The Ksav Sofer says about the owner making his produce ownerless in the 7th year,

ואם אז יפקיר הכל שיהי׳ העני שוה לו ליטול כל מה שירצה אין לו ואהבה לרעך יותר מזה

If a person makes his produce ownerless so that the poor person can take whatever he wants, there is no greater “love your neighbour as yourself” than this.

Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein Dimensions in Chumash, Parshas Behar points out that Shemittah takes the concept of giver and receiver out of the act of kindness between people. (The land becomes hefker).

If there is no giver, it seems to me that Shemittah must be a mitzvah bein odom laMokom.

What is the right way to think about Shemittah? Is it essentially a mitzvah bein odom laMokom or bein odom lechaveiro?

  • 3
    Does it have to be only exactly one of those?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 18:40
  • Can't this be asked about any mitzvah of chessed and tzedaka? Are we doing and giving because we feel for the individual, or because Hashem said to. (Reb Moshe said it's a combination of both)
    – user6591
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 19:03
  • @DoubleAA עבירות שבין אדם למקום, יום הכיפורים מכפר. עבירות שבין אדם לחבירו, אין יום הכיפורים מכפר, עד שירצה את חבירו (Yoma 8:9). It seems that there are exactly two options, with a practical distinction depending on which one it is
    – b a
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 19:36
  • 1
    @ba why can't something be both with eachs chumra
    – Double AA
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 19:40
  • A related question would ask whether the land becomes hefker independent of the actions of the owner or whether the owner has to declare it hefker. Commented May 17, 2020 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


Not 100% excluding the possibility that shemittas karka, letting one's land be ownerless, is considered an interpersonal mitzvah (you show the Kesav Sofer seems to think so), I'd like to share that it would seem to be Rav Saadiah Gaon's opinion that this mitzvah is between Man and G-d.

In his Azharos based on the Ten Commandments, he classifies the 613 mitzvos into each of the Ten Commandments. In the mitzvah of זכור (Shabbos), he writes:

שפתים והפרורים תשמט בשביעית ספיחיה ונזיריה לא תגדור

Rav Yerucham Fishel Perla explains this to be referring to the mitzvah of shemittas karka. I believe the consensus is that Shabbos is between Man and G-d. It would seem then that Rav Saadiah Gaon understands this mitzvah to be as well.

Although perhaps you could argue the other mitzvos of shemittah clearly have a connection to Shabbos, and he grouped this one together with them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .