Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

27 Ellul 5760 - September 27, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Thousand of Farmers Will Observe Shmitta Starting on Shabbos Rosh Hashana
Keren Hashevi'is Budget: $13 Million

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

On erev Shabbos kodesh -- erev Rosh Hashonoh 5761 -- at the onset of the shmitta year, thousands of our finest farmers will place their trust in the Creator of the world, anticipating the blessing of Heaven. These brave farmers will lay fallow their fields and crops because the King -- the Master of the Universe -- has commanded them to do so.

Joyously, they have agreed to observe the mitzvah of shmitta, according to the halocho, without compromise, as we have been commanded in our sacred Torah: "And on the seventh year Shabbos Shabbason, the land will observe Shabbos to Hashem"

Currently, we are witnessing an unprecedented upsurge in the observance of the mitzvah of shmitta. "What in the past was only a few agricultural settlements, has today become a widespread trend," write maranan verabonon the gedolei hador, in their heartfelt call to "acheinu bnei Yisroel bechol asar ve'asar," a letter in which they ask us all to be partners to this important mitzvah with our contributions, and our generous support of the Keren Hashevi'is which was founded for this sacred purpose.

The amount of lands which lie fallow during shmitta, has grown steadily from shmitta to shmitta, and it has reached unprecedented proportions for the forthcoming shmitta year. All this is the direct result of the fact that the chareidi community has helped and supported these farmers financially, in accordance with the appeals of maranan verabonon the gedolei hador who have determined that those who live in the cities should share this mitzvah with the farmers.

In 5733 (1973), the Nationwide Center for Shmitta Observing Farmers was founded by HaRav Binyomin Mendelsohn, the gaavad of Kommemiyus who, in his ruach, his rulings and efforts to inculcate the idea of shmitta, succeeded in increasing the number of those who meticulously observe shmitta without compromise. Now, after intensive activity which continues until the very last moments of the sixth year, the mitzvah of shemiras shevi'is kehilchoso has gained widespread impetus. All this blessed activity has been directed by HaRav Binyomin Mendelsohn's son, HaRav Menachem Mendelsohn.

Keren Hashevi'is, which is directed by prominent figures from all circles of chareidi Jewry, is the organization which has taken upon itself to serve as the financial arm for subsidizing all of the efforts to spread the idea of shemiras shevi'is kehilchoso among the mitzvah observant farmers. This activity includes supervision and halachic guidance to the farmers, as well as financial support and aid to them.

Keren Hashevi'is is the only fund which encompasses and unites all of the agricultural settlements and all of the farmers who observe shmitta throughout the country. Keren Hashevi'is is also the body which conducts the fund raising appeals on behalf of this mitzvah, and maintains contact with the various institutions. In order to subsidize its explanatory activities and extend financial aid to the thousands of shmitta observing farmers, Keren Hashevi'is requires 13 million dollars.

Gedolei Yisroel Personally Contribute to Keren Hashevi'is

The Keren Hashevi'is received a tremendous boost when maranan verabonon the gedolei hador transferred their contributions to the Keren. The rabbonim who sent their personal contributions -- the very same gedolei Yisroel who signed the urgent appeal to acheinu bnei Yisroel -- are: Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv; HaRav Aharon Leib Steinman, rosh yeshiva of Ge'on Yaakov; the Admor of Vishnitz; the Gerrer Rebbe; HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, the gaavad of Zichron Meir; the Admor of Belz; HaRav Nissim Karelitz, rosh kollel Chazon Ish; HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh LeTze'irim; HaRav Yehuda Shapira, one of the students of the Chazon Ish; HaRav Boruch Rosenberg, rosh yeshiva of Slobodke.

Let us learn from their example.

The Keren has representative offices worldwide. The main office is in Bnei Brak: POB 659, Bnei Brak, 51105 Israel. Generally, the offices of Agudath Israel worldwide serve as collection points for the Keren, and donations may be made through them.


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