The sabbath year (shmita Hebrew: הטימש, literally "release") also called the sabbatical year or shvi'it (Hebrew: תיעיבש, literally "seventh") is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel, and still observed in contemporary Judaism.

During shmita, the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as a preventive measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of shmita produce. All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted.


The prohibition on orlah-fruit (lit. "uncircumcised" fruit) is a command found in the Bible not to eat fruit produced by a tree during the first three years after planting. The Hebrew word orlah literally means "uncircumcised". This meaning is often footnoted in English translations:
Leviticus 19:23 "When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God.”


A heave offering, or terumah (Hebrew: הָמורְּת), plural terumot, is a kind of offering. The word is generally used in the positive sense of an offering to God. The general offering (terumah) or the "great offering" (terumah gedolah) was a portion of the finished grain, wine and oil separated for the Jewish priest prior to the "first
tithe" (maaser rishon) separated for a Levite . Unlike the "first tithe" (maaser rishon), the Torah did not specify any minimum measure for a terumah offering; hence, even one grain of barley could satisfy the requirement to separate terumah. A passage in the Book of Ezekiel suggests that the "great offering" (terumah gedolah) should consist of 1/50 of the owner's grain, wine or oil.

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