September 13th-14th 2021 – WHAT’S IN A SEVEN?

THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULE:

Yom Kippur Week:
Monday, September 13 delivery will be as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved up to Tuesday, September 14.

Beginning of Sukkot Holiday Week:
Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 19.
No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we’ll notify your differently by email)

End of Sukkot Week and Beginning of Simchat Torah:
During this week, Wednesday deliveries will take place on Wednesday, September 29.
There will be no Monday delivery.

Over Chol Hamoed there will be no vegetable deliveries. But we greatly hope to renew our longtime annual tradition (so rudely interrupted by Covid) to host you at Chubeza’s Open Day at the Farm. Details to come once we receive the government guidelines. We can’t wait to welcome you back, and fervently hope that all will take place as planned.

OUR BEST WISHES TO YOU FOR A WONDERFUL, HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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The Sabbath Year, the Year of Shmitta

Welcome to the New Year 5782! Aside from it being a new year, it is also the seventh, the Shmita (שמיטה) sabbatical year. As is our custom every seven years, when we encounter another “seventh,” we give you a glimpse at Shmita and Chubeza’s mode of action throughout this special year.

Let’s start at the very beginning. In the Bible, Shmita is mentioned in two places from which the various laws eventually stemmed. The first time was at Mt. Sinai itself:

The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.  Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.  Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten. (Leviticus 25, 1-7)

The second time it’s mentioned is in Moses’ speech in the Book of Deuteronomy, just as the Israelites are preparing to enter the Land of Israel:

At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. (Deuteronomy 15, 1-2)

Even at first glance, it is evident how different these two sources are. The first is agricultural and ecological, with an emphasis on the land resting, the earth taking a sabbatical and the prohibition against carrying out specific farming actions. The second source is of socio-economic relevance, with a commandment to forfeit debts and a prohibition to demand their payment.

From this very prominent difference, it may seem at first that we are discussing two very different matters that have been clumsily clumped together. On second glance, these two aspects of Shmita in fact complement each other. Shmita is asking us to forfeit our ownership of land, achievements and property, inviting us to remember that we are merely a component of the universe, not the center of it, and we are not the ones who run the business. This invokes modesty and humility. The outcome of the internalization is to refrain from forcefully working the land, even if it is a “positive” use of force, as well as from conducting forceful actions against our fellow men and women.

Tractate Shvi’it in the Mishna, a chapter dedicated to the various laws concerning the year of Shmita, commences in a discussion about the agricultural conduct over during the seventh year: “Till when does one plow the orchard on the eve of the seventh year?” (Shvi’it 1,1) As it continues, the Rabbi’s deal with the socio-economic aspect: “The Prozbul does not require the cancelling of debts. This is one of the laws Hillel instituted when he realized the people of Israel are refusing to loan money. (Chapter 10, Mishna 3)

What is this Prozbul (פרוזבול) initiated by Hillel the Elder? The Prozbul is in fact a bill of loan that bypasses (with the consent of all parties and the confirmation of the Beit Din court) the Biblical commandment to forego the debt. According to the Biblical commandment, a debt that was not repaid by the seventh year is revoked, but, as the Mishna explains, this creates a complex problem: people were refusing to loan money to those in need, for fear of their loan being annulled (similar to banks who only lend to those who are able to return the money, not to those who actually need it…). Hillel realized the Torah never intended to make life harder for the needy or the weak or anyone who simply wants to make a living. On the contrary, which is why in order to encourage loans, he instituted the Prozbul – a foregoing-bypassing bill.

Fast-forward to the days of the first agricultural settlements in Israel, some 130 years ago, when the pioneer Jewish settlers arrived in Palestine. They devised a solution that serves in many ways as a “Shmita bypass,” similar to the Prozbul – the “Heter Mechira” (היתר מכירה).

