Jeff Stier wrote:
As always, I enjoy your entertaining answers. I have a question that begs for a wise response: I am an avid gardener and am tempted to try what some call the potamo plant. The potato and tomato are very similar. One difference is that the 'fruits' of the potato grow below ground and the fruits of a tomato grow above ground. Agriculturists have combined the plants so that a plant produces both tomatoes on top and potatoes off the roots. I imagine I can eat the fruits - like you can eat a tangerine...But can I splice or plant them? I'm looking forward to your wise and witty answer -- I'm 'rooting' for you!
Dear Jeff Stier,
In Israel it's forbidden to cross-breed vegetables. Outside Israel it's permitted.
This is based on the verse in the Torah which says "You shall not plant your field with mixed seed." The Sages teach that the words 'your field' refer only to a field in Israel.
So if you live outside Israel, you're on 'solid ground' when you plant your potamo.
The fruits of a hybrid - even if bred contrary to halacha - may be eaten. Also, the seed produced is not considered a hybrid and may be planted even in Israel.
Thanks for letting me 'field' your question, which 'stems' from a 'growing' concern in halacha. 'Till' next time...
By the way, what do you call a dog that grows out of the ground?Sources:
- Leviticus 19:19, Tractate Kiddushin 39a
- Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 297:1
- Talmud Yerushalmi, Kilayim 1:4
- Rambam Hilchot Kilayim 1:7