Shabbat Parashat Eikev| 5767
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Transferring Saplings in Regard to the Laws of Orlah - Part I - From Chavot Binyamin, siman 1
When one uproots a sapling from a nursery when its roots are surrounded by enough dirt to allow it to live, we consider the tree to be still connected to the ground so that we do not have to count the three years of orlah from the beginning when it is replanted. However, what happens when it is transported in a truck with a metal bottom, which breaks between the earth around the roots and and the ground? This matter was already discussed by Rav Shlomo Zalman Orbach (Kerem Tzion Hashalem, Otzar Pri Hilulim, pp. 47-48). We will refer to his writings and comment upon them.
The tosefta (Orlah 3) says that if a tree was planted in a pot without a hole and was then replanted in a pot with a hole, if it could live, it is obligated in orlah,and if it could not, it is exempt. The Gra has an altered version of the text which implies that even if the tree could have lived in the pot without a hole it is obligated from anew when it is moved into the pot with a hole. Rav Orbach understood that those who do not change the text rule that the fact that it was moved does not affect this element and the exemption is based on the thesis that that which grew in a state of being disconnected from the ground is permanently exempt. [Rav Yisraeli proved at length that the Gra’s version is the only one that makes sense and that it is indeed the version found in old manuscripts. The question is only whether the break causes us to restart the count of three years.]
Regarding removing from and returning to the ground in regard to the laws of Shabbat, the matter hinges on a machloket Rishonim. Reish Lakish (Shabbat 81b) says that one can use a rock upon which grass has grown to wipe oneself after using the facilities. Abaye added that if one moved something growing in a flower pot from the ground to hang from pegs, he is chayav for uprooting. If it was hanging and one placed it on the ground, he is chayav for planting. Rashi and Tosafot (ad loc.) say that “chayav” here must refer to a rabbinical prohibition. Otherwise even the need to wipe himself would not allow one to pick up the rock. If so, we must assume that even when it is suspended in the air, it is still considered connected. This is in contrast to Rava’s suggestion (Gittin 7a) in regard to the obligation of termuot u’ma’asrot that earth in a boat is considered connected to the ground but a flower pot suspended in the air is not.
We can assume that in Reish Lakish’s case, after using the rock, one would return it to the ground. In contrast, in the case of a suspended pot that one put on the ground, he was apparently leaving it there (this is also implied by Tosafot’s comparison to the gemara in Gittin). We see from the Rishonim’s treatment of the matter that had there been a Torah prohibition to remove the rock with grass from the ground, the prohibition would not have been mitigated even if he would have returned it soon thereafter. The temporary change is considered complete even if that which was growing was unaffected in the interim.
Let us consider the Rambam’s (Shabbat 8:4) approach. He writes that one who removes a clump of earth with grass from the ground and hangs it from a peg violates a Torah law. He must understand that the reason Reish Lakish posited there was no Torah violation in removing the rock is that he returns it to the ground. Indeed, the Ohr Zarua (Shabbat, siman 56) cites the Riva who argues with Rashi and says that one who removed the rock with the grass would have violated a Torah prohibition. He says that the reason Reish Lakish allowed it is that it was to be returned. Although it is clear that one who uproots and replants is chayav, it is different when the connection to the ground was weak in the first place. The Ohr Zarua says that he is unsure whether the flower pot is considered weakly connected to the ground, like the rock with grass growing on it or not.
[We will continue from here next week.]
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.
Hemdat Yamim is also dedicated by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z"l.
May their memory be a blessing!