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Shabbat Parashat Haazinu| 5763
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The Extension of the Shmitta Year - Excerpts from Chavot Binyamin, siman 9
[Despite of all the complications it threw our way, the important mitzva of Shmitta is hard to part with. We present here a few of the conclusions of a very complex article on the concept of tosefet(the additions to or extension of) the Shmitta year and other holy periods.]
The gemara in Rosh Hashana 9a claims that all Tana’im subscribe to the concept of “mosifin mi’chol al hakodesh” (we add on from the regular days on to the [period] of the holy [days]). R. Akiva learns this from the pasuk, “desist from plowing and harvesting” (Shemot 34:21). He understands that the pasuk refers to Shmitta and that the pasuk is necessary only if it limits plowing before Shmitta and harvesting after it. R. Yishmael applies the pasuk to Shabbat and learns tosefet from a pasuk by Yom Kippur.
After much analysis, one can find two basic approaches to the concept of extending Shmitta according to R. Akiva and R. Yishmael. Rabbeinu Tam (Rosh Hashana 9a) explains as follows. The law of adding on, as found in the aforementioned pasuk, is specific to Shmitta and is limited to plowing and harvesting, which are mentioned explicitly by the pasuk. If the concept had been to extend the sanctity of the Shmitta year, then all of its restrictions would have applied. Thus, one cannot learn from this local precedent to holy days such as Shabbat and Yom Kippur. According to R. Yishmael, the source of tosefet is from Yom Kippur, and it does indeed teach us to extend all aspects of the holiness of the day. However, its practical scope is limited because it lasts but a few moments (see Tosafot, Moed Katan 4a).
Tosafot (Rosh Hashana 9a) and the Rash claim that the Tanaim agree that the holiness of Shmitta is extended forward 30 days, as opposed to the few moments by Shabbat and Yom Kippur. Although the concept of extension is the same in the different instances, the practical application differs. Regarding Shmitta, one can say that a month can be considered an addition to an entire year. Obviously, a single day (such as Shabbat) can only be extended by a much smaller period of time. Another opinion (R. Gamliel) exists, according to which the extension was known through a halacha l’Moshe miSinai (oral tradition) but was limited to the time of the Beit Hamikdash.
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