Good morning, everyone! As you know, I just finished celebrating Rosh Hashana, or Yom Teruah (the Biblical name), which is the beginning of a new year. What you may not know, is that this Rosh Hashana marked the end of a very special year – the Shemittah. And that is the reason for today’s post.
What is the shemittah, you ask? It is a sabbath of years. Every seven years, there is a shemittah year – a year of release (the meaning of shemittah). During the shemittah year which ended September 13, 2015, debts between Jewish debtors and creditors were released, and the land in Israel lay fallow.
Yes, you read that correctly. For one entire year, every seventh year, farmers and gardeners in Israel do not plant or cultivate the land. (Read Leviticus 25:3-6 for the Lord’s instruction on that.) If anything does happen to grow in the fields (think self-sown), then the farmer is not entitled to it by himself. Whatever grows of its own accord is available for anyone who wants it. (Before you get too shocked, the Lord did promise in Scripture that He would doubly bless the sixth year to provide food for everyone to last through the fallow season and then further, until the next harvest.)
So, because this past year was a shemittah, not a single seed has been sown nor a single tree planted in Israel for the past twelve months. No fields have been cultivated and no crops have been harvested. Can you imagine that??
Well, that all ended this Rosh Hashana. As of yesterday, farmers, husbandmen, and gardeners were free to start planting and farming again. (Oh, happy days!) And that’s where we can help.
A wonderful organization called Israel Trees helps plant fruit trees in Israel. With donations from people around the globe, this organization helps Israeli farmers plant trees and reclaim the desert, which is literally bringing to pass the prophecy in Isaiah 35:1-2, that the desert will blossom as the rose.
With a reasonable donation (tax deductible in the United States), you can plant a fruit tree of your choice in Israel. You have a choice of planting grapes, olives, figs, dates, pomegranates, citrus, or argan (a Middle Eastern tree whose kernels are used to make oil).
And what’s even more exciting is that for THIS WEEK ONLY, your donation will plant TWICE the number of trees!! All this week, if you donate to plant one tree, two trees will be planted. If you donate to plant two trees, four trees will be planted. And so on. I donated yesterday to plant pomegranate trees, and I’m so excited that twice as many pomegranate trees are being planted in my name!
We’re all farmers and gardeners – whether here or in Israel. Why not partner with an Israeli farmer and plant some fruit trees in Israel? It’s easy. Click here, scroll down to the form, choose your tree from the drop down list, fill out the form, give your debit or credit card information, and submit. You will receive a beautiful certificate for your donation, but even more importantly, you will have the joy of knowing that you connected with another farmer/gardener and had a hand in helping him (or her) with the first planting after the shemittah year.
Don’t forget, the double planting offer is good only this week. But don’t worry, if you can’t donate now, please still donate later. Every tree is important. As gardeners and farmers, we know the satisfaction we have planting in our own fields. Imagine the feeling you’ll have giving to the fields of a fellow farmer in Israel.
I’m happy today, knowing that somewhere in Israel, I helped to create a small patch of pomegranate trees. As a gardener, I don’t think there’s much better than that.