TEL AVIV — When Rosh Hashanah comes later this month, Israel’s Jewish farmers won’t just be celebrating the start of a new year. They’ll be marking a year in which they are prohibited from doing their jobs.
Called Shmita, the Torah-mandated, yearlong farming hiatus is felt across Israel, affecting its fields, supermarkets and, of course, its politics.
The genesis of Shmita is Exodus, which commands the Israelites, “Plant your land and gather its produce for six years. But on the seventh let it lie fallow and it will rest...”
Other biblical mandates prohibit planting, trimming or harvesting crops during Shmita, amounting to a total prohibition on farming.