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Orlah fruit trees

Rabbi Ari ShvatAdar I 5, 5771
1397
Question
I currently live in florida and i have a registered organic tree and plant nursery. i am hoping to make aliyah within the next few years and to continue my tree and plant nursery in Israel. i am additionally hoping to sell and plant fruit trees and plants throughout Israel. my question is this: i have kept orlah in the states simply because the trees i have grown from seed do not fruit until the 7th or 8th year, making fruit within the first five years not an option. just to be sure, i have refrained from eating the fruit from my trees for three years after that, as i felt this was the proper orlah. However, on your website, (//www.yeshiva.org.il/ask/eng/print.asp?id=4976) it states that a forbidden fruit is counted from the time of the tree’s birth (sprouting) ... and is forbidden from birth until 5 years old. my fruit trees (avocado, mango, etc.grown from seed) did not even fruit until well after the 5 years .... could certain trees fall outside the requirements for orlah simply because they are so late in fruiting (7 - 8 years)? my son in yeshiva said he thought orlah pertained to the time of the tree’s actual fruiting .... thus making a tree that fruits in year 7 permissible only by year 12 .... please let me know what is the correct way to determine orlah .... i am hoping to plant fruit trees in Israel and from my experience, many fruit trees (particularly those grown from seed, which only mature after year 7 or 8) would not fall into the category of orlah due to such late fruiting. thank you for your reply. rhona corinne friedland Leaf Mulch Lady Tree and Plant Nursery http://www.leafmulchlady.com/
Answer
Shalom Rhona, First of all, I’d like to wish you all the best in your forthcoming aliya to Israel. As you know, there are many agricultural mitzvot (58 in the Torah) in Israel which, especially in your field of work, will benefit you greatly! Please allow me to correct an important misunderstanding found in your question, apparently based upon the question of a previous writer. The orla is counted from the time the plant takes root (unless uprooted without sufficient soil) and not from the time of fruit bearing. Accordingly, if your trees only bear fruit in the 5th year and on, there is no prohibition at all, and no need to redeem the fruit (done outside of Israel only on grapes, and only in the 4th halachic year). Please tell your son, as well. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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