As Christians we want to serve God is all the ways He wants us to. Does Judaism call on us to observe the Shemitah year by obstaining from our farming and gardening? What about cutting fire wood for heat? Is there anything else Shemitah-related that we should do? Or is this just for the Jewish people who worship God?

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    Hi Dorothy and welcome to Mi Yodeya. I've made an edit to your question to focus it on what Judaism says about how non-Jews should treat shemita. What you as a Christian should do is presumably informed by factors beyond what Judaism says. (Also, we can't give personal advice; for that you should consult your religious advisor.) Please feel free to make further edits if I've missed your point. Thanks for bringing your question here. Jun 29, 2014 at 2:51

2 Answers 2


I can't answer for Christianity's view on this, but here is the Jewish view: the shmitta year applies solely to Jewish farmers in the land of Israel. So, from a Jewish perspective, as a non-Jew, there is nothing shmitta related you are obligated to do. If you have a farm or garden, even if it is in the land of Israel, Jewish law places no restrictions on your farming with regards to shmitta.

I have lived on a kibbutz farm in Israel during shmitta, and via a Rabbinic strategy pioneered by Rav Kook called heter mechira (permission for selling), Jewish farmers sell their land to non-Jews for the year, because the produce of non-Jews is, according to this leniency, acceptable. (I believe there are some Haredi Jews who do not accept this heter, but I cannot confirm that at the moment) So, if you are in Eretz Yisrael during shmitta and want to be helpful, you could assist Jewish farmers by being a signatory to the legal transfer of the land for the year. (However, Jewish farmers generally don't have trouble selling their land temporarily).

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    See here - brief quote: "However, most haredim do not accept the "heter" and prefer to buy produce from Arab farmers or from abroad during the shmita year." Jun 29, 2014 at 15:17
  • "Jewish farmers sell their land to non-Jews for the year, because the produce of non-Jews is, according to this leniency, acceptable." Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this a way of getting around Yahovah's command? Thanks, Monte
    – user6930
    Aug 27, 2014 at 17:23
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    @MonteBrigance So what?
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2014 at 17:56
  • @alicefine I don't mean to be rude, but that's just incorrect. The law is clear that Jewish owned farms in E"Y are not to be farmed, but God does not want the Jews of E"Y to starve either. Heter Mechira is a good workaround that allows for observance of the mitzvah and also ensures that Israel can have necessary produce.
    – user5540
    Dec 29, 2014 at 7:16
  • @alicefine source?
    – user5540
    Dec 30, 2014 at 7:13

I believe that there is a requirement for the land to lay fallow so "selling" the land or being a proxy to do the opposite would be the wrong way to go if your intention is to perform G-d' s commandment. I would expect that helping to keep the shmita by not farming the land(in Israel) would be the correct way of helping the Jews to keep their commandments. Thank you and G-d bless you and yours. –

גם הרבנים שהתירו כתבו שזה רק בגלל 'שעת הדחק' ו'חורבן הישוב', והיום אין חשש כזה

Also the Rabbis who allowed this ( heter mechira ) wrote that this is only due to great necessity and the possible destruction of the Jewish community, and today there is no such threat.



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