For the first time in history, Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael/the National Fund for Israel (KKL) observed the laws of Shmittah on all the lands under its jurisdiction. In practical terms, this meant that, thanks to the orchestration of Eretz HaKodesh, KKL did not rely on a heter mechirah (selling the land), but allowed all its land to remain fallow for the recent Shmittah year. In keeping with these halachos, all the trees on these lands were harvested and the fruits were distributed for free to the public.
As part of this observance of the mitzvos of Shmittah, 10,000 yeshiva students from around the country participated in a massive Eretz HaKodesh-sponsored event at the KKL-owned carob fields as part of the Otzar Bais Din arrangement under the direction of Rav Yosef Efrati. The students were given the opportunity to pick the carobs from the trees, and the carobs were then transported to a factory that made carob cream from them.
All the children at the event participated in a comprehensive agricultural training from bnei Torah instructors, who taught them about the agricultural work in the KKL’s forests and the observance of the mitzvos of Shmittah according to halacha. After that, they enjoyed a fascinating virtual reality presentation prepared by members of Rav Efrati’s bais medrash about the halachos of Shmittah.
The children participated in picking and gathering the carobs, and then in the exciting activities and attractions arranged by the KKL Education Division.
“With siyata diShmaya, we were able to arrange activities with great educational value, as children learned hand-on, in the field, how to observe the mitzvah of Shmittah and to be careful to ensure that all work is done strictly according to halacha,” remarked Rabbi Shmuel Litov, deputy chairman of the KKL on behalf of Eretz HaKodesh. “In addition to learning about the mitzvos hateluyos ba’aretz, the entire family was treated to a day of fun and relaxation.”
These efforts to ensure Shmittah observance is the latest in a string of efforts and undertakings of Eretz HaKodesh to ensure and protect kedushas ha’aretz in Eretz Yisroel.