Vineyard ownership in medieval Europe: Lessons from the laws of orlah

Shalem Yahalom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Biblical law forbids the consumption of fruit from trees in the three years after planting, a prohibition known as orlah. In medieval France this created a problem with the practice of layering. R. Isaac of Dampieres (Ri) argued that if the twig is not detached from the old vine, layering is not deemed planting and there is no obligation to count the years of orlah anew. R. Samson of Sens, his student, distinguished altogether layering from actual planting. In Germany, where there were no Jewish-owned vineyards, R. Asher (Rosh) followed the ruling of Ri; a Jew could turn a blind eye on the practice of layering. R. Asher’s arrival in Spain, where Jewish vintners performed layering on branches and detached them later as required, compelled him to adopt the solution of R. Samson.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-339
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.All rights reserved.


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