Shmita

Shmita (leave out, let loose) is the term for the biblical commandment (mitzva) to abstain from agricultural work in the land of Israel and the forgiveness of all loans. Shmita takes place every seven years. 


After seven cycles of shmita (49 years) comes the Yovel year - the fiftieth year - which enacts shmita laws, but also includes the release of all slaves as well as returning all sold land to its original owners. 


The commandment of shmita took place while Jews were living in Israeli territory - in biblical times, as well as during the First and Second Temple periods. 


However, once the Jews were exiled from Israel, the commandment could not be fulfilled. Renewed Jewish immigration to the land of Israel in the late 1800s revived discussions on the implementation of shmita


In the State of Israel today, Israeli farmers have a variety of legal options and processes that they can choose from before, during and after shmita to curb the financial losses of halting production for an entire year. 

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The biblical reason Israeli farmers became heroes after killing crops

Jamie Geller said educating and raising awareness about the biblical commandment shmita has been a mammoth task.

By Deborah Danan/JTA
21/04/2022

How does composting work in Jerusalem?

One-third of all the organic waste sent for recycling in Israel came from Jerusalem (whose population accounts for only 10% of the total for Israel). 

By YAIR ASSAF-SHAPIRA
24/02/2022

Shmita: A Jewish agricultural rule with personal, social implications

Although the sabbatical year comes with a list of rules and regulations set by rabbinic authorities, there is a joyous and spiritual side to shmita.

By SARAH HERSHENSON
17/02/2022

We need to preserve the beauty of Shmita - opinion

The concept of shmita is introduced in the Torah, where we are told to let the land lie fallow every seventh year.

25/10/2021
Fresh vegetables are sold at the shuk (market)

Jewish law: How to purchase produce during shmita

Many Talmudic sages believe that shmita restrictions today stem only from a rabbinic decree. A few even assert that our observance of these laws is a pious custom.

By SHLOMO M. BRODY
30/09/2021

Sukkot, Shmita and a stock market crash?

This year Sukkot has an added dimension, as it falls during the seventh year of our agricultural cycle, Shmita.

By AARON KATSMAN
16/09/2021

Climate change, Jerusalem and Shmita

A number of nonprofit Jerusalem associations strive to protect nature in this city and improve living conditions, presenting environmental needs as no less important than housing projects.

15/09/2021

‘It’s time to come home’: 7 American rabbis share reflections amid challenging High Holiday season

American rabbis weigh in on the upcoming High Holiday season, a challenging season in the shadow of a global pandemic.

By Jacob Gurvis/JTA
06/09/2021

Israel can keep the Shmita year in all new ways

“Shmita is a social and spiritual enterprise from which our society could learn much: In releasing the crops of our field to others, it curbs materialistic tendencies."

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As we wish each other a “happy New Year,” we know that we share a common destiny and what will be good for one will be good for all.

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