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The David and Fela Shapell Digitization Project

The Shmitta Controversy: Digitized Historical Documents

Since the renewal of Jewish farming in Eretz Israel in the late 19th century, the question of observing the sabbatical "shmitta" year has been a recurring and unresolved halachic topic. Rabbinic opinions have been, and still are, divided between those who recommend formally selling Jewish owned agricultural lands for a year to non-Jews ("heter ha-mechira") and those who require not working the fields, marketing of alternate non-Jewish produce, and financially supporting the farmers affected.

The Jewish National and University Library Collection includes many broadsides and other original documents relating to this controversy which are presented here (Hebrew).


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