When Ira Zimmerman, the Keren Hashviis northern coordinator, approached a farmer who was on his porch resting from the afternoon heat earlier this year, he wasn't at all sure that his suggestion to observe Shemittah would be accepted. "Although this farmer had never even heard of the mitzvah of Shemittah, after I explained the reward and the punishments to him, he agreed to come on board. As easily as that. And when I thanked him for giving me the merit, he gently corrected me, telling me that I had given him the merit." How does a man fi nd the mettle to give up his income for a full year? In this column, we will be meeting some of these gibborei ko'ach osei Dvaro, these valiant heroes who steadfastly adhere to Hashem's word.
Ira Zimmerman is no newcomer to agriculture. Originally from Kibbutz Mefaltim in the south of Israel, Zimmerman moved to Bar Yochai in the north of Israel fourteen years ago. During a regular year, Zimmerman grows grapes for Or Haganuz winery in vineyards near Safsufa, close to Meron. As Shemittah approaches, Zimmerman segues into his alternate role as the Keren Hashviis northern coordinator. His job is twofold: to encourage farmers, many of whom aren't fully mitzvah-observant, to keep Shemittah and then to conduct surprise visits to ensure that they are keeping the laws.
Published By: INYAN