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Lavender or rosemary that grows on the sides of the path near the park

Question:

  1. Can I pick from these 2 plants as they are public property that I pay arnona for and they grow a lot so it is not as if it is being used up.
  2. Second, during shmitta …

 

Answer:

  1. Paying arnona means that you paid the taxes due so that there will be light and plants, but it doesn’t make you an owner of those plants, therefore the fact that you paid arnona will not permit picking the plants. However, there is a different reason why you would be able to take some. If a person is only taking a few branches, it is understandable that the locality allows picking a little bit. Of course, this would depend on the individual circumstances, because if there isn’t an ample amount of this type of plant there, of if a lot of other people take, then they would mind. Additionally. if it is in a place that they are going to cut down in any case, then they may be taken. For example, if there are some plants growing off to the side where they aren’t meant to grow. Then we surely can assume that the locality doesn’t mind.
  2. Regarding shmitta, in Eretz Yisroel it is permitted to pick these plants, as they are not owned by anyone. However because there is a prohibition not to “ketzira” (harvesting) it should only be done in an unusual way. Meaning that the plants should not be cut with a shears with a straight cut, rather at an angle. Alternatively, if you are breaking them off with your hands, the break will not be straight.

 

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