Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023

Moed Koton 3: Relying on the Life of the Universe

This daf continues discussing the halachos of Shmittah.

It was the year after Shmittah and the community of Komemius had a serious problem. They needed to plant wheat for the coming year, but they were very committed not to use any wheat that had been planted by relying on the heter mechirah. After Herculean efforts, they located some wheat left over from the sixth year. Unfortunately, the grains were cracked and wormy, hardly fit to plant.

When the farmers asked what they should do, Rav Mendelsohn of Komemius replied with the language of the Yerushalmi, “If there are no other suitable kernels, plant these and rely on the Life of the Universe.”

One of the farmers related, “When we planted the wheat, all of our neighbors mocked us. They warned that we would regret using such inferior wheat, especially since we had waited to plant until well after Shmittah. They had used quality wheat from the seventh year and planted before Rosh Hashanah. We had waited until after Sukkos of the eighth year, since we did not want to work during Chol Hamoed.

“Everyone was surprised that the land remained very dry during the earlier planting period and the mockers lost their entire crop, while we, who had planted later, had a very successful crop.”

When the Bais Halevi was asked about keeping Shmittah nowadays, he explained its vast importance: “Even if we hold that Shmittah nowadays is solely rabbinic, there is still a Torah obligation to keep these halachos. It is explicit in Nechemiah (10:30-32) that the leaders of the Jewish people made an oath binding on themselves and all generations to come that they will keep these halachos. Even if there is no Torah obligation to keep Shmittah per se, there is a Torah obligation to keep this oath” (Shmittah B’Halacha uv’Aggadah, p. 167; Shu”t Bais Halevi).





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