Disowning the Shemita produce of one’s land-Part 2

Disowning the Shemita produce of one’s land-Part 2:[1]


Every person who grows produce which is defined as a Kedushas Shevi’is in his field must disown the product and give entrance for all people to be able to come and partake from the food.

How to be Mafkir the produce:[2]

Some Poskim[3] rule that the owner of the Shemita produce must actively disown it and it is not considered disowned on its own. According to this opinion it must be disowned verbally.[4] This is done by proclaiming in front of three people that the produce is Hefker.[5] [However, some hold that even according to this opinion it suffices to disown it in one’s heart.[6]] Other Poskim[7], however, rule there is no need to do so and the produce is considered automatically disowned. Some explain that although the produce is considered automatically ownerless, nonetheless, the owner is required to publicly disown it in order so people know that it is Hefker. [See next that this can be fulfilled by putting up a sign.] Nonetheless, in their opinion, there is no need to disown it in front of three people following all the laws of Hefker.[8] Practically, the main ruling follows the lenient opinion that the produce is considered automatically Hefker, although it is proper to be stringent to disown it in front of three people.[9]

Putting up a sign by your field or garden which gives permission of entrance:[10]

Practically, it suffices to fulfill one’s obligation of disowning his produce for one to put up a sign by his field or garden with the set hours in which people may enter to take fruits. The sign can read as follows: “This year, the year of Shemita, all the fruits in this garden are considered Hefker. You may take as many fruits as you need for your family but not more than three meals worth. Please avoid entering the garden at night, or between the following hours. If the fence or door of our garden is locked, you can  receive a key from us by calling us on this number.”

Safek Kedushas Shevi’is fruits: All fruits and produce which are questionable if they have Kedushas Shevi’is status, such as lemons that are picked after Rosh Hashanah of Shemita and all fruits the blossom after Rosh Hashanah of Shemita but prior to the 15th of Shevat, are to be disowned and made available to the public. Nonetheless, one must make sure to remove Teruma and Maaser from them without a blessing, and therefore one should include this information in the sign, informing people that they must tithe the produce without a blessing before they eat it. If one worries that people will not be careful in this, then he should ask permission from three kosher Jews to act as an emissary of their Beis Din to distribute the produce, and he may then pick all the produce himself, tithe it, and then distribute it to people, such as by leaving it in the Shul for people to take.

Protecting the produce from Gentiles and animals:[11] It is permitted for one to fence one’s field of produce in order to protect it from being taken by Gentiles and animals, and he may even station a guard by the field in order to protect it. However, in order to fulfill the obligation of making the produce available to the public, the owner must put up a sign in a visible area which states that whoever desires to take fruits from the field may do so and may receive the keys from the guard or from another person.

What is one to do with nobody is coming to take one’s fruits? May one gather the fruits and distribute them in Shul and may he take them for himself?

It is forbidden for one to gather more than three meals worth of Shemita produce, as explained in chapter 1 Halacha 5. This applies even if his intent in gathering the fruit is to then distribute them to paupers.[12] However, it is permitted for one to gather the produce for the sake of distributing it to the public. Thus, one may gather all the fruits and leave them in a basket outside of his field with a sign proclaiming that they are Hefker and that they are available for everyone to take.[13] [If the produce is only Safek Kedushas Shevi’is, such as fruits that grew prior to the 15th of Shevat, then they are to be tithed without a blessing prior to putting them outside.] Practically, however, it is proper for this to be done in the form of Otzer Beis Din. Thus, one should gather three kosher Jews and ask them for permission to be their emissary to gather and distribute the produce that is in his yard which nobody is coming to take. One may then gather it and place it in a public area, such as a shul, for people to take.

Q&A on Gentiles and animals

Must the Shemita produce be made available even for Gentiles and animals?[14]

All Shemita produce is considered disowned to all creatures, including Gentiles and animals.[15] Thus, one may not protest an animal or Gentile who is eating from one’s Shemita produce.[16] Nonetheless, one is not obligated to give animals or Gentiles access to the field in order so they can come take the Shemita produce.[17]


Q&A if transgressed in the not disown

May Kedushas Shevi’is produce be eaten if it was not disowned and was rather guarded from people?[18]

Some Poskim[19] rule the produce is forbidden to be eaten. Others[20] rule the produce is permitted to be eaten. Practically, one may be lenient to allow the produce to be eaten.[21]

Must one remove tithes from Shemita produce that was not disowned?

