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18
votes
2answers
354 views

Mushrooms in a Vineyard

The bracha on a mushroom is "shehakol" because the Talmud (Berachot 40b) correctly (I think) states that mushrooms do not derive their nutrients from the ground. If a mushroom is growing in a ...
17
votes
6answers
377 views

How do you maximize your aravot's period of freshness?

Every Sukkot any aravot that I start the holiday with tend to get dried up by the end of the holiday, if not to the point of being unfit for service, at least enough to be ugly. What do you do to ...
16
votes
6answers
422 views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
14
votes
1answer
232 views

How did plants survive the Mabul?

Inspired by this answer: As far as I can tell, there is no mention of Noach bringing plants into the ark. Moreover, it appears Noach had nothing to do with the survival of the plants, given that the ...
10
votes
2answers
358 views

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Talmud?

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Gemara by a Rabbi proud of his knowledge? Are magic cucumbers discussed elsewhere? Thanks.
10
votes
3answers
327 views

Halachic status of kamut

Khorasan wheat, often known by one popular brand name thereof, KAMUT®, is an ancient grain that is related to modern-day wheat, but has a number of differences. Does it have the halachic status of ...
10
votes
2answers
688 views

How do Etrogs grow, pitom-up, or pitom-down?

I've done a bit of research here, but I still have some questions. To start with, for anyone who isn't familiar with this, we can't say the brucha for lulav & etrog after completing the mitzvah, ...
10
votes
1answer
206 views

Are plants that exhibit rapid plant movement considered non-Kosher animals?

There is a question here asking if sea sponges are Kosher. The answers seem to center around the idea that regardless of if they have animal cells, a halachic classification might depend on how it ...
9
votes
1answer
124 views

Animals vs. plants: kashrus

Why did God make all plants, but only some animals, kosher? Sources, please.
9
votes
2answers
75 views

Can you use algae, water plants (e.g. water lillies), hydroponics or fungi for schach?

My understanding is that schach must be from a plant that specifically grows from the ground. If this is not so, would there be any problems using: algae / seaweed / water lilies / swamp scum - ...
8
votes
1answer
167 views

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter?

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter? Does it make a difference whether it is a non-kosher animal (e.g. pig), vs. a kosher animal? Does it make a difference whether the ...
8
votes
1answer
191 views

Which modern-day fruits require Shehechiyanu?

According to my understanding (and please, correct me if I'm wrong), the Bracha of Shehechiyanu (שהחינו) on fruits [and some vegetables?] is recited the first time one partakes of a particular ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

At my great-uncle's funeral today, all of the participants (except the mourners) were told to rip out a blade of grass and say a passuk (I don't remember which). Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what ...
7
votes
3answers
112 views

Why do we put out greenery on Shavuos?

Those that have the Minhag to put out greenery in the Shul on Shavuos, why do we do it?
7
votes
2answers
161 views

Does kashrut depend on peah, leket, etc?

I understand that if a crop in the Land of Israel does not have the trumot and maaserot properly separated, then the produce is tevel and cannot be eaten (until it is done). But that made me think of ...
7
votes
1answer
105 views

Hadas at weddings and Brit Milah

Why do Sefardim place Hadas by the Huppah and Kise Eliyahu by weddings and brit milah respectively?
6
votes
1answer
154 views

Plants before the Sun in the Order of Creation

Why does plant life precede the Sun in the order of creation given that plants need the Sun to do photosynthesis?
6
votes
2answers
97 views

How long does soil need to last?

If you move a tree with its soil, it's considered replanted (so the rules of orla kick in) unless it can live off of the soil you're moving it with. (Source.) Clearly "if it can live" doesn't mean "if ...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

May one “use the facilities” outdoors on shabbat?

May one urinate on the lawn on shabbat, or is that forbidden the same way that watering it is forbidden? What about defecation? Feces may or may not contain nutrients that are beneficial to the soil ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

When is one allowed to eat a fruit from Eretz Yisroel without giving trumah?

When is one allowed to eat a fruit from Eretz Yisroel without giving trumah? When I was in Israel we picked pomegranates directly off the trees and eat them. I was told this was okay because it had ...
6
votes
3answers
225 views

Orla: are the leaves of the plant included in the prohibition?

I have recently planted a grape vine. The nursery insists that it is at least 1 year old (and the size of the plant suggests no less than 2 years old). It was planted with it's roots entirely ...
6
votes
1answer
80 views

How to collect Bikurim practically?

So we know that Bikurim was collected by tying a reed to the first fruit of a particular field when it would be found budding. We also know that Chazal say to give one 60th of one's produce as ...
6
votes
2answers
347 views

Why is bamboo kosher for schach?

Why is bamboo kosher for schach? I know everyone uses them, but one should not use anything like planed wood which is used for building or straw for thatching roofs. I understand that certain bamboo ...
6
votes
1answer
54 views

Why can't a minor's rights to eat while harvesting crops be waived?

The Torah grants workers who are harvesting a field to consume some of it while on the job. The Mishna in Bava Metzia (7:6) points out that a worker can waive his Biblically-granted rights, and make ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

Are there any halachic issues with cut flowers grown in Israel?

