Moving Potted Plants


We have a potted plant in our house that my wife wants to take to her office. Are there any shemitta-related pitfalls that we should beware of during transit?


There are three main opinions on the matter.

  1. The Chazon Ish forbids transporting a plant from one building to another since it will pass over the ground in the process. Bringing it from a covered area to an uncovered area or from an upper floor to ground level might constitute “planting” during shevi’is. Taking it from the outside ground level into a building is considered diminishing its source of nutrients and consequently “uprooting.”[1]
  2. Rav Elyashiv advises creating a chatzizoh (halachic partition) between the plant and the ground and then transporting it. Thus, you can put the potted plant in a large, hard-plastic container so that all parts of the plant are covered. Alternatively, you may place the plant on a metal or hard-plastic tray so that none of the branches or leaves are directly over the ground and transport it that way.[2]

The Chazon apparently rejects this suggestion since it is a temporary separation and insignificant.[3]

  1. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach permitted transporting the plant. As long as the purpose of moving the plant is not to improve its nourishment, it is permitted. Since your stated intent is to have the plant at the second location, it is permitted without a chatzizoh.[4]

One may rely on the lenient opinion; however, if possible it is advisable to resolve the issue by putting the entire potted plant into a large garbage can and transporting it that way. This conforms to the stringencies of the second opinion mentioned.

BookID: Chapter:

[1] עיין דרך אמונה פ''א משמיטה ויובל בציון ההלכה ס''ק ק''י שמצטט הגר''ח קנייבסקי שליט''א דין זה בשם החזו''א.

[2] שם ברמז בשם חמיו ובחוברת הליכות שדה גליון 84-85 עמוד 26.

[3] אף אם מכניס העציץ בפח והענפים בכדי להעבירו ממקום למקום הוי הכיסוי כאהל עראי דלאו כלום הוא.

[4] עיין מנחת שלמה ח''א סימן מ''א, חוברת הליכות שדה גליון 48 עמוד 26 וע''ע מעדני ארץ בקובץ הערות סימן ה' אות ג', וחזר בו מזה.

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