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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Israel: The Seventh Year problem

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/09/israel-seventh-year-problem.html

Today marks the beginning of a Shmita (Sabbatical) year. When the first Jewish settlers returned to the land over a century ago, they were soon faced by the problem of the Shmita - the seventh year in which fields are supposed to lie fallow according to Jewish law.
 
For the farmers of the Bilu, this would have meant starvation, but extremist rabbis insisted on it. A compromise was adopted: a symbolic sale of the land to non-Jews. Now however, orthodox extremists have objected to this arrangement. The chief rabbinate would no longer allow it. In fact, the IDF has been forced to purchase food from the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip!
 
Instead of the chief rabbinate, the controversial rabbi Ovadia Yosef came to the rescue with common sense, and hosted the symbolic "sale." It remains to be seen if the food grown in this way will be certified kosher.
 
Far be it from me to attack someone's religion. If their religion tells them to starve to death, that is their affair. But it seems to me that they have no right to condemn others to that fate. Judaism will not be advanced by forcing people to choose between starvation and apostasy. Certain religions made converts by muliplying loaves and fishes, but I have not heard of any that made converts by forcing people to starve.
 
Ami Isseroff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/09/israel-seventh-year-problem.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

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