Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mitzvot Dependent on the Land

As I have mentioned before, in order to remove the impure spirit from the Land of Israel, we must fulfill the Mitzvot that can only be done in the Land of Israel. For the average modern Jew living in Israel, this comes down to making sure that the produce being eaten is not Tevel, i.e. that all the different Terumot and Maaserot have been taken accordingly. We have another mitzvah fast approaching us, the mitzvah of Shmitah. It is brought down in the 10th chapter of the Yerushalmi Masechet Shvi'it that the mitzvot of Yovel and Shemitah are not d'Oraita at this time, but rather d'Rabbanan. The drash on the psukim brought in the Yerushalmi is that as long as Yovel is not d'Oraita, neither is Shmitah. Yovel is in full force only when all Jews are back in Israel. I will leave that last sentence without further detail, because it is a bit more complicated. The year that we keep Shmitah is an interesting topic, G-d willing I'll find the original sources and make a post out of that. In the past (and the way it will be in the future, G-d willing), the Sanhedrin would count the years of the Shmitah cycle and also the Yovel cycle. Now, however, we use a simple equation. 7 * n for n = 1 through 857 For those of you in Israel, now is the time, as we have about 6 weeks before the onset of Shmitah. Learn what you can, decide how you will keep the mitzvah. There are plenty of English and Hebrew sefarim out there to help us keep this important mitzvah. May it be Hashem's will that we shall soon have an established Sanhedrin to count the years of the Shmitah cycle and we will be able to keep Shmitah as Hashem has commanded us. Please note, since Tu B'av, it is already forbidden to plant any trees until after Rosh HaShanah 5769.

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