Life was not simple for the pioneer farmers of the First Wave of immigration. These novice farmers were inexperienced, the land they bought was not particularly fertile, the climate and crops were unfamiliar, etc. Although most of these early settlers adhered to Jewish law, the commandment to keep the 1889 year of Sabbatical seemed a frightening contradiction to the basic necessity for food. If they took a break from working the earth for an entire year, how on earth (pardon the pun) would they earn their bread? In addition, there was the fear that by letting the land lie fallow, their non-Jewish farming competitors would gain the upper hand.

These reasons led to the solution of a Heter Mechira, supported by rabbis from the Diaspora. The Jerusalem Ashkenazi rabbis were highly opposed to this solution, which in essence does away with the commandment of Shmita. Thus, the “Shmita Controversy” followed. What was it about? The Heter Mechira allows for a temporary sale of the land to a non-Jew. In such a case, the Jewish farmer is enabled to work the land during this year, similar to the way Israeli Chametz is temporarily sold to non-Jews every year on Passover. Selling the land to a non-Jew rids the need to adhere to Shmita, as only Jewish landowners are obliged to keep the commandment. Fruit that grows on land not owned by a Jew does not hold the sanctity of that grown during the Sabbatical Shmita year.

Supporters of Heter Mechira view the situation differently. Shmita is part of a greater commandment of Jubilees. The Shmita sabbatical year takes place every seven years, culminating after seven Shmita rounds in a fiftieth “Jubilee Year.” During this period, all the land purchase agreements which took place over the previous 49 years are annulled, kind of like “rebooting” your system, and all the lands return to their rightful owners (via the original land distribution to tribes). However, the Jubilee laws do not hold these days, only when Israel is governed by a monarchy, the Sanhedrin and other governmental and political conditions that are irrelevant today. And this is what the Yerushalmi Talmud has to say about these matters:

Vezeh dvar hashmita-shmot –there are two Shmitas, namely Shmita and Yovel. When Yovel is applicable, then Shmita is practiced by Torah ordinance, but now that the Yovel year is no longer applicable, Shmita is practiced ‘from the (Rabbi’s) words’” (Shvi’it Yerushalmi, 10:2)

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi connected Shmita and Yovel, stating that upon ceasing to obey the laws of Yovel due to historical reasons (the dispersion, etc.), Shmita, too, is not relevant.

Rav Kook, the chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and the first Jewish settlements in Israel, who supported Heter Mechira, even brought up the Talmudic precedent of taxes and Rabbi Yannai. Due to heavy taxes imposed upon the habitants of the country by the Roman government, in an economy that was largely based upon agriculture, ceasing to work your land would bear grave consequences. Rabbi Yannai thus sent the farmers to break the laws of Shmita and plant during the seventh year. Rav Kook quoted this story and claimed that the reason Rav Yannai called for seeding the land is because the land was in fact owned by non-Jews to whom the Jewish farmers were forced to pay taxes.

Today the Heter Mechira is the solution for most of the vegetables grown in this country, and we at Chubeza will be using it this year.

To conclude, I want to note one final fascinating way to allot significance to the seventh year, by a movement named “Israeli Shmita”.

In their words: The Hebrew Calendar is a cycle of six years of doing, followed by a year that is a “Sabbath of the Land.” A year in which the land itself “celebrates” the Sabbath, and each and every one of us is invited to partake. This year, property is not everything, time does not press, and nature is much more than resources to take advantage of, and we are called to be better and more empathetic versions of ourselves. Israeli Shmita is an initiative aimed towards introducing us to the ideas and values behind Shmita and allow us to accept the invitation of this special year by breathing, learning, connecting to the community and close environment and taking part in a year of healing and repairing.

Their website has a host of ideas and thoughts on this subject.

We wish you a year that holds some of the peace and release of Shmita, a time to stop and take a deep breath, and an observation of the many wonders surrounding us.

Wishing you happy holidays.

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia/ okra, parsley/coriander, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn/popcorn.

Large box, in addition: Leeks, green soybeans (edamame)/cherry tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Small boxes: Pomegranates/bananas, mango, grapes, pears.

