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 measures i.e. quality and quantity of produce.

Can, ought, and how should this guarantee be tested to probe this matter?

20. And if you should say, "What will we eat in the seventh year? We will not sow, and we will not gather in our produce!" כ. וְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע וְלֹא נֶאֱסֹף אֶת תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ׃
21. [Know then, that] I will command My blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will yield produce for three years. כא. וְצִוִּיתִי אֶת בִּרְכָתִי לָכֶם בַּשָּׁנָה הַשִּׁשִּׁית וְעָשָׂת אֶת הַתְּבוּאָה לִשְׁלשׁ הַשָּׁנִים׃
22. And you will sow in the eighth year, while [still] eating from the old crops until the ninth year; until the arrival of its crop, you will eat the old [crop].

  • koltorah.org/ravj/shmittah5761-2.htm
    – Yishai
    Feb 14 '14 at 17:34
  • @Yishai, so based on this article, what is your answer? Feb 14 '14 at 17:51
  • It questions the premise of the question. If the whole obligation is rabbinic, the expected result of the experiment may be different.
    – Yishai
    Feb 14 '14 at 17:52
  • so say so! That is an answer! Feb 14 '14 at 18:03
  • So does God not reward (or punish) Rabbinic extensions of mitzvas as actual mitzvas? Feb 14 '14 at 18:05

Regarding "ought it be used":

R' Zushya of Anipoli says that it displays a lack in trust in Hashem as a Father to worry that He would command us to not plant and then not provide for us. (He writes that if we wouldn't ask, there would be plenty without a specific blessing from Hashem (I don't claim to know how that works).)

I once heard a parsha shiur from Rav Moshe Stav in which he said that if we would have the trust and wouldn't ask, then there would be an even bigger miracle that the little food we had would be more potent and fill us up. So by asking, we would create more work for ourselves, as we would need to harvest the regular full amount in order to have a regular amount of food, whereas without asking we wouldn't need to do a normal harvest, and would be satiated with the little that grew.

  • Ok. so let it display a lack of trust. Perhaps an experiment of this nature can be used to silence skeptics and reduce their anti-kiriv efforts Feb 16 '14 at 2:39
  • @ClintEastwood I'm not sure if you can fake distrusting G-d. I think He might figure it out. And if you actually don't trust Him, well, that's the problem. Either way, I think the skeptics could try it themselves if they wanted to. I don't know why you would need to go out of your way to be skeptical. Feb 16 '14 at 2:54
  • So if a skeptic wanted to try it, how would he go about it? Feb 16 '14 at 3:52
  • @ClintEastwood I assume he would wait until a shemitta year, not plant anything, and then ask Hashem what he is going to eat. I don't know if he has to wait until then to ask, truth be told. Feb 16 '14 at 3:56
  • No. He would have to get his skeptic friends and give them each equivalent fields in Eretz Yisroel. Half will keep shemmita, the other half won't but all will keep other agricultural laws. The remaining part of the question is, what would the result have to be to confirm God's guarantee? Feb 16 '14 at 4:00

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