Monday, 28 July 2014

Afkata Demalka for Shmitat Karkaot

Previously, we looked at the debate over the mechanism by which loans are nullified in the Shmita year. A similar debate exists with regard to Shmitat Karkaot. Rav Rimon presents this debate in his book "הלכה ממקורה: הלכות שביעית" on the page titled "הפקרת האדם או הפקעת המלך". Here he brings two poskim who are split over why fruits of the seventh year are considered ownerless and for all to take.

The Beit Yosef states that the fruits only become ownerless when the owner fulfills the command to relinquish ownership.

כי לא נפטרו פירות שביעית ממעשרות אלא מטעם הפקר וכל שאינו מופקר לא נפטר ממעשרות--שו"ת אבקת רוכל סימן כד

The Mabit, on the other hand, says that the fruits become ownerless automatically by virtue of the fact that they grew in the Shmitta Year.

ישראל שגדר כרמו ולא הפקירה בשנת השמיטה...רחמנא אפקריה לארעיה לעניים ולעשירים ולכך אין שום חיוב במעשר--שו"ת המבי"ט חלק א סימן יא

Same Issue?

So one could certainly claim that these two questions, with regard to Shmitat Ksafim and Shimatat Karkaot respectively, are one and the same. The meta-question is whether the kedusha of Shmitta Year requires us to relinquish these claims on our property(loans and Shmitta fruit), or whether it nullifies them automatically and we are merely commanded to accept the results.

On the other hand, one could argue that the two debates are not dependent on one another. Certainly, when looking at the psukim, the requirement of human involvement sounds more explicit for Shmitat Ksafim, when the lender is commanded “!שמוט”.

וזה דבר השמטה שמוט כל בעל משה ידו אשר ישה ברעהו לא יגש את רעהו ואת אחיו כי קרא שמטה ליהוה--דברים טו ב

Compare this to Shimta Fruit where it sounds like the arrival of the seventh year itself is what nullifies ownership.

והשביעת תשמטנה ונטשתה ואכלו אביני עמך ויתרם תאכל חית השדה כן תעשה לכרמך לזיתך--שמות כג יא

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