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May 16, 2008

Shmitta: Gogo'im

Gogo'im. Otherwise known as "Apricot Seeds".

As we begin making our way through the summer months, we now begin to find all sorts of fruits in the stores that are coming into season. That includes "mishmish", or Apricot.

Kids in Israel love apricots. Not because they love the fruit itself, which they do, but more so because of the pit inside. The apricot pit, known in Hebrew as Gogo, is removed from the apricot by the kids and then recycled into use.

the Gogo is collected by the hundreds and thousands. It is used in games, it is used to barter and to purchase things. We have all heard the stories about the kid who sold his bike to another kid for 10,000 Gogo'im!

So I am in the supermarket yesterday and see they have apricot. So I pack up a bag. Then I notice the sign says these apricots are Otzar Beis Din produce.

That of course means they have kedushas sheviis - holiness of shmitta, and have to be treated appropriately with care.

So that raises a dilemma. Are the kids allowed to play with the Gogo'im, or is that considered to be treating it with disrespect.

I considered the following options:
  • They are not holy (because they are not food, rather waste).
  • This is not considered disrespectful because this is considered a normal use.
  • They are holy and kids cannot play with them.
I asked my Rabbi what is the proper approach in dealing with the gogo'im. His response was that the kids can play with the gogo'im because they are not considered food and are therefore not holy. They just have to make sure their is no apricot residue on the pit.

So, let the games begin!


  1. Thank you for clarifying this important halacha.
    Are you allowed to save the seeds and plant them next year? Efi, a fictional character in Mibereshit (alon put out by R. M. Elon) suggests this to his mother.

  2. Huh? I thought tree fruits aren't affected by shmitta till next year? Or is that only citrus? Color me confused.

  3. The summer fruits are already shmitta fruit, because they bloomed after Tu Beshevat during shmitta. The party's over LOL.

  4. gogo'im are also called adju'im in yerushalayim

  5. I was just about to point that out, Anon.

    Used to play Agooim as a kid/

  6. MOI - I don't know. would they last that long anyway?

    anon and Jacob - thanks. I knew there was another name form my Yerushalayim days, but could not remember what it was. Out here the kids call it gogo'im.

  7. When I was a kid we also used to make whistles out of them by scraping them along concrete walls or sidewalks.


  8. MOI - I checked with the Rabbi again. He said yes, that would be allowed. You could also plant them in a pot in the house (atzitz she'aino nakuv) now... (and I guess transfer them later)


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