Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
A Container For Shemita - Pach Shemita

by Devora Piha

The Shemita container has taken its place in the kitchen, either on the kitchen counter or humbly on the floor alongside the kitchen garbage receptacle. Enhance and advertise its noble purpose with the following homemade Shemita containers and decorations. This should help bring out your children's interest in the topic of the seventh year produce and the mitzva of letting the land rest. For all that grows in the land of Eretz Yisroel in the seventh year is holy.


You may want to make two of these - one for today's discarded produce and one for the previous few days.

The different materials and techniques used with the decorated containers each present the children with a skill that can be applied to other arts and crafts learning projects: lacing, cutting, stenciling etc.


Write "SEVENTH YEAR PRODUCE" or Hebrew equivalent in freehand large letters. Use a stencil or washable fabric paint on cardboard. Waterpoof it with a few coats of clear acrylic spray or Scotchguard on both sides, or stiff plastic board. Make a sign large enough to stand out. Attach sweater guards, a chain (can be made from paper clips), clothespins or string at both ends to the top two corners of the poster and place on a cereal box or other empty food container.


The simplest method is to remove the top of a stiff cereal box or food container, line with a disposable garbage bag. Attach cardboard sign. When the container is full and the produce is ready to be discarded, remove the sign and discard the entire box and its contents. Use the same sign and chain again on the next cereal box.


Use your own or collect from the neighborhood ice cream shop. Cover outside surface with paper cut to size or decorate with cut and glued-on pictures of fruits and vegetables from construction paper, cutouts from school handouts, food advertisements, labels from cans and packages or drawn by hand. Use like the cereal box and insert plastic bag.

LARGE OLIVE TINS - Alternate Ideas

Use economy or commercial size olive tins or discarded empty large food tin from your last simcha, grocer, local caterer or restaurant. Remove top and wash well. Cover with colorful contact washable stick-on-paper. Draw free hand with permanent markers all the types of vegetables, fruits and grains that grow in Eretz Yisroel. Outline each with a black marker.

Choose paper cut outs and cover with clear self adhesive contact paper.

Cover tin with a piece of vinyl or oilcloth tablecloth that has pictures of fruits and vegetables on it. Buy a small piece from a roll in hardware and household goods shop or cut off an end from last year's tablecloth and glue on.

Cover tin with indoor-outdoor washable carpet. Use remnants from newly carpeted buildings or ask for remnant from a floor covering shop. Attach a Pach Shemita sign on the front of the tin can and attach a discarded matching leather or vinyl belt to the sides of the sign and around the back of the can. Cut belt to fit around can, remove buckle, glue halfway up and around can, leaving opening for sign. Attach sign with glue over end tips of belt. Or use a piece of matching cord, decorating string or rope.


Use stiff plastic, corrugated or plastic rubber sheets (locally called `sole', found in school crafts or office supply stores). Cut four equal rectangular (7" x 11") pieces of this sheeting plus one square (6" x 6") piece for the bottom of the container. Punch or poke holes along the edges of all sides and lace together with plastic string or yarn to form a container. This is also a good lesson in sewing and lacing for small children. Line with plastic bags.


Dress up the wastebasket by stenciling on the words with lettering stencil. Use with spray paint in two very light coats applied in short `puffs'. Or use a short, stiff bristle stencil brush with paint that adheres to plastic, such as acrylic or other craft type. Use fast drying, water based paints that dry waterproof. Do a practice trial run on a sheet of paper to get the right pressure and spray of paint. With a ruler, mark and space the letters. Make sure the stencil lies flat. Use masking tape if needed. Remove tape immediately. Write Pach Shemita or "Produce from the Seventh Year." Be sure to use a contrasting color or a color that stands out from the color of the container. Add stencils or paintings of fruits or vegetables if desired.

[Devora Piha is available for creative art classes for children to be organized in your neighborhood. Tel. 02- 9931592.


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