Monday, May 07, 2007

shmita

My sister called me with an ethical question the other day. When I read Dilbert today, I felt that Scott Adams was listening in.
We had a very nice bonfire on Lag B'Omer. I didn't want to join the community bonfire because I didn't want to fight with my kids when they were done and everyone else was staying up longer. So we built a nice little bonfire on the edge of our cliff next to a neighbor's house. We had all the right ingredients for a good bonfire: marshmallows, hot dogs, potatoes and onions. The kids actually lasted longer then I expected and we left the bonfire shortly after 11.
The traditional/chareidi approach to lag b'omer is that Torah is light and rashbi represented torah so that is why we have a bonfire and he was such a tzaddik that there was never a rainbow during his life (to signify that the world should be destroyed, if not for god's promise). That seems to be a classic case of anti-zionistic revisionist history. The reason the romans forbade learning Torah upon punishment of death is because the leading rabbis at the time, especially Rabbi Akiva, were teaching Toras Eretz Yisroel, which was that only Jews should have governance of Israel and should not be subjected to foreign rule. When Rashbi was heard saying that everything the romans did was for themselves, he was not just talking politics. Rashbi was actively involved in the war effort. In other words, Lag B'Omer is a Yom HaAtzmaut type day in which we celebrate the battle to throw the Romans out of our land. Bonfires were used as military signals and the bow and arrow was the weapon of the day. Obviously this doesn't fit into the hareidi world view even though Rabbi Akiva and rashbi are both considered role models by the hareidi institutions.

Today I signed up for the shmita fruit and vegetable program. There is a 50 shekel registration fee and you get the hilchos shmitta book upon registration. Then every month during shmita they charge you 50 shekels and send you a 50 shekel coupon for use in their store. The food that they will have will be:
a) from the 6th year
b) otzer bais din
c) stuff grown not in or on the ground
Everything will be labeled as to exactly what type of food it is.

They have committed to having food within a 1 hour drive of us, though they believe that there will be a store in our village.

I believe the way otzer bais din works is that our farmers sell their fields to bais din and then bais din pays them to pick the fruit. Bais din then sells the fruit for the cost of picking it. The fruits have kedushas shviis on them and therefore you have to read the accompanying book to figure out exactly how to deal with them. It will be a fun and educational year. We have almonds, pecans, lemons, pomegranates and grapes if anyone wants to come during shmita and eat our fruit. We have 2 new cherry trees as well, but they will be orlah until the year after shmita, so you will not be allowed to take from them. I believe the law is that I have to put up a warning sign to protect people from eating orlah cherries.

4 comments:

Té la mà Maria said...

visit:

irreverent, iconoclastic, ecléctic e liberty

htpp://telamamaria.blogspot.com
in Catalonia - Spain

Thank

Rafi G said...

how come you hardly post anymore?

Anonymous said...

Where hath the rock goneth?

Eugene said...

It is ridiculous that Shmita brings huge income to Israeli enemies in Gaza and the Palestinian territories. Whatever are the religious overtones, they cannot excuse purchases from HAMAS voters. What do you think of Obadiah Shoher interpretating Shmita as charity obligation rather than agricultural rule? (Here, for example http://samsonblinded.org/blog/shmita-year-is-about-charity-not-agriculture.htm ) Anyway, I'll better buy from atheist kibbutzim than from Gaza.