Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Moed Koton 13: Fully Fulfilled

On this daf, we find that it is forbidden to do agricultural work in Eretz Yisroel during Shmittah, and our sages instituted a penalty for those who ignore the prohibition.

The Arizal writes that even nowadays, Shmittah is an especially sanctified time, especially in Eretz Yisroel. Yet, many of the ways one observes this mitzvah are difficult for one who doesn’t have a field, garden or the like, even if one lives in Eretz Yisroel. People basically forget about this entirely, except that the produce is pricier, since it is brought from out of the country, and on rare occasions, they partake of products sold under the rubric of otzar bais din. For those living in chutz la’aretz, these mitzvos seem almost completely irrelevant, except to forgive loans at the end of the year or write a pruzbul so they need not do so and to beware not to purchase produce from Eretz Yisroel.

The Megaleh Amukos explains the practical avodah of this year for everyone: “The purpose of Shmittah is that the Jewish people immerse themselves in Torah study for a year every seven years. It is incumbent on every Jew to learn as much as possible from the beginning to this year until the end. One who doesn’t learn when he has free time during this year has done more than transgress the serious prohibition of bittul Torah. It is also as if has nullified the fulfillment of the mitzvos of Shmittah” (Megaleh Amukos).

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