11 Av 5774
(Hat tip Yeshiva World News)
Gedolim and Farmers Alike See Protection in Shmittah as Rockets Rain Above
...Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, minced no words as to what is the true “Protective Edge” for the residents of Israel. “Chazal teach us that galus comes due to not observing Shmittah, and the horrors of this war are a result of this galus,” Rav Chaim said. “The remedy is to keep Shmittah and support those who do so. That is the protection that has the power to save us.”
On the frontier of this perilous battle stand the over 3,000 Keren Hashviis farmers, by far the largest group of uncompromising Shmittah observant farmers the Jewish people has had in memory. At a special Keren Hashviis gathering earlier this month, Rav Dovid Cohen, shlit”a, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron, offered the assembled farmers words of gratitude on behalf of the entire Nation. “It is not planes or tanks that are keeping us here in Eretz Yisroel,” he said. “You are…In the merit of keeping Shmittah, Hashem will help us.”
...On July 8th, the eyes of the IDF, Israeli government and world media were on Kibbutz Zikim, a farming community near the Israel-Gaza border. In a virtually unprecedented brazen operation, five well trained, heavily armed Hamas terrorists infiltrated the area by sea, bent on wreaking maximum destruction. Thankfully, this incident, which brought the entire region to a virtual standstill, ended well. The terrorists were detected in time, and were all eliminated by IDF forces before they could inflict any damage.
One unassuming resident of Kibbutz Zikim is a silver haired vegetable farmer named Avrohom ben-Hamu. A member of the Keren Hashviis network, Avrohom is looking forward to keeping his first Shmittah ever in 5775. Face to face with this reality for the first time, the former Gush Katif resident is not only not dreadful, but is convinced his mitzvah is what protected him and others in the area when the suicidal terrorists were at their doorstep. “I’m moved, lo pashut,” he says.
After the Hamas incident, Avrohom walked around his vast farm, which produces 5 million Shekel in sales a year, with no dread that he’s about to abandon it all. Pointing towards the white roof of one of his hothouses, he states, “Here I have one roof, and above it another roof, but above it all is the borei olam watching over us. You and I – all of us – receive the beracha associated with mitzvas Shmittah.”