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Shmita, What Will We Eat in the Seventh Year?
by Hummingbird (Christine)
The seven year Sabbath is almost upon us. Shmita year starts on September 25th, Rosh Hashanah 2014 and continues until Rosh Hashanah 2015. For those who are interested in learning more about this subject, I put together this paper to help those who are looking for information quickly. I will try to include as much information as I possibly can, but ultimately if you cannot find it here you will need to do some extra homework for yourselves. I will cover also Aquaponics/Hydroponics and raised beds in this article. Please keep in mind that this is my FIRST year of observing Shmita so I am no expert.
Leviticus 25:” 1 The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,1 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops.2 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest,3 a Sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.4 5 Do not reap what grows of itself5 or harvest the grapes6 of your untended vines.7 The land is to have a year of rest. 6 Whatever the land yields during the Sabbath year8 will be food for you–for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals9 in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten (http://www.biblestudytools.com/leviticus/25.html).”
1. Leviticus 25:1 – Ex 19:11
2. Leviticus 25:3 – Ex 23:10
3. Leviticus 25:4 – ver 5,6,20; Lev 26:35; 2Ch 36:21
4. Leviticus 25:4 – Isa 36:16; 37:30
5. Leviticus 25:5 – 2Ki 19:29
6. Leviticus 25:5 – Ge 40:10; Nu 6:3; 13:20; Dt 23:24; Ne 13:15; Isa 5:2
7. Leviticus 25:5 – ver 4,11
8. Leviticus 25:6 – S ver 4; ver 20
9. Leviticus 25:7 – Ex 23:11
Unfortunately, Israel and those who stand beside her cannot rely on the blessing of the sixth year to provide food for the following two years. This promised blessing only applies when Shmita is binding by Torah law (mi-d’oraitha). Since many Israelites, scattered all over the Earth, do not yet reside in Israel (Ezek. 36-37), Shmita is only binding by rabbinic decree (mi-d’rabanan). Today, we cannot rely on the promised blessing and must find the way we need to assure the availability of produce through the seventh and eighth years.
If you live in Israel, there are many options that help the people with this seventh year Sabbath. Otzar Beit Din, (rabbinical court storehouse) is a method set up by a rabbinical court to distribute Shmita produce. Since we who live in other areas in the world who do not have the convenience of having farmers who abide by God’s laws anymore, we are not left without other methods to acquire produce.
Raised beds are one option to help during this time. This method ,however, is controversial depending on who you talk to, but overall many authorities on this subject permit the growing of potted plants in a “house” during the seven year Sabbath. This brings us to the topic of aquaponics and hydroponics or elevated platforms within closed greenhouses.
Plants grown in thick plastic bags or large pots on elevated platforms with proper irrigation and adequate drainage are used during Shmita. However, the roof must be sufficient to keep out rain and only allow in partial sunlight. This method is called (mehadrin) or strictly kosher. According to kedushat sheviit, there are no work restrictions with this type of green house or “house” gardening. Others say that any type of “house” set up is forbidden just as in an open field. This will require you to go before the Lord and ask Him what is the truth in this manner. I would also like to add that all sales of your produce are not allowed. Only the work of the farmer is allowed to be given any compensation and not the actual produce itself.
The following “Principles of the Seventh Year” is by http://www.hazon.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Shmita-Booklet.pdf
What kind of foods are acceptable to eat?
Fresh foods should be consumed during Shmita. At the local level, foods should be gathered locally from orchards or farmers who provide fresh fruits, nuts, berries, and herbs. These are perennial plants that can also be collected in the wild but be sure to observe local laws on how and what to gather. A wild edible is any food that is grown without cultivation. Be careful to know exactly which foods and herbs you are harvesting by using books that show you pictures and facts about collecting and eating wild edibles. Also consider stopping by a farmers’ market to see if there are any forager stands.
Preserved foods such as dried, fermented, juiced, canned, oils, wines, etc…, may be included so long as they come from perennial or wild plants. You can also include dried seeds, grains, or legumes from annual plants.
The whole purpose of the Shmita year is to SLOW DOWN. The key element is an invitation to REST and slowly digest food, thought, and conversation. This revitalizes our souls, minds, and hearts and also puts us into alignment with the Lord Almighty in heaven.
Lev. 25: 18 ” ‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws,25 and you will live safely in the land.26 19 Then the land will yield its fruit,27 and you will eat your fill and live there in safety.28 20 You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year29 if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” 21 I will send you such a blessing30 in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.31 22 While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.32http://www.biblestudytools.com/leviticus/25.html
25. Leviticus 25:18 – S Ge 26:5
26. Leviticus 25:18 – ver 19; Lev 26:4,5; Dt 12:10; 33:28; Job 5:22; Ps 4:8; Jer 23:6; 30:10; 32:37; 33:16; Eze 28:26; 34:25; 38:14
27. Leviticus 25:19 – Lev 26:4; Dt 11:14; 28:12; Isa 55:10
28. Leviticus 25:19 – S ver 18
29. Leviticus 25:20 – S ver 4
30. Leviticus 25:21 – Dt 28:8,12; Ps 133:3; 134:3; 147:13; Eze 44:30; Hag 2:19; Mal 3:10
31. Leviticus 25:21 – S Ex 16:5
32. Leviticus 25:22 – Lev 26:10
There are many other things to research here for your own personal venture into Shmita. I’ve provided quite a bit of information to get you started. I truly believe that by observing this year’s Shmita will show God whether we will be obedient at obeying His commands and reaping the benefits of those rewards or we can disregard our Wonderful Lord and Savior Words and choose to do as we please and go about daily life as if nothing is different or set apart before God and we will reap those rewards. For me, I choose to obey the Lord to the best of my ability this coming Shmita year. It will require a huge change to my life and that of my family but I know in my heart, I will learn some wonderful things about our Lord by doing and observing all that He has commanded.
God bless you all:)