Large boxes: Greater quantities of pomegranates/bananas, mango, and grapes, plus nectarines.

Teusday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia/okra, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/basil, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn/popcorn.

Large box, in addition: Leeks, parsley/coriander, cherry tomatoes.

FRUIT BOXES: Small boxes: Bananas, mango, grapes, pears.

Large boxes: Greater quantities of pomegranates/bananas, mango, and grapes, plus nectarines.

Aley Chubeza #218, October 6th-7th 2014, Chag Sukkot Sameach!

Changes in delivery dates due to Sukkot and Open Day at Chubeza:

This week, Monday deliveries as usual, Wednesday delivery will be moved up to Tuesday, October 7th.

• During Chol HaMoed Sukkot, there will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 13th and 15th of October.

Contrary to previous years – This year we are “ignoring” Sukkot week, thus those of you who receive your boxes every other week will have a 3-week gap in deliveries. 

Open Day at Chubeza
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Monday, October 13th, the 19th of Tishrei (fourth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-17:00. The incomparable Hazel Hill Band will make their traditional appearance from 12:00, and set our toes to tapping.

The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours, designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…) This year we will be using empty toilet paper rolls to create arts & crafts projects. You are most welcome to collect and bring some along to the Open Day.

We will have a vegetable stand and a Melo HaTene fruit stand where you can stock up on goodies for the rest of the holiday. In addition, we will be selling a range of high-quality organic products from our various partners: Manu, the delectable bakerwoman, Pua’h and Oded, our charming goat dairy owners of Meshek 42, and Melissa of Mipri Yadeha, makers of natural dried fruit and leather. You are welcome to meet them, chat, ask questions and taste away.

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a holiday of happiness. We look forward to seeing you all!

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The Year of Sabbatical, part two

Last week I started bringing Yochai’s words of wisdom from the last Shmita year. This week, we will continue the explanation, and elaborate on Chubeza’s solution.

The third stage – the “Heter Mechira”  is a late legal controversy regarding a solution that serves in many ways as a “ Shmitta bypass,” similar to the Prozbul discussed last week.  Jump back to the days of the first agricultural settlements in Israel, some 130 years ago: the Jews arrive in Israel and start working the land once more, and the questions of Shmitta resurface.

Life was not simple for the farmers of the first wave of immigration. These novice farmers were inexperienced, the land they bought was not very fertile, the climate and crops were unfamiliar, etc. Although most of these early settlers adhered to Jewish law, the commandment to keep the 1889 year of Sabbatical seemed a scary contradiction to the basic necessity for food. If they took a break from working the earth for a whole year, how on earth (excuse the pun) would they earn their bread? In addition, there was the fear that by letting the land lie fallow, their non-Jewish farming competitors would gain the upper hand.

These complicated threats led to the solution of a Heter Mechira, supported by rabbis from the Diaspora. The Jerusalem Ashkenazi rabbis were highly opposed to this solution, which in essence does away with the commandment of Shmitta. Thus, the “Shmitta Controversy” followed. What was it about? The Heter Mechira allows for a temporary sale of the land to a non-Jew. In such a case, the Jewish farmer is enabled to work the land during this year, similar to the way Israeli Chametz is temporarily sold to non-Jews every year on Passover. Selling the land to a non-Jew rids the need to adhere to Shmitta, as only Jewish landowners are obliged to keep the commandment. Fruit that grows on land not owned by a Jew do notes not hold the sanctity of that grown during the Sabbatical Shmitta year.

