Shemittah: The Jewish Sabbatical Year

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Shemittah: The Jewish Sabbatical Year

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Title: Shemittah: The Jewish Sabbatical Year
Author: Hershman, Lisa
Citation: Shemittah: The Jewish Sabbatical Year (2003 Third Year Paper)
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Abstract: The laws pertaining to the Jewish Sabbatical year are explored. The laws derive from a Biblical commandment to let the land (of Israel) lay fallow every seventh year. The first part of this paper is an exposition of the laws, including the types of agricultural work proscribed and the different prohibitions associated with produce grown during the Sabbatical year. The second part presents an analysis of the controversial “hetter mechira,†the legal device developed by Rabbinic authorities in the 1890s, whereby farmland is sold to a non-Jew to avoid the harsh constraints imposed by observance of the Sabbatical year.
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