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.