#546 (s5768-36 / 8 Iyar 5768)
The Jewish Agency offcial,
caught up in the enthusiasm of Rabbi Mendelson of Komemiyut, authorized
the planting of an orchard in the moshav.
the year 5712 (1952), the Jewish Agency decided to plant orchards in several settlements
throughout Israel. One of the designated orchards was slated for Moshav Komemiyut
(located in the south, near the city of Kiryat Gat).
The moshav's residents
stipulated one condition: No work was to be done in the orchard during the Shemita
(7th, Sabbatical) year. The Jewish Agency rejected the condition, and the planting
of the orchard was delayed. Though efforts were made over time to come to an agreement,
the issue of Shemita stood like a rock in the negotiators' path. No agreement
In 5718 (1958), the year before a Shemita year, the
rabbi of the moshav, Rabbi Benyamin Mendelson, had a lengthy discussion
with the Jewish Agency administrator in charge of the orchard plantings. Eloquently,
the rabbi explained the significance and the holiness of Shemita, how beloved
it is to the Creator, and how inextricably it is linked to the coming of the Mashiach.
The Jewish Agency official, caught up in Rabbi Mendelson's enthusiasm, authorized
the planting of an orchard in Komemiyut in which all the laws of Shemita would
be faithfully observed, in accordance with the rabbi's instructions.
orchard cost the Jewish Agency about half a million lirot. The Shemita
came in the second year after its planting, when young saplings require constant
care. This care was tendered only with Rabbi Mendelson's permision. Those responsible
at the Jewish Agency warned the rabbi that he was endangering the orchard and
that the entire investment was likely to be lost, but the Rabbi Mendelson was
firm in his faith in the Al-mighty, and in the merit of the mitzvah of the Sabbatical
In the month of Av, near the end of the Shemita year,
the Jewish Agency administrator in charge of the orchards came to see Rabbi Mendelson,
highly excited. He told him that out of the twelve orchards in his care, only
one of them - the one planted in Moshav Komemiyut - observed the laws of the Sabbatical
Year. And this very orchard had flourished more than all the others!
can you explain this?" the man asked wonderingly.
Rabbi Mendelson answered
simply and fervently. "I believe with complete faith that the Holy One --
blessed be He -- created, creates, and will create all creations - including the
orchard. Because we are fulfilling His will, G-d showered His blessing on the
The years of orlah (the initial three years when fruit
may not be eaten) passed. The trees were tended like the trees of other orchards.
The average yearly yield was approximately 700 containers of citrus fruit.
the year before Shemita arrived once again. The Jewish Agency staff could
not believe the report that came in: That year, Moshav Komemiyut's orchard had
yielded more than 2,000 containers of citrus fruit! At first, they suspected a
serious counting error. The figures were checked and re-checked - and were proved
to be accurate. That year's yield was triple that of every other year!
again, they came to Rabbi Mendelson for an explanation. The rabbi smiled, opened
a Chumash Vayikra, and read (Levit. 25:20-21), "If you will say: What
will we eat in the seventh year? - behold! We will not sow and we will not gather
our crop! I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year and it will yield
a crop sufficient for the three years."
The Jewish Agency people,
though distant from Torah observance, needed no further explanation. With their
own eyes, they had witnessed the fulfillment of the Torah's words!
by Yrachmiel Tilles from Stories My Grandfather Told Me (Mesora) by Libby
For another story on Sabbatical
Year miracles at Komemiyut, see story #168 in this series from seven
Another editor's note:
If you are in Israel in
the months before Passover, an expedition to the Komemiyut matza bakery is worthwhile,
even if only to see, and the quality of their hand-made shmurah matza is famous
is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent
Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds
of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages.
48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may
be ordered on our store
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