The reason for shmitta is similar to shabbos and is even called "shabbos" so why do we have it only in Israel? We keep shabbos everywhere. Unlike other mitsvot depending on the 'land' they are for 'growing' things in Israel. Like keeping trumot or kilaim. This mitsva is the opposite, its for not growing. So it shouldnt have anything to do with kedusha of the land.

  • I've removed some comments here. Comments are for seeking clarification or improvement of the question, or adding minor information related to the question.
    – msh210
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


The Mishnah in Kiddushin states that most land-dependent mitzvos only apply in Israel. The gemara quotes a beraysa to show that

  1. Non-land Mitzvos (חובת הגוף) apply outside Israel.
  2. Land-based mitzvos only apply in Israel.

Halachically, Shabbos applies everywhere since it is חובת הגוף. Shemitah is a shabbos for land, so it just applies in Israel. Hashkafically one can give many different reasons why land-based mitzvos don't apply in chutz l'aretz, e.g:

The Mitzvos of the land are because of the special connection to the land and wouldn't make sense elsewhere. One could also say Mitzvos only apply to something 'holy' (either the person or the land). Outside Israel, the Jews aren't attached to the land enough for the mitzvos to 'kick in'.

(See also the Ramban and Sifri on how the 'true' fulfillment of all mitzvos is in Israel, though I'm not sure it helps answer this question.)


Devarim 12:1

אֵלֶּה הַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְרוּן לַעֲשׂוֹת בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְ.ה.וָ.ה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֶיךָ לְךָ לְרִשְׁתָּהּ כָּל הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם חַיִּים עַל הָאֲדָמָה: {ב} אַבֵּד תְּאַבְּדוּן אֶת כָּל הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ שָׁם הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יֹרְשִׁים אֹתָם אֶת אֱלֹהֵיהֶם עַל הֶהָרִים הָרָמִים וְעַל הַגְּבָעוֹת וְתַחַת כָּל עֵץ רַעֲנָן:‏

Mishnah Kiddushin:

כל מצוה שהיא תלויה בארץ אינה נוהגת אלא בארץ ושאינה תלויה בארץ נוהגת בין בארץ בין בחוצה לארץ חוץ מן הערלה וכלאים ר''א אומר אף החדש:‏

Kiddushin 37:

"אלה החוקים"- אלו המדרשות, "והמשפטים"- אלו הדינים, "אשר תשמרון"- זו משנה, "לעשות"- זו מעשה, "בארץ"- יכול כל המצות כולן לא יהו נוהגים אלא בארץ ת''ל "כל הימים אשר אתם חיים על האדמה". אי "כל הימים" יכול יהו נוהגים בין בארץ בין בח''ל ת''ל "בארץ" אחר שריבה הכתוב ומיעט צא ולמד ממה שאמור בענין {דברים יב-ב} אבד תאבדון את כל המקומות אשר עבדו שם וגו' מה עבודת כוכבים מיוחדת שהיא חובת הגוף ונוהגת בין בארץ בין בחוץ לארץ אף כל שהיא חובת הגוף נוהגת בין בארץ בין בח''ל:‏

  • I have edited the question to make it understood better and therefore this doesnt answer the question as it is now put.NOT working the land is more like a choivas gavro.
    – expern
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 4:14
  • @expern Shmitta fruit have Kedushat Sheviit deriving from a Mitzvat Aseh (per the Ramban) of לאכלה ולא לשכרה.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 4:30
  • @expern, showing that your assumption is incorrect does not make this a bad answer; this still answers the question.
    – Seth J
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 5:57
  • ok so the shmitta fruit should be only in Israel.That is only because one cant stop fruit growing so no choice, better than throwing it all away. But the rest of shmitta should be in the whole world. What assumption do you consider mine. That a negative command of not working the land is considered similar to a choivas gavro.
    – expern
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 8:58
  • According to your theory then one should grow things in shmitta and keep them holy. Since this is not the case my theory must be correct that it is because we have no choice.
    – expern
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 9:01

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