Produce grown in Israel is subject to many additional agricultural laws (shemita, terumah, maaser, etc.). Thus occasionally there are alerts about bell peppers, etc. for sale in American supermarkets ...
5
votes
1answer
60 views

Obtaining the 7 Species in the U.S

Often on T"u BiSh'vat people like to eat members of the shiv'as haminim - the Seven Species by which the Land of Israel is praised. Some of them, such as grapes and dates, are easy enough to come ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

What bracha would the fruit of a parasitic plant be? (Or the plant itself.)

Parasitic plants do not grow in the ground, instead they grow on other plants. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_plant List of examples: http://www.parasiticplants.siu.edu/ParasiteFood.html ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

Birchas Ilanos on Fig Trees

Can one say Birchas Ilanos on a fig tree?
4
votes
1answer
116 views

Feeding a dependent plant on shabbos

Suppose someone keeps a plant that must be watered daily in order for it to survive. May that person water the plant on Shabbat? Note that this is definitely allowed and even required for pet animals ...
4
votes
1answer
578 views

What would be an example of permitted vs prohibited cross-grafting with fruit trees?

I haven't studied Tractate Kilayim. I know you can't plant grapes with wheat. What about, say: Jazz apple = Royal Gala apple X Braeburn apple ? Nectarine = Peach X Plum ? Nectaplum = Nectarine X ...
4
votes
2answers
89 views

Cutting down fruit tree not worth its upkeep

There's a general prohibition to cut down fruit trees (see this question), based on 'bal tashchis'. Would the prohibition apply even to fruit trees that are expensive to maintain (and do not produce ...
4
votes
3answers
117 views

Green pretty shavuot?

Why is there a custom to hang up flowers and growing green things on shavuot?
4
votes
1answer
62 views

How to grow your own aravos

On Sukkos, Jews are commanded to take the four species, among them the "ערבי נחל" or "willow branches," commonly referred to as ערבות aravos. How might one go about growing them himself, at home? (I ...
4
votes
2answers
191 views

May one put cut flowers in a vase of water on Chol HaMoed?

I know certain agricultural activities are prohibited on Chol HaMoed -- it's not the recommended time to do gardening or lawn-mowing (if there's sudden pressing need, talk with your rabbi). What about ...
4
votes
2answers
126 views

Why did Noach plant a vineyard?

The first mention the torah makes of wine and vineyards is in Gen 9:20-21, when Noach plants a vineyard and then gets drunk on wine after the flood. What prompted him to plant a vineyard as, ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

Should one say the blessing “borei minei besamim” on essential oils made exclusively from plant extracts?

Essential oils are useful for smooth skin and massage as well as aromatherapy. For those unfamiliar with what it is, please refer to this Article about essential oils. It is made primarily from ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

What is the earliest source mentioning that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?

What is the earliest source mentioning the Minhag that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?
4
votes
0answers
25 views

*Tzomeach* (צוֹמֵחַ) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as tzomeach, animal, bird, or fish, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew cud ...
4
votes
1answer
193 views

Can one test God with Shmita?

In Vayikra 25: 20-22 (below) God says that he will guarantee a bountiful harvest if the Shmita is observed. Unlike other promises of spiritual reward, this one is easily quantifiable with observable ...
4
votes
2answers
197 views

Why don't we distribute Ma'aser Rishon or Ma'aser 'Ani nowadays?

Produce grown in the Land of Israel has to have Teruma, two of three different kinds of Ma'aser, and Terumat Ma'aser removed, as described in this OU Kosher article. Of these five separations, three - ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Time-Set Irrigation for Shmita?

On Shmita one is not allowed to work the land (in Israel). Would it be permissible to set up on a timer (or a more sophisticated version) an irrigation system that waters the land and gives it the ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

What species of esrog do people use?

I know Lubavitchers are makpid to use only Esrogim from Genoa (if not grown there, at least that species). What do other communities use? Does anyone still use Korfu?
3
votes
1answer
43 views

Giving ma'aser to a kohen

When one separates the "first tithe", which needs to be given to a ben Levi, may he give it to a kohen instead on the grounds that he is of Levi lineage? Would this at least work b'di'avad to relieve ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Kilayim in Chutz la'eretz

What is the din with regards to kilei hayerek in chutz la'eretz? I see that many people have gardens in their backyards with vegetables right next to each other of different types.
3
votes
2answers
44 views

Peah on a circular field

If a farmer's field was perfectly circular and had no corners, how would peah be designated? Would it be exempt from peah? Would he designate the outer ring as peah?
3
votes
2answers
141 views

Plants growing out of the Kotel

Is there a special status awarded to the plants (shrubs?) growing out of the Kotel? Why don't they get rid of them, as their roots obviously have deleterious effects on the wall?
3
votes
1answer
101 views

Which plants are most suitable for sukkah roofing?

In South Africa palm branches are very popular as schach because they stay green for long and cover a lot of space per branch. Many palm branch sellers advertise around sukkot time, and every year the ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Rashi to Devarim 11 (11). In what way is mountain land superior to the land of the plain?

Rashi on Devarim 11 (11) "But the land, to which you pass to possess, is a land of mountains and valleys and absorbs water from the rains of heaven” says The mountain land is superior to the land ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Where on the date palm tree does the lulav come from?

Having looked at a number of date palms I cannot seem to locate where the closed fronds (lulav) on the date palms actually are. The majority of fronds that are visible on a date palm have ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Black Aravos on Succos

I have noticed some people using arovos which turned completely black towards the end of Yom Tov. When discussing arovos, the halacha mentions the importance of the green color, since it shows that it ...