5 Towns Jewish Times: Shomrei Shvi’it Launches Program To Facilitate Sabbatical Year Laws

by / Thursday, 16 August 2007 / Published in In the media

Shomrei Shvi’it, a Jerusalem-based group dedicated to reinvigorating the observance of Jewish agricultural laws, has launched a new program that will give many Jews the chance to observe a number of mitzvos as never before. The program is simple, powerful, and inexpensive.

The innovative new project will allow Jews in Israel and throughout the Diaspora to properly fulfill the mitzvah of shemittah, whereby agricultural land in Israel must lie fallow every seventh (sabbatical) year. Shomrei Shvi’it facilitates the purchase of small tracts of agricultural land in Israel that will lay completely fallow for the entire shemittah year, commencing this Rosh Hashanah (September 13, 2007).

The plots, available for $180, are located on a large tract of land near Ra’anana. Each plot is currently being cultivated and measures dalet amot, or four cubits square. In accordance with Torah law, all work on this land will cease before Rosh Hashanah. The project has the blessing of leading rabbis and Torah scholars, many of whom have already purchased tracts.

Simcha Margaliot, the project’s director, commented, “We have created an important, easy-to-use, and powerful mechanism. For the first time for many people, shemittah will no longer be a theoretical commandment for discussion and learning, but will become an actual, practical, living mitzvah.”

Shomrei Shvi’it presents a fundamental change in attitude towards the shemittah year. At present, the religious Jewish world is occupied with finding ways to refrain from disobeying the shemittah commandments while allowing for regular consumption of agricultural produce during the upcoming year. Rabbis, farmers, yeshivos, agricultural organizations, major corporations, small businesses, and millions of kosher consumers are studying methods to avoid transgressing the many laws of shemittah.

While these efforts are critical for religious Jewish observance, Shomrei Shvi’it contends that people are missing out on the opportunity to actually fulfill the mitzvah of letting the land lie fallow, one of the few in the Torah where the reward, G-d’s blessing, is specifically mentioned.

The new project steps in and fills this void. Please visit www.shviit.com for more information.