Lost Harvest

I’m getting so much spam lately here! I know it’s probably done by robots. Some of them want to advertise their own stuff and I don’t mind that if they leave a compliment, haha, I’m easy going, but those who just leave URLs (undoubtedly mindless bots) will just get marked as spam. Bye bye! They never make it. People using other people’s blogs to advertise is so lame, there are so many other ways to advertise. Ah well enough of that, to my most pressing gripe of the day.

Today I enjoyed delicious figs and the torment of a strange kind of guilt. Over the hill to the north of our neighbourhood, between our neighbourhood and Adam is a vale planted with Jerusalem Sage, at least 100 olive trees, perhaps 20 fig trees as well as sweet almonds, I didn’t even start to count those. They’re on our side of the fence/wall, which means if they belong to someone in Hizmeh (most likely), or A Ram they may be unable to harvest their trees. The almonds and olives aren’t ready yet but the figs are coming into season and they may go to waste.. some are already splitting, exposing themselves to bugs and birds and are useless. If the owners were going to get them they’d have managed by now. I really hope they’re appealing to every authority they can and in a diplomatic way and won’t give up because these are their trees and they should be able to have access to harvest them. We can see what is probably the continuation of their land on the other side of the Ramallah bypass road – there are more olives over there.

We did not wish to be greedy and took fruits that will be useless within a day or two but are ready, and wonderful right now. I made a ‘pri haetz’ and ‘shehechianu’ and enjoyed but part of me really wanted to be able to toss them a few hundred metres to the rightful owners. Alas I have as much access to them as they have to their fruit. This is just not right, I want to find some way to deal with this.

Ironically this is the shmitta year (fallow year) and as far as Jewish law is concerned fruits and vegetables are ‘hefker’, they belong to anyone. There’s no need to tithe this year (which exempted us from any concern about the intricacies of those laws re these fruits esp. those we took home. Of course shmitta does not apply to Arab owned crops and the ownership now is highly debatable. Is this conquest, reconquest, theft? The land is one thing, the trees another. It can get complex. I want to ask Rav Kaganoff a shaila in terms of truma and maaser with these fruits in the future but my immediate concern is the oncoming harvest. All those olive trees are going to be worth a lot, and a significant financial loss if gone to waste.

What’s it going to hurt us if they come through the crossing and pick, even though they’d have to shlep all the way to the checkpoint near ‘Windsurfer hill’ on each side of the fence?  No-one else will claim those olives, I doubt anyone in our neighbourhood knows the first thing about olive farming and most don’t even know they’re there, they’re out of sight unless you go over the hill.

I’m going to see what can be done, I can’t in good conscience leave the situation as it is.

2 Responses to “Lost Harvest”

  1. Matt Hanson says:

    Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson