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Practical Applications of Kedushas Sheviis

Rav Avrohom Yeshaya Cohen, Rosh Kollel of Kollel Ohel Yitzchok and Posek at The Bais HaVaad

Question: What is kedushas sheviis and what are its practical applications?

Answer: Kedushas sheviis means that anything that grew during shemittah in a permissible way – without any transgression of the prohibition to work or guard the land – is permitted to be consumed, but it does possess kedusha and must be treated in a respectful way.

The Gemara says that such produce is permitted to eat, but not to be destroyed. Furthermore, it can only be eaten in the normal manner. If something is normally eaten raw, it can only be eaten raw. If something is normally eaten cooked, it may only be eaten cooked. For example, potatoes are normally eaten cooked. If someone wants to eat a raw potato, he would not be allowed to do so.

Since this produce may not be destroyed, it may not be placed in the regular garbage together with other waste, as this will cause it to decompose quicker. For this reason,many people in Eretz Yisroel have a special garbage container for produce with kedushas sheviis, where the fruits and vegetables can decompose on their own.

Another interesting application of this halacha relates to the widespread custom to pour out a bit of wine during havdallah as a segulah for parnassah. It is forbidden to do this with wine that has kedushas sheviis, as this would be wasting and destroying the wine. Similarly, there  is a common custom to pour out a little wine during the Pesach Seder when reciting the Ten Makkos. This, too, would be prohibited with wine that has kedushas sheviis. 

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