Misc Laws of Shemitah

Misc Laws of Shemitah

Giving Shemitah produce to a gentile:[1]

It is forbidden to give Shemitah produce to a gentile.[2]

May one offer a gentile in one’s home Shemitah food to eat?[3] Yes.


May one give Shemitah produce to one who will not treat it with Kedushas Sheviis?

This matter requires further analysis.


Feeding animals:[4]

It is forbidden to feed Shemitah produce to animals if it is edible to humans. [Likewise Shemitah food which is designated for animals may not be eaten by humans.[5]]


May one sell Shemitah produce?

It is forbidden to do business with Shemitah produce.[6] Thus one may not collect fruits or vegetables of Shemitah produce, even within his own field, for selling purposes. However one may collect a small amount of Shemitah produce for his own use and later sell it. The money must then be guarded with the sanctity of Shemitah and must hence be treated with Kedushas Sheviis.[7] The amount that is permitted to be taken from the field and sold is the amount of food needed for a few days worth. Some say one may only sell three meal’s worth of produce.[8] It is forbidden to sell more than this amount.

Havlah: It is permitted to sell even large amounts of Shemitah produce in the form of Havlah.[9] This means that one includes the sale of Shemitah produce within the sale of other products that are not from Shemitah. Thus for example one may sell before Sukkos a Shemitah Esrog together with a bag of lemons. One may charge an over the market price for the bag of lemons, due to the included Esrog, if the Esrog is not given a specific price and is simply part of the package. The money received for this payment does not have Kedushas Sheviis. [However there are some Poskim that are stringent and prohibit selling even in Havlah and Havlah in their opinion only helps in the fact that it does not give the money a status of Kedushas Sheviis. Practically the custom is to be lenient.[10]]

Credit:[11] It is forbidden to do business with Shemitah produce even if one sells the produce on credit. Nevertheless if a person paid for Shemitah produce on credit then the moneys received do not receive a Kedushas Sheviis status.

May one weigh Shemitah produce?[12] It is forbidden to weigh Shemitah produce for the sake of selling. It is however permitted to weigh Shemitah produce for non-selling purposes, such as to give it away as a present.


Bringing produce to Diaspora:[13]

It is [Rabbinically[14]] forbidden to bring Shemitah produce outside of Eretz Yisrael.



May one import Israeli Esrogim to the Diaspora for Sukkos?

Some Poskim[15] rule it is permitted to do so in a situation that the city will not have any Esrogim available if they are not sent.


May one who is traveling take Shemitah produce foods for him to eat?[16]



Teruma and Maaser:

Shemitah produce is exempt from Terumos and Maasros.[17] However this applies only towards produce that is legally declared Hefker by its owners. However those products that do not have a Hefker status require separation of Terumos and Maasros. Thus if the produce of a gentile was finished by a Jew during Shemitah, it is required to have its tithes removed.[18] Produce of Shemitah which was not freed by their owners is required in Terumos and Maasros.[19]


Biur-Until when may one eat the Shemitah Produce?[20]

Each Shemitah produce that has Kedushas Sheviis may only be eaten during its season, while the species of fruit is still on the tree. When the season ends for a specific produce, and it is no longer found on the tree or ground, then one must perform the Mitzvah of Biur with that entire species of Kedushas Sheviis that he owns. The Biur is performed by placing the species in a public area and declaring it as Hefker in front of three Jews.[21] Afterwards one may reacquire the food and bring it back to his house. Practically one must verify when the Zman Biur for each food is. If one did not perform the Biur on time then the species that one owns becomes forbidden to be eaten. If one performed the Biur prior to the time it is invalid and must be performed.


[1] Rambam 5/13; Sifra Behar 1/7

[2] This is learned from the verse “Lachem Leachlah” and not for others to eat.

[3] Tosefta Sheviis 5/14; Rambam 5/13 “One may feed the guests from fruits of Sheviis”

[4] Rambam 5/5; Grach Naah 156

[5] Semag Aseh 147; Yereim 186

[6] This is learned from the verse which says that the Shemitah foods are given “Leachlah” to eat, from which the Sages derive that it is not given for business.

[7] Rambam 6/1; See Minchas Yerushalayim 7/37

[8] Grach Naah 11; See Minchas Yerushalayim 3/2

[9] Sukkah 39; Rambam 8/11

[10] Minchas Yerushalayim 7/36; Shemitah Kehilchasa 4/4

[11] See Minchas Yerushalayim 7/38

[12] Grach Naah 11

[13] Mishneh Sheviis 6/5; Toras Kohanim 1/9; Rambam 5/13

[14] Beis Ridbaz 5/18

[15] Chazon Ish

[16] Chut Hashani 5/13

[17] Michaber 331/19

[18] Rama ibid in name of Kaftor Vaferach

[19] Grach Naah

[20] Rambam 7/1; Grach Naah 21

[21] Poskim that rule the Biur is performed through Hefker: Semag Aseh 147; Yireim 186; Ramban; Mabit 3/45; Chareidim; Shelah

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule that the Mitzvah of Biur must be performed by destroying or burning the food. [Rambam 7/1]

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