We are continuing in the halachos of peiros shemittah. We learned that the first issue to discuss regarding peiros of shemittah is land which has been worked during the year, and how that work impacts the produce which has grown. To be clear, work done to maintain the trees is muttar, as we have learned. Only work performed to further the trees is a problem. The definition of maintenance versus furthering has to be decided by a posek.
When a person did not keep shemittah properly, and worked the fields in a way which is prohibited, the field is called ne’evad. Everyone agrees that ne’evad does not make the produce assur in hana’ah, but there is a machlokes whether it makes the produce assur to be eaten, and specifically regarding esrog, the halacha is that the esrog must be raui le’achila (fit to be eaten).. The Rambam paskens that the fruits are not assur to be eaten, but according to the Raavad they are assur. The minhag of Yerushalayim is to follow the Raavad, but the Chazon Ish disagrees and paskens like the Rambam.
We have to assume that if one receives an esrog with a hechsher, it is from a field which is not ne’evad.
The second issue we mentioned is that the land has to be left hefker during shemitah. During shemittah, a farmer must be mafkir their field and allow anyone to take from it. A field which was not made hefker is known as shamur, guarded, and the question is whether the produce now becomes assur.
Tosfos paskens that if a field was shamur, the produce is assur. However, Rashi paskens that the produce is muttar. The Rambam implies that shamur is muttar, like Rashi, and the Chazon Ish paskens according to the Rambam. He does write that if one is able to be machmir, it is praiseworthy. Thus, even if a field was shamur, bedieved the produce is not assur.
It is important to note that the concept of hefker only applies to the fruits of the trees, and not to the trees themselves. Esrog trees are very delicate, so some esrog orchard owners are concerned that if they make their fields hefker, their trees will get damaged by people partaking of the hefker. Additionally, there could be an additional concern if there are trees within the orchard which are orlah. However, the concern of orlah can be used as a solution, in that the orchard owner can put up a sign warning that there are trees of orlah in the orchards, but without stating which trees are orlah. The entire orchard is a now safeik orlah to the public, and safeik orlah in Eretz Yisroel is still assur. Thus, even though the field is not shamur, they avoid the issue of damage to the trees.There are orchards which allow entrance to the public, and give instructions to the public how to properly remove esrogim off the trees.
Another point of note is that although the field must be made hefker to all Jews, it does not have to be made hefker to non-Jews. However, if one places a guard in front of the field to prevent non-Jews from taking, it may prevent Jews from taking as well. The Rambam discusses this question, but practically it is not a situation with which we commonly contend.
We will discuss the concept of otzar bais din in the next shiur, be’ezras Hashem.
- The Chazon Ish paskens that ne’evad is muttar to be eaten, so it may be used for an esrog.
- If a field was shamur, we pasken that the produce is still muttar, but it is preferable to avoid it.
- Nonetheless, one can assume that an esrog purchased with a hechsher is not from a field which was ne’evad or shamur.