Come Mr. Rabbi Man, Matir Me Bananas


Is a banana a yerek for shemittah in terms of basar lekita and in terms of issur sefichim? What about an avocado?


Bananas are not included in the issur of sefichim since they will grow on the plant even after some are harvested. In this sense they are more similar to the fruit of a tree, and the reason for sefichim is not applicable. Furthermore, it takes over a year for a newly planted banana plant to produce fruit. The reason for gezeiras sefichim is to prevent people from trying to get produce quickly during the shemittah year when it is scarce. If it takes over a year anyway, there is less incentive to violate shemittah and hence no gezeiroh.

Nevertheless, kedushas shevi’is applies as of the time a banana is picked, as with a yerek (Derech Emuna 4:85).

Avocados are fruit and are not included in the gezeiroh of sefichim. Kedushas shevi’is applies after chanotoh.

Another plant that is not included in the prohibition of sefichim is horseradish (charein), which is needed in large quantities for the seder. It is not a problem during shemittoh because some of the plant remains and continues to grow even after part of the root has been pulled from the ground.[1]

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