Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

7 on Seven: Shabbos Queens

Esther Teichtal

It’s Shabbos. Not for one day, but for an entire year, a year of uncertainty, a year of emunah. Four farmers’ wives share the experience of shemittah near the fields — the change of pace, the change of focus. It’s a Shabbos of the Land, and they greet it eagerly.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Erev Rosh Hashanah. The land was shimmering in a soft midafternoon glow as the residents of Kibbutz Sha’alvim made their way to the fields bearing drums and clarinets. Large posters hanging on the fences at the edge of their property proclaimed their land hefker in honor of the nascent shemittah year. The dark brown soil — lying empty and strangely fallow — may have seemed a dismal sight to the onlookers, but the farmers didn’t see it that way. On the contrary, together with the local yeshivah’s student body, they raised their voices in song in honor of the Shabbos about to descend upon the land. “It was a powerful experience,” tells Chemda Oren, wife of Yissachar Oren, director of field produce on the kibbutz for decades. “We were welcoming shemittah! We even sang Lecha Dodi, among other songs — just like Kabbalas Shabbos, but on a grander scale. We plan to repeat this event every shemittah, iy”H.” Tilling the Torah Soil Farmers who observe shemittah often view the seventh year as one protracted Shabbos — a welcome respite from the mundane, which affords them time to devote to spiritual pursuits. In Moshav Vered Yericho, Esther Cohen and her husband Yehuda Shimon will be keeping shemittah a little differently than usual. Traditional Yemenites who have always kept a kosher home, Esther and Yehuda Shimon have been successful citrus and grape farmers since 1981. They had previously observed shemittah by relying on the controversial heter mechirah (sale of land to gentiles) so they could keep farming the land. Over the years, they’ve become more strongly observant and today Yehuda Shimon studies regularly with his chavrusa, allocated to him through Ayelet Hashachar, a community outreach organization. “This year we’ve decided to keep shemittah properly,” says Esther, with pride in her voice. “We’ve decided that it’s either all or nothing.” No tilling the land through a heter mechirah, and not even any work done in partnership with the otzar beis din (a halachic solution accepted across the board). The Cohens are granting their land an uncontestable shemittah experience.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you