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We all know that fruits of a new tree are prohibited to enjoy from, during first 3 years. Is enjoying the fruits must be physical like: eating or burning (as "השורף קליפי עורלה") or also not physical like looking?

I'm asking because in Israel sometimes Kumquats (small decorative citrus trees with fruits) are placed near entrances to building or other places, for beauty. And enjoyment from such a thing is by looking at the tree, and also by looking at its fruits. The fruits are not intended to be eaten from such a tree. However, in case looking itself is prohibited, one should avoid looking at them (or at least avoid enjoying from looking at them) until the tree would be old enough.

P.S. Once, I've heard from someone this is prohibited, but that was a speculation. So I'm searching for some sources about this issue. Thanks is advance.

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Does anyone actually go collect and eat the kumquats or is it purely decorative? –  Double AA Feb 27 '12 at 20:36
    
One can plant them at home for eating (and I know people that are doing so), but it is not likely that someone would start to collect and eat kumquats that are planted for decoration near main entrance of a building. At least I haven't seen somebody doing so. –  jutky Feb 27 '12 at 20:48
    
I know they can be eaten. My point is that if the trees are not planted for their fruit, then the laws of orlah don't apply! Problem solved. –  Double AA Feb 27 '12 at 20:49
    
They are planted for their fruit. Because a tree with fruits is more beautiful than a simple bush. I'll edit the question to reflect that. –  jutky Feb 27 '12 at 20:52
    
I meant planted for their fruit to mean planted for the purpose of eating their fruit. "לצורך אכילה". See Shulchan Aruch YD 294:23. Your question is still a question in the general case. I'm just commenting on your specific case. –  Double AA Feb 27 '12 at 21:01
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

After CYLORing this, the answer I got is:

If the tree is planted exclusively for beauty - there is no problem to enjoy from the fruits during first 3 years, and even to eat them.

If the tree is planted also for eating the fruits - it is forbidden to enjoy from the fruits, even from observing (להתבונן) their beauty. However, there is no problem just to look (להסתכל) at the tree.

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In most Halachic cases, we say that Mitzvoth are violated only if there is a Ma'aseh - an action. However, this article asks the very question you ask, with regard to aesthetic trees, but it does not give an answer (because the "tree" in his case was not a Halachic one). In fact, he implies both that the prohibition is strictly on eating the fruit, and that the eating-leniency doesn't apply if the tree is clearly planted purely for the beauty of the fruits themselves.

From what I've been able to learn about kumquats in a short search on the internet, it seems that:

They do not begin to sprout fruit for the first 2 years at least.
Also, they do not do well when planted as seeds, hence it is quite common to plant seedlings (same article as above).

As such, if one were to plant a kumquat seedling with sufficient soil, it is not considered truly planting a new tree at all, and one can count from when the parent tree was planted.

CYLOR to determine what to do in your case, but I think there is at least a decent chance that you are fine (barring someone else finding a more direct source that rules otherwise). But definitely, definitely CYLOR.

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Sure I'll CYLOR about this. I just want to check if are sources that explicitly discuss the topic. –  jutky Feb 27 '12 at 21:17
    
"that the eating-leniency doesn't apply if the tree is clearly planted purely for the beauty of the fruits themselves.": It seems to me that he says the inverse, that the eating leniency only applies when the tree is clearly not planted for eating the fruit. I don't know the specific situation in question, but depending on how the trees are planted near the entrances, it might be clear that they are not for food. The yerushalmi there is talking about some sort of tree-garden which might be mistaken for an orchard (כנלע"ד) –  Double AA Feb 27 '12 at 23:03
    
@doubleaa He inexplicably leaves it to the reader to decide! –  Seth J Feb 27 '12 at 23:49
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