Gedolei Yisroel Recite Birkas Illanos On KKL Shmittah Trees [PHOTOS]


In a unique and moving event arranged by Eretz HaKodesh, gedolei Yisroel shlit”a recited Birkas Illanos on trees from the fields of Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael/the National Fund for Israel (KKL) that had been maintained according to the laws of Shmittah.

For the first time in history, this past year, KKL observed the laws of Shmittah on all the lands under its jurisdiction. In practical terms, this meant that, thanks to the orchestration of Eretz HaKodesh, KKL did not rely on a heter mechirah (selling the land), but allowed all its land to remain fallow for the recent Shmittah year. In keeping with these halachos, the fruits were distributed for free to the public.

Trees from these very fields were brought to Bnei Brak for the recital of Birkas Illanos. The gedolim who joined expressed their admiration for the monumental accomplishment enabled by Eretz HaKodesh to ensure Shmittah compliance on thousands of dunams of land.

Gedolim shlit”a who participated included Rav Berel Povarsky, Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rav Shimon Galei, Rav Shlomo Kanievsky, Rav Shraga Shteinman, Rav Chaim Peretz Berman, Rav Issamar Garbuz, and Rav Amram Fried.

The gedolim, in addition to reciting Birkas Illanos, gave heartfelt brachos to the farmers who kept Shmittah with these trees, wishing them bracha and hatzlacha in their future endeavors. They also gave a bracha to the askanim of Eretz HaKodesh for making this possible.

The undertakings to ensure Shmittah observance were the latest in a concerted effort of Eretz HaKodesh to ensure and protect kedushas ha’aretz in Eretz Yisroel.


  1. This is obviously a publicity stunt by Eretz Hakodesh people.

    However, I don’t think it should be accepted for multiple reasons.

    1) The trees are quite small, with minimal flowers. That is not the natural growth habit of trees, to be in small containers, which limits their growth, and makes them scrawny, rather than planted in the ground where they can spread their roots. It is not a סימן ברכה.

    2) The Chazal which is the source of birkas ilanos talks about going out and seeing trees – לשון רבים -blooming. The impression is of someone who sees a large, or great mass of flowers, or flowering trees, and is overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene, bringing them to praise הקב”ה. Some authorities even hold that one should not make a bracha on a single flowering fruit tree. So in this case, when they are using a few small, scrawny fruit trees in containers, with relatively few flowers, this is not what the gemara was talking about.

    It definitely does not seem the optimal way to do it לכתחלה, בהידור. Maybe בדיעבד they were yotzei, but please, why are we going for an inferior קיום here all of sudden?

    If they want publicity for their shemita efforts (יישר כח for them!), there are other ways to get that.

    B”H Maran Rabbeinu Rav Gershon Edelstein shlit”a did not take part in this, and did it the old-fashioned way, with (a) larger tree(s), planted in the ground (as reported here last week). His practice and example should be followed by the עולם, rather than the one depicted here.