Mint No Sefichin-Prenniel


[1] Rambam 4:1-2; Toras HaShemita 9:28

[2] The reason: The reason for this prohibition is due to a decree that people may come to plant during Shemita and claim that the seeds grew on their own. Hence the Sages decreed to prohibit all vegetables that grew during Shemita, even if they grew on their own. [Rambam 4:2]

[3] Rambam 4:3

[4] Rash and Rosh 5:3; 9:1; Rashas 5:3 in opinion of Rash; Aruch Hashulchan 23:18; Poskim in Sheves Haaretz 4:18 footnote 34 and that so applies according to those who rule that vegetables which grew before Shemita and was picked during Shemita is not Sefichin; See Halichos Hashevi’is 2:20; Mishmeres Hashevi’is 13:11 footnote 29; Orchos Rabbeinu 2 p. 334

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that even such products are forbidden due to Sefichin if they grew in the Shemita year. [Rivmatz 5:5; 7:1; Rashas 5:3; 5:2; Aruch Hashulchan 23:18 in opinion of Rambam; Implication of Rambam 4:1; Yaskil Avdi 8:30; Sheves Ha’aretz ibid footnote 32]

[5] See Peas Hashulchan; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:12

[6] Rambam Shemita 4:12

[7] Rabbeinu Shimshon Shevi’is 9:1; Ramban Vayikra 25:5; Tosafus and Ritva

[8] Grach Naah p. 11; Peas Hashulchan; Chazon Ish 9:17; Yabia Omer 9 O.C. 108; All Poskim in next footnote

Other Opinions-Sephardim: Some Poskim rule that Sephardim should be stringent like the opinion of the Rambam and treat the vegetables as Sefichin. [Or Letziyon 5:1] However, see Yabia Omer ibid who negates his ruling, and concludes leniently.

[9] See Chut Shani p. 162 in name of Chazon Ish [must sprout above earth]; Nesiv Hashemita 2; Orchos Rabbeinu 2:336; Mishnas Yosef 1:36; Minchas Shlomo 1:49-50 [Must actually begin growing the vegetable, or leaf of herb before Shemita]; Mishmeres Hashevi’is 13 footnote 21; Halichos Hashevi’is ibid footnote 19

[10] https://otzar-haretz.co.il/

[11] Grach Naah p. 11; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:12

[12] See Rambam 4:9 that we follow Onas Hamaasros

[13] Grach Naah ibid

[14] Sheves Haaretz p. 30; See Minchas Yerushalayim p. 104

[15] Toras HaShemita 32

[16] See Chazon Ish 9:13; Sheves Haaretz 4:6

[17] Rambam 4:26

[18] See Or Letziyon Shevi’is Shut 6:1 in Biurim [p. 76-78] that the Golan follows the ruling of Rambam ibid regarding Ever Hayarden and Sura, that it does not have the Sefichin prohibition, but contains Kedushas Shevi’is; See Chapter 1 Halacha 7.

[19] Rambam 4:29

[20] The reason: As the gentiles are not commanded in Shemita and hence the Sages never made the decree include their fields.

[21] Yalkut Yosef p. 34

[22] See Chazon Ish 10:6; Halichos Hashevi’is 2:5; See regarding doing work in gentile land during Shevi’is: Sheves Haaretz 8:8 3-4; Sanhedrin 26a and Rashi there who permits doing work to the land of a gentile. However, see Tosafus ibid based on Gittin 62a who proves that it is forbidden. See Meiri ibid; Sefer Hateruma Eretz Yisrael; Chazon Ish Shevi’is 22:4; However, some Poskim conclude that the produce which grows as a result of a Jews work is not Sefichin or Kedushas Shevi’is.

[23] Based on Rambam 4:4 that the decree of Sefichin does not apply to a Sidei Bur.

[24] The reason: As people don’t generally grow produce on ownerless property and it is hence not included in the decree of Sefichin. [Rambam ibid]

[25] Chazon Ish 10:6

[26] See Mishnas Yosef 1:11; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:1 and 7-8

[27] Chazon Ish 9:15; 17; Bris Olam 2 footnote 14; Shemita Kehilchasa 2:11; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:1 and 7-8

[28] Minchas Shlomo Tinyana 123

[29] See Chazon Ish 9:15; Nesiv Hashemita 6:5; Mishpitei Aretz 16 footnote 5; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:8

[30] See Chazon Ish 13:16; 14:9; Chut Shani p. 160; Minchas Shlomo Tinyana 123; Kerem Tziyon 4:11 footnote 3; Halichos Hashevi’is 17:7

Opinion of Rav SZ”A: See Kerem Tziyon ibid that he is stringent to prohibit animal feed, and fragrance Sefichin even in benefit, but in Minchas Shlomo ibid he rules that it may even be used for its purpose to feed animals and smell.

[31] See Halichos Hashevi’is 17:11

[32] See Chazon Ish 9:6; Rambam 4:18

[33] See Chazon Ish ibid who writes the above, although he then concludes that perhaps one can argue that after the Sages prohibit Sefichin, it once again becomes permitted to destroy it even actively.

[34] Chazon Ish 9:18

[35] Devar Shemita; Minchas Yerushalayim 6:8

[36] Minchas Yerushalayim 6:9

[37] Brought in Minchas Yerushalayim 6:9

[38] Minchas Yerushalayim 6:9

[39] Grach Naah p. 66; Minchas Yitzchak 8:95 in name of Chazon Ish

[40] Minchas Yerushalayim 6:11

[41] The reason: As it is a bush that grows from year to year from the same root.

[42] See Halichos Hashevi’is 17:19

[43] Mishpatei Aretz 16 footnote 37 in name of Rav SZ”A

The reason: As it is uncommon to grow products inside of a home. []

[44] Minchas Shlomo Tinyana 123:6; Mishpitei Aretz 8 footnote 46 in name of Rav Elyashiv and Rav Garelitz

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that such products contain the Sefichin prohibition. [Orchos Rabbeinu p. 365]

[45] Mishpitei Aretz 10:15 footnote 47 brings in name of RSZ”A that it does not contain the Sefichin prohibition; However in Derech Emunah Tziyon Halacha 108 he writes that it contains the Sefichin prohibition

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