3500 ISRAELI FARMERS are keeping SHMITAH for Am Yisrael this year – they need and deserve OUR HELP.
Farming the land of Israel is a core Torah and Zionist value:
- For 2000 years of exile, the Jewish People yearned, dreamed and prayed to return to Tzion, to cultivate the land and to fulfill mitzvot hatluyot ba’Aretz – the commandments specific to the land of Israel.
- Israeli farmers are the vanguard of Zionism today, both feeding the nation and maintaining its essential connection to the land. Many are from the religious kibbutz and moshav movements, serve with distinction in the IDF, and view their role as a fulfillment of Religious Zionist ideals.
Shmitah-observance is a pillar of Religious Zionism:
- Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook noted that shmitah – the mitzvah of leaving the land fallow every seventh year – is extremely difficult to observe, and praised those who are able to keep shmitah “k’hilchatah u’ch’ma’amarah” – according to the letter of the Torah commandment, without relying on leniencies that allow one to circumvent the obligation in a halachically permissible way.
- Rav Kook wrote that shmitah is like shabbat for the Jewish people as a whole, and has deep significance for the kind of society the Torah wants us to create. Allowing shmitah to fall into non-observance – even if undertaken in accordance with halacha – comes at the expense of important Torah values.
Shmitah is a mitzvah for the Jewish People as a whole:
- The Torah, in Sefer Vayikra, describes the Jewish People’s flourishing in the land of Israel as intrinsically connected to the mitzvah of shmitah; Chaza”l (the Sages) further elaborate on the significance of shmitah observance to Am Yisrael’s collective worthiness of divine blessing.
- Only a small percentage of Am Yisrael is engaged in farming the land. Israeli farmers who observe shmitah are shlichim (representatives) of klal Yisrael in fulfilling this central religious-national imperative.
Help the farmers observing shmitah for us all:
- Those of us who do not fulfill the mitzvah directly have the responsibility and z’chut (privilege) of participating and partnering in this important mitzvah by helping lessen the financial burden of the farmers in the front lines, who are sacrificing so much on behalf of the Jewish People and our core Torani and Zionist values.
- Israeli farmers need your help; Your generous donation to THE SHMITAH FUND helps pay the minimal expenses necessary to enable Israeli farmers to undertake this heroic sacrifice.
The Shmitah Fund is a 501(c)3 charity organization.