It is important to understand that Shmitta is part of a greater commandment of Jubilees. The Shmitta sabbatical year takes place every seven years, culminating after seven Shmitta rounds in a fiftieth “Jubilee Year.” During this period, all the land purchase agreements which took place over the previous 49 years are annulled, kind of like “rebooting” your system, and all the lands return to their rightful owners (via the original land distribution to tribes). The people assemble together in a ceremony called Hakhel. However, the Jubilee laws do not hold these days, only when Israel is governed by a monarchy, the Sanhedrin and other governmental and political conditions that are irrelevant today. And this is what the Yerushalmi Talmud has to say about these matters:

“Vezeh dvar hashmita-shmot” –there are two Shmittas, namely Shmitta and Yovel. When Yovel is applicable, then Shmitta is practiced by Torah ordinance, but now that the Yovel year is no longer applicable, Shmitta is practiced ‘from the (the rabbis’) words’ [mid’rabanan]. (Shvi’it Yerushalmi, 10:2) Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi connected Shmitta and Yovel, saying that upon ceasing to obey the laws of Yovel due to historical reasons (the dispersion, etc.), Shmitta too became a commandment that is not from the Torah, but from rabbinical words.

Rav Kook, the chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and the first Jewish settlements in Israel, who supported Heter Mechira, even brought up the precedent of taxes and Rabbi Yannai. A Babylonian Talmud story depicts the conflict between the wish to keep Shmitta and the practical difficulty of observing it. In the backdrop of that era were the heavy taxes imposed upon the habitants of the country by the Roman government. At that time, not working your land would bear grave consequences, as the economy was largely based upon agriculture. Rabbi Yannai sent the farmers to break the laws of Shmitta and planting during the seventh year. Rav Kook quoted this story and claimed that the reason Rav Yannai called to seed the land is due to the fact the land was in fact owned by non-Jews to whom the Jewish farmers were forced to pay taxes.

Today the Heter Mechira is the solution for most of the vegetables grown in this country, and we at Chubeza will be using it this year. Vegetable growers do not, in fact, have any other choice. But the buyers do, of course. Recent media reports indicate that the Ministry of Defense decided to refrain from buying fruits and vegetables grown via Heter Mechira and instead to import produce from the PA and Jordan. The Ministry of Defense denied this news. I don’t know what’s right, and maybe this item, too, will evaporate into oblivion. But I do think it’s worthwhile to remind those who make decisions of the beautiful and temperamental words written by Rav Kook in 1910 to the Gaon, Rabbi Chaim Berlin, a leading Jerusalem rabbi. In his letter, Rav Kook discusses the fact that the strict rabbis who deny the Heter Mechira prefer to outsource their produce purchases:

“My hand shakes as I write about the terrible deed being done to our brethren or the settlements, after it was already agreed not to allow the sale of non-Jewish produce so as not to cause poverty to the impoverished and depressed people of Israel whose living is based upon the purchase of their grapes… Conniving people secretly advised to purchase from non-Jews and thus supply them with business. See how we are our very own enemies. One cannot begin to imagine the vastness of disgrace and desecration and evil that lies in this act. The blood of my heart boils, and my pain reaches the heavens from this terrible situation.” (Letters of the Rav Kook)

If you wish to read more about the modern Heter Mechira and check out farmers who are included, as well as receive instructions to those purchasing from farms which adhere to this system, see the Shmita committee website (in Hebrew)

To conclude, I want to bring up one last significance attached to this seventh year, by a movement named “Israeli Shmitta”:

The law of Shmitta that the Torah bestowed on the Jewish nation obliged every farmer in Israel to leave his/her land every seven years, to let go of his/her fruit and allow the earth and animals rest, as well as permitting anyone to enter a field and take from the yield of the earth. This year was also one where financial debts were cancelled and people were granted the opportunity to start over on an economic and social level. This year, property is not everything, time does not press, and nature is much more than resources to take advantage of. The year of Shmitta presents an alternative inundated with the love of the people of Israel and the land, which aims to renew the quality of life in all various systems via a unique public effort. May this be a year of social involvement, of spiritual and moral renewal and of deep observation. A year of friendship, culture, spirit, family and community. A wrinkle in time opening once every seven years, calling for the renewal of the covenant between man, society and land, one that leaves its impression on the six years to follow.”

