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!