We have a few more points to clarify regarding esrogei shemitah. The mishnah in Maseches Shviis says that it is assur to take shemittah produce out of Eretz Yisrael. However, if one does take them out, it is not assur in hana’ah or achila. We learned that the esrog need to be raui le’achila (potentially edible) to be yotzei the mitzvah, so an esrog of shemittah can still be used for the mitzvah in chutz la’aretz because it does not become assur.
The Yerushalmi explains that the issur is an issur derabanan, instituted by Chazal for one of two reasons. One reason was to ensure there is enough food in Eretz Yisrael during the shemitah year. The other is because biur must be done within the borders of Eretz Yisrael. The difference between these two reasons would be if there is a chayei nefesh need (a basic life need) in chutz la’aretz.
Regarding esrogim, the Chazon Ish held that there is a chayei nefesh need to export esrogim from Eretz Yisrael to chutz la’aretz, to ensure people have kosher esrogim which are not murkav (the Chazon Ish was concerned that many esrogim in chutz la’aretz were murkav). Therefore, he held that it was muttar to export esrogei shemitah to chutz la’aretz.
If one holds that the issue is that biur must be done in Eretz Yisrael, one can send the esrog back to Eretz Yisrael after Sukkos. Some esrog sellers offer the option of returning the esrog to them after Sukkos, and they will send it back to Eretz Yisrael.
The Yerushalmi which discusses this point about esrogei shemitah also mentions, as an aside, that Chazal also instituted an issur to take seforim out of Eretz Yisrael, out of concern that seforim be available in Eretz Yisrael. Many seforim are now produced in Eretz Yisrael and sent to chutz la’aretz. We are lenient based on an opinion that if the seforim were printed with the intent of export, the issur does not apply.
We need to clarify the status of the lulav and hadassim as well.
We learned that the Gemara says that valid uses for shemitah produce are limited to normal usages of the item (see shiur 05). The Gemara qualifies that these normal usages must include hana’asan u’viuran shaveh, that the benefit is received at the same moment as the item is consumed. For example, it would be assur to soak shemitah fruit in order for it to rot or ferment, because its consumption and benefit received do not happen simultaneously.
On the other hand, items which are never used in a manner of hana’asan u’viuran shaveh are not bound by the halachos of shemitah at all. Thus, the Gemara says that generally, wood does not have any dinei shemitah, because it is primarily used to create fires, and the wood is first consumed, turns into coals, and only afterwards creates benefit. The Gemara says that the exception is a lulav. Lulavim were not used for firewood, but rather as brooms. As one sweeps the lulav on the floor, the lulav gets worn down, so it is considered hana’asan u’viuran shaveh. Thus, the halachos of shemittah would seem to apply to lulavim in the same way they apply to esrogim.
However, the assumption of the poskim, including Rav Shlomo Zalman, is that since people no longer use lulavim as brooms, the Gemara’s exception no longer applies and lulavim no longer have any dinei shemittah. The Chazon Ish is on record as concurring to this psak; however, Rav Chaim Kanievsky wrote that the Chazon Ish was personally machmir.
We will discuss hadassim in the next shiur.
- Shemitah esrogim can be sent to chutz la’aretz based on the heter of chayei nefesh.
- Some are makpid to return the esrog to Eretz Yisrael for biur.
- Lulavim grown during shemitah do not have any dinei shemitah.