Their website has a host of ideas for this new year. Take a look for yourself. We wish you a year that holds some of the peace and release of Shmitta, a time to stop and take a deep breath of air, and an observation of the many wonders surrounding us.

Wishing you a happy holiday! See you on Open Day!

Alon, Bat Ami, Maya, Dror and the whole Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S HOLIDAY BOXES?

Monday: New Zealand spinach, sweet potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, parsley, cucumbers, green and red bell peppers, arugula/bok choi, corn. Small boxes only: leeks.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/chives, radishes, eggplant, Jerusalem artichokes/Thai beans/lubia.

Wednesday: cilantro/parsley, cucumbers, piece of pumpkin, tomatoes, lettuce, corn/eggplants/red and green peppers, radishes, scallions/chive, arugula/pac choi, sweet potatoes, small box only: potatoes.

Large box, in addition: leek, New Zealand spinach, Jerusalem artichoke, okra/yard long beans/lubia.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, pomegranate juice and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

Aley Chubeza #217, September 29th-October 1st 2014

The Month of September has ended and we’ve updated the payment this for the month’s purchases. You may view your billing history in our Internet-based order system. It’s easy. Simply click the tab “דוח הזמנות ותשלומים” where the history of your payments and purchases is clearly displayed. Please make sure the bill is correct, or let us know of any necessary revisions. At the bottom of the bill, the words סה”כ לתשלום: 0 (total due: 0) should appear. If there is any number other than zero, this means we were unable to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us. We always have our hands full, and we depend on you to inform us. Our thanks!

Reminder: The billing is two-part: one bill for vegetables and fruits you purchased over the past month (the produce that does not include VAT. The title of that bill is “תוצרת אורגנית”, organic produce). The second part is the bill for delivery and other purchases. (This bill does include VAT. The title of the bill is “delivery and other products.”)

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Changes in delivery dates due to Sukkot and Open Day at Chubeza:

This week, all deliveries as usual.

During the week of Sukkot: The Wednesday delivery will be moved up to Tuesday, October 7th.  (Monday deliveries as usual.)

The ordering system for Wednesday deliveries will close Sunday, October 5th, at 12:00

• During Chol HaMoed Sukkot, there will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 13th and 15th of October.
If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

Subscribing to our weekly newsletter: The best way to receive messages and updates is via our weekly newsletter, which is published on our website and, in most cases, arrives directly to your email inbox. Those who do not receive the newsletter and wish to do so, please advise.  If you prefer to receive a hard copy along with your box, please notify me.

Open Day at Chubeza—Note the Change in Date!
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Monday, October 13th, the 19th of Tishrei (fourth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-17:00 (and not as previously announced). The incomparable Hazel Hill Band will make their traditional appearance from 12:00, and set our toes to tapping.

The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours, designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova from all of us at Chubeza. We look forward to seeing you all!

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The Sabbath Year, the Year of Shmitta

Welcome to the New Year 5775! Aside from it being a new year, it is also the seventh, the Shmitta sabbatical year. Seven years ago, Yochai wrote an elaborate composition about this year, its sources and the way the sabbatical year has evolved from Biblical times till now. I thought that as we encounter another “seventh,” it’s quite fitting to bring it to you again.

Let’s start at the very beginning. In the Bible, Shmitta is mentioned in two places from which all the various laws eventually stemmed. The first time was at Mt. Sinai itself:

The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.  Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.  Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten. (Leviticus 25, 1-7)

The second time it’s mentioned is in Moses’ speech in the Book of Deuteronomy, just as the Israelites are preparing to enter the Land of Israel:

At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. (Deuteronomy 15, 1-2)

Even at first glance, it is evident how different these two sources are. The first is agricultural and ecological, with an emphasis on the land resting, the earth taking a sabbatical and the prohibition against carrying out specific farming actions. The second source is of a socio-economic relevance, with a commandment to forfeit debts and a prohibition to demand their payment.