Some Poskim[22] rule that all Shemita produce that was not disowned, as required by law, must have their tithes removed. Others[23] rule that it is not necessary to tithe any Shemita produce even if it was not disowned. Practically, the tithes are to be removed without a blessing.[24]

May one take produce from the property of a person if he did not make it Hefker [i.e. a nonreligious Jew]?[25]

One may not do so.[26] Thus, one may not take fruits from the tree of a nonreligious Jew during the Shemita year unless one knows for certain that the individual does not mind. Certainly, one may not enter his property without permission for this purpose.


[1] See Maadanei Aretz [Rav SZ”A] 7; Shevisas Hasadeh Chapter 12; Yalkut Yosef Shemita 14; Halichos Hashevi’is [Oz Vehadar] chapter 16

[2] See Halichos Hashevi’is 16:1

[3] Avkas Rochel 22-24; Beis Ridbaz 4:8; Biur Rav Perlow on Rasag 1 Asei 61; Derech Emuna 4:169; Tzitz Eliezer 2:14-2; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:90; Rav SZ”A in Dinei Shevi’is 14:3; Halacha Arucha p. 101; See Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 84; Yalkut Yosef 14:2

[4] Biur Rav Perlow on Rasag 1 Asei 61; Beis Ridbaz ibid; Tzitz Eliezer ibid

[5] Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:90; Rav SZ”A in Dinei Shevi’is 14:3; Halacha Arucha p. 101

[6] Sheves Ha’aretz 4:24-4; Mishpat Kohen 82

[7] Mabit 1:11-21; Beis Ridbaz 4:13 and 29; Chazon Ish 19:24; 20:7; See Shenas Sheva 4:22; Toras Ha’aretz; Halichos Hashevi’is [Oz Vehadar] in letter of Rav Shmuel Shtern

The field of a Gentile: It is questionable if according to this opinion and the opinion which states that the produce of a Gentile contains shemita status, whether the produce is considered automatically disowned. [See Chazon Ish 9:18;20:7; Derech Emuna 4:169; 208; Halichos Hashevi’is 16 footnote 4]

[8] Derech Emuna 4:169; Halichos Hashevi’is 16:1; See Letter of Rav Shtern ibid in response of Rav Chaim Kanievsky; Yalkut Yosef 14:4

[9] See Halichos Hashevi’is ibid

[10] See Derech Emuna Tziyon Halacha 4 footnote 297 in name of Chazon Ish; Teshuvah of Rav Chaim Kanievsky in end of Derech Emuna; Yalkut Yosef 14:4; Chut Shani p. 197; Mishmeres Hashevi’is 11 footnote 3; Halichos Hashevi’is 16:8 and footnote 5 and 13

[11] Chazon Ish 14:4; Seder Hasehvi’is 13; Or Letziyon Shevi’is p. 61; Yalkut Yosef 14:3-4; Shevisas Hasadeh 12:3 footnote 3; Halichos Hashevi’is 16:8; See Tzitz Eliezer 6:39-4

[12] See Kesef Mishneh on Rambam 4:24; Mechilta

[13] Maadanei Aretz [Rav SZ”A] 7:2 “it appears that the owner may gather all of the fruits to bring them out of his field and disown them there for everyone to take.”

[14] See Shevisas Hasadeh 12:3

[15] See Mishneh Peiah 6:1 and Yerushalmi there

[16] See Rambam 5:5; Tosefta Shevi’is 5:20

[17] See Rambam 5:13 that we do not feed shemita produce to Gentiles; Chazon Ish 14:4 that it is even initially permitted to prevent animals from coming to eat the shemita produce that is fit to be eaten by humans, even though the Torah gave the foods also for animals

[18] See Yalkut Yosef 14:5

[19] Rabbeinu Tam Tosafus Sukkah 39a and Rosh Hashanah 9a; Razah ibid; Raavad in Pirush of Toras Kohanim

[20] Rashi; Rabbeinu Shimshon; Ramban; Rashba; Chinuch

[21] Ridbaz 4:4; Toras HaShemita 10:36; Shevisas Hasadeh 12:4; Yalkut Yosef 14:5

[22] Avkas Rochel 24

[23] Mabit 1:11

[24] Gra”ch Naah

[25] Yalkut Yosef 14:2; Shevisas Hasadeh p. 341

[26] The reason: As aside for the fact that according to some opinions the produce is not considered disowned unless the owner agrees to do so, and hence if one takes it he is considered to be stealing, furthermore, even according to the lenient opinion which considers it automatically disowned, one should not do so being that it will cause a Chilul Hashem, as the owner will think that the person is stealing from his field.

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