Shmita Short story

Benjamin Risman

About Benjamin Risman

I’m Benji Risman, a freshman at Gann. I’ve been studying Shmita in my Jewish Ethics and farming class. The subject of shmita is one of incredible interest to me; although a great idea , theory, I find that the modern application of Shmita is not that great of a thing. Personally, I’m a person who likes to debate subjects and try to go in-depth on many matters. Shmita is one of these subjects. In addition, I’m a person who loves history and geopolitics. Shmita encompasses both of these things. In studying Shmita, I have found that there were many things that I would like to question and dive in-depth too, And I hope to continue to do.

About Shmita Short story

For my piece on the Shmita year, I have chosen to do a written piece. My written piece chooses to focus on the negative consequences of the potential implication of Shmita. My piece encompasses the environmental aspect of shmita. By using the source of the Shmita sourcebook and the chapter of ‘Braiding sweetgrass’ entitled ‘Windigo footprints’ I’ve included the types of plants that are used in the Shmita year. Yet at the same time, I continue to emphasize that I have chosen to focus on the negatives of the shmita year.

Shmita short story  


“Well, Mr. Fienberg, it looks like this the third time the fields have been worked in secret.” Cigarette smoke filled the air while the singular lamp illuminated the darkroom, which was so cleverly hidden deep inside the ministry. “Please, sir, you have to understand, my family and I were starving. I have so many mouths to feed!” The man looked at the person who would decide his fate with desperation and pleas for mercy. “Yet the law is the law, and whatever happened to your stockpiles?” 

“Gone sir, all gone, stolen by thieves, please sir, you have to understand!, it is the legend of the Windigo, the plants were stolen, taken from me by the grasps of winter!” The questioner continued to look upon the pleading man with no change in heart. “Thieves, you say?” 

“Yes, sir, thieves.” the interrogator placed his cigar in the ashtray and placed his papers on the table. “You are lying dog; there were no thieves. You simply were out to make a profit! These policies are for the benefit of society, not for the search of profit!” Then, with a roar in his voice, the man stood up and placed his hands on the table firmly. A spark appeared in his eyes that glinted with a savageness attributed to the human’s primal state. “You farmers are all the same; you speak of the well-being of others while you truly want was is best for you!” the interrogator inhaled a little bit of smoke from his cigarette.


 “Listen, I knew a guy once, my son; he was like you. A poor farmer who tried to feed his family. One year he went out to plow the field, and he got caught.” The interrogator paused for a moment as he stiffed up for a moment. “I wasn’t able to save him; they took him to the re-education center, two months later, I got it, his-” his fists balled up while his sadistic smile turned into one of anger. “Those bastards took him out and killed him, they are nothing more than animals defending an idea that is wrong, and I’m one of them, so if you are trying to appeal to my side of humanity, you are too late, that part of me shriveled up and died long ago along with my son!” This anger-filled individual began to scream at some unknown being as Mr. Fienberg shrank into his chair. Viens appeared on his forehead while his eyes exulted pure madness. 


“Please, sir, understand, Sfichm and my stockpiles weren’t enough to sustain me, my neighbors wouldn’t help me and the trees of the plants shriveled up!” 

“What is there to understand, that this is supposed to help the environment recover, or that the annuals grown on farms are counted as shitty plants every seven years? No, Sir, you need to understand, get this through your thick skull; you broke the law, and you will be punished. It does not matter if you end up lying dead in some ditch in some god-forsaken place; what matters is that these laws may seem unappealing or even horrible, cruel, and sadistic; they are still laws. You broke them, and you will be punished for it.” 

The defeated man put his head on the table and began to sob. The interrogator just stared at him. His face showed no emotion whatsoever; he just continued to stare. “Guards, get this man out of my face.” The room was immediately filled with men in black suits who grabbed the sobbing man and dragged him out of the room. There was no resistance offered; instead, Mr. Fienberg just walked out, like a man whose soul had been taken and torn to shreds. The interrogator put out his cigarette in his ashtray and lit a new one. Thank God this will all be over soon; I just can’t go on like this, sending innocent people to their death; that’s what my life turns into. He sat down and as he breathed out a puff of smoke, he closed his eyes to get away from this hell of a place.