From this very prominent difference, it may seem at first that we are discussing two very different matters that have been clumsily clumped together. Yet if you view this in a more holistic manner, these two aspects of Shmitta in fact complement each other. The internalizing of Shmitta as an order by the Lord who owns the land invokes modesty and humility. The outcome of this internalization is to refrain from forcefully working the land, even if it is a “positive” use of force, as well as from conducting forceful actions against our fellow men.

The next level – tractate Shvi’it in the Mishna, a chapter dedicated to the various laws concerning the year of Shmitta, commences in the following manner:

“Till when does one plow the orchard on the eve of the seventh year? The school of Shammai says: as long as it enhances the fruit, and the school of Hillel says: until Shavuot. And the two schools of thought are close to one another.” (Shvi’it 1:1)

This Mishna evokes an ancient controversy between two schools of thought, that of Shammai and that of Hillel, vis-a-vis the question of the limit of time in which one is allowed to plow during the year preceding Shmitta. The prohibition on plowing begins at the end of the sixth year, as plowing at that time is aimed towards the yield of the following year.

The school of Shammai allows plowing as long as it enhances the fruit of the orchard only (and not the earth). This is a very subjective and unclear ruling, very hard to perform accurately. The school of Hillel, in contrast, fixes a clear date: the holiday of Shavuot. As you can see by the Mishna’s “editorial commentary,” those times are in close proximity, as plowing after Shavuot will not “enhance the fruit” but rather the earth of the orchard and is therefore performed in preparation for next year’s yield.

[Note: in a different place it says that “Rabbi Gamliel and his Beit Din ruled that the earth can be tended to until Rosh Hashanah.” Tosefta, Shvi’it 1). Working the land is only prohibited in the seventh year.]

The opening Mishna deals with a clear prohibition of plowing during the seventh year, but as it carries on, it deals with the socio-economic aspect: “The Prozbul does not require the cancelling of debts. This is one of the laws Hillel instituted when he realized the people of Israel are refusing to loan money and thus disobeying the Torah precept ‘Be careful not harbor this wicked thought’ (Deuteronomy 15)…” (Chapter 10, Mishna 3)

What is this Prozbul initiated by Hillel the Elderly? The Prozbul is in fact a bill of loan that bypasses (with the consent of all parties and the confirmation of the Beit Din) the Biblical commandment to forego the debt. According to the Biblical commandment, a debt that was not returned by the seventh year is revoked, but, as the Mishna explains, this creates a complicated problem: people were refusing to loan money to those in need for fear of their loan being annulled (similar to banks who only lend to those who are able to return the money, not to those who actually need it…) Hillel realized the Torah never meant make life harder for the needy or the weak or anyone who simply wants to make a living. On the contrary, which is why he instituted the Prozbul in order to encourage loans in the spirit of those verses which caution against not lending to the needy.

So just by taking a crash course in these two mishnayot, it is evident that the commentators debated the laws of Shmitta, attempting to best define the divine intention. In the case of Shmitta as well, they acted in faith, courage and wisdom, and with the intention to make the words of God into reality in their many aspects and in the best way possible.

Wow, this was long, so we’ll take a short break now, and return to this discussion next week. Stay tuned for later-breaking developments…

May we have a wonderful first new week of a New Year,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Maya and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THE FIRST BOXES OF 5775?

Monday: New Zealand spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, leeks, parsley/thyme, cucumbers, okra/Thai beans/black-eyed peas, potatoes. Small boxes only: Eggplant or peppers, sweet potatoes.

Large box, in addition: Corn, carrots, onions, eggplant and peppers

Wednesday: cilantro/parsley, potatoes, cucumbers, piece of pumpkin, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, New Zealand spinach, leek, sweet potatoes, small boxes: red and green bell peppers / okra / yard long beans / fresh lubia (black eye peas)

Large box, in addition: arugula, eggplants, red and green bell peppers, okra / yard long beans / fresh lubia (black eye peas)

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, pomegranate juice and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!