Why do we need planted agricultural land? Why isn’t it enough to own any random piece of land in Eretz Yisroel?


The mitzva of shmita is in essence divided into two parts.

  1. One part is the mitzva of "והשביעית, תשמטנה ונטשתה" - Shemos, 23:11 "In the seventh year you shall leave it unattended and unharvested" This is referring to the commandment to be mafkir all produce that grows on owned land in the seventh year. It’s clear from here that the mitzva can be completed on agricultural land with ready trees or vegetation whose produce can be made hefker.

2. The second part deals with "ושבתה הארץ שבת לה'" Vayikra, 25:2 (the land shall observe a Shabbos of Hashem) Here the mitzva is to refrain from work in this time. This can only be attained with land that was worked in the sixth year, and then left fallow in the seventh.

According to the Posek of the organization, Rav Stern Shlita: Agudat Shmita must legally register every buyer with real estate taxation and TABO. Why isn’t it enough to deal with just the halachic aspect of the kinyanim without getting into legalities?


The psak of HaGaon Rav Elyashiv pertaining to mechiras chametz and a heter iska was that the documents should all be legally acceptable and that one should not be able to void them in court. Same is with the din for kinyanim in halacha regarding ownership of land: In order for the kinyan to be complete, one must ensure the legalities are in order as well.

What was behind Rav Stern Shlita’s psak to purchase land privately through TABO and not through ILA?


When dealing with ILA, you’re obtaining a long term lease, not complete ownership.

When it comes to ILA residential lands, there might be a way to     consider it buying rather than leasing, yet an agricultural land, such as this, is considered  on a "lower level"  for 3 main reasons:

  1. In order to really sell and give over the full rights of ownership, you need a special waiver by the ILA.
  2.  You have to renew the contract every few years
  3. The ILA has the right to decide that they’re not interested in extending the lease, which isn't the case when it comes to residential lands.
Can one who leases land and allows it to lie fallow during shmita be yotzeh the mitzva of shmita?


No. Being that renting is not koneh, the field remains in the owner’s possession and doesn’t belong to the renter. It also works the other way around: If a yid rents his land to a goy, he still needs to do the mitzva of shmita because the land belongs to him.

Are women also required to do this mitzva?



Is there an inyan to buy land before a shmita year begins in order to be required to do this mitzva?