Roses Are Forever


Yechiel from Beit Shemesh asks:


Our wedding
anniversary is coming up and my wife loves roses. Do I have to be concerned about
s’fichin when buying roses?


Since roses grow on a bush which produces flowers
year after year, the prohibition of s’fichin
does not apply. It does not apply to perennials. This is in contrast to most other
flowers which are planted every year. However, this does not mean that one may buy
roses without first checking their origin. Firstly, there are opinions that consider
roses to have kedushas
shvi’is,
since the flowers have a scent.
Secondly, it is possible that sh’mittah
laws were violated when forbidden work was done to the bush. This would put the
roses into the category of ne’evad
(worked on), which would render them forbidden according to
Minhag Yerushalayim
(the Jerusalem custom).
Even according to the Chazon Ish,
who generally permits benefitting from ne’evad,
one should not use these roses. Since flowers are considered non-essential items,
there is less room for leniency. In addition, one should not support those who violate
sh’mittah laws by buying from them.



NOTE: Re: Strawberry picking.
Strawberries are treated like a vegetable which is sown every year and therefore
fall under the prohibition of s’fichin.
Since Chanukah 5761, all strawberries which grew on Jewish-owned land in Eretz Yisroel
have been forbidden for this reason. Last week’s question referred to a time prior
to that date. Those which were grown by non-Jews (as is the case with much of the
crop) or in a place which is outside the halachic boundaries of Eretz Yisroel are
permitted. The principles mentioned in the answer are relevant to all fruit crops,
which will start appearing after Pesach. Thank you, S.R., for